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I Use a Dryer for my Clothes

As you may already know, I am a staff writer at 7 other blogs on a weekly, biweekly, and bimonthly basis.  I staff write for Bargaineering four times a week.  I have found that the readers at all the places I blog are similar to my readers EXCEPT for some at Bargaineering.  I seem to tick them off with my non-frugal ways.  I really try to not mention certain things so I don’t get fired, but sometimes I slip.

My Dryer Slip Up

Case in point, I just wrote a post about Business Clothing on a Budget and had two little, no thought lines in the last paragraph,

…To keep my blouses and slacks unwrinkled, I hung them immediately after the dryer was done with them. For the more fragile fabrics, I hung them when they were still damp in the hall closet to dry.

Did anybody zero in on my fragile fabric line?  Nope.  But a few people did notice that I use a dryer and kindly explained to me that I shouldn’t.  Well, mostly kindly. 

What’s Wrong with a Dryer?

Here’s my question, why attack the dryer?  I understand it uses energy, but so does my refrigerator and nobody has told me to unplug that yet.  How about coffee makers?  I don’t drink coffee, so can I bank those credits to use for the dryer instead?  What about the washer?  If we all washed our clothes by hand, I am assuming we’d save a ton of energy, but nobody seemed to care that I use a washer. So, why is my dryer usage, specifically, annoying people?

This is a real question.  I do not understand.  I will admit that even if somebody explains it to me, I truly doubt I will ever line dry.  BUT, if it’s a good reason, I do promise to stop rolling my eyes.

Why I Don’t Line Dry

And since somebody will ask, here is why I do not line dry:

  • I don’t have room in the garage or house, so that leaves my back yard.
  • The back yard is full of dust and pollen and humidity (I live in Houston, TX).  Even if I wasn’t asthmatic, it seems silly to wash my clothes just to set them outside to get dirty.
  • Naturally dried clothes are stiffer than dryer-dried clothes.  I don’t like scratchy clothes.
  • I do not want to spend time hanging clothes to dry.
  • BIG REASON – The dryer is faster.

There you go.  I use a clothes dryer.  I know a dryer apparently wears out clothes faster, but I am okay with that.  It’s worth it to me and I need to force myself to buy new clothes once a year or so anyway just to keep wearing correct sizes.

Now I just have to avoid bringing up bottled water at Sustainable Personal Finance…  ;-)

Do you use a dryer?  Do you avoid them like the plague?  Why?

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45 comments to I Use a Dryer for my Clothes

  • Wow, I didn’t know it was a mortal sin to use a dryer. I use one for the same reasons you mentioned – high pollen count, dirty air, the thought of my clothes being fried to a crisp in the 100-degree heat. There is a rock quarry about 10 miles past my house, and the thought of hanging my clothes out while all the rock trucks pass just makes me cringe.

    I think some people don’t understand differences in geography, weather, etc. Just like some people don’t understand central air, yet we know we could literally die without it because of where we live.

  • I now feel like I can have PF bloggers over for tea without camouflaging my dryer! I’d rather not hang my freshly laundered clothes out to dry in London’s smog, thank you very much.

    It does use a lot of energy but you can be careful with it (drying full drums of clothes rather than several half drums; drying for just enough time rather than keeping your clothes in there until they’re UBER dry (and shrunken)).

  • We don’t use the dryer, mainly because we rent and it costs .75 per load to dry. However, we live outside the city, so we dry them inside on a dryer rack we bought years ago. We keep it in our study, out of the way. I don’t think the clothes are stiff or uncomfortable. (We do dry towels and sheets though.) Having said that, I don’t have a problem with other people using a dryer. I find it funny that people would call you out on that. :)

  • I absolutely use the dryer. My grandma would line dry in her backyard. Maybe that is where I developed my dislike of crunchy underwear.

  • Oh come on now. That’s just silliness! Unless someone is living in a cabin in the woods without electricity at all and living off the land, I can’t see how it’s their business to call you out for using a dryer. You’re totally right about all the other things they don’t call you out on. I think certain things just get at people’s buttons. For instance, I’ve seen some people get sort of up in arms about the use of a dishwasher, but an energy efficient dishwasher uses ten times LESS water than doing them by hand!

