Tumble dryers are one of the least environmentally friendly appliances in the home, but sometimes they’re simply unavoidable – especially in British weather. Here we offer you some tips to make the necessary evil more sustainable:
Dry a full load, but don’t overfill it
It’s all about striking a balance, because if you overload the dryer, it means that you’ll use more energy drying the clothes for longer, which not only costs more, but could damage your clothes in the process too. However, if you underload the dryer, you’re using a full load’s amount of energy for less clothing – thus wasting it.
Sort your garments by material
Expanding on our previous point, remember that not everything will need to be dried for the same amount of time. A big heavy towel or pair of denim jeans will take far longer to dry than a thin polycotton blouse, so you’ll risk over-drying the blouse if you don’t separate them.
Separating your load into similar fabrics ensures that all of your garments will be dry at the same time, rather than using more energy just to finish drying a few bits. If you have some odd items that won’t fill a whole load, put them in an airing cupboard, radiator or rail to dry instead.
Always untangle garments first
All of your items are likely to bundle together in the washing machine so before popping everything in the dryer, make sure you untangle and separate them first. This ensures that everything will dry quicker and evenly, meaning lower energy consumption. When they’re dry, take them straight out and fold them neatly or hang them up to prevent any creasing, and lessen the ironing load.
Put a spin-cycle on
After your clothes have been washed, put them on a spin cycle to get rid of any extra moisture. This quick tip is more energy-efficient than sticking everything in the dryer for longer.
Use Dryer Eggs
One of our all-time favourite products is the ecoegg Dyer Egg. This innovative egg is proven to reduce drying time by up to 28%, a massive energy and bill saver. All you have to do is pop it in the drum and their nodules will work their eco-friendly magic. They work by separating your washing to allow more air to circulate and dry everything quicker. Because they’re made from an eco-friendly plastic that absorbs and radiates heat from both the tumble dryer and the eggs tumbling about, your dryer has less work to do.
Using a dryer egg eliminates the need for fabric softener because they soften and de-crease your clothes naturally, meaning less plastic and less money spent on chemicals. On that note, the dryer eggs are hypoallergenic as they’re only lightly scented (Fresh Linen or Spring Blossom), or completely fragrance free if you have sensitive skin. Having won the Allergy Friendly Product Award consecutively since 2011, you can ensure your skin will be taken care of. They’re the perfect eco-friendly substitute to tumble dryer sheets.
Don’t stop the cycle to add more wet garments
You may think it won’t make much difference to pop a couple more items in the dryer midway through the cycle, but it makes a big energy difference! The new water will be distributed and sucked up by the dry clothes, so they’ll all need to be dried again – for longer. It’s energy-efficient to save those wet items for the next load instead.
Dry one load after the other
If you have more than one load to dry, do it straight away while the dryer is still warm as it will take less time to dry. It may only be a couple of minutes, but every second counts in sustainability.
Prevent smaller items from becoming trapped
Take a few seconds to fasten the bottom of your duvet cover to prevent socks and small items from getting stuck inside. This will ensure every little item is dry, and you won’t forget about them.
Don’t forget to clean your dryer
One of the most important tips! If you want to ensure your clothes are clean and properly dry, you’ll need to ensure your machine is in top condition. After each use (or at least once a month) clean away the lint and any dirt inside of the drum, filter and vent. If you don’t, the lint will clog the filter and restrict the air flow, meaning it’ll take more time and energy to dry your clothes.
Ditch the tumble dryer sheets
Most tumble dryer sheets are made from non-woven polyester and contain chemicals and synthetic fragrances. They’re designed to soften clothes, reduce static cling and add fragrance but they can decrease the efficiency of your dryer. They leave residue on your clothing to make it softer, some of which remains in the dryer, causing the filter to clog up. This prevents good circulation and makes it harder for the dryer to do its job. Use dryer balls instead.
Although air-drying clothes is the most energy-efficient method, we understand that it’s not always doable. When it’s not feasible to reduce your tumble dryer usage, use our 10 top tips to help make your home more eco-friendly, while reducing your energy bills.