When I started this challenge, a number of people asked me why I was doing it in October when the weather is crappy, rather than during the summer when the weather is perfect for air drying clothes. Well, I did that on purpose. You guys want a challenge, don't you? Where's the challenge in perfect weather? I'm just kidding, of course.
For many Americans, learning a new way of drying clothes that doesn't involve the minute it takes to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer is a challenge. Sure, we look pathetic to the rest of the world where line drying is de rigueur, but we all have it in our heads that we can't live without a dryer and that just isn't true. Clothes dryers have only been around for the masses for the last 50 years and I would argue that Americans at the turn of the 20th century, working in factories, were a heck of a lot busier than we are today.
There are two issues at play: one is the expectation that you can wear an article of clothing for 10 minutes and it's destined for the laundry bin. Even one day is sufficient. Two days it's starting to get scary and don't even think about wearing something for more than that. Convenience has taught us that clothes are dirty after one wearing. When, for most of us (unless you are a farmer or work in a mine), you could easily get away with another wearing.
The second is that there is no work involved in washing and drying clothes. And that's the expectation we've come to have. Line drying seems insurmountable and the idea that it takes a ton more time to line dry clothes really isn't all that accurate. It takes maybe 5 minutes? Tops. Are you that strapped for time that you can't spend 5 minutes?
Anyway, I'd thought I'd share a few tips for drying clothes inside since people are asking for help. I'll follow-up with a post for how to keep clothes from feeling "crunchy".
First off, if you live in an area where it is rainy and moist most of the year (like we do in Seattle), you're going to have to adapt a few things. The primary complaint is that clothes take too long to dry and they start smelling moldy.
Some of the techniques you can do to prevent this is to:
1. Use a movable rack so that you can move your clothes into the sun/daylight near a window if it does decide to rear its head.
2. Use a movable rack or position your line near a heating source. If you have a wood burning stove, you're in luck. If you have central heating, place it near a heating vent. If you use electrical heat, put it near the baseboard or fan. You get my drift. If it's too cold out to dry your clothes, most likely you are using some heat at least part of the day inside. Or the oven, or some room is going to be warmer than others. Use it.
3. If you don't turn the heat on (stay tuned for this year's Freeze Yer Buns!) then make sure you rotate your clothes on the rack or line. So, if there are any spots that get less airflow, alternate positions. If you use a rack, flip the clothes over so the damp parts are exposed.
4. When in doubt, or desperation, use a space heater or a fan to help with airflow. The electricity used will be far less than using the dryer.
5. If you must use the dryer, dry your clothes for about 5 minutes before "finishing" them on the line. They'll dry faster and have less opportunity for smelling mildewy.
6. If moisture is your problem, try a dehumidifier. It will not only help your clothes, but probably the rest of the house as well. It costs pennies a day to run smaller dehumidifiers. If you really have a humidity problem, look into a hybrid water heater that pulls moisture out of the air to help heat the water.
7. If certain items start smelling funky, try a chlorine free bleach, vinegar rinse or something else to kill the stink next time you wash it. This shouldn't be necessary, but if you feel you need it, give it a try.
Those are my hints and tips for successful indoor drying. When in doubt, don't freak out, just finish drying for 5 minutes in the dryer.
Any other suggestions out there?