Save Energy by Using the Clothes Dryer Less

The clothes dryer is typically the second-highest energy usage appliance in the home, just behind the refrigerator. If you can reduce the usage of your clothes dryer, you can live greener, reduce your energy usage, extend the life of your clothes, and save money. Why not experiment a little this month to see if you can use your clothes dryer less?

Here in Colorado it’s usually too cold to hang clothes outside at this time of year, but I still save energy by using an indoor drying rack or simply laying some of the clothes over the kitchen chairs to dry. I like to give the clothes about 10 minutes in the electric dryer first, which gets a lot of moisture out, smooths the fabric, and helps avoid the cardboardy feeling that jeans can get if they’re completely air dried. Then I just let the clothes finish drying in the house, which adds a little moisture to the air, too! You’ll really notice that your jeans last longer if dried this way.

Come summertime, I’m going to try and find an unobtrusive place to hang a retractable clothesline. Meanwhile, for a sweet read you might enjoy The Clothesline — a charming book written by my friend Irene Rawlings and co-author Andrea Van Steenhouse. It’ll have you hankering for a cute clothespin bag of your own.

We’ve passed the one week mark of the January Money Diet! Pat yourself on the back for every ounce of shopping temptation you’ve resisted. I applaud you all for being kind to yourself, your wallet and our planet.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

11 comments to Save Energy by Using the Clothes Dryer Less

  • cat

    I discovered your blog last week and started follow your posts religiously. I have not commented on any blog just yet but I was thinking I would love to. It’s really exciting to actually contribute to a article even if it’s only a blog. I really don’t know exactly what to write other than I really enjoyed reading through 2 of the articles. Nice articles indeed. I sure will keep visiting your blog weekly. I learned quite a bit from you. Thx!

  • Nothing smells better than freshly lined-dried laundry in the summer.

  • Ordella

    I have used the same means of drying my clothes indoors and I have a small apartment. To make more of a difference, I’ve also been washing in cold water and am now going to start using my own homemade laundry soap which I learned to make from a YouTube video. I guess the next step would be to wash them by hand… but I’ll leave that for later!

  • Mike

    Hanging clothes to dry on a line is one of the best ways to conserve energy and save money. For places that have cold or wet weather, setting up a line in a spare room or basement can be a great alternative. Good to know that people like you are thinking about the environment when doing laundry.

  • Nicky

    It’s too bad that people got out of the habit of using clotheslines. They save so much energy, and it is kind of peaceful to hang the clothes.

    Rainy days and winter make outdoor drying difficult, but people can air dry their clothes by using a clothes drying rack like this one. Being round it works really nice under a ceiling fan!

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  • Great idea, especially for those in the dry climate of the front range, although it works in the Pacific NW also. Every penny counts.

  • This is something that works out better for me in the spring/summer, as the house is so small it’s difficult to find places for things indoors. I wouldn’t mind doing a little more of it this coming year…

  • We air dry a lot of our clothes year round by hanging them in the basement, in different rooms over furniture. We’ve done it for years mainly to prevent shrinkage but it has saved energy and money too.

  • I line dry shirts right on the hanger on a line in the laundry room.

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