Wednesday, November 3, 2010

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A Laundry Revolution

"I just might need a new dryer. The older low end dryer we currently have is not drying our clothes! Literally, I have to run the dryer for 120 minutes to get our clothes dry. Even then, we may find a few damp items."  I recently found myself telling my husband this as I was browsing at the beautiful front loading HE dryers online. It was true though, I would have to run our dryer for a very long time before our clothes/diapers or anything was dry. It was causing our electric bill to rise and I'm sure it was not good on the dryer to be running that much either. $600...$644....Oh Oh! $475! I have to say, I was kind of excited to be shopping for a new dryer.

That was until I got a little smart. You see, I rarely use my dryer to dry my cloth diapers. I use a $9.99 wooden drying rack I found at the store so that I can sun them. Well after unloading another load of dry...but not really dry clothes...the rack caught my eye. I began to think...maybe I can kick it "old school" and begin drying our clothes on the racks and then tossing them in the dryer for a few minutes at the end to get the stiffness out. It should work until we get a new dryer- so I went out and bought a few more racks to have enough for a few loads of laundry and my diaper stash come wash day.

I have to say, while I was hanging my first load of laundry on the racks...I got a little excited about the money we were going to save in electric and the fact that we were simply not using electric to dry them. Even my two and three year old girls wanted to help me hang some clothes and it turned out to be kind of fun. We let our first load sit out overnight to dry and by the time we woke the next morning- they were dry and ready to "fluff" in the dryer. Ten minutes in the dryer, and I had clean, fresh smelling and dry laundry.  Just a few days of this routine and instead of getting tired of it, I was liking it more and more. If my diapers were out sunning, I'd throw a rack of clothes out there with them and got even faster results. By the time the week came to an end and it was time to go shop for a dryer, I told my husband I didn't want one. I know, I'm crazy. I have friends who are just waiting for something to happen to their washer or dryer so they can get new ones. But I love using my racks so much, that there is no need to go and spend hundreds on a new dryer when my $10 racks were doing a great job. The dryer was getting everything warm and fluffy during the ten minute sessions, and we were saving money and electric.

I can't help but owe it all to my cloth diapers!  Our house has literally gone through a laundry revolution. From hang drying to detergent- everything is different from how we use to do things and it all started with choosing how I was going to wash and dry my cloth diapers. I received an "its not the 18th century anymore" comment from a loved one who saw my racks of clothes and diapers- and I had to laugh, because I wouldn't change how we do our laundry around here- even when I had the chance. :)

By Shay P.

18 comments:

Yara said...

That's awesome! I have a foldable drying rack I use mainly for my diapers (and microfiber cleaning towels) but maybe I will try it for clothes.

Heather B said...

You may just need to replace your heating element. My dryer is over 30 years old! We've replaced the heating element twice for less than $50.00 in parts and my step-dad for labor. Something to consider instead of a new dryer. Kudos to you for line drying though. I may have to do the same if it saves me money. Keep us posted if you notice a drop in your electric bill!

Linda said...

We had the same problem of our dryer getting hot, but taking forever to dry our clothes. Turned out the vent from the dryer to the outside of our house needed to be cleaned. We had it cleaned and then the dryer worked like new! Lint build up is a fire hazard, so I just wanted to share that, in case other people run into the same problem. We were cleaning the lint trap after every load, but the build up was in the vent.

That being said, those drying racks definitely are handy. I use one to dry our diapers.

Janine said...

We're starting to hang some laundry too, despite the lack of space in our apartment. Our dryer recently ruined a ton of our clothes by getting lint all over them - the worst! Viva la Laundry Revolution!

Talia said...

Our dryer broke completely and was down for 8weeks. Repairman replaced the busted part and told us the vent to the outside was getting clogged, which was why our dryer was taking 2 hours to "sort of dry" a load. We used our electric lead blower to blow out the lint and now the drye takes under an hour. However, I still dry tons of stuff on the racks!

Crystal said...

Where did you get the racks at $10? I could really use something like this for my laundry!

Alyhs said...

I've always wanted to air dry my clothes or even sun them but here in Wy it's like 3-4 months of nice warm weather and the rest wind, snow, and rain. If I let our clothes air dry in my house it would take literally 2 days I think because it's so cold in my house most of the time as we try to run the heat during certain times. But more power to you :] I do air dry my dipes and that takes all day during the winter and 2 hours in the summer.

Becky said...

Love the concept but not practical in my house. We live where it is getting cold. It was 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) this morning. Things do not dry overnight. We keep the heat down as much as we can to save on energy usage. During the summer I hang as much as I can outside but we do not have a clothesline so space is limited. Enjoy though!

Simply Live said...

This is a great idea! When I was in college I used to hang-dry all of my clothes because the dryers would shrink my clothes too much. Plus by hang-drying I saved $1.50 per load.

Ang-n-Jas said...

Yay! I love how one "back to basics" change can trigger a chain reaction.

Jamie said...

I have the same problem...my laundry gets SO backed up b/c I have to run one load ALL day just to get it dry and it uses so much electricity. And we're not allowed to have a clothes line(not that there is room for one on our back porch). But we don't pay for electricity YET and keep getting calls from housing getting on to us b/c they won't fix THEIR stuff LOL
I can't wait to go back to the main land so I can find some of those racks to dry my clothes with! I've been looking for the past couple yrs out here and can't find one like that

I love kickin it old school!

Kelly said...

That's great for you Shay! I wish I could organize myself enough to use a hang dryer but I always seem to leave laundry to long and end up doing 4-5 loads in a day. Maybe when my dryer starts to go, I will get more organized knowing it can be done :)

Anonymous said...

I worked for a washer/dryer leasing company for several years and used to troubleshoot this problem on the phone with customers pretty regularly. If your dryer is getting hot, but not drying, it's restricted air flow - try pulling your dryer away from the wall so the accordion hose is straighter or clean the exhaust line. You can get a cleaning tool at the home improvement store (and I think FlyLady sells one, too).

Brassy said...

For anyone whose dryer is taking excessive time to dry, you might need to ask yourself how long it's been since the DRYER VENT (not just your home's air ducts!) was cleaned. The lint trap in your dryer only collects 40-60% and everything else is blown out (mine exits onto my front porch, oddly enough). Over time, you get lint and other debris clogging up the dryer vent and it can make the dryer take longer to dryer AND it can be a fire hazard.

The folks that are doing our air ducts this winter also do dryer vents for an extra $58, so that should give you an idea of price range for the service. May seem expensive, but it's cheaper than a new dryer and it might save you TONS on your electric bill!

Maia G said...

I soooo need to invest in one of those drying racks. We don't have a dryer, and my house looks like a jungle after I do laundry, with clothes hanging on every door way and and anything else we can find!

Hannah said...

I have a small clothesline but I need to get a drying rack for indoors in colder weather, or for larger loads that don't fit on my clothesline.

I would like to know approximately how much is saved each time I pass on using my dryer on my diapers. A quarter? More or less? It would help me decide whether on busy days I should invest a few minutes on hanging the diapers on the line, or another small cost-saving habit, like lining up a carpool for an upcoming event.

Maria D. @ DownrightDomesticity said...

I've been using a drying rack almost exclusively for two years. Since I live in an apartment, there is no way I'm going to spend $1.25 to dry every load of clothes! It takes a little planning ahead (I pretty much have to do a load every day to allow for drying time), but it's a great way to save a wad of cash!

maebystyle said...

when we fill up our rack we move on to the pack n play, then chairs, my daughter's crib (she hasn't slept in it yet, so it's nice to have a use for it), and other random places.