    For me, I do a combination dryer and line drying. I do it mostly to save money, but also to extend the life of my clothes. I would recommend, though, hanging to dry anything with a screen print on it (like, your favourite band shirt from when you were in high school or something?). The dryer will do its worst on those. I don’t have a yard, so I hang them on hangers on the shower rail in the bathtub. Takes up no extra space at all…until I need to shower.

  • I use a dryer, but probably shouldn’t. It’s really not necessary, but it is convenient. I suspect the dryer comments are either honest suggestions, which is legit, or it’s the frugal zealots.

    As for the bottled water, you realize water is virtually free out of the faucet and it doesn’t require environmentally disastrous plastic bottles, right? ;)

  • We line dry to save some money in the summer, but we have no problem using the dryer in the winter. I’m sure those people who were calling you out don’t use their A/C when it’s 90 degrees outside, and I’m sure they don’t drive a car, and I’m sure they don’t leave their computer plugged in, and I’m sure they don’t… Give me a break!

  • According to this website (http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/howmuch.html) about how much electricity stuff uses, it looks like dryers use the most electricity of all household appliances, wattage-wise. It’s pretty similar to the wattage of an A/C system.

    Difference: in the summer I have my A/C on 24 hours a day. I have the dryer on for approximately an hour and a half per week, if that.

    I don’t see much savings going from using the dryer for an hour and a half to using it not at all.

  • Oh also that website estimates you’ll save a little under $200/year switching from using a dryer to using a clothsline. About $17/month, so if you’re *really* serious about cutting costs I guess it makes sense.

  • SherryH

    I hung my clothes out early in my marriage, and was rewarded with faded shirts and socks and underwear that lost their stretch. After that, I used the dryer – until it broke down during one of the worst budget crunches we’ve experienced. Grrr.

    Out of desperation, I started hanging clothes to dry on hangers on the shower-curtain rod. I aim a box fan at them, and they dry in a day or so. A bit of cider vinegar in the fabric softener compartment seems to keep them from getting stiff. It does take time to hang them, but I’m here and don’t mind doing it. (I can only do one load at a time anyway, unless I take over the shower everyone uses, so it’s not like it takes ages.)

    The only time I’ve used a dryer since has been when I had a lot of blankets and comforters to do at once, and I hauled them all to the laundromat.

    It has cut our electric bill a little, so I’ll probably keep doing it even after we get the dryer fixed – but I also wouldn’t pick fault with you for doing something different that works for your household. Especially not in the context of an article about saving on business clothing. Do what works for you.

  • We use a dryer when we have one in unit. Otherwise we hang dry. Racks actually make the process pretty compact and easy. We’ve air dried clothes for two in sub 700sqft apartments before.

  • “Now I just have to avoid bringing up bottled water at Sustainable Personal Finance… ” — Wise move … ;) No bottled water in our house.

    Dryers actually wear clothes out much faster than drying them other ways. I’ve read stories of people who make jeans last a decade by not using a dryer. There are ways to alter your wash to make your clothes less “scratchy”.

    To each their own – we use a dryer too. We’ll likely install a clothes line, but, we live in Canada. For 5 months of the year our clothes would freeze outside. That’s worse than scratchy.

  • One thing I really wish I had was an outdoor clothesline. Up here in Chicago where summers can be humid, too, it’s rarely too humid to line dry clothes. Growing up we line dried our laundry all summer long and even had lines in our basement that were used a bit in the winter.

    I’d have to sink some poles in my backyard in order to have a usable clothes line or two. In the summer I do occasionally ask my friendly neighbors if I can hand stuff on their clotheslines, such as sheets and slip covers. For the most part, though, I hang all of my clothes to dry on lines I have in my (dry, not musty-smelling) basement all year ’round. I will regularly put sheets and towels in the gas dryer, though.

    I have a high-efficiency washer, but the dryer is about 10 years old and not HE. When it needs replacing I’ll get an HE one and will definitely stick with gas. I think gas dryers use less electricity. (Logically it makes sense, I guess.)

