I've lived in humid climates and know first-hand how to dry clothes faster. Here are my tips and tricks.
Drying Clothes in Humid Weather (and Preventing Mildew)
Having lived in the UK for many years and for a short time in Colombia, I can empathize with anyone living in humid weather. In such conditions, drying clothes is a nightmare—you can’t just leave them overnight on a drying rack and hope for the best. Fortunately, I have learned a few tricks that will speed up the process and prevent mildew.
Wring Your Clothes Out If Necessary
Good-quality, modern washing machines with a high-spin wash option shouldn’t leave your laundry soaking wet.
But if your washing machine does that, wring your clothes out before hanging them up. As twisting requires much strength, you can replace it with the following:
- Fold the item of clothing several times, put it in the bathtub, and press it
- Use an absorbent towel
- Use a mop bucket
- Use a hand wringer
For the second idea, lay the towel on the floor, put the garment on top of it, and roll it all together. Press the bundle a couple of times against the floor with your feet to get rid of the excess of water. Now you can hang the clothes on a line or drying rack.
Alternatively, use a mop bucket with a side press wringer. This is a budget option if you can’t afford an electric laundry dryer. Watch this video to learn how to use your mop bucket:
Hand wringers are perfect for people with $100–200 to invest. The best thing about hand wringers is that they don’t consume any energy, making them a cost-effective and green version of electric dryers.
Hang Your Clothes in an Optimal Way
When hanging clothes up, space them out to make sure that air can circulate freely. Straighten any folds.
It’s crucial to find the best place for your rack. During the summer, you may want to hang your clothes outside in sunlight. But if you live in a rainy place, make sure to put the laundry under a roof. Don’t worry if the clothes aren’t getting too much sun—exposure to wind will also help.
During the winter, place your laundry in hot places, for instance by radiators
Use a Fan
Using a fan is my preferred budget method of drying clothes. When I was in Barranquilla in Colombia, I bought a Vornado 630 primarily to cool down the overheated room. This fan circulates all the air in the room, so you can feel a pleasant breeze, even if it’s not pointed directly at you.
But the fan was also perfect for drying the laundry. Although temperatures in Barranquilla are consistently high throughout the year, so are humidity and rainfall. Consequently, drying clothes was a nightmare—it could take up to two days, and sometimes my laundry would still smell damp. Using the fan would significantly speed the process up.
The Vornado 630 is efficient and relatively quiet. It does make some noise, but I can easily sleep with the fan on the lowest setting (it has three-speed settings in total). Vornado is one of the most respectable fan brands out there, with thousands of positive opinions. The fan comes with a 5-year warranty, should you have any problems.
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Getting a fan is an especially good idea for people living in the tropics. However, a fan will also be handy in the UK and other cold and humid places.
If You Are in a Hurry, Use Hairdryers and Irons
If you have to make it to a meeting in a few hours, and all your socks are damp, don’t despair! Your hairdryer and iron are your best friends.
Hang the piece of clothing you need on a line and dry it with a hairdryer. This process can take just a few minutes for socks, but you will need more patience for jeans.
Alternatively, use an iron. Place the garment on an ironing board and put a towel on top of it. The towel is extremely important—it will protect the garment from damage and absorb excess water. Iron the item from both sides.
Buying a Dryer
Buying an electric dryer isn’t a solution for everyone. It doesn’t make much sense for people living in rented accommodation, as the cost of buying and maintaining it can outweigh the benefits.
Still, dryers can be a good option for families.
When choosing a dryer, consider the following:
- Do you want a gas or electric dryer?
- What capacity?
- What features should it have?
- How much energy does it consume?
Gas dryers are more energy efficient, but also more expensive and require an installed gas line. But although the installation cost of a gas dryer may be high, you will make savings in the long term.
Choose a dryer with an appropriate capacity. A good way of gauging your needs if measuring your current washing machine—your dryer should be approximately twice as big.
Ask yourself where you will put your dryer. If you don’t have much space, you can consider dryer models that can be stacked up on the washing machine.
Lastly, pay attention to the features your dryer has. Choose one with the lowest Energy Guide Rating. Dryers with moisture or dryness detectors can adjust the time needed for drying a particular laundry batch for further energy savings.
Invest in a Dehumidifier
If humidity levels in your house exceed 50%, consider buying a dehumidifier, at least for the laundry room.
In addition to speeding up the process of drying the laundry, a dehumidifier will help you avoid damp and mildew. Dehumidifiers come in different capacities, depending on your needs, the size of the room, and humidity levels. Large ones remove up to 75 pints of moisture per day, medium ones between 45 and 50, and small ones have a range of 25 to 50 pints. If you need to dehumidify your whole house, you can buy an extra-large one that can handle up to 3,000 square feet.
George on September 04, 2018: