Do you consider your dryer necessary? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 45 Old 05-19-2014, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am toying with the idea of getting rid of our dryer altogether.  It is an older energy-hogging one to begin with, and I have a line outside.  I am thinking of putting an indoor line up for rainy days, and just doing without the dryer.

Has anyone decided not to keep their dryer and missed it terribly?  Alternatively, do you find you don't miss it at all?

 

 

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#2 of 45 Old 05-19-2014, 12:15 PM
 
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Nope, I don't consider a dryer a necessity.  I found it easier to go dryer-free when I had a laundry spinner to extract more of the water from the clothes (I found the clothes were cleaner that way, too), but since my spinner died I've been trying to replace that, not my broken dryer.

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#3 of 45 Old 05-19-2014, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hm, that might work really well for us.

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#4 of 45 Old 05-19-2014, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If I can ditch the dryer, I have an entire room of the house freed up.  I have fantasies about what I could do with that space.

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#5 of 45 Old 05-19-2014, 01:32 PM
 
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I've tried to ditch the dryer many times... how I wish I could.

 

The clothes come out crunchy and don't feel clean. I've tried using less detergent, more detergent, different detergent, fabric softener, no fabric softener.

 

If something was especially dirty (like cleaning rags) they are still covered with lint and fuzz by the time they dry.

 

Dark clothes are still covered with lint and fuzz no matter what I do.

 

Also my kids have allergies and eczema so if I dry outside it flares up their eczema (pollen? dust?), and, without the sanitation of the high heat they get skin infections (three of my kids have been hospitalized for skin infections! not when I skipped the drier though).

 

So I gave up... but believe me I really, really wanted to give up that machine.

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#6 of 45 Old 05-19-2014, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I am going to do a three month trial without it (though, not until the backlog from having had a broken/dying washer is cleared in the next couple days...) If I can manage that, then I will decide.

I really hate the energy it takes, and the space, and and and... but I know it's easier in some ways as well.

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#7 of 45 Old 05-19-2014, 02:56 PM
 
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To follow up on some of what frugalmum mentioned, the heat from the dryer does do some sanitizing.  I know it's popular to wash in cold water to save energy, but I've always found that I needed either the hot water, or the hot dryer to get clothes properly clean.

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#8 of 45 Old 05-21-2014, 04:41 AM
 
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If I have small load. (which I hate doing) I will put clothes on hangers and dry them on my shower curtain rod in winter I never dryer dried Ds clothes. U would love to get one of those collapsible racks but we live in mobile home we are limited on space. But summertime its outside on clothes line
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#9 of 45 Old 05-21-2014, 05:17 AM
 
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necessary?  no.

 

nice to have?  yes.

 

We line dry about 90% of our items, but those other 10% feel important. 

 

Allergy season is also soccer/lacrosse/softball season and I need uniforms to be washed in the evening and ready to go with kids to school in the am.  Practice uniforms won't dry in the house over night, but game uniforms do.  

 

Also, in the winter, when outer gear needs washing.  It can't dry overnight in the house.  If we have a few days without needing the item I can line dry and then finish up in the house, but time isn't always on our side.

 

And for diapers (which isn't an issue in our house anymore) sometime you let it go and you just need to have a fresh batch ready to go.  This is a laziness issue though  :innocent   

 

As for winter issues (I'm in New England.  Last winter was 6 months long!) I can't imagine how dry our house would be without line drying!  We keep a simmering pot on the wood stove for moisture downstairs, and we line dry upstairs (where the laundry room is) and that keeps the bedrooms from drying out.  

 

I don't think a dryer is costly though.  A tiny bit of electricity and a tiny bit of natural gas?  Am I totally off here?


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#10 of 45 Old 05-21-2014, 10:25 AM
 
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I've been line drying exclusively for 5 or 6 years now. There are times when I'd really like the convenience of a dryer, especially during bad weather. But not enough that we've actually gone and bought one! 


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#11 of 45 Old 05-21-2014, 03:12 PM
 
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We also considered getting rid of our dryer. We dont need the space so we kept it. However, we essentially don't use it at all.

 

We use an outdoor clothesline and indoors I have 2 sets of tall plastic coated wire storage shelves that will take about 2 loads of clothes or 1 load of sheets & blankets.