  • I’m glad you are not ashamed to use your dryer. I do love my clothesline though. But we use it for towels, sheets and my husband’s white tees(for work) Other than that we use the dryer. I won’t hang my family or my “fragile fabrics” for the world/neighbors to see.

  • We use a dryer as well. If you keep the lint trap and exhaust lines clean, it will work efficiently. There are some things we don’t dry, and have a little drying rack for, but I agree, using a dryer is no different than using a fridge, the AC, or even light bulbs. Do the people that say you shouldn’t use a dryer walk around with candles for light? Probably not, so don’t sweat it!

  • I wouldn’t even consider line drying my clothes. I would have to spend a ton of time ironing if I did, and my time is worth way more than small amount it costs to use the dryer.

  • I use a dryer, except for big things like comforters and the dog’s blanket. That’s because they’re too big to fit in the dryer, and I hate waiting around at laundromats. I actually have considered doing a partial line dry of our clothes to squeeze out some extra savings — since clothes would dry super-quick here in the low humidity — but I’ve never gotten beyond the thought.

  • I would love to line dry my clothes! My mom used a clothesline when I was a kid and I remember the clothes smelling so fresh and warm when they came inside. I loved pinning the clothes up with her and taking them down. I would use a clothesline for sentimental reasons, but that will be sometime in the future when I have kids. For now the dryer it is.

  • JT

    Yeah…uh, we’ll stick to the dryer too, thanks!

    Line drying takes too much time too hang clothes up and to wait for them to dry. Time is money. Time is energy. I’d rather waste the time of something I can replace (a dryer) over my time (I’ll only live for so long!)

  • JT

    Woah, I just went through the comments there. You kept your cool pretty well, and I have to say that sarcastic “so do dryers” comment was pretty funny! Someone even critiqued your writing. Bargaineering is a tough croud.

  • I use my breath to blow my clothes dry. /s

  • Reese Mitchell

    I don’t use a dryer and I’m sure most people don’t need to either. I have 3 blowhard friends who take turns coming over and blowing my clothes dry. I also save money by eating on my clean table and not using plates. I mean my table is clean so why use a plate?

  • I usually use a dryer, but do hang-dry more delicate items or things that dry quickly. I mostly use a dryer because it’s faster, more convenient, doesn’t leave the clothes crusty, and I have less ironing to do when I use the dryer.

  • Interesting comparison with the fridge. The dryer is second only to the fridge in terms of household appliance energy use.

    We use the dryer…3 kids, please. I do hang heavy towels to dry in the summer to save a some juice and it takes little time.

    America is unique with it apparent God given access to cheap energy. Whenever I have overseas visitors they are ALWAYS shocked at our use of the dryer. Apparently we Americans are the only ones on the planet that operate this way?

    This is not so much of an issue in a healthy economy, but in tough times people find ways to save money. There is a movement among residents in managed communities to allow outdoor clothes lines. Homeowner associations don’t like them because they believe it negatively impacts property values. There needs to be another energy crisis before this becomes an issue again. If everyone does it, what does it matter?

  • You have a dryer buddy right here! My mom used to line dry when it was warm out and I remember coming home from school (I was like 7 years old) and being PISSED that my underwear was hanging the back yard for all to see. haha.

    Oh.. and I drink bottled water too!

  • My family used to line dry in the back yard when I was young. These days, we use a dryer because we don’t have a yard. If the circumstance was right, I would line dry again. Jeans are t-shirts are just fine for line dry.

  • I must confess that I now love my dryer…shhh…

    I used to line dry when I lived in the country, but now that I’m in the city, I don’t want to hang out my dirty (I mean clean) laundry. I like your thought that you bank your energy use by not haveing a coffee maker to use on your dryer!

