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really saving energy - eliminate the clothes dryer

 
gardener
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I have noticed that synthetic materials are most prone to going mildewy if not dried quickly.  Cottons and woollens aren't quite so affected by this in my experience.

I live in a very humid, cool climate, and I can dry most things indoors by hanging them up really high, near the ceiling.  I dry t shirts, trousers, towels, and more on hangers hung on a curtain rail above a south-facing window;  I sometimes just drape towels over the rail too, and they generally dry overnight.  Quick drying things like linens can hang on a drying rack stood on the floor, but as a rule I try to hang things up as high as possible.  

If I can, I prefer to dry out on the line, and will wait until a clear day is forecast and do all the laundry at once;  if clean clothes are desperately needed. I'll do a small wash to hang indoors overnight.  I also sometimes do both:  in the winter I will line dry while it's sunny (though too humid to fully dry) and then finish drying indoors when the sun goes down.

(Ed for spelling)
 
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Just had to add this here. Besides using the latest tech, it also imparts the best scent, IMHO.



(source)
 
G Freden
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I've been using this rack for several years now, similar to one pictured earlier.  It's one side of an Ikea crib/cot, and is attached to the wall via some hooks and baling twine (classy, I know).  It's positioned on the upstairs bathroom wall, above a radiator and next to a south facing window.  You can also see a hanger on the curtain rail above it:  I usually hang shirts to dry on the rail and everything else goes on the rack.  This set-up fits one load of laundry, and during the winter or on rainy summer days, will dry most things in less than 12 hours.  During winter, when the heating's on, I can do two loads of laundry a day, by laying things over all the radiators in the house.  This rack doesn't fit sheets or blankets--I drape these over a door (tip:  wipe the dust from the top first).

There's a tricky month or so, starting around this time of year (mid-autumn), before we turn the heating on:  it's not usually warm/dry enough to fully line dry clothes outside, and it's a bit too cool and humid inside for fully drying clothes on the rack.  I usually leave the window open to help the process, but I try not to wash heavy things like jeans unless I'm sure I can hang them outside, even for a bit--if they don't fully dry while outside, they'll finish easily on the rack overnight.  
DSCF0001.JPG
Clothes rack, in use
Clothes rack, in use
DSCF0002.JPG
Clothes rack, not in use
Clothes rack, not in use
 
pollinator
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I grew up without a drier and never owned a drier in my life so it never occurred to me that drying clothes could be a problem for anyone.  I have always adapted to the circumstances, whatever the weather.  My preferred method is a clothes line, but it was not always available to me like when I lived in an apartment in London.  It certainly was a challenge when I lived in Wales in the UK.  The UK is pretty wet but I think Wales takes the biscuit!  I'm now back in France and as soon as the sun hides behind the mountains, the humidity sets in, so you have to bring the clothes in pretty quickly and finish the drying indoors.  I have a folding clothes rack that I put in front of the wood burning range and it seems to dry everything pretty quickly.  Now that all the fencing, gates and animal housing are more or less finished, I'm going to ask my husband to build me one of these:
http://st.houzz.com/simgs/5631d5510ddc1601_4-5672/traditional-dryer-racks.jpg

Had one when I was young and it's just great.
 
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It's never been an issue for me either, I've only had a dryer for two years out of 36, the worst place to dry stuff is probably where I am now, I live in a bog, everything is damp all the time. cloths inside on the lines in the room with the furnace take two days even when the furnace is running. We try to get things outside to dry, but that won't really be possible for the next 6 months, a combination of damp, rain and wind. The neighbours do not need my knickers.  I'm thinking to try stringing something up in the big barn, it's very drafty in there might well be better than in the house.

What we do have for the dampest periods, i.e now, same as the previous poster, our heating is not on but the outside heating has stopped. is a dehumidifier, it's a sillica gell type so it gives off a bit of heat as well (has to be the refrigeration type stop working at a much higher temp than our house is kept at!), and it can dry a full load of washing in around 10 hours. And stop all the water ending up making the house even damper.
 
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I recently moved into my home, been here less than a year.  It came with a clothesline outside, but no washer or dryer.  The house is set up for only an electric dryer, not gas, which is kind of an issue.  I was adamant about getting the ability to wash and dry, however.  Tried to get a used washer and dryer, but after waiting months with nothing available for me, I got fed up.

Ran across some stuff on YouTube that inspired me to look into alternate laundry methods.  A few hours of research later, I was pretty excited by the possibilities.

I ended up buying these two things:
Costway Mini Washing Machine Small Compact Washer 6.6lbs Capacity Blue  
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y28L3S1
(It was about 42 dollars at the time, which is a good deal for a washer...)

