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"What summer?” we hear you ask; and you’re not alone. This year's endless rain & humidity in Australia has left many of us feeling pretty forlorn about the summer that never was and the laundry baskets full of damp washing that we can’t get dry! So when it's wet for days and the rain just won't go away (like in winter too) what alternatives are there to getting your laundry dry when you can’t use a dryer or would prefer not to?? Here are some helpful ideas to add to your ‘getting laundry done in wet weather’ playbook:
HOW TO GET LAUNDRY DRY WHEN THE SUN CLOCKS OFF
Let’s first talk mould. We understand when it's raining it's tempting to want to dry your wet laundry inside by hanging it on clothes horses’ or ‘airers’ around your lounge room but unfortunately, it’s not actually a great idea. Drying wet clothes inside can lead to creating mould, and mould is not great for anyone’s health. Particularly those that suffer from Asthma or breathing vulnerabilities. Did you know for every load of freshly-washed clothes there’s an average of about five litres of water produced? So when you dry your laundry inside all that moisture from your fresh washing is released straight into your home's air. The moisture can then turn into condensation, which then leads to mould. Avoid mould by mixing things up and try out some of these other alternative drying tips.
Don’t overcrowd & spin twice
When using a washing machine, firstly don’t overload the machine, then run your load through a second spin cycle to remove even more moisture from your washing. We know it’s tempting to cram everything in so you can get the task done quicker however by not overloading your machine, it makes it easier for your machine to spin the water away. Plus overcrowding can lead to more creases in your garments, which means more ironing - and who wants more work?
Rock & roll with a towel
A great idea to remove more moisture is to use a towel. Particularly good for hand washed items (like Silk Pillowcases, woollen jumpers etc) or any smaller items you want to dry. Simply grab a clean towel and lay your item out flat on the towel, then starting at one end roll it up in the towel, lightly compress and then unroll. Depending on the item, you can either leave flat to dry or hang on your airer to dry. We always suggest laying your knitted items, intimates, silk and swimmers on a flat surface to dry.
Be savvy about the space you choose
Naturally it’s always best to dry your washing outdoors but when that’s not an option, then you need to be picky about where you set up your airer/drying rack. You want to find somewhere that can cope with the extra moisture. Clearly your laundry is the first choice, then the bathroom, then any undercover exterior areas that have high airflow. The laundry is designed for high levels of air moisture (so mould spread would be minimal) however the bathroom is a good alternative, however make sure you put your exhaust fan on to remove as much moisture laden air as possible to help keep the area ventilated.
Move over car, the laundry’s moving in!
Your garage can be a great place to set up your clothes horse/airer. It has ambient airflow and is also somewhere you don’t spend as much time and reduces the chance of any adverse health impacts. If you have the space, consider installing a wall mounted clothes line in your garage that can easily be folded away when not in use. An undercover balcony or deck area will also make a better option for drying your washing than in your loungeroom.
The art of hanging
When you hang your clothes on an airer, remember don't just chuck them on and overload it. You need airflow between the garments for the moisture to evaporate. Overloading will lead to your items taking much longer to dry and you could end up with a musty smell from the prolonged damp. Placing the airer under a ceiling fan or in front of a pedestal fan can help with constant airflow too.
Using hangers for your shirts, tops or anything that won’t stretch by hanging, is a great way to save some space plus increase airflow and drying efficiency. We suggest using a good timber one with a wide shoulder.
Make Use of your iron
Not so practical for a large load of washing but works a treat if you need something to dry quickly or have some smaller items. Place your wet item between 2 clean cotton tea towels and run your iron over the top towel. Make sure to not have the iron too hot. Bonus – this technique removes wrinkles too!
Use a hair dryer
You have to be extra cautious with using this approach, however a blow dryer can really help to dry your clothes off quickly. Put it on the lowest heat setting and high fan speed, keep it at a distance to the item you’re trying to dry and rotate the dryer being careful to not stay in the one spot for too long. We do not recommend using this for any delicate items (or natural fibres).
Consider purchasing a dehumidifier
When you’re limited in options and need to dry inside within common areas purchasing a dehumidifier can help with keeping the moisture levels down, reducing the opportunity for mould to grow and can help with the quality of air your family is breathing.
When tumble drying is unavoidable –
*For everyday laundry items – Don’t forget to clean your lint filter to ensure the dryer works as efficiently as possible. Shake your clothes out before you put them in the dryer, allowing the heat and air to penetrate more readily. Don’t crowd your dryer because your laundry will probably take twice as long to dry than it would have if it wasn’t packed to the max.
*For heat vulnerable items like natural fibres – We suggest setting your dryer on the ‘delicates setting’ or the lowest heat possible and even running it for only a half cycle and stopping it short so that the majority of moisture is reduced but you then air dry for the rest of the time.
We hope these ideas help. And remember after the rain, there’s always sunshine 😊