 

I use the dryer about 6 times a year, mostly for comforters or blankets that haven't dried due to cold humid weather. If you have a backup set of blankets, then even that isn't necessary.

 

I think a dryer ruins clothes. Our clothes and blankets are lasting forever since I stopped using the dryer.

 

I like the stiff towels, BTW, they are excellent for buffing and do soften up after a few uses.

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#12 of 45 Old 05-21-2014, 06:20 PM
 
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Must have for 2 reasons.  Jeans I can not STAND the feel of on line and blankets as I have cats and dogs.  Without going in dryer there is no way to get them nearly as clean/fuzz and hair free.I try to hang as MUCH as I can on line.

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#13 of 45 Old 05-21-2014, 10:10 PM
 
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We don't have a drier so nope, not a necessity for us :-)

We do live in a tropical climate though, so no long winters.

I think dryers are one of the bigger energy users around the home though. Anything which heats up uses a lot of electricity. One source I read said 12% of typical household consumption. Obviously depends how much you use it but, while it's operating, it's one of the biggest electricity users.

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#14 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 10:54 AM
 
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Northern New England in the U.S.  No dryer.  Indoor line in the basement gets us through the winters.  I do have a laundromat within fifteen minutes' drive if "needed," and I also have one or two items a month dry cleaned.

 

I don't have young children at home, but we ditched our dryer when both our kids were older teenagers still living at home, with a shedding dog in the house.  That said, we were pretty casual about dog hair -- "as long as it's *clean* dog hair!" is the way DH put it.  :-)

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#15 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 11:09 AM
 
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Totally ditch the dryer routine. Let the sun and breeze dry your clothes. It does take more time to hang up clothes than to toss them in the dryer, but the payback is (1) using much less electricity, (2) reduced electric bill, (3) a few minutes out in the fresh air to rejuvenate you, and (4) satisfaction that you are using less resources and making the most of the natural ones (e.g. sun, wind). 

 

We kept the already-old dryer that came with the house we bought 12 years ago, and we use it to "fluff up" the laundry for 5 minutes after it comes out of the washer. Then we hang it on the line. We live in a warm climate, so this approach works 12 months of the year. 

 

By fluffing up the wet clothes for 5 minutes in the dryer, the clothes won't get "stiff" as they can if you go straight from the washer to the line, and it also fluffs out the wrinkles. And it uses minimal electricity to fluff for 5 minutes. So you can keep your old energy-inefficient dryer without using a lot of extra electricity (and the associated money), and skip buying a new one until it dies. We have been using our old dryer  for 12 year, and it is still working. (If we had chosen to use the dryer to dry clothes, we would have needed to buy a new one, as it does not dry clothes efficiently at all. That would have been another dryer in the landfill, and another new dryer to buy - costing money and more resources).

 

Give it a try! Good luck.

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#16 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 11:15 AM
 
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We are in Northern Ontario, Canada, and have never had a dryer (though we used to use the dryer in our building once in awhile, before we moved). Actually the winters are easy for drying clothes here as the forced air heat is very dry. I have a "gull-wing" clothes dryer and use it inside or out, depending on the weather & season. I did bring a bunch of sheets to my mom's one time, as there was a backlog, but apart from that we have felt no need to rely on a dryer.

We had a strange situation last year where the energy company didn't bill us or our townhouse neighbours for 6 months. I compared bills with a couple of families, some with smaller apartments and fewer kids, and their bills were over $200 higher! I think it was largely due to us not having a dryer! I use my oven a LOT, which would offset their big-screen TVs I would think.

Anyway, we make it work, even when I had two kids in cloth diapers . . . Though looking back I have NO IDEA how I made that work!! LOL!
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#17 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 11:56 AM
 
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A dryer is definitely not necessary!  I am one of 5 kids, all cloth diapered and my parents never had and still do not have a dryer.  They live in a mild but humid climate.

