Saturday, February 7, 2015

Drying Wars

How great does it feel to pull hot clean clothes out of your dryer and smother yourself with a few as you fold the rest into piles? Or to wrap yourself in a hot blanket or warm towel from the dryer on a chilly day?

I never thought there would be a day that I'd pine and yearn and grieve for my dryer back home. That day has come. Moving to Germany, I was unaware that having a clothes dryer is pretty uncommon, especially in apartments. Heck, even in a lot of homes. Allow me to introduce the ever popular drying rack!

The drying rack- expanded in front of the radiator, excitedly waiting for clothing. Ha!

If you're lucky and it's warm and breezy or sunny out, you stick your drying rack out on the patio. You better secure those neon pink leopard print panties tightly else the breeze will blow them right off the rack and down into the bushes below your patio...not that I have firsthand experience with this situation. ;)

In the summer, clothes would be mostly dry in a day if they were outside on the rack and the sun was hitting them. Of course, towels, sheets, jeans and other thick items take the longest.  I have discovered there is an art to drying those items as fast as possible. It's kinda like flipping a steak to make sure both sides are equally cooked and seared.

Winter time is another story. Your clothes obviously cannot hang wet outside, as they'd freeze and get crispy and stay wet. I mean, unless you like that sort of thing. Drying racks go in front of the heat units, which for most places are radiators in each room. The clothes take about a day or a day and half to dry with the heat running.

 Drying rack loaded up with clean wet clothes!

A rare sunny day! Helps the clothes dry much faster with the sun coming through the windows and the heat from the radiator right next to them.

Let's be honest. If you're used to having a dryer, this concept is a bit hard to get used to. I agree that it can be more environmentally friendly for sure, less energy consumption, no dryer sheets, etc. 

Line/rack drying is more work. It's not hard work, it just obviously takes more time and effort than shoving your wet clothes into a dryer and turning it on. You have to arrange the clothes the best way on the rack to ensure the things that take longest to dry are closest to the sun/heat source, balance the weight of the clothes on the sides, and flip some items over after half a day. It's a bit inconvenient for our situation, as there are three of us living in a small 1 bedroom apartment and the drying rack takes up our entire patio in the summer and about 25% of our living room in the winter.

Don't get me wrong, you CAN buy dryers in Germany. I have met only a few people who have one though. Those that own a dryer also use their drying rack a lot of the time as well.

You'd have to A. Have the space for one, and B. Be able to afford a pretty nice one to make it worthwhile, otherwise line drying/rack drying is much more efficient.

Differences in Dryers in Germany and most of Europe:
*They don't have an exhaust that goes outside; they have a water catcher instead. That's right, you empty out the water catcher as it pulls the moisture from the clothes.
*Condenser dryers are less efficient than vented exhaust dryers. Clothes take longer to dry.
*They are pricey.
*Most residences don't have the space for  dryer. Washers tend to be in the kitchen in apartments and small homes here. 
*Some have 2 lint catchers. I'm not sure why, but our washer here is hard on my clothes in terms of pilling, so maybe they know there are more pills and lint to catch. Who knows!?

1 comment:

  1. Same thing in Australia. Everyone uses drying racks. I have one in my bedroom with clothes on it right now. The last place I lived had a vented dryer that wasn't vented, and just dumped hot wet air into the room. Apparently the landlord didn't understand how that was supposed to work, because of course the clothes came out hot and damp and the room was like a sauna.


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