Drying Laundry in Wet Weather

After a week or more of rain is the laundry piling up?
Don’t have a dryer?
Or want to save electricity?
Perhaps you live in a small apartment?
Let’s look at some options.

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Maybe you’re a rental tenant like me, and have limited options?

I actually hate using dryers; I hate the way they put up the power bill; add to the carbon footprint; steam up the house and occasionally shrink things – so for me it’s three strikes against them and they’re out. This means that for me, it’s airers (drying racks) for laundry, although it took me a while to find the best ‘airer’ for me. One that has also managed to adapt to several moves over the years and holds a ‘big’ wash when it needs to. I’m not a big fan of letting my washing pile up either. So when it comes to a situation when it can rain for days and days I do seem to manage the washing well, until of course ‘sheets’ and ‘towels’ need washing and drying. At the same time I’m only washing for two and not for a big family.

So I thought I’d do a bit of research into some solutions (outside of the local laundrette), for those of you with bigger family circumstances and also see what products are out in the market at the moment that you may want to consider instead of draping things all over tables, chairs, indoor stair railings, or tying unsightly, sagging and sometimes dangerous washing lines all over the place.


General Tips:

  • Safety First! Use your common sense and don’t take risks. Be ‘very’ careful not to hang clothing too close near fireplaces without fireguards and never place washing close to bar or gas heaters. Many people will drape items onto enclosed radiators, this too is not safe practice, as clothes can dry to the point where they will eventually burn. Some fabrics heat up quicker than others. Get out of the habit. It’s better to put your clothes on a small free standing airer at a safe distance near a radiator. If you have small children in the house please think like them. They will be tempted to grab anything; play hide and seek under dangling clothes and accidentally bump into them. Consider the domino effect of that near heaters. Also, always check garment drying instructions, some synthetics shouldn’t be heated up at all, or may not be treated with fire-retardants.
  • Try and confine the wet laundry to one room of the house. This will stop damp and that damp smell transferring into other soft furnishings.
  • Best room choices are obviously a garage or carport if you have one, indoor sunrooms, patios with cover. Next best … the laundry itself if it’s big enough, or the bathroom. Avoid dangerous areas like kitchens and kids playrooms. Look for a room with adequate ventilation.
  • Be cluey! A friend of mine has her hot water tank in a cupboard in her laundry and had her husband purposely fit a wardrobe rail inside it, this enables her to hang items like her husband’s work shirts on hangers in there and shut the door, the heat of the hot water tank soon dries them. Likewise heat from car engines returning to the garage can help add a bit of warmth to strategically hung items. Maybe finding a way to erect a tarp over an existing outdoor line could be helpful? Lifestyle Clotheslines have a few on offer, and check with the makers of your outdoor line, as some may have custom made covers.
  • When it comes to sheets, this really comes down to how often you change your sheets. Consider factors such as time of year (e.g. sweating more in summer); whether you are prone to asthma or respiratory allergies; whether pets are allowed on the bed; whether there are little ones working through bed-wetting or members of the family who are ill or bed-ridden. I came across a great article by Rita R. Robison of  The Survive & Thrive Boomer Guide, who did her own research into the sheet changing habits of people, which includes some polls and health recommendations. In general I always suggest to have three sets of sheets. One on the bed, one in the wash and one spare. So if you really need to wash the sheets, pull them off the bed, put them aside until the next sunny day and put the spare set on. It’s a rare occasion that you’d get three weeks of rain in a row. Focus more on getting all the other day to day immediate wash done first.
  • Same rule of thumb for towels, blankets and any other heavy linen. If really necessary take heavy items to the local laundrette and use the big industrial dryers they have. I tend to do this routinely anyway to make sure nasties get a good occasional toasting. At least that way the electricity is paid for upfront, and because those dryers are bigger, I can get more dry in less time and I know they’re getting a good amount of air around them in the drying process – almost like on a hot breezy summer day!

For product ideas check out my other articles:
• Organising Laundry on Wet Days
Revenge On The Sock Thief

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