Mini Countertop Spin Dryer
http://www.laundry-alternative.com/our-products/mini-countertop-spin-dryer/

There are some adjustments to using them.  I don't think you can wash big items in these.  However, the small washer is OK for one person, and a load can include a pair of jeans and a couple of smaller items, or several shirts, etc.  

The spin dryer gets out a LOT of moisture.  Running it for 1-2 minutes, the clothes are nearly dry to the touch.  It's better than you could ever wring them by hand, and it spins FAST.  It also unbalances very easily, and I'm finding it a balancing act to learn to load it properly, not overload, not underload, etc.  It can be frustrating but I think I'm getting better at it.

This hasn't solved my entire laundry needs, but I'm definitely learning, and these were good purchases for me.  I also have to iron, which adds to the time spent on laundry.  But to be honest, it's more about the energy than the time, for me personally.  It's still less taxing to drive out and do laundry the modern way...

Since then, I've bought the Solaris Plus (http://www.laundry-alternative.com/our-products/solaris-plus/), which is a smaller sort of air dryer for indoors, but I haven't gotten a chance to try it yet.  I hope it will work well for me, since winter is coming and I'd like to be able to transition to doing more laundry without driving somewhere, and dry indoors when it's really cold out.

These are still electric appliances, but they don't use much electricity or water.  The washer doesn't agitate as such but rather spins, first one way, then the other.  There aren't a lot of safety mechanisms built in, so don't stick your hand in while it's running.  (The spin dryer does have safety measures.)  

I'm finding a good way to wash is to run the washer for five minutes, let it soak for about an hour, then run it for another five minutes, drain, and rinse.  It works pretty well like that.  The spin dryer is a bit of a hassle to manage but it's definitely worth it just for how much water it gets out.  Definitely less pain than trying to wring clothes by hand!  Clothes outside on the line can dry within a few hours on hot days.  The house on damp days...not as great.  Perhaps the Solaris will make the difference for those days, we'll see.

Just wanted to share my 2 cents!  I definitely recommend either the washer or the spinner if you're looking for a lower-energy (but still electric) alternative.  
 
Olga Booker
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Since we are talking washing as well as drying, I have a similar system as yours Lori, except that mine is a full size washer and combined spin drier called a twin tub.  It uses 365w for washing and 180w for spinning.  Mine can take a king size duvet cover and sheet a any one time and it is true that the spinner takes away a LOT of the moisture.  We've used this for the last 15 years and they are now very common to find on Amazon or some other sites in the UK.  I love it.  It is so light that I can tuck it away somewhere when not in use and drag it in front of the sink when I need to.  I can fill it from the tap, via a rubber hose or, like when we had no running water for nearly 3 years, just fill it wit buckets.  If you forget a sock or something, just lift the lid and add it while it is washing.  Because we are totally off-grid, we only do laundry when it is sunny, therefore, we dry outside on a line and take advantage of the sun, even winter sun and a bit of wind does wonder and you just can't beat that fresh laundry smell  -  you just can't bottle that!

http://twin-tub.co.uk/

As an aside, when we used to go go off-roading, many, many moons ago, we used to have a waterproof flare container, fill it with water and a bit of grated soap, tie it to the roof and the motion of the car on rough roads would do the laundry for us.  Upon arrival, a quick rinse and hang to dry.

http://www.lifejackets.co.uk/products/152/universal-large-waterproof-container-flare-box-save-5
 
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Would this work?  I'm picturing a drying closet positioned on the south or south west side of your house (for those in the northern hemisphere) where you open a sealed exterior door to a closet filled with a clothes rack on wheels that you can pull into your room (or put the racks on slides).  This closet would be hooked up to a solar dehydrator type panel system that would draw hot air down through the closet and then back up through the solar chimney (all passive style).  If you have clothes to dry you use it that way, if you have food to dry then you use it for that....it would be a multitasker water removal closet :)

Thinking a bit more about it, perhaps you could install pipes so that the closet could be anywhere in the house and only the intake and output panels would have to be on the south side?

 
gardener
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Greg Martin wrote:Would this work?  I'm picturing a drying closet positioned on the south or south west side of your house (for those in the northern hemisphere) where you open a sealed exterior door to a closet filled with a clothes rack on wheels that you can pull into your room (or put the racks on slides).  This closet would be hooked up to a solar dehydrator type panel system that would draw hot air down through the closet and then back up through the solar chimney (all passive style).  If you have clothes to dry you use it that way, if you have food to dry then you use it for that....it would be a multitasker water removal closet :)
Thinking a bit more about it, perhaps you could install pipes so that the closet could be anywhere in the house and only the intake and output panels would have to be on the south side?


