If you routinely pull your clean laundry from the washing machine and toss it right in the dryer, it may be time to break the habit. There are ample reasons for letting nature take its course and air-drying your garments and linens, and enjoying as a bonus that fresh scent and feel you can only get from the great outdoors. Consider air-drying clothes if you want:
• To save money and energy. Air-drying will greatly reduce utility costs; after your central heating and air conditioning system, your electric dryer is perhaps the biggest energy sucker in your home, representing, on average, around six percent of your home’s energy consumption each year.
• Your clothes to fit properly. Ever put a favorite pair of perfectly fitting jeans into the dryer only to pull out something about a size too small to zip? The appliance is notorious for shrinking fabrics, particularly absorbent ones, such as cotton, wool, rayon, and linen. As high heat and tumbling action suck away moisture, fabric fibers pull together tightly and curl up in response, resulting in clothes that no longer fit.
• To lessen wardrobe wear-and-tear. Air-drying is much easier on your clothes. The combo of heat and tumbling wears away at the strength of fabric fibers, causing tiny bits to break away–that’s what creates the fuzzy stuff in your dryer’s lint trap. Natural fibers, particularly cotton and wool, are more prone to shedding lint than synthetic fabrics, but both are damaged during the drying process, which eventually shows up in the form of thinned-out towels and worn edges along your clothing.
If you’re ready to give air-drying a try, first check local ordinances (neighborhoods with homeowner associations may forbid the practice). Then follow these dos and don’ts for great results.
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