I've been trying to cut back on my use of the clothes dryer. Clothes dryers not only use a lot of energy—the second highest energy consuming appliance after the refrigerator!—they’re also rough on fabrics. As an apartment dweller I don’t have the option of a clothesline (drats!) but I have found that I can cut some of my dryer use by ironing clothes straight out of the washing machine.
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner to iron my dress shirts straight out of the washing machine. I mean, I am basically cutting out the middle man here since ironing the shirt also dries it. And I’m all about cutting out the middleman.
I used to dry my shirts in the dryer, hang them, and then iron one when I needed it. Now I take the shirts directly from the washer and iron them while they’re wet. The ironing is actually easier – all the wrinkles press out quickly and easily so the shirt is nice and crisp – and the heat from the iron dries it. Of course, the shirt doesn’t get completely dry. The collar and cuffs remain a little damp so I usually hang the shirts from the shower rod, spread out a bit so they can finish air drying, before I put them in the closet. Best of all, when I want to wear a shirt, it’s already pressed and ready to go.
This approach to drying clothes would also work well on other garments – skirts, trousers, and so on. Of course, there are still all those other things I’ll need to throw in the dryer. I refuse to iron my undergarments and it would be just plain weird to iron towels. Maybe some day I'll have a yard with a clothesline but until then by at least ironing a portion of my clothes I’m keeping a few loads out of the dryer.
Image: Jason Loper