This was done in Lovins demonstration house.
[url=https://books.google.com/books?id=mQEAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA77&dq=Lovin%27s+solar+dryer&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi25t6ywZ_ZAhUCKWMKHRu4ARUQ6AEIPjAD#v=onepage&q=Lovin%27s%20solar%20dryer&f=false]book page preview with illustration[/url]
 
steward
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https://books.google.com/books?id=mQEAAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA77&dq=Lovin's%20solar%20dryer&pg=PA77#v=onepage&q&f=true
 
pollinator
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Admittedly, I haven't gone through all eight years of this thread, so forgive me if this has already been addressed. I would love an indoor drying rack, but we have four cats. Any suggestions?
 
paul wheaton
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pulley.  the pulley was invented to move the drying rack closer to the ceiling.
 
Chris Watson
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paul wheaton wrote:pulley.  the pulley was invented to move the drying rack closer to the ceiling.

That will deter three of them.
 
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I realise this is an old post.
But I have for years wondered why people dont think through this area of our lives in a more savvy way.
So I was glad to find this post although it is 10 years old!

I agree, that reliable, functional, sturdy or whatever you want to call that type of clothing is so important.
I know someone on this post, said they had to clad themselves for a job interview, which is true, as we still live in a NOTHER world too. But why by fashion statements when they fall apart before next season, etc.
And I have never had an electric clothes drying appliance. They ruin clothes but are available if needed in local laudramats e.g. emergency drying of bedding if that was someones need.

But how to creatively dry clothes in winter has been a puzzle for me. I grew up in a large family home with central heating and the builder had foresite to build a drying cupboard with dowel rungs at two levels to hang your clothes over and one of the central heating ducts blasted into that drying cabinet, with a vent at the top and another at the bottom for it to flow into the recreation room that it was housed in. It was brilliant.

Today though I live in Melbourne Australia,  Southern Hemisphere.= in a cold climate, no snow except in the mountains 3-4 hours drive,  but we get cold, wind,  and generally lots of rain in our mid year Autumn/Winter and with spring rains.

A few years back I got jack of having avoidable moisture inside the home due to drying wet laundry.
In response created a hanging area above the electric washing machine and laundry sink (a machine that does have a good spin cycle, I am not an off-grid person obviously(.
The two dowel are distanced enough so that shirts on hanger can hang on their own dowel with minimal overlap at their shoulders - for increased air flow when the dowels are loaded with hanging clothes.

So on wet days I could isolate the guaranteed moisture to the laundry for 24-48hrs.
I went further and searched for a second hand door. And found one exactly the fitting to my door between the laundry and the kitchen/dining area.
I needed it to be solid and lockable, as I wanted that to be come the second back door.
So when I had laundry drying on the dowel, I could open the existing back door, and lock the security screen door, for airflow, but have the remainder of the home locked if I went out or to work.

It still works well, but I added another layer to the reduction of moisture in the laundry/home.
This winter I recycled some signage, curflue, or signage that they use for elections signs etc. light weight, waterproof, got a bit of a waxy feel, and temporary but sturdy for the weeks you need it in place.  The old signs that I had access to were the right size e.g. <2meters x>2meters of my fold down and pull up out door clothes line.

Although I would have liked to have bought a clear roof panel so the solar energy could also aid the drying in winter, but at least with this ROOF on my clothes line frame, I get dry clothes, from the wind even if it is cold air.  So simple, that I dont know why I didn't think of it years ago.

I attached it with a gardening wire, and simple hole in the curflue /waxed white cardboard and secured a curling tree branch up one end so the roof tilted to direct the rain off into the garden away from the path that accesses the clothes line.

Soooo, now, I remove the moisture outside for a 24+ hr period.
Then either straight into the wardrobe, or
keep airing on the dowel above the washer.
And if needing, I create a heat tent.

My heat tent
This is merely positioning my mobile radiant oil heater under the tallest shelf of one of my clothes airers. I turn it on as it takes a while to heat up.
Then I begin hanging the clothes on one or both tall fold down /put up indoor clothes airers.
Next, I cover all of the one or two airers with one or two flat or fitted bed sheets, to make a cocoon or tent for the rising heat to be trapped inside.

This heats the room slowly too, but it is whiz for the final airing of the clothes if the are needed the next day or sooner than the airing/drying on the dowels will allow.

I have toyed with the idea of SUSPENDING with a DOLLY and pulley rope, but the simple dowel x2 fitted attached to the wall above the washer is the workable solution  I could do at that time.

