Last week in talking about greening your laundry routine, I offered tips on washing your clothes in a more eco-friendly fashion. This week you'll learn how to dry your clothes in a way that doesn't harm the earth (as much) and could help your clothes to last long.
Believe it or not, good drying actually starts in the washing machine. That is, at the end of the washing cycle your machine goes into spin mode. This is very important because it helps to wick away extra moisture from the clothing so that laundry don't go into the dryer sopping wet. (Have you ever put super wet clothing in the dryer? It takes forever to dry and always ends up smelling like wet dog anyway.) If you feel that your clothes are still to moist when you're done washing, you could always run a second spin cycle, though this does use extra energy.
Now as far as drying goes, the greenest way to go is simply to hang everything up. This makes a lot of sense if you have access to a clothesline (indoors or outside), and you've got the time to hang everything up. Me, I don't like the feel of crunchy underwear, sheets or towels that you get when things are air dried, and so I throw this stuff in the dryer. Everything else though? I'll run in the dryer for about 10 minutes to get it a little dry and to decrease wrinkles, and then I'll pull them out, piece by piece, and hang them up on hangers to dry. Usually, when I'm dealing with laundry loads of clothing, all that's left in the dryer after my hanging-up routine are socks and underwear, which dry quickly and on the lowest setting.
It is possible for your to hang up your clothes even if you don't have a backyard. I have a backyard but don't want to deal with going outside to dry my clothes. So I've got two towel racks in my laundry room (which is smaller than a walk-in closet, about 4'X6'), but I never use them for towels. When I hang clothes up, I hook the hangers on these towel racks. If I've got loads and loads of laundry to dry, I'll also hang things up in the shower.
People who want to avoid using the dryer also find it helpful to have a drying rack. You can buy them as a shelving set (shelves are made of mesh to allow for air circulation) or a folding rack where you hang your clothes over the rungs to dry.
The next time that you have to run a load of laundry, I hope you'll try out some of these green drying tips. Let me know if they work for you. I love to hear readers' feedback.
Welcome to Green Boot Camp
Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).