 

Since we bought our house about 9 months ago and had to buy new appliances we opted to only purchase a washer (HE front loader).  We fortunately live in a very dry climate so have no issues.  I cloth diaper our 8 month old and yes, prefolds can be a bit stiff, but I just work them a bit before folding to soften them up. Pockets and covers dry fast anyway and the prefolds outside are dry in an hour or 2.  If it rains they take longer but end up softer and in the winter with forced heat or wood stove running in the house it's good to add a little humidity from drying laundry.  I'd rather run a warm/hot wash than spend the money on a dryer and the energy it uses. 

 

I don't have any trouble with jeans - I use Ecos liquid detergent with a little baking soda added then rinse with white vinegar - I don't notice much difference from putting them in the dryer except that they don't shrink as much which to me is a bonus! Put them on and do a couple of squats and you're good to go ;)

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#18 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 11:59 AM
 
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Maybe not necessary, but keep it as a back up. We live in the high desert so line drying is usually an option weather wise. BUT, when your children have a bug and every darn linen in your house seems to go through the wash in twelve hours, it is nice to have the dryer handy to try to restore order. Because the sheets will not be dry when you need them that one time...
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#19 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 12:48 PM
 
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When I was a poor young single mother I lived quite well without a dryer. I hung clothing outside in nice weather. I also hung a bunch of hook and eyes in my ceiling in one room. Through this I strung clothesline. It was near the ceiling so you didn't notice it when not in use. I used my indoor clothes line during the winter or on rainy days.
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#20 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 01:38 PM
 
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We got a dryer a year ago (my daughter was a year and a half at the time) after not having one for many years. You can get used to not having a dryer and in the summer it's not that hard (if it's not rainy) to get clothes dry fairly quickly. In the winter, we were living in a hanging-clothes jungle since we had laundry strung all over the downstairs of our tiny house near our woodstove. After having a kid, it got to be too much to deal with (and we cloth diapered during this period as well). One day my brother-in-law called and said "I found you a free dryer, I'm bringing it over in my truck in 20 minutes." And I wasn't exactly unhappy about this. Now I'm thankful to have a dryer and not have to spend as much time planning when I will hang clothes outdoors and bring them in, how far in advance I should wash a particular shirt/pants so that it will be dry in time for when I need it, etc.

 

But I do think it's do-able to be dryer-free once you get used to it. If it were just my husband me, we would have continued without a dryer - it just got much harder with all the kid laundry and general disorder that comes with having a little one. Maybe you could have a seasonal dryer? Don't use one in the summer and see how it goes. I like the fresh feeling of sheets and some clothes when they have been hung outside on a sunny day.

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#21 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 01:40 PM
 
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It's also very true that in the US we see the dryer as a necessity whereas in many places (even 1st world countries) this is not the case. I lived in France for two years and it was pretty rare for people to have a dryer. Also, re-wearing clothes that aren't really dirty is a must when you don't have a dryer, and a got habit to have anyway.  :)

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#22 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 02:28 PM
 
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We recently gave up our coin-based laundry process to try out hand washing and a few devices to make the process easier like the Wonderwash (sold by the Laundry Alternative).  We have a spin dryer and while it's helpful, it's also NOT necessary.

 

Living primarily in Seoul for a year and a few other locations outside of the US, we learned that many people don't have or want dryers.  I'm happier with the new arrangement.  Saves us a lot of money, and is frankly, about the same amount of time since we: 1) hang dry our clothes using the hangers they'll be on in the closet, and 2) don't have to trek to a laundry mat, or downstairs to our in apartments coin-operated laundry center.

 

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#23 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 03:36 PM
 
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I grew up without a dryer in the Soviet Union. It really sucked.  It is physically exhausting putting clothes on the line and taking it off.  Clothes end up  wrinkled and require ironing.  On the rainy day, the indoor clothes line ads to the humidity and just creates gross muggy air inside.

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#24 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sockmonkeys View Post1) hang dry our clothes using the hangers they'll be on in the closet

 

Yes, we use thick plastic hangars and hang all shirts and pants, if you are careful to pull them straight and arrange them properly on the hangar they dry smooth and unwrinkled.

 

(PS, what a beautiful profile picture, sockmonkeys!)

