Save Energy (and Money) by Drying Laundry Outside in the Sun

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Drying laundry outside is the way to go if you want to avoid high energy bills and clothing wear and tear.

Summer is the season for picnics, planting gardens, and drying laundry outside.

Yeah, that laundry thing isn’t nearly as exciting as other outdoor summer activities, but drying laundry outside does have a lot of benefits.

1. Save money and energy

Energy is money, this you know. Well, it turns out that dryers are big energy sucks.

A 2010 peer-reviewed study found that 71 percent of electricity is used for drying clothes during a laundry cycle—16 percent went to heating water, 3 percent went to running a washing machine, 8 percent to waste water treating, and 1 percent to treating water.

Also, according to Treehugger, “there are upward of 88 million dryers in the U.S., each emitting more than a ton of carbon dioxide per year.”

Yikes.

2. Less wear and tear on clothing

If you want to wear your clothing for a long time without it slowly looking like rags, skip the dryer.

"Clothes dryers shrink your clothing twice as much as air drying does, and more importantly, they can cause irreversible damage. Doubt it? The proof’s in the dryer lint,” Madeleine Somerville of The Guardian warns.

“That fuzzy material lining the lint trap is made up of tiny shreds of thread from hundreds of microscopic tears in the fabric of your clothing. Over time, regular dryer use means your clothes wear out faster – that is if you haven’t already shrunk them. This accelerated wear means you have to replace your clothing sooner–another cost to you and more waste to the landfill.”

3. That natural, clean smell and bleach

Clothing that comes out of the dryer smells like…nothing—especially if you’ve ditched using dryer sheets for a greener, less-toxic method.

But clothing that is dried outside? It smells like fresh air and sunshine—really, there’s a reason air freshener companies sell products that “smell” like line-dried clothing.

Also, drying clothing outside can help keep stains from setting, such as those created by blood, food, etc. And as a bonus: the sun can act as a natural bleaching agent and can get rid of your stains, and help make the whites, whiter. To avoid bleaching your colors, turn your garments inside out.

If you’re an outdoor drying newbie—I just rented a house with a backyard so I’m new to the game, too—check out one of our previous posts that quickly outlines all the things you need to get your outdoor drying game on. Also, this post from Green America has some great options for people who want to dry without a dryer but don't want to use a closeline.

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Image of clothing drying outside via Shutterstock

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