Another week, another excellent question from one of our loyal followers. This time, we were asked how to bypass the age-old recommendation of drying things naturally in the sun to deter mold from its pesky invasion when the sun just simply does not have its hat on. And what better time to answer this than during the very cold – very wet winter months?
Drying Washing Indoors
‘What’s wrong with a clothes horse?’, you may ask. Frankly, quite a lot. You see when we dry washing indoors, acetaldehyde and benzene – volatile organic compounds that are both carcinogenic and culprits for both asthma and skin conditions – are released into the air. If you don’t have any other choice but to dry washing indoors (which hopefully after reading through this article will no longer ring true), “make sure your windows are open”, Professor of Allergy and Respiratory at Southampton University, Peter Howarth, reportedly advises. Not only will this help prevent mold from creeping in, but also helps to speed up the drying process, so feel free to stick the fan on for a bit or, even, a hair dryer – but make sure you move it around constantly as this method is more about air flow than heat. You may also want to whack up the indoor heating a bit to speed things up, too. Another top tip is to start drying the clothes in the bathroom until most of the moisture is out, before moving to another room. We cannot reiterate enough, however, that doing this too frequently can significantly increase the risk of dampness and, thus, mold.
Of course, using the dryer is an obvious option – although relying on this too much won’t make for the friendliest of electricity bills. Here are some quick tips to cut down the dryer time:
Add a dry towel to the load, as this will help draw moisture out
Throw a tennis ball in – it helps to lift garments so the air circulates faster
Use the delicates setting – it might take longer but because it uses less heat, it also uses less electricity
Don’t overload – you might think you’re saving time and electricity in the long run but clothes will take twice as long to dry, so best to just separate into two washes
Don’t underload, either, as this is a ridiculous waste of both electricity and money
Here’s another indoor method that you might love: Place a thin towel over the wet garment and iron on top heat, before turning over and repeating on the other side. This winning combination ensures that warmth can make its way into the fabric whilst the towel soaks up the moisture. Plus, it saves time on the ironing afterwards. Genius!
Throw in the Towel
Lay down the largest, fuzziest towel you own, place the wet garment on top, roll up and twist tightly – squeezing from one end to the other. This method’s also great for getting out any excess, pent-up anger, as well as moisture. (Just saying.)
Drying Washing Outdoors
Guess what – you can still dry your clothes outside in the winter, if you have an undercover area. True, the clothes might not dry as quickly as they would in the warm summer months but leave them long enough and you’ll be amazed at what the outdoor elements can do – even without the sun. There’s nothing wrong with a good breeze – as long as it’s not too strong (you wouldn’t want your newly-cleaned clothes to end up strewn all over a sodden garden!). You may decide to speed up the process by using the dryer to complete the process after – and that’s absolutely fine. But be sensible – not all winter days are created equal, and some weather conditions will simply not accommodate outdoor drying. Similarly, on those cold, crisp but sunny days, get that washing out there pronto – cover or no cover!
Cut Down on Washing Altogether
Ok hear us out – we’re obviously not telling you to neglect personal hygiene, however, we simply do not sweat in the winter in the same way as we do during the summer. Be honest about how much something really requires washing – especially items such as sweaters, jeans and coats which tend to be over-washed unnecessarily.
Have you got any other tips? Share them here!