Five ways to prevent mould when drying washing indoors

Top tips for drying your laundry indoors

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The cost of living crisis is forcing several UK households to cut back on the use of gas and electricity, meaning drying clothes is becoming harder than ever. With many avoiding using the tumble dryer as well as turning the heating down or off completely, drying laundry can seem like an impossible task. Chris Michael, Managing Director of Meaco, the UK’s leading air purification specialist, has shared advice on preventing damp while switching off the heating and drying washing indoors.

The expert said: “When it comes to drying washing, it’s natural that people will hang wet washing on clothes racks to dry indoors instead of using tumble dryers, which are one of the most energy-intensive devices in the home.

“This will be fine at first, but over the coming weeks the wet washing will take longer and longer to dry as we start to close our windows to keep precious heat in and the moisture content in the air increases from the clothes that we have been drying over time.

“This build-up of moisture will mean that a load of washing that might have taken a few hours to dry in September will take a couple of days in October, and up to four or five days in November and December.

“This is not only frustrating, but it is also introducing a hidden menace to the home: damp. Extra moisture in the air is not visible but it will be there – the damp from the clothes must go somewhere – and in time, problems such as mould growth, condensation and musty smells will become apparent, causing damage to wallpaper, carpets, furniture and windowsills.”

If there is damp and mould present in the home, it can also contribute towards respiratory problems such as asthma. The expert said it can affect the immune system, especially for the young and old.

Many people this winter will never have experienced damp before or to this extent, due to never having to switch off heating before now.

The expert continued: “An extra blow will come in December/January when the extra moisture content in the air will make the home harder and more expensive to heat when the heating does go on, an ironic and unwelcome twist.

“The good news is that there are low cost ways to efficiently dry wet washing indoors and prevent damp and condensation in the home. Here are our five tips.”

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1. Reduce moisture vapour

According to Chris, many everyday tasks create moisture, often without anybody noticing. This includes the steam from boiling vegetables or pasta.

The expert said: “By putting lids on saucepans when boiling or steaming vegetables and using an extractor fan briefly or opening a window when using the bath or shower, homeowners can reduce moisture vapour in the air.”

2. Making air drying indoors efficient

Chris said: “Drying clothes inside is gentler on fabrics than tossing and tumbling in a dryer and prevents static cling.  Before you take them out of the washing machine use a rinse cycle to keep the amount of water left in the clothes to a minimum. 

“Place a drying rack away from walls to prevent the moisture from being trapped. Hang items individually and with as much space in between them as possible so they will dry more quickly. Open windows to enable airflow.”

3. Warm up your house without central heating

This can be done by making the most of any natural sunlight which will warm houses up and dry out any damp air.

This involves opening curtains and blinds to prevent moisture being trapped around the windows. Chris added: “Using rugs and mats on wooden and stone floors can make rooms feel warmer too.”

4. Simple changes inside and outside the home

Encouraging air flow is vital to reduce the risk of damp and mould appearing in the home. The expert said this includes opening doors of built-in wardrobes that sit on outside walls and trying to keep furniture, clothes and shoes from touching outside walls.

He added: “Keeping gutters clear also decreases the amount of water that may spill down external walls, which could contribute to moisture in the home.”

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5. Consider investing in an energy efficient dehumidifier 

The expert explained: “While all the above can help dry clothes indoors, the only way to fully remove moisture without opening windows and turning the heating right up is to use a dehumidifier, and there are ways to manage this extra cost too.

“Dehumidifiers reduce the level of humidity by sucking in air from the room, removing the moisture, and then blowing the warm, dry air back out into the room again. This can help to remove the ‘damp chill’ factor in the air, so the central heating could run at a lower temperature or even be switched off.

“Dehumidifiers are effective at drying washing indoors and use considerably less electricity than tumble dryers. They can cost as little as 8p per hour to run. Look for dehumidifiers that have a dedicated laundry mode where the machine runs up to six hours before switching itself off to save energy.

“For further energy savings, look for models which use a humidistat, which means the dehumidifier switches itself off when the target humidity is reached, only switching on again if it detects an increase in humidity.”

These nifty devices help to dry your laundry and prevent condensation from forming on the windows and mould from growing on the walls, clothes and furniture.

When purchasing one, Britons can look for one with a HEPA filter, which will help to purify the air too.

Chris noted: “Investing in an energy efficient dehumidifier over other similar products on the market can save homeowners up to nearly £150 cheaper a year to run.

“By taking these tips on board, homeowners can adapt during the cost-of-living crisis to effectively dry washing indoors whilst keeping health and home protected from damp.”

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