Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hang 'Em Dry Challenge Wrap Up

Well, I certainly went out with a bang in October's Hang 'Em Dry Challenge where you can pledge to line or otherwise air dry all your laundry for the month.

This week has been crazy with a capital C. Between being sick, prepping to film for local TV and crappy weather, I ended up using the dryer for far more than I wanted to. We had a couple days of semi-decent weather, but between the cold and humidity our clothes dried at a glacial pace. Some of the loads I did were bedding that couldn't wait three days to dry.

Total dryer time used: 300 minutes
Total dryer time saved: 180 minutes

I think this last week represents a lot more of the average of how our winter will look like as far as air drying clothes goes. In other words, I'll probably be able to squeak three or four loads in per week where I'm air drying them. The biggest issue overall is really trying to keep the total amount of laundry down (which I'll cover in another post). I don't generate much laundry, but I can't say the same for the rest of the household.

The other big issue has more to do with humidity and lack of heat in the house. It's difficult to dry clothes in the basement when it's in the 50s and 60s with high humidity. The clothes start stinking something terrible and that just means we would have to resort to more intensive cleaning agents, which I'm not willing to do.

So, all in all, I'd say we can safely air dry our laundry at least half of the year. The rest of the year, we'll have to see how it goes.

Total Savings
All in all, we saved about 32 hours of drying time for the month. Since I started doing this challenge at the beginning of August, I would say that I've saved about 100 hours of drying time altogether. That's like running the dryer all day for 4 days straight. Which is ridiculous when you think about it.

How did the challenge go for you?


Aydan said...

My last load (for October) is hanging up now, and I actually prefer doing my laundry this way instead of fiddling with my apartment building's bitter, misanthropic laundry machines any more than I have to.

Suze said...

We have had fine and hot week. There have been summer storms but all the washing has been line dried this week.

I agree with the humidity thing. It is difficult to dry in sticky weather. My solution is to dry as far as possible and toss them in the dryer to fluff.

Brad K. said...


Your comment about basement, and humidity, sparked a thought.

Air movement.

An electric fan moves air, prevents stagnant moist air from staying near the clothes - and promoting the molds, etc. that cause the smell.

But there are other means that move air, too. One biggie is thermal. Warm air rises. It causes a movement of air, causing all the air in the room to circulate.

If the clothes are in a room with a heat source, even a window, then solar or other heat keeps the air moving, even if slowly.

Keeping the drying rack in a room with regular people traffic also benefits from air movement. If you have room - I might try the bedroom rather than the basement. (I don't do much entertaining in the BR; YMMV. ;-)

Greenpa said...

We can testify that clothes dry pretty fast in 40 mph winds. The tricky part is finding them in the bushes and trees a couple hundred feet downwind. I don't know why the Federal Government is focusing its renewable energy research of coming up with a storm-proof clothespin. Those guys just don't get it.

Jonalynn said...

I have our last load of clothes for the month on the line. Without the challenge, I would never have considered line drying this late in the year in Ohio. It's been cloudy, but breezy so we've managed ok. I'm curious how clothes will dry when it gets cold. I've read that even when there is snow, it's still possible to line dry outside. We will see because I'm determined to limit my dryer to 2-3 loads per week.

Mrs Mallard said...

I'd have to do the math, but I'm pretty sure we saved at least 18 hours of drying time and used less than three. We're doing cloth diapers, so that adds a couple loads a week beyond just our clothes and linens. All in all, the challenge was a wild success in our household. The weather is shifting and I know we'll be finishing loads in the dryer more often, but the habit of hanging them is now well engrained and we have no intention of stopping now.

Thanks for the challenge--it was just the push we needed!

Hazel said...

I'll be interested to read your thoughts on reducing general laundry.
My children either wear one outfit until I physically remove it from them and put it in the washing machine, or I find half worn clothes tucked in corners of their rooms which, even with my very high threshold for creases, need to be washed before they can be worn again.
After a half term holiday of clearing out children's bedrooms and the consequent laundry mountain, getting down the next size clothes from the loft, some of which brought DD2 out in a rash (hand me downs from a friend washed in unidentified powder) and so all had to be laundered plus the usual bedwetting in an English October....I had clothes in front of the wood burner, round the boiler and hanging from bedroom doors. I got there in the end. And then DH came back from his weeks course with a bag full of 'dirty' clothes. Bah!

Caron said...

I think that I went back and forth- a few days on the line, and then then I'd cheat and use the dryer. Then back to the line. The drying rack that I won in your givaway was wonderful for the nearly two weeks of rain here in MA. Thanks again!

historicstitcher said...

I think my kids learned to dress with Hazel's kids - they're either trying to wear filthy stained jeans four days in a row (to school) or stuffing clean clothes in corners and making me wash clean laundry.

I think this was a success for my household. I never would have thought to try this in this in southern Michigan - too damp, too unpredictable, too much trouble. Yet we managed to use the dryer for not even one minute since mid-late September! Not once!! I am so pleased and am looking forward ot seeing if I can see it on my gas bill for October!

I currently have a load of laundry on the line that stayed out overnight and will get pulled in tonight, and one load hanging on racks in the basement. I'm getting in the habit of doing one load every other day - it gives each load a full 2 days to dry, and it seems to be enough.

Thanks for this challenge! I needed the kick in the butt to get started, and now I have no plans to return to using the dryer. (I'm even starting to think about what I could put in that space...another drying rack? A wringer washer??)

Adrienne said...

I used another hour of dryer time this week, for a total of just under three hours for the month... probably saved at least five hours of dryer time, which would have been partially dryer-drying the clothes and then hanging them to dry the rest of the way. I will try to keep dryer use to a minimum from here out!

Two Flights Down said...

I was surprised I went all month without using the dryer. I was sure I'd cave in. I've been hanging my laundry inside due to bad weather, though. The small space allows them to dry quickly with our little heater and it adds some needed moisture to the air inside (we don't have central heat at the moment). When I'm able, I put the laundry rack outside, but it's mostly been indoors. Now that I'm back in the habit, I think I'll continue this. When winter starts setting in, I'll just dry jeans for five minutes so they don't mold and maybe linens that need back on the bed right away. This was a good way to get back into a good habit.

Mary Q Contrarie said...

I agree with Brad K's observation that you need air movement for clothes drying. I place my laundry drying rack underneath the ceiling fan overnight. Normally every thing is dry by morning.

Another tip is to run the spin cycle on your washer twice. The more water you can get out before you hang up the less will have to evaporate.

Kimberly said...

Put my line dried jeans on today...felt a wee bit crunchy at first, but now, feel fine. Guess that initial weird feeling is something I'll get used to?