How to do your laundry in winter

How to dry clothes in winter

Doing our laundry in winter is pretty simple for most of us. We pop our laundry in the washing machine and forget about it. But then when the cycle’s done it’s time to try it. You look outside and a dark, heavy grey sky opens and a downpour comes out. You could use the tumble dryer again, but you’ve already used it a few times this week and you concerned about energy costs. In a average British winter, hanging your clothes out to dry on a washing line in the garden just isn’t an option and running a dryer can be costly. So what are your other options for drying clothes in winter?

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Tips for how to do your laundry in winter

Prioritise your laundry: If drying outside or using the tumble dry aren’t options you need to really think about what your are washing and drying in each load. Drying clothes in winter takes a little more creativity. Is there a suit or outfit you need for work or a special dress for a night out at the weekend? Make sure they are in the load and lower priority items are put to the side. You can only do as many washes and as much per wash as your drying racks can handle. When the weather’s takes a turn for the worse think about whether that barely worn item needs to go in the laundry, or whether it could be work again. Try having a separate laundry basket for priority laundry, things you can’t live without or need in a hurry, like the kids school uniform.

 

Prepare, prepare, prepare: When you have prioritised your laundry you need to prepare it before washing and drying clothes in winter. Unravel an sleeves or trouser legs. Do up zips and buttons and make sure velcro is done up. This stops your clothes getting tangled up, helps them to get washed better and leaves them less tangled at the end of the wash. You’ll spend less time unravelling it at the end of the cycle and can hang it up faster. It also helps more moisture be taken out during the spin cycle and thus help it to dry quicker and easier.

 

Bring outdoor freshness indoors: Drying your clothes outdoors in the summer leaves your laundry with a freshness and scent which you often miss out on with indoor drying. The easiest and best way to bring that outdoor freshness inside in by using a scented laundry detergent or fabric softener. The softener also gives your clothes that softness which you would otherwise get from outdoor drying. The bonus with using a scented laundry product is that you can choose one you love.

 

When you do dry clothes inside which have additional scented detergents or softeners, make sure to keep the window a little ajar whilst your clothes are drying. If you are out during the day, or if there’s a room you can leave shut from the rest of the house you can avoid getting a bit chillier yourself. Keeping the window open allows chemicals which are released into the air (and which can be less than nice for you to breath in) to diffuse outside.

 

Use different drying options wisely: Like we looked at, tumble dryers use a lot of power and cost a bit to run when you are using them on a regular basis. However, there are times when you need to get something dried quickly and when air-drying in the house isn’t quick enough. If you do need to use a tumble dryer, make sure it is filled to maximum capacity. If you underfill it, there’s less to tumble against and it will take longer to dry.

 

You can speed up drying, and cut costs, by adding things into your tumble dryer. A set of dryer balls will set you back around £10 but can cut the time it takes your clothes to dry as they get very hot whilst rolling around in the drum. Alternatively, pop in a small clean towel when drying. This will help absorb moisture from your clothes speeding the process up.

 

Drying your clothes without a dryer needn’t take forever. If you are going to hang your clothes on hangers in a doorway or window or using an air dryer there are a few rules. Make sure you have a window open for ventilation and air circulation, this helps them to dry quicker as well as removing allergens which can be bad for asthma sufferers. Make sure you leave sufficient space between each item so air can flow around them. Overloading clothes on a dryer means they take longer to dry as air can’t circulate around them. Finally, avoid the temptation to pop clothes straight onto a radiator or storage heater. Whilst this can sometimes be a fire hazard, drying clothes in this way also causes a lot more moisture and can increase mould spores.

What are your tips and hints for doing your laundry and drying in the winter?

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Russell Bowes

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2 Comments

  1. October 30, 2016 / 11:27 pm

    My husband is a sod for over loading the airer so that the air can’t circulate – I get so frustrated with him!

  2. November 9, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    Great tips. Our tumble dryer finally gave out a couple of weeks ago and we don’t really want to replace it as it was in an inconvenient place. So far so good as we are prioritising the washing and then for towels and bedding going to the launderette once a week.

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