Frugal Life

Drying Clothes Without a Dryer: Lessons Learned

A clothes dryer in a major convenience, but not a necessity. Drying clothes without a dryer is certainly possible, and has definite money-saving and environmental benefits. #gogreen #savemoney #frugalliving

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My Dryer Saga

So it’s probably pretty easy to deduce from the title that I’ve gone for a year without a clothes dryer. I’d like to say that it began with some conscious choice to better serve the environment by reducing my energy usage. It wasn’t. My clothes dryer broke last January and we still haven’t gotten it replaced.

It wasn’t for lack of trying, at least partially. We had a repairman come in to take a look at it. Honestly, I don’t know how that company stays in business. He came in, and then we didn’t hear anything from him in over a week. When we got a hold of him again, he replaced a part, to no avail. Again he disappeared for weeks while we tried to follow up to see if anything else could be done.

When we got a hold of him again, he brought another part to see if that would fix the problem. It didn’t. After that he sort of disappeared, and honestly, we didn’t do much after that to chase him.

All of this back and forth, appearing and disappearing spanned a few months (we weren’t the most aggressive in our follow up). At that point, we started looking for new dryers, but they are expensive! We really didn’t want to shell out that much money, especially when we liked our old dryer so much.

For all of you that like neat, tidy endings, I’m afraid this one is going to disappoint. Ten months later and we still don’t have a functioning clothes dryer. And I’ve been drying clothes without a dryer for the entire time.

However, our friends recently needed to replace their washing machine, and apparently the fact that the washer and dryer didn’t match really bothered my friend. So, they got the matching dryer even though theirs was in perfect working order. And they offered their old one to us.

We’re gratefully taking them up on their offer. Now, we just need to borrow my father-in-law’s minivan to transport it and drive a little over an hour each way to pick it up.

Alright, now that I’ve typed this all out, it does sounds a bit ridiculous. But there are a few lessons that I learned from a year of drying clothes without a dryer.

A Dryer is a Bonus, Not a Necessity

A dryer is a total time saver, no doubt about it. During the time my dryer has been broken, my clothes have been spread across my basement for days. In fact, I mostly stopped bothering to fold and put them away and just got what I needed from the basement.

But clothes do air dry so a dryer isn’t really needed. If you live in an apartment without a laundry facility or can’t afford to buy a dryer for your house, you will survive.

Had I known we would have been drying clothes without a dryer for so long, I would have invested in a drying rack or set up a clothesline so the clothes didn’t overtake my basement. If neither of those are options in your space, you can always hang clothes over the shower bar too. Bottom line, you can make it work without a dryer.

I’ve Saved Money Without a Dryer

My husband and I have joked that we’ve probably saved enough money to buy a new dryer with all the money we saved on gas and electricity from not running it!

Of course that’s an exaggeration, but from the research I did, a dryer can use between 25-50 cents per load. Admittedly, that’s not much, but if you do four loads of laundry a week (which my family easily does!) that’s a couple of bucks per week. A couple of bucks a week is about $10 a month. Still not amazing savings, but it does add up over time. And as I’ve said time and time again through this blog, every bit counts!

The lesson here though is that maybe you can have it both ways. If you don’t need your clothes quickly, hang them to dry for awhile and only throw them in the dryer to finish them up and soften them. Any time you cut your dryer usage you’re going to save a few pennies. And it has definite environmental benefits too!

My Clothes are Happier Without a Dryer

A dryer can be brutal on your clothes. Think about it: the spinning and agitating rubs your clothes together and causes friction. That can cause colors to fade, fabric to pull, and shorten the lifespan of your clothes.

For the past several years, I’ve been air drying most of my work clothes to keep them from getting beat up. Now all of my clothes get the super-gentle treatment by skipping the dryer!

Getting the Best of Both Worlds

By no means am I a convert. I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can install the new-to-me dryer, pop in a load, and have dry clothes within an hour.

But there are definite money-saving and environmental benefits to not using a dryer as often. I already mentioned that you can air dry your clothes and throw them in the dryer for a fifteen minutes to fluff them up.

Another way to reduce your dryer usage starts in the washing machine. A fast spin cycle gets more water off the clothes, which means less time needed to dry. If you use a dryer, this will save you money. And whether you air dry or use a dryer, you’ll definitely save time.

If you have a clothes dyer, you can also use wool dryer balls to speed up drying time. Or if you’re a craftier sort, you can find online tutorials to make your own!

Not using the dryer also extends the life of your clothes, which means they need to be mended or replaced less often. With the price of clothes, that’s a definite money saver!

Life Without a Dryer

In conclusion, drying clothes without a dryer is certainly possible. Most of history we’ve done without them. But they’re definitely convenient. While I’m not going to make a lifestyle change of drying clothes without a dryer, I definitely did learn some things through this process. It’s good sometimes to go without conveniences you’ve become accustomed to every now and then. It makes you appreciate what you do have all the more. I certainly won’t take having a dryer for granted for a long, long time!

A clothes dryer in a major convenience, but not a necessity. Drying clothes without a dryer is certainly possible, and has definite money-saving and environmental benefits. #gogreen #savemoney #frugalliving

Do you dry clothes without a dryer? What tips do you have for making it easier? If you have a dryer, would you ever consider doing away with your dryer?


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