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Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

How To Dry Clothes Indoors Sustainably

Reduce your reliance on your tumble dryer with these tips on how to dry clothes indoors sustainably. From the equipment you need, to how to avoid bad smells, and how to avoid crispy towels.

Over the years I’ve shared a lot of tips on how to do laundry sustainably. From the best eco-friendly laundry detergents to how to remove stains naturally. And recently I realised I haven’t shared my top tips on how to dry clothes indoors.

With energy bills spiraling higher and higher due to the removal of the energy price cap, it’s never been more important to curb our uses of energy-intensive appliances. The most energy-intensive appliances are ones that generate heat or need to heat up water. These include things like washing machines, dishwashers, kettles, and hairdryers. And to add to this list – tumble dryers.

While I prefer to dry my clothes outdoors, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Instead of turning to your tumble dryer on wet days, then if you are looking to reduce your reliance on tumble driers, do try my top tips on how to dry your clothes indoors for the best results.

How To Dry Clothes Indoors Sustainably

Image of a stylish laundry room with clothes horse and laundry basket and a blue text box that says how to dry clothes indoors sustainably for the best results

From the correct washing technique to the equipment you need, to how to avoid bad smells, and how to avoid crispy towels, here are my top laundry drying techniques.

Start With How You Wash Your Clothes

As a family of four, our laundry basket is often overflowing. It can be incredibly tempting to ram as many clothes into our machine as it can possibly hold. However, I know that this is counterintuitive to having clean laundry and also the drying process.

This is because there is not enough space for your laundry to agitate in the machine. There will also be less water available for the detergent to dissolve in, as the clothes will soak up too much water. This means your clothes don’t come out as clean as you would like, meaning you may have to wash them again.

And what’s more, when your machine is fully packed the spin cycle is not as effective. Your clothes come out damper than they should, taking longer to dry. Particularly when it comes to drying clothes indoors, you really don’t want to start with too wet clothes.

So how much should you fill your washing machine with clothes? Aim to fill three-quarters of the drum. Anything more than that is considered overloading.

Use A Clothes Horse To Dry Clothes Indoors

Once you’ve washed your clothes, you need to consider how you dry them. When drying clothes indoors, it’s tempting to squeeze as many wet items of clothing onto your radiators, to speed up the drying process. However, drying clothes on your radiator is not energy efficient. Hanging wet clothes on your radiator makes your boiler work harder to get your room to your desired temperature. It, therefore, takes longer and uses more energy to heat your home, meaning it costs you more money.

I would always recommend using a clothes horse to dry your clothes indoors. I have a tower clothes horse (this particular one), which takes up a small footprint – about 1 m² – but can hold up to two loads of laundry. You can even dry delicates flat, or adjust the racks for optimally drying trousers or towels.

I was given this one as part of an advertising campaign I took part in some years ago (so was under no obligation to post it here). But it goes without saying that you don’t need to buy a fancy-dan clothes horse. If you already have one then it’s always more sustainable to use what you already have.

Ceiling or Wall Mounted Clothes Airers

Standard clothes horses aren’t your only option. If you lack floor space but have the ceiling height, then one option to try would be a ceiling-mounted clothes airer. Growing up, I knew these as a pulley, but you might know them as a kitchen maid.

I had a pulley in a student flat I once lived in, and loved it. They’re really effective, as hot air rises, so your clothes dry quickly in the warmest part of the room. Ours was situated in our kitchen, so I found it best to do my laundry at night after everyone had their dinner, and then remove my dry clothes the next day. This meant that my clothes didn’t take on any food smells.

Lacking ceiling height? You can also buy wall-mounted drying racks if you lack the ceiling height but have wall space.

Electric Clothes Horses

Meanwhile, some people swear by using an electric clothes horse to dry their clothes indoors. From what I have read, they are very energy efficient, and much cheaper to run than a tumble dryer. I haven’t tried one, so can’t report on their effectiveness. However, I have heard of electric clothes horses that come with tents that you pop over them to help speed up the drying process. I will report back if I ever take the plunge!

