Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Air Drying versus your Dryer...

Saturday as I was sitting at the car repair shop having the window in my car looked at (it came out of the track), I was thinking about this whole 6-month challenge and the wheels in the brain were turning so fast there had to be smoke coming out of my ears.

I began wondering how frugal I truly was and how I could show readers to be frugal and what could I do, on a personal level, to be more frugal myself. Needless to say the brain cells where scattering everywhere trying to find what possible goodies I may have stored in my skull somewhere that I could just razzle dazzle you with. The poor little dears.

I got up to get a cup of coffee fearing the long dreaded wait when I noticed a magazine sitting on the table. I honestly, can't tell you the name of the magazine but I think it was a Woman's Day from moons ago. I started flipping through the magazine and ran across an article that prompted this post. The article talked about how destructive conventional clothes dryers are on your clothes. Doesn't matter whether it is gas or electric, dryers are bad. This wasn't just a one column article folks. This was almost 3.5 pages long. Needless to say I settled down and started reading and I was stunned.

I learned about how dryers destroy socks, undies, bras, shorts, wastebands, etc.. I learned where all the little fuzz balls come from when you do a simple little load of t-shirts. I mean how many fuzz balls can there possibly be in a load of t-shirts. It's not like you are drying a load of towels or socks or a bath mat. Geez. Those fuzz balls, my dearies, are the fibers of the t-shirts being broken down by the heat. OMG!!!

Of course the article raved about the benefits of air drying from making your clothes last 10 times longer to reduced energy or gas usage, etc. Now my dryer is gas and with the recent announcement about the cost of natural gas going up 30% across the U.S., you can believe I am all about this one.

Saturday I decided to start a test of air drying our clothes. It's now Tuesday and I am sold on air-drying.

I checked on line for clothes dryer setups for inside the house. There are several sites out there, but to get a good inside clothes rack to air dry your clothes, it will set you back anywhere from $40 to $70. Remember, I'm on the frugal challenge for six months so that last thing I wanted to do was fork out extra cash right out of the chute. And, I don't want one more thing in my house that I have to break down or fold and try to find a place to put it away.

I started walking around my house trying to figure out where I would air dry our clothes and I ran across the best idea. My house is over 100 years old and I guess whenever they decided to have central air/heat added to the house they only had one size vent to use, regardless of the room. Well, my bathroom has the same size vents in it that my bedroom and living room have in them. Clothes the door to the bathroom and you have your very own little sauna. I decided to start hanging the clothes to air dry in the bathroom with the door closed. It works perfect.

I have been hanging the clothes on plastic hangers on the shower curtain rod. Here's a few pointers I have learned...

1) Your shower curtain rod is only so strong so don't overload it. No.....I didn't break mine, but I wanted to make sure and put this one out there so you don't go crashing your shower curtain rod down on your head.

2) Make certain you have good space between each of your hangers to allow for air circulation.

3) When hanging jeans, you will want to turn them on the hanger every couple of hours so that both sides dry. Also, pull the pockets out to help them dry faster too.

4) Once your clothes have finished the spin cycle, run the spin cycle again. You'd be amazed at how much more water comes out of the 2nd cycle and this helps the clothes dry that much faster.

Now, I have to be honest and tell you that I have been putting each load in the dryer on low dry for 5 minutes to fluff the clothes. This was suggested in the article. I have been using the same dryer sheet for all four days and it still has much life in it. I am doing this strictly for the fluffing and the added fabric softener. It makes a difference. The first load I tried was 6 sweaters. Without putting them in the dryer or using the fabric softener sheets they were a bit stuff. The second set of sweaters I put on 5 minutes on low setting with the fabric softener sheet then hung them up and it made a world of difference.

I do a load each night and they are dry by morning. Needless to say I am excited as all get out about this one. The benefits to me by air drying instead of using the dryer for a complete cycle:

1) Reduced gas bill

2) Extended life span of clothes

3) Extra long use of dryer sheets (remember the 40 boxes of Snuggle I got for free at Wal-Mart). Originally those 40 boxes (40 per box cut in half) were going to last me about 10 years based on 6 loads a week. Now, using (1) fabric softener sheet for a whole week, those 40 boxes will last me thirty years. I'll probably never have to buy fabric softener sheets again.

4) Extended life of dryer

5) Reduced lint which means extended life time of dryer venting hose

I see nothing but pluses all the way around. Now I know that some of your are saying I have kids and this is crazy, but let me ask you this. If you did 2 loads of clothes a night and have two bathrooms, by the time you get up in the morning your clothes are done. Or if not, they will be by the next day. Fold the clothes and put them away and then do two more. In order for me to do this efficiently, I will need to do a load of clothes a night. No big deal. I drop the clothes in the wash after the hubby has had his shower and then when he is done I hang the clothes up to dry. So far, with the exception of the jeans, they have been dry by morning. The jeans are what caused me to start running the spin cycle twice. Makes a huge difference.

Have a good one and consider implementing air drying in your lifestyle. There are numerous benefits to air drying versus using your dryer. Yes, it's a change, but it's better for your clothes and your finances.

That's my frugal event for this week. Needless to say I will be putting up a clothesline for this spring, summer and fall.

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