With winter not far round the corner and the great outdoors becoming darker, wetter and colder, we’ll be ever more reliant on our tumble dryers. After your refrigerator, a tumble dryer will typically use the most energy in your home, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to reduce drying time as much as possible.
Obviously hanging clothes to dry is an effective, environmentally friendly alternative but for times when hanging to dry is simply not an option, or the lesser favoured one, you can still follow some steps to use your tumble dryer most efficiently.
Firstly let us just re-iterate the benefits of hanging your clothes to dry. Using a drying rack for clothes will reduce shrinkage and fabric wear. Despite what you might think, drying clothes outside and in the sunlight will not fade them any faster than putting them in a tumble dryer. In fact, because the tumble dryer actually breaks down fabrics, over time this will likely cause clothing to fade faster than hanging to dry outside.
You should avoid excess humidity in the winter months. Don’t hang clothes on exceptionally wet days (albeit in this country that might mean you can’t hang clothes for about 58 days). If there is condensation forming on your windows where the clothes are drying, that means you’ve probably got some ventilation problems. So best move them to another spot!
Now, for efficient tumble drying, follow these steps:
- Sort clothes for drying. Lightweight synthetics dry much faster than towels or natural fiber materials like denim. Lightweight items will dry faster on a drying rack than with the heavier items in a dryer.
- Take clothes out of the dryer whilst they are still slightly damp. This will avoid shrinkage of the clothes and reduce the need for ironing. As well the static electricity in a dryer shortens the fabric life.
- If your dryer has a moisture sensor, don’t add wet items to those that are already partially dry. This will cause the dryer to run longer than it needs to.
- You can add a dry towel to a load to reduce the drying time
- Dry full, but not oversized loads. This is more efficient than just drying smaller loads or over-filling the machine. You shouldn’t need more than 40 minutes of drying time.
- Use tumble dryer balls. Chucking two of these in your machine helps separate items better and shortens drying time by up to a third.
- Dry multiple loads back to back to take full advantage of the dryer’s heat.
- Use a ‘cool-down’ cycle to reduce energy. This cycle doesn’t use heat for the last few minutes but drying continues as air will still circulate through the machine.
- Clean the lint trap after every use. A clogged lint trap reduces air-flow and means your dryer will have to work harder. It can also be a fire hazard!
- Check the vent to the outside to make sure nothing is obstructing it as this can affect the dryer’s performance.