Do we really need a dryer? Line dry vs. tumble dry.

We are talking about dirty laundry here. Washer and dryer are necessity here in the US. We don't even think about other options. Our dryer was out of order not long ago, and I started drying clothes the traditional way, line drying or laying flat to dry in the air. We also got a very high electric bill and I suspect it has something to do with the daily use of dryer. It makes me rethink about using dryer for laundry.

line dry vs tumble dry


Many part of the world don't use dryer at all. It is a cultural thing. My parents in Taiwan never use a dryer, even though they are easily available and even cheaper than in the US. They think air dry keeps garments in a better shape longer. Dryer shrinks everything, sets any stain, and reduce the life cycle of garment. Most apartments in Taiwan has a balcony designed to hang your laundry for air drying. 

In the spirit of simplify my life and doing things the natural way, I feel line drying the laundry is a good choice we often forget. It is a habit to just throw everything into dryer and just press start. We modern people wants efficiency and get the most done at the shortest time possible. It takes a different mindset to hang the wet laundry in the cloth line, or lay flat on a wire rack. It is more work, but it can be relaxing and meditative too.

Pros and Cons of Line drying cloth


It will save some electric bills, preserve the life cycle of garment (specially higher end ones and undergarments), less noisy, and eliminate the cost of dryer completely if you choose not to own one. Saves the cost of fabric softener too because there is no place to put softener or dryer sheet. Most softener or dryer sheet is full of chemicals and bad for our health anyway. 


It takes a little longer to dry. The towels and clothes might come out more "crunchy". It takes some effort to hang the laundry than just pushing a button on a machine. You need space to hang all the garments and you rather hide from public views. 

There are solutions to some of the problems:

Many people add a table spoon of vinegar before the last rinse. Or after the washing cycle is done, dial back to last rinse and add the vinegar. It will soften the fabric naturally without the need of softener. 

Since my washer is in basement, I hang my laundry in the basement too. There are multi-level drying racks that you can open up for more space to hang laundry, and can be folded for storage when not in use. If you live in a small apartment, it might be a problem for lack of space. Restroom is usually a logical choice. If the weather is nice, drying outdoor under the sun is the best. Sunlight naturally lightens any stain and makes clothing smell wonderful.

We are so spoiled for the convenience of having washing machine, dryer, dish washer and other technologies. Sometimes I miss the simple act of doing things with my own hands, being self-reliant, and enjoy making a different choice from everyone else, not to mention saving money along the way. 

I am not ready to give up the convenience of a dryer completely yet, but will definitely line dry my laundry more in the future. It feels good to know I will survive happily even if I do not own a dryer. I got rid of our dishwasher long time ago, and it becomes a ritual to do dishes by hand after meals. Line drying laundry should be the same. A little step to reduce carbon footprint and achieve sustainable living.

do we really need a dryer