We have such lovely weather in South Africa most of the year, with lots of sunshine on most days. It really makes the most sense to air dry our clothes on a line outside. I always air dry our laundry and avoid the tumble dryer unless it’s an absolute ‘emergency’. And by ‘emergency’ I mean: it’s been raining every single day for a whole week and the clothes simply refuse to dry.


We had such an ‘emergency’ last month. Not only did it rain pretty much every day for about 2 weeks but if you’ve read my post When Murphy comes knocking on your door, you’ll know that the motor on our washing machine died on us last month as well and we were without a washing machine for over 2 weeks. As Murphy would have it, these 2 weeks coincided with the 2 weeks of rain! Because I had no washing machine at home, I had to use the laundromat and this in turn meant that I had a huge, huge heap of clothes to dry over each of the 2 weekends and I had no choice but to use the tumble dryer to make sure everything dried.


As a result of this whole debacle, our electricity bill increased by about R350.00 this month! So even though we didn’t have to pay for a motor replacement to our washing machine (this was covered by manufacturer warranty), we nonetheless had additional expenses – not only in electricity charges but for the use of laundromat services as well (we only washed each load, and with our own washing powder too, which makes it cheaper per load). So, all in all, advice to self from now on – do not tumble dry the clothes, even if it’s an ‘emergency’.


On that note, here are a few small reminders of why air drying laundry is good for our budget and our clothes.


Save on electricity costs

This goes without saying: air drying your clothes will definitely help keep your electricity bill in check. Sunshine is free! Taking your laundry out, hanging it up, then folding it again and bringing it back in will take a bit of time, yes, but at least your electricity bill won’t be very high at the end of the month. Our tumble dryer, for example, uses 2700 watts of electricity and it takes about 2 hours to dry a load of washing, costing us R9.00 per load.


Gentle on the environment

A tumble dryer can use up to 5700 watts of electricity, depending on the model and make, which is not only heavy on your pocket, but this much energy consumed would emit up to 3705 gr. of CO2 into the atmosphere per hour. That’s a lot of CO2 just to dry your clothes. If you regularly air dry your laundry and avoid using the tumble dryer, think about how much CO2 you will not be releasing into the atmosphere.


Sunshine is good for your clothes

UV rays may not be good for our skin but they’re certainly really good for our clothes! They kill bacteria and dust mites thus disinfecting our clothes without any additional chemicals. Sunshine also bleaches clothes naturally, lightens even the most stubborn of stains and takes away the damp from your clothes completely. I’ve also heard that air drying your clothes inside out, especially jeans, means that colours won’t fade as quickly.



This is the one thing I really don’t like about using the tumble dryer – the static that hits me as soon as I open the tumble dryer door and start pulling my laundry out! There shouldn’t be any static on clothes that have been air dried for you to deal with.


More absorbent towels

Air dried towels seem to be more absorbent than towels that have come out of the tumble dryer, even if they are a bit stiff when you take them off the line. Ironing towels, however, will get rid of some of that stiffness for you and will not reduce absorbency. Air dried towels also seem to dry quicker after each use and can therefore be used for longer before being washed again.



While it is true that air drying your clothes on the line will inevitably leave them creased and almost everything will need to be ironed, you can minimise creasing by shaking your clothes once or twice before hanging them up and doing so neatly – this really helps!


Do you prefer to air dry or tumble dry your laundry?


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