  • Retired and still Budgeting

    Gas dryers are the way to go. We bought a supersized one and can fluff up our comforters in less than 20 minutes. I love it. Dryers do not run continously (we run our 3 times a week with a family of 4 and 2 big old dogs) and save so much time. With the air quality problems we have, the only thing I hang outside for passing birds to target is rugs. I air them out weekly.
    As far as water bottles, they are convenient, but they are filled up with hot air first. If the operators at the bottling plant aren’t careful, they contaminate the bottles before they are filled with the conditioned well water from the city they are bottled in. The plastic they use degrades with heat and they are carted around on hot dusty roads on a super heated tucks, which releases toxins in the universal solvent known as water. We use bottled water on bicycling trips and trips in general, but mostly are using refillable containers now. I was surprised some of the refillable containers touted as stainless steal had aluminum liners which can be oxidized by anything with acid in it, like lemonade, milk, or punch drinks. Nothing like an actual clean glass of water from the refrigerator filtered spiget.
    When you think of it though, do all those who frown on bottled water frown on all bottled drinks? Actually no bottled drink is better for you than water or tea from your own source. There is just not enough inspectors in the world to police everything we eat and drink. Almost all carbonated drinks are acidic, so you are getting a bit more ethylene or propylene than you need with each gulp. My college kid rooms with an anti water bottle freak, who drinks coke? He buys it by the liter, as if that makes it better? Bottled water is so much better than any bottled soda. And plastic is 100% recylable and doesn’t puncture the tires on my bicycle. I happen to know that most bottle water drinkers refill their bottles once or twice, which makes them even more cost efficient and then put the bottles in for recyling. If you want to rationalize further, they are saving time of washing a glass aand the added environmental costs of detergent down the sewer by using bottle water. Humans can always rationalize whatever view they have, so I find it better to allow everyone to do what works for them as long as I do not have to trudge through their trash to get to the street with my bike.

  • Wow! I never see clothes hanging on a line anymore around here. I lined dried for years because we had no dryer. I lined dried cloth diapers in the garage in the winter (or rather I should say freeze dried them!) Talk about stiff clothes, poor baby!

    I do miss drying my sheets outside. They smell so good when dried that way.

  • I use a dryer as well so don’t feel bad. :) Although, there are smart ways of using a dryer and foolish ways, that really do waste energy. If you use the dryer and have a full load, fully utilizing the machine, that’s great. On the flip side, it’s a waste to only stick a few things in the dryer and have it go the full cycle. Something tells me that you use the dryer in a smart way. :)

  • Laundry in my home is either done at 5:00am, or 11pm at night…so line drying is not really possible. Not using a dryer is certainly a great way to save some money, and save wear and tear on your clothes, but I don’t think it’s anything that someone should be criticized for.

  • @Andrea, don’t even mention no a/c, lol.

    @Harri, yep, full loads are the way to go…it even helps with my lazy factor – fewer loads is less work. :-)

    @Melissa, I thought it was funny too.

    @cashflowmantra, lol at “crunchy underwear”!

    @Melissa, good point on the dishwasher. Great use of the shower too. Ours is a little cubicle instead of a regular shower…

    @Brave New Life, oh please don’t get started on water bottles, lol. We buy about 4 cases a year and refill them. It’s our hurricane backup and convenience system.

    @Matt, hahaha.

    @Kellen, for $17 a month, I’ll keep using my dryer 2 times a week.

    @SherryH, I completely feel the same. Whatever works for people.

    @No Debt MBA, cool beans. I like the convenience of my dryer, which could be considered in-unit. :-)

    @SPF, I knew you’d say something about the bottled water. :-) It’s hurricane season and I am keeping my bottled water. :-P

    @Linda, I don’t know if my dryer is HE or not, but it was bought in 2007…

    @Niki, I hadn’t even thought about that – I don’t want people to see how big my underwear are…

    @Money Beagle, no worries here. I was more amused than anything and it did make for a fun post. :-)

    @Everyday Tips, now that every minute of my day is used for something, I see time as way more valuable than before.

    @Jackie, I personally can’t justify the time cost vs the $17 a month average savings now…

    @Tracy, sentimental makes sense to me, but my grandma started using a dryer the minute she could and told me so when I told her about this post. I guess practicality is in my genes. :-)

    @JT, I kept my cool because I thought it was funny. The criticism of my writing pissed me off though…I was very careful with my reply, lol.

    @Shawanda, lol.

    @Reese, huge lol. I could invite a few people over…

    @Jeffrey, yep.

