Laundry drying myths to avoid ‘wasting money’ – ‘clothes will smell’

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Top tips for drying your laundry indoors

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With more challenges rising from the increased cost of living and a jump in the electricity unit price, there is a wealth of advice available to households around how to save money. While much of this advice offers valid alternatives to running energy hungry appliances in the home, not enough of it considers the challenges that many of these alternatives will present to consumers in the medium to long-term. As a result, Chris Michael, home air treatment expert and managing director of Meaco has shared some common myths circulating which can be misleading for households.

Myth 1: Drying laundry naturally is always the cheapest option

While in the short term drying laundry naturally can save money, Chris warned that it can lead to hefty costs later down the line.

He explained: “Many of us are aware that one of the most energy hungry devices in the home is the tumble dryer, with a laundry load costing around £2 to dry. 

“Alternatives to using the tumble dryer include drying clothes naturally on a clothes horse, a radiator or on the back of chairs. 

“These options will be fine initially, but many don’t realise that over time it can introduce problems and incur additional costs.”

The expert noted that when the clothes are being dried the moisture released will stay in the air, meaning that the washing “will take increasingly longer to dry”. This is more of an issue in winter as households may be keeping windows closed to keep precious heat in.

Chris warned: “Increasing moisture in the room’s air can cause condensation and mould issues. This will be evidenced by water on the windows (condensation), a musty smell, and cause damage to wallpaper, carpets, furniture, and windowsills – all of which will cost to fix.

“Eventually the room itself will become so damp that the clothes will not dry and will have to be rewashed because they have started to smell: more money wasted. 

“Damp air is also more expensive to heat, so any heating system will have to run for longer to heat up the room.  It is much more efficient to heat dry air than it is to heat damp air.”

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Also, if there is damp and mould in the home, it’s likely to contribute towards respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma (caused by mould spores and dust mites in particular). Damp and mould can affect the immune system, especially for the young and old.

Myth 2: Opening windows will solve any problems with moisture

The typical advice given to households when drying clothes indoors is to open windows so that the damp from the clothes will disappear out of the window. 

Chris explained that this approach is reliant on fresh air coming in from outside on a day when it is colder outside than inside, and the outside air is therefore warmed and dried.

While this may not create a damp problem, the expert highlighted that it would need two windows open to have an effect, but would create a cold draught. 

Chris added: “This then likely leads to households using their heating more to keep the space warm and losing expensive heated air out of the open windows, wasting both energy and money. 

“On rainy or particularly cold days, households would be forced to decide between a warm house and drying laundry. It is not a pleasant or financially sound solution.”

Myth 3: Dehumidifiers are expensive to run

For those who need to dry their washing indoors without using a tumble dryer and keep the warm air in and without creating a buildup of moisture in the air, Chris revealed that the solution is a dehumidifier. He said that this “will dry clothes faster and prevent condensation and mould”.

He argued that a dehumidifier is not costly to run as the appliance can be capped at 150 to 200 watts (the equivalent of five or six pence) per hour. 

Chris added: “The cost of buying and running a dehumidifier can heavily outweigh the costs of removing and repairing any damp damage to a home.

“A dehumidifier will not only dry washing, but it will also protect the whole house from damp and condensation problems and one with a HEPA filter will also clean the air.

“As dry air is cheaper to heat than damp air, a dehumidifier will help households save on heating bills. 

“The energy that it uses will also heat the space, so there are many gains all round.”

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