Thursday, April 1, 2010

Making the Most of your Solar Dryer

When I start talking about the solar dryer, aka clothes line, I hear a few common questions.

1. I have an HOA, they won't let me have a clothes line.
A. From what I hear, HOA's cannot restrict you from putting out a clothes line. I guess global warming politics are good for something.

2. What about fading? Here is what I do, and I have not had an issue with fading yet.

  • Shirts: I have a pole in the laundry room. I hang all the shirts on hangers (even on days I use the electric dryer). When they are dry, all I have to do is hang them in their respective closets. This procedure has seriously cut down on the endless pile of laundry that needs to get put away.
  • I do not hang my pants or undergarments outside. I have an over the door drying rack behind the master bathroom door where I hang the bottoms and a hook in my private bath for the tops. My pants I hang over doors. They don't get quite as stiff as when they are out in the sun.
  • For the rest of the clothes, pjs, kid's and hubby's shorts, pants, and underwear, etc. I turn them inside out. I do this for two reasons. First, to prevent fading. When I take them off I make sure to shake them well and then turn them right side in. There is nothing worse than putting on a pair of pants with a bug inside.

3. The towels get so stiff and rough. Yes they do. Pretend it's a loofah. It matters not if you use the most expensive fabric softener. I use white vinegar as a fabric softener (which is also very good for color retention). If you wish, you can always throw them in the dryer on fluff for a bit to soften them up.

I'm not sure how much money using the solar dryer saves, but it really saves putting away time. Everything gets folded as it comes off the line. As I'm hanging them, I group like items together. Taking them off the line, I put my husband's clothes in first because that is my last stop when putting away. Then, I put in the kids clothes by child. On top, I put the towels. That way they don't get all smushed in the bottom of the basket. It maybe takes 10 extra minutes to hang them on the line as opposed to throwing them in the dryer. I have to hang mine out around 9 or 10. My line is on the east side of the house, so if I wait too late the sun moves and the clothes take longer to dry. That also gives me time to get them in before the Florida afternoon storms. If I put them out too early, it is still dewy. Depending how warm it is, the clothes will dry within 2 to 3 hours.


Anonymous said...

1. It depends on the state. In Florida we have right to dry laws, but TN does not.
2. Fading really isn't a problem for us either. It typically only takes an 30 minutes to an hour to dry clothese in direct sun, so if you time it right you should not have to worry about fading.

3. A trick for towels is dry in the dryer for a 10 minutes before you put out on the line, or before they dry all the way on the line. I don't do this because I like a crunchy towel. I feel it absorbs water better crunchy.

Our solar dryer saves at least $75 a month. We calculate it each month, it is a bit easy for us to do because we don't have traditional hot water, so we can see the cost difference in the bill.

Cristy said...

We had a solar dryer when we first moved in. I made hubby take it down because of where it was located. It is, however, on his to do list to put it back up somewhere else. We'll see how that goes.

Kelly S. said...

What a great idea. We can't do a line here but the way you put them about the house sounds like a good plan. I'll have to put in a pole in the laundry room and give it a shot. Good idea, thanks.