Tips for Using a Clothes Horse

stylish laundry room

Whatever type of clothes horse you use, there are key considerations to make to help your laundry dry efficiently, and to keep you and your home healthy.

Open A Window

When drying your clothes indoors, the key thing to remember is ventilation. Damp laundry can contain up to three litres of water, which needs to evaporate. Inadequate ventilation can cause condensation on your walls and windows when you dry your laundry. If this condensation isn’t vented out, then it can cause damp and mould growth in your home. This damp and mould can negatively affect your health, so it is best to be avoided.

An easy way to avoid condensation is to close the door and open up a window in the room in which you are drying your laundry. Allowing fresh air to circulate whilst your laundry dries really helps to reduce moisture levels, meaning the risk of dampness and mould in your home is significantly reduced.

To add to this, I would avoid drying your laundry in your bedroom and the living room if possible. If you can, use your hallway, bathroom, or kitchen to limit potential allergic reactions to dampness, dust, and detergent.

If it’s too cold, wet, or windy to open your window for an extended period of time, then don’t worry. There are other workarounds. If you can dry laundry in your kitchen or bathroom, then running the extractor fan, if you have one, will also help. The extractor fan uses very little electricity so won’t drive up your bills, like a tumble drier would.

Use A Dehumidifer

We live in an old property, which wasn’t designed to cope with the levels of condensation that modern living generates. We, therefore, bought a dehumidifier*, which sucks excess moisture from the air. It doesn’t run all the time, just at times when we are struggling with excess condensation.

What I’ve found is that if you pop your clothes horse in a small room, you can run the dehumidifier and not only does it tackle condensation, but it helps clothes to dry faster too. It’s nowhere near as energy-intensive as the tumble dryer.

Hang Your Clothes Properly

It might sound obvious, but taking care to ensure that you hang your clothes neatly – pulling trousers, sleeves and socks straight – really speeds up the drying process. Adequately spacing your clothes helps too.

How to Avoid Crunchy Towels

Crunchy towels can be an issue when you dry your laundry indoors. If you want to keep your towels soft, then a short 10 to 15-minute cool blast in your tumble dryer when they are almost air dried will prevent any crunchiness, without having to run your tumble dryer for a long period of time.

Another top tip is to reduce the amount of laundry detergent you use when washing your towels. Too much detergent can make towels feel crunchy. Halving the amount of detergent you would normally use in your washing machine helps prevent this problem. As does making your own fabric conditioner, which helps remove any excess detergent from your towels.

How Do I Stop My Clothes Smelling Damp When Drying them Indoors?

Clothes start to smell damp when they take too long to dry. Adequately ventilating the room you are drying your clothes in, by opening a window, can help. Running a dehumidifier* can also help, by removing moisture from your clothes, without the high running costs associated with tumble driers.

My other top tip is to spin your clothes at the maximum spin cycle your washing machine allows. Some washing cycles don’t spin on the maximum spin cycle, so a final spin cycle on the maximum setting removes any excess moisture. This makes it quicker to dry your clothes, meaning they are less likely to smell musty.

Cut Down On The Amount of Laundry You Do

Finally, my very best advice to help you is to simply cut down on the amount of laundry you do. The majority of us do wash our clothes too frequently. Here’s a rough guide as to how often you should wash your clothes, and here are some handy hints to prolong the freshness of your clothes in between washes.

Final Thoughts

Ditching your tumble dryer and drying your clothes indoors on wet days can save you a heap of energy and money. However, it’s important to bear in mind some simple tips to help avoid negatively impacting your health. Maintaining ventilation is key – either by opening a window or by mechanical means. Meanwhile, reducing the amount of laundry you do and how you do it can also help minimise energy usage and potential dampness.

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Where to Buy Citric Acid for Cleaning

Wondering where to buy citric acid for cleaning or for bath bomb-making? Here are my top places for picking up this staple green cleaning supply.

To help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items purchased through those links.

As a naturally occurring acid, found in a variety of fruits and vegetables (although increasingly derived from fungus to help meet increasing demand), citric acid is an environmentally friendly cleaning powerhouse that is used in many natural cleaning applications.

