I’ve just come back from holiday in France, where I read an article in “Avantages” magazine about new drying symbols in clothes which have been designed to encourage us all to be kinder to the environment and line dry our clothes.
While we’re having such an awful summer in the UK, the thought of hanging up clothes to dry on a line outside, racing to bring them in as it starts to rain and then repeating the whole process leaves me wilting at the thought. I have to confess I’m a tumble dryer addict.
There can be no doubt that line drying is kinder to your clothes than a tumble dryer. The more clothes are kept out of the dryer, the longer they’ll last. Line drying, whether it’s inside or outside in the fresh air, is also better for items with printed elements, such as t-shirts. If the elastic in your socks and panties is going, you can safely blame your tumble dryer… I was amazed to discover that fewer than 4% of Italian households own a dryer.
Having looked at the symbols in the magazine article – I realised that although I’m good when it comes to washing, dry cleaning and ironing symbols – I was less sure about natural drying. So I did a bit of research and was surprised to find that the French symbols differ slightly from the standard UK ones – and then of course there are Japanese symbols to try and understand…
From an eco-point of view, if you’re already buying and using eco-friendly washing products, then drying outside rather than using an energy-guzzling dryer, makes total sense.
Clotheslines only need energy when they’re manufactured. Tumble dryers use energy every time they’re used, and depending on the model you have at home, they can cost as little as £24.47 per year (19.29p per cycle or 2.6p per kg) to a whopping £157.77 per year (53p per cycle or 17.77p per kg). Source: http://www.sust-it.net/energy_saving.php?id=41&start=125
And then there’s the matter of safety. Clotheslines don’t tend to spontaneously combust no matter how much you mistreat them. Whereas tumble dryers can cause fires if poorly maintained. They apparently account for 15 deaths a year, 360 injuries a year, and 17,700 structural fires a year! (But the article I got these figures from didn’t state which country these figures related to! http://www.wikihow.com/Dry-Clothes-Outside)
While sunlight is a natural sanitizing agent and is perfect for killing insects, bacteria, and other germs, it’s also a natural bleaching agent. So if you’ve got a delicate fabric you’ll probably need to dry it in the shade, so do read the care instructions very carefully unless you want faded clothes.
Three more reasons to line dry your clothes:
- Your clothes, linens and other fabric items will smell fresh.
- If the sun’s out while your pegging out your clothes in the garden or balcony, you’ll top up your levels of Vitamin D.
- It’s a great form of exercise – a good stretch for the arms and waistline, not to mention walking backward and forwards to the line.