Wouldn’t it be a miracle if we had endless sunny days to hang our clothes to dry – and a garden in which to dry them – or, failing that, a really efficient tumble dryer for rainy, wintery days?
While we can still dream, the reality for many is an endless cycle of wet laundry that takes up every bit of space on radiators around our homes.
But, as the Asthma Society of Ireland has pointed out, drying clothes indoors can be really bad for our health.
Pheena Kenny told RTÉ: “Moist environments encourage the growth of mould which can release ‘seeds’ called spores. The spores can cause allergic reactions in some people. Mould and fungal spores are often invisible to the naked eye.
“If you aren’t sensitive to mould, you may never even experience a reaction. But for some people with asthma, who are sensitive to mould spores, it can act as a trigger, causing asthma symptoms to get worse.”
But what if you have no choice except to dry your laundry indoors? Here are some tips to make sure it doesn’t harm your health.
1. Where to hang laundry
Pheena says the best place to dry laundry is on the washing line or tumble dryer, but if you really have to dry it indoors, she advises avoiding the living areas and bedrooms, where you’ll be most exposed to mould spores.
2. Ventilation is key
Open windows as often as possible to allow fresh air to circulate through your home, suggests Pheena. Extractor fans in the kitchen and bathrooms will also help to tackle moisture – make sure you keep them clean and free of dust, so they’re more efficient.
3. Time your wash
If you’re in the habit of doing a load of laundry when you get in from work, switch to a slightly earlier morning start and hang things to dry during the day, so you can take advantage of the sun’s warmth.
4. Invest in a heated airer
Life-changing is how some people describe these plug-in gadgets. Lakeland does a two-tier heated tower airer for £89.99, which is much cheaper than a tumble dryer, gentler on your clothes and costs less than 4p an hour to run. It holds around 10kg of washing and you can get covers to go with it, which will keep heat in and speed up the drying time.
5. Place your rack carefully
If you have a non-heated clothes horse, make sure you put it in the sunniest and airiest spot in your house (provided it’s not the bedroom or main living area, for the reasons mentioned above).
6. Use coat hangers
To maximise the benefits of your drying rack, hang your nice shirts and blouses on coat hangers off the rack to ensure they dry as crease-free as possible, and to get more items drying in the heat. Then you’ll be able to pop them straight in the wardrobe.
If you live in an old property and struggle with condensation, which gets worse when you’re drying clothes indoors, a dehumidifier will not only tackle the moisture, but speed up the drying time for your clothes too.
What are your tips for drying clothes indoors? Tell us in the comments box below.