Is it bad to dry clothes inside?

If you've got to dry clothes in the house, what's the best way to dry them? We've got advice from experts at the National Aspergillosis Centre...

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In a nutshell

Drying your clothes in a room that’s not well ventilated, either on a radiator or clothes racks, can lead to mould and fungus growing in your home.

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While most of us are immune to the fungus that grows, and it won’t do us any harm, it can become an issue for people with asthma or weak immune systems.

So, if possible, it’s good if you can to dry washing outdoors or in an airy space inside that’s away from bedrooms. Alternatively you could use a tumble dryer.

If you don’t have one or need a new one, have a look at our handy guide to understanding and choosing the best large capacity tumble dryer for families. (We’ve got one for choosing the best family washing machine, too).

Why not dry your washing outside?

As MFM publishes this article, it’s a heatwave in the UK: Edinburgh’s hotter than Marrakech and many parts of the south are sweltering in 30 degrees heat.

But we know the sun won’t stay forever – and while wind’s great for drying clothes, rain really isn’t.

Add that to the fact that not everyone has outdoor space, or that some locals in certain areas don’t approve of washing in public places (yep – there have been disputes about this in Devon recently).

So, what can you do about getting your family’s clothes dried inside?

How to dry clothes inside

In winter, it’s tempting to chuck clothes over every radiator to try and get them dry as quickly as possible. In warmer months you might just pop up a few clothes on drying racks around the house and hope the warmer air will speed things up.

We spoke to Graham Atherton at the National Aspergillosis Centre, in Manchester, who recognised that for some people drying clothes indoors around the house is simply a bit of a must if they’ve no garden and no tumble dryer.

He stressed that a key issue regarding the mould that can grow when we dry clothes inside is with anyone who might have asthma, or weakened immune system.

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If you can, he says, do at least try and hang your washing in areas that aren’t sleeping spaces and open a window nearby.

Graham also points out that drying washing inside isn’t the only way moisture can get into our homes by any means, but also via:

  • us (and our pets) breathing out and sweating moisture
  • cooking
  • showering & bathing
  • keeping pet fish
  • using unvented tumble dryers.

As they’re pretty much all things we need to do, he advises that better ventilation and airflow to remove that water every day and ensuring our walls and furnishings remain mould-free is the best way to stop mould growth and should be the focus of attention for healthier homes in general.

What do our mums do?

We asked our mums on Facebook about their clothes washing habits – and we found that what they did varied.

While some swore by their tumble dryers others thought they were to environmentally unfriendly – or too pricey to run.

Others found even having a tumble dryer, they still had to dry clothes that couldn’t be tumble dried all round the house, so it didn’t solve that problem 100%.

And quite a few said they varied their habits according to the seasons – using a tumble drier in winter and the washing line in summer.

The mums who dry clothes using a mix of every method

“I’m a mum of 6… 4 live with me and the other 2 live with their dad… so loads of washing! I’m doing it every day. When it’s nice and dry I peg it out on the line otherwise it’ll go to an airer.

“In the winter I use my airer [drying rack] everyday with the heating… but bedding, towels, underwear, 2 or 3 loads full and take it down the launderette and it’s all dried in half an hour.” – Rachel P


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“We have a tumble drier. I pretty much only use it for towels in the summer and don’t use in much in the winter either as we use airers.

“The only time I really use it is when I get behind with the drying in the winter.” – Donna K

The mums who swear by tumble driers to dry their clothes

“I use my tumble dryer every day for anything that can go in it, and also some things that can’t!! I really dislike how our clothes, towels and bedding feel if dried on a clothes horse or outside on the line.

“I know I would save money on electric if I didn’t use it so much but if I was struggling to pay the bill I would not use it as often.” – Leoni R

“My eldest is 7 and we’ve only had one for a year. I literally don’t know how we coped before! I absolutely wouldn’t go back to not having one now.

“I use it for every wash and have just the non tumble-able clothes on the line or on the radiators.

“We used to have washing hanging everywhere which was not only messy but made the air damp all the time. It was horrible.” – Angela H

The mums who use lines and airers to dry their clothes

“I don’t have [a tumble drier] – I personally think they are huge waste of energy consumption. Will put the washing on the line if it’s a remotely nice day or it goes in one of our loft rooms with the windows ajar.” – Joanna T

“I have never owned a tumble drier, we are a family of 5. I hang everything outside most days or on wet days I have two indoor airers.” – Claire O.

What do you do?

How do you get your washing dry? Does it differ in winter and summer? Do you use a mix of methods?

Tell us over on Facebook or in the comments below.

Images: Getty Images

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