Food-safe, easily biodegradable, vegan-friendly, and a renewable product, there is so much to love about citric acid for cleaning.

As well as being a key ingredient when it comes to making bath bombs, citric acid is also fantastic at descaling limescale. Use it to naturally descale your kettle, dishwasher, washing machine, and iron. It’s also incredibly effective at cleaning your toilet. Citric acid’s powers don’t stop there. When you make a citric acid cleaning spray, then it’s great at tackling soap scum and hard water deposits too. And it has de-greasing, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. In short, citric acid is an eco powerhouse.

However, you might be wondering where to buy citric acid for making these cleaning products? Here are my top places to seek out this wonder ingredient.

Where To Buy Citric Acid for Cleaning & Bath Bomb Making

Image of chopped up lemons on a chopping board, next to a bowl of citric acid, with a blue text box that says where to buy citric acid for cleaning and for bath bomb making.

Citric acid is a common ingredient in home brewing and in Asian cuisine. This means if you have a homebrew shop or an Asian supermarket near you, then you may be able to pick it up locally. If not, then here are my favourite places where you can buy citric acid for cleaning and for bath bomb making online.

My top tip is that if you are in doubt about how often you are going to use citric acid, opt for a smaller amount. You can then work out how quickly you use it, and if it would be more economical for you to buy a bigger pot next time around.

Ethical Superstore

Ethical Superstore sells a 250 g plastic-free box of citric acid for just £2.10*. It is a limited selection. However, I tend to add a box to my basket if I am buying other ethical or sustainable goods. Ethical Superstore also sells other green cleaning ingredients, such as bulk bicarbonate of soda and liquid Castille soap. This makes it a useful place to pick up the cleaning supplies you need.

Buy Citric Acid At &Keep

Like Ethical Superstore, plastic-free retailer &Keep has limited options when it comes to buying citric acid. However, if you are shopping here for other plastic-free and ethical goods, and just need a small amount for general eco-friendly cleaning purposes then I wouldn’t overlook it.

Their citric acid* is plastic-free and unlike the boxes of citric acid that you can buy, this comes in resealable packaging. What’s more, the bag is home compostable once you have used it all up. It comes in a 750 g size, and costs £5.95.

Big Green Smile

Big Green Smile sells a host of green cleaning products, and supplies to make your own cleaning products. As such, citric acid is widely available to buy here*. Find it in 500 g sizes in plastic-free cardboard boxes or paper bags, from just £2.10. And if you need larger quantities, you can buy citric acid in up to 2 kg sizes for less than £25.

Buy Citric Acid on Etsy

Whilst Etsy is the go-to place for items made by crafters, many people forget that it’s also a great place to pick up crafting and cleaning supplies. Indeed, you can pick up citric acid on Etsy*. I’ve found it here in sizes ranging from 100 g to 2 kg. Here prices start from £2.50 up to £16.99 for 2 kg package sizes. Many sellers also offer free postage.

I would say Etsy works out better value for money for buying larger amounts of citric acid for bath bomb making, rather than smaller amounts you might need for general green cleaning.

Amazon

Whilst I try to avoid Amazon on the grounds of tax avoidance, human rights issues, and environmental issues, I understand that not everyone is able to.

If Amazon is the most accessible option for you, then Amazon does sell citric acid*. Here you can find buy citric acid for cleaning in container sizes ranging from 250 grams for small-scale usage, up to a whopping 25 kg, and every size in between. Whilst it would be unlikely you would need anything above 500 g for cleaning purposes, the larger volumes would be suitable perhaps if you are making bath bombs. Especially if you are planning on making bath bombs on a commercial scale.

How To Store Citric Acid

Citric acid has a long lifespan. When stored in a cool, dry place, then unopened it should last for around five years. Once opened, it should last for around three years. If the citric acid you buy comes in a cardboard box, I recommend decanting this into a labelled airtight jar to help prolong its lifespan.

Looking for more information on citric acid, including how to use it and the safety concerns to consider? I’ve written a post on almost everything you need to know about citric acid, that might be useful reading.