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#25 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 04:37 PM
 
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We went without a dryer for almost 10 years, until our twins were born, and we still only use it for back-up diaper situations.  I grew up line drying too.  It honestly is a significant amount of work to line dry, but worth it for the environmental and cost savings.  There are times in the spring and fall when we're not using the wood stove and it's rainy and humid when it takes forever for diapers to dry inside, but regular clothes aren't a big deal.  I will sometimes put a fan on the diapers when I have to hang them inside in humid weather.  The fan cuts drying time in half or less, but of course uses some electricity.

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#26 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 05:22 PM
 
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Line drying is not practical in this place.  There are only about 3 months in a year we can do that (rainy all the time) and that's my family's allergy season.  Indoor drying takes about 3 days because of the high humidity.  A dryer is very essential to us.  I do tend to finish the cycle a bit early sometimes and let some stuff air dry indoors.  As long as they dry within 24 hours they don't develop funny smells.


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#27 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 05:56 PM
 
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Not a necessity! We have not gotten rid of our dryer, but if ours broke I do not think we would replace it.  We have been drying our laundry on the line for several years now.  Hanging the clothes outside is one of my husband's favorite "chores".  It does take a little more time overall, but is very therapeutic!  We have retractable line in our basement as well that we use often during the bitter periods of winter or long periods of rainy weather. I will hang my clothes on the line even if I know it will rain shortly thereafter if I have a moment to hang them, knowing they will dry…and will be softer after the rain wash!

Some planning ahead is necessary at times….say, for guests sheets/linens, or travel planning…but, again, not a necessity!

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#28 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 06:02 PM
 
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and did you know the sunlight bleaches tomato staines and those yellow diapers stains from breastmilk poo!  I recommend shaking each piece of clothing prior to hanging with a slight tug to pull out major creases - minimized the wrinkles…and I don't iron except for a wedding or interview : )

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#29 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 07:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Poddi View Post
 

Line drying is not practical in this place.  There are only about 3 months in a year we can do that (rainy all the time) and that's my family's allergy season.  Indoor drying takes about 3 days because of the high humidity.  A dryer is very essential to us.  I do tend to finish the cycle a bit early sometimes and let some stuff air dry indoors.  As long as they dry within 24 hours they don't develop funny smells.

Agree.  I'm also in the Pacific Northwest (your Southwest) and while a dryer isn't a necessity, it is very nice.  We have neighbors off the grid, and they do a great bulk of their laundry at a friend's house in the fall/winter.  They have a family, but my other off-grid neighbor is retired and lives with her partner.  Easy to do small loads dried next to the woodstove.  She takes her bedding to the laundromat in town around 50 minutes away.  

 

And forget about not minding a bit of rain.  Unless it's high summer, even the lightest mist will keep anything outdoors perpetually wet.  Clothes would mildew and rot before they ever dried!  No, the only option in fall and winter and most of spring is to dry indoors.

 

For allergies, it's not just the line drying that is difficult in the dry season due to pollen but it's the sheer amount of laundry.  We don't just wash the sheets, dust mite allergies and drifting pollen require that we wash all the bedding from 3 separate beds no more than every 2 weeks-- 1 week to 10 days is ideal.  Drying even one bed's worth of bedding indoors would be disastrous in the 9 months of wet weather, and drying that much every two weeks is overwhelming.  

 

I wish I could have my crisp, line dried sheets again, but my allergies have worsened over the years.  I miss the lovely smell of crawling in between fresh sheets.  One of my favorite smells in the world.  It was a blow to my dreams of living as gently and simply on the earth as I could to find that my health was affected by not using a dryer, but there it is.

 

So while it's not a necessity by a long shot, it would be a hardship for our family to do without.


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#30 of 45 Old 05-22-2014, 10:46 PM
 
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My mom didn't have a dryer all the time I was growing up. There was lots of space in the basement to hang everything. If our jeans didn't dry in time, she would turn the oven on low and hang them over the edge of the oven door.

 

Here in Kansas, there are lots of days that clothes will dry on a line outside faster than in the dryer. I find what holds me back is the line space. I've never managed to get enough lines up in the back yard to hang a whole load. Then the nylon line disintegrated, so now I'm at square one. Definitely don't have space in the house for more than a small rack.

 

If I could get a good cable clothesline installed in the yard, I'd use the dryer maybe for towels and otherwise maybe every other month or so, on rainy days, etc.

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