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In cold, wet weather we are often forced to dry clothes indoors. Without the luxury of a tumble drier, radiators and airers are the only way to get clothes dry. But this can take a long time and lead to the build up of damp and excess moisture in your home.
If there is nowhere for the moisture to escape (particularly when windows are shut tight in very cold weather) you could see damp building. Do you notice that your windows are running with condensation after you do your washing? A buildup of moisture like this can cause damage to soft furnishing, mould growth on walls and even health problems.
So are dehumidifiers good for drying clothes? That is the question we will answer and help you make sure your home is damp free and those winter washing days become less of a hazard to your health and home.
A dehumidifier simply works by taking moisture from the air. It draws in the air from the room in through a vent and passing it over a set of cooled metal coils. When the air hits the cold metal, the water in the air condenses and forms droplets which fall off into a collection bucket or is drained away.
There are several different types of dehumidifier, which we will cover below, but they can be portable and fixed which means if you often move where your laundry is set out to dry you can move your dehumidifier with it.
A dehumidifier will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes for your washing to dry. The dehumidifier will combat the additional moisture in the air which will prevent any mould or damp building up in your home. This is very important as prolonged use of an airer or clothes horse to dry your wet washing indoors will lead to extra moisture in the air.
But as well as combating the extra moisture, a dehumidifier will also draw wetness from the clothes themselves and help them dry quicker. Some models of dehumidifier also have a “boost” button which makes them work harder and can be really helpful to use just as your wet laundry comes out the machine!
Using a dehumidifier to dry wet laundry is really simple. If you have a portable unit this is even easier as you can move the unit to whichever room your wet laundry is hanging in.
If you have a permanent dehumidifier, it will work the same it just means that you will have to always hang your laundry in the room which has the dehumidifier. This is fine but it may affect your plans if you have to use that room for entertaining etc. As a rule, wet washing shouldn’t be placed in rooms with lots of soft furnishings, even with the help of a dehumidifier, so you should avoid hanging washing in your bedroom if possible.
A great tip to make sure your dehumidifier is working as efficiently as possible and will dry your wet laundry in no time is to sit it in a fairly small room, dehumidifiers are set to work in different areas depending on their capacity. If you have a dehumidifier which works up to 1,300 square feet for example, and you put it in a room which is 600 square feet, then it will be working very efficiently and can draw more moisture out of the wet clothes quicker.
You should also seal off the room you are drying your clothes in. Close doors and windows to prevent your dehumidifier working overtime to pull in air from all over the house. This way, it will just be dehumidifying the air in the room where the washing is actually drying.
In most of the portable dehumidifiers, you will get a water collection bucket. This can hold fairly large amounts of water and usually only need to be emptied once a day in normal operating conditions. However, if you’re using the dehumidifier unit to draw moisture from wet clothes in a room you may find this water collection reservoir fills up quickly.
If you are going to choose a model with a water collection bucket to help dry your clothes, it is worth getting one with a large reservoir. You should also make sure it has an automatic shut off function if the water bucket gets full to prevent leaking and give you peace of mind.
There is another option. You can buy a dehumidifier unit which has a draining hose attached. These units drain the water away continuously – eliminating the need to empty a bucket. The only downside with these systems is they have to be near a drain so you’d have to hang your washing in a room with a drain or sink.
A tumble drier is the main way people would think to dry their clothes. But these can be very expensive to buy and even more expensive to run. Energy consumption for the average drier is very high and you can immediately see a difference in your energy bills. As most people will need to use their drier through the winter, when bills are already high due to using more heating and lighting, the cost can actually be prohibitive.
Another difference between a dehumidifier and a tumble drier is the way the clothes dry. Because the dryer uses heat, clothes can come out feeling stiff and rough to the touch. This is because they have almost been “baked” dry. Using an airer and a dehumidifier means your clothes won’t have this stiffness.
Gavin Wilson has been reviewing humidifier products online and strives to provide the best information on the internet.
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