    @Hunter, even if there is an energy crisis, I think I’d stop using a lot of other things before I’d stop using my dryer. That is just too time consuming.

    @Ashley, we may want to keep that bottled water thing to ourselves. ;-) I only buy about 4-5 cases a year for convenience and hurricane season, but I haven’t written about it much since there are way more people who will yell at me for that…it’s like worse than saying I’m not having kids…those two things set people off.

    @retireny40, I have worn line-dried jeans before and beg to disagree…

    @Christa, THANK YOU for being the first one to publicly appreciate my cap and trade coffee-maker reference. :-) I was pretty proud of that line…

    @Retired and Still Budgeting, if we ever have a gas line, I’ll get a gas dryer. But I sort of like my completely electric house. :-)

    @Marie, poor baby is right!

    @World of Finance, I personally wouldn’t pick on anyone for whatever way they want to use their dryer, but yes, I do full loads because I am too lazy to do laundry until I run out of underwear…

    @Travis, I agree.

  • Oh no! Not a dryer!

    We rent and don’t have a yard. Plus the washer and dryer are in a commons area so they don’t affect our electric bill. So perhaps my experience doesn’t count. Last year we used coin op machines and I still used the dryer for all laundry except cloth diapers. It wasn’t economical, but having rope strung across the apartment drying diapers in a one bedroom apartment wasn’t fun. You bet I’m using the dryer now that I don’t have to pump it full of quarters.
    When it comes to business wear, tossing in the dryer for a bit is a more efficient way to get rid of wrinkles than spending an hour ironing.

  • It’s amazing how stuck-up some “ultra frugal” people can get! I hate it when someone wants to judge you because you aren’t willing to go to the same extreme measures as them!

    When I was growing up, we rented the 1st floor of a 2-story house, and my mother used a clothesline to dry our clothes. Between birds, rain, wind (kicking up dust), and kids (me and my friends) playing in the backyard, it was a hassle.

    I have no problem with someone who air dries, and I would actually do it sometimes if I was able, but you aren’t a villain just because you use a dryer!

  • I use a drying rack and hanging to dry my clothes this summer and haven’t turned on the dryer since June. I’ve been happy with the results. I’ve always air dried most of my work clothes — mainly because a lot of them are black and a dryer fades black quickly. This summer, though, I started air drying everything. The primary reason was cost, in early June the heat started spiking to the high 90’s and my AC was running 24/7, dumping more heat into the house seemed foolish. So I started air drying everything.This summer, it has really worked for us. I can put my clothes on racks on the deck and they are dry in about 15 minutes. I’m really happy with it. HOWEVER, come winter, I seriously doubt that I will be air drying everything. Space contstraints, the prospect of frozen towels or sheets just doesnt’t make it an appealing option for the winter.

    However, I find it ridiculous that people criticize others for their choices on things as simple as a clothes dryer. Really? Just because this choice is working for me now, doesn’t mean it will 6 months from now. Just because it works for me this summer, doesn’t mean it will next summer. I just don’t understand why simple choices like air vs. machine drying would be a big deal. Sheesh.

  • Using the dryer less is definitely something I’ve been wanting to do, but I got vetoed by other family members. They too hate stiff and scratchy clothes. I grew up with them, so I don’t mind so much.
    We get a ton of bad weather so our opportunities are limited but I’d still like to do more of it. We are pretty efficient in most other areas and have gotten new windows, doors, insulation, appliances that this seemed to be the only thing left.

    I hate ironing more than any other chore, so if it made me iron more, it’d definitely be worth the cost to me.

  • Of course I use a dryer…my unmentionables would no longer be unmentionables if I didn’t use a dryer!

  • I dry most of my clothes in the dryer. A few delicate items I line dry around the house and put a fan near them… not because its cheaper, but because i need to do that so they don’t get ruined.

    I use the dryer and i’m proud to join the club!

  • Sure, not having a dryer is insurance for the environment but you can do OTHER things that are just as environmentally friendly. It’s not a religion, folks! You don’t need to castigate people for making different choices. Drying in the dryer leads to softer towels. Enough said.

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