If I install a rocket heater/stove, then a Dolly with pulley rope to suspend the wet laundry may evolve somewhere in that space.

Hope this helps someone.
 
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I have Got to figure out a way to save your picture...!
 
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hobbssamuelj Hatfield wrote:
ian curtis of joy division hung himself from just such a pot rack.  seems to be sturdy enough to suspend a grown man, so it would likely take care of a couple wash loads.



That is exactly where my mind went when the discussion turned to lowering pot racks..

Anyways, we do a 'hybrid' system. In the dry season, half of the washing gets hung up outside on our little line and the other gets hung up inside on a drying rack. During the wet season it was impossible to get everything dry by hanging so the more delicate items are hung and sturdier pieces go in the dryer. Unfortunately we can also hear our neighbors doing a load of laundry and using the dryer almost every day so sometimes feels like our efforts are futile.
 
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Ok, I gotta add something here for the *massive* family. I have 5 kids; laundry day is dreaded. 😶 I am successfully drying clothes outside for now (summer) and I can get about all 7 loads dry in one day. What will I do in the winter? Seriously, a tiny wood rack will not cut it!
Also, my towels are stiff and pokey. 😏 and I already use 1/2 c. Of vinegar in the washer. Any other advice on softening?
Also, for a more permanent outside line, where can I buy the big t-posts?
20210607_092932.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210607_092932.jpg]
 
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Rebekah, several have mentioned using the dryer for a few minutes with some dry towels thrown in… not sure if that’s an option for you? Sorry, I don’t remember for sure, but I think they said tumble on low for a few minutes with the towels before hanging out.

We just bought a rotary clothesline/dryer and I installed it on the back deck. The spike was made for the ground but also had holes to screw it onto the deck. My mother in law is visiting for several months, from Bolivia, and after I put it up she had stars in her eyes. It was about $100 and I might have to buy another and have it shipped down there for her! ;-)
 
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Wise reply.
 
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Rebekah Harmon wrote:Ok, I gotta add something here for the *massive* family. I have 5 kids; laundry day is dreaded. 😶 I am successfully drying clothes outside for now (summer) and I can get about all 7 loads dry in one day. What will I do in the winter? Seriously, a tiny wood rack will not cut it!
Also, my towels are stiff and pokey. 😏 and I already use 1/2 c. Of vinegar in the washer. Any other advice on softening?
Also, for a more permanent outside line, where can I buy the big t-posts?



Rebekah, that is really a unique idea for a clothesline!

Since the ice storm on Dec 31st wrecked my trees, I am really having a problem with the span in my clothesline being too long so it sags.  Maybe I can use a ladder propped in the center to keep that from happening.

Are you putting the vinegar in the rinse water?  If so maybe a second rinse of just the towels and some added vinegar.  Maybe a 1/2 cup is not enough?

Mr Google says to use 2 cups of distilled vinegar.  I think I use 1 cup though my loads are probably much smaller than yours.

From HERE.

 
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tel jetson wrote: I imagine a good strong spin cycle can get as much moisture out as a wringer and without risking fingers, but as long as we're saving electricity...


Clothes wringers were certainly an advance over wringing by hand, but as you mentioned they have a safety issue. The crushing force that they're based on is hardly friendly to fabrics. For speed and human energy cost, high speed spinning is a winner and is relatively gentle on clothes. Our new front-loader spins faster and  leaves clothes noticeably drier than the old one, shortening the final drying time.
 
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Outside: We recently re-did the porch, so it's not back up yet, but two nice LARGE (easy turning) pulleys with loop of clothesline; you stand at the end of the porch with the basket of laundry on a bench, clip on, rotate the loop a little, clip on...  the far end is a tree, the ground slopes away from the porch so the cloths are way up high off the ground. The only trick is to have a few clothesline spreaders that you clip on (2 little pulleys in a frame, with a slot on one side) so you can use the strength of BOTH lines - 150' out is a long way, you can get by without these for shorter and only hanging lightweight clothes, but try to hang jeans or quilts and they are needed.  

Our gas dryer was used in the winter, when it was a spell of rainy weather AND we needed the humidity in the house...  it recently died, and the electric one's were so much cheaper for something that does not get used a lot (and we have surplus electricity going back to the grid at wholesale..) that made sense to use.

For a few things, in bad weather, we just use plastic hangers and have a number of places around the house to hand the out in the air.
 
In the renaissance, how big were the dinosaurs? Did you have tiny ads?
Fermentation Intensive, San Diego, CA | Feb. 15-19, 2022
https://permies.com/t/173381/kitchen/Winter-Fermentation-Intensive-San-Diego
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