Benefits of drying clothes in the sun (or outside, at least…)

  • Date: May 14, 2022

Doing your laundry can have a significant impact on the environment. When drying their clothes many people opt for the more convenient dryer. However, if you have a backyard or suitable outdoor space, there are many benefits of drying clothes in the sun – you will also avoid the negative aspects of tumble dryers. Your clothes will not be damaged, you will save money and it is much better for the environment. Wins all-round!

Dryers can damage your clothes

The sheer heat of the tumble dryer will damage your clothes. The extent of the damage depends on what the garment is made from and how hot the dryer is. The most obvious difference is shrinkage, but it has also been found that microscopic damage occurs in the fabric. A study showed that even just drying your clothes twenty times at 150 degrees Fahrenheit will make them twice as easy to tear – quite a significant reduction in strength!

Drying your clothes in sun avoids these issues. Your clothes will last longer, and they will remain the same size as you bought them. Not only will this save you money, it will also divert your clothes from ending up in the trash (and landfill) quite so soon.

Avoids harsh chemicals

Although there are alternatives to dryer sheets and fabric softener, many people still use dryer sheets to reduce static or make their clothes feel soft. When dryer sheets are heat-activated, chemicals such as ‘quats’ are released into the environment inside and outside your home. It is not only the environment that is harmed – this has been linked to the asthma in humans too.  Furthermore, the chemicals cling to the clothes and end up in the waterways when washed again – potentially causing issues with aquatic species.

The chemicals can also damage your items. Towels, for example, are not suitable to be used alongside dryer sheets – they lose their absorbency due to the chemicals used. Towels that don’t absorb are not fit for purpose and will end up in the landfill in no time.

Drying your clothes in the sun avoids all these harsh chemicals associated with dryer sheets (although fabric softener also so contains harsh chemicals – so it might be a good idea to avoid that too).

Your clothes will smell great!

It is a well-known fact that clothes smell wonderful after being dried in the open air. But an actual scientific reason has been found for this! When the rays from the sun hit your clothes, they effectively rid your clothes of bacteria. It has also been found that when dried in sunlight, your clothes release aldehydes and ketones. These are organic compounds that we associate with different aromas.  

So, it’s not just your imagination – they actually do smell better! Quite amazing really.

Line drying saves energy and saves money

Using a tumble dryer uses energy. In addition to the extra energy cost, you are more likely to have to replace your clothes more often too. And don’t forget the initial cost of the dryer to begin with. It’s a lot more costly than a simple washing line and pegs.

It is difficult to predict how much energy your dryer will use over the course of a year. It is affected by different factors such as how many loads you do and what type of garments are dried. More up-to-date and advanced models will also be more efficient with energy use. Drying your clothes in the sun does take energy – but it is your own! Which leads on nicely to the next benefit…

Wellbeing benefits of line drying

Getting out into your backyard or balcony on a nice sunny day can do great things for our mental health. Add into the mix that you are likely to be doing some bending, stretching and lifting, it makes a great all-round work out. The sun on your face, and a bit exercise incorporated into your day and the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you are not damaging the planet – what’s not to like?

The bottom line

Drying clothes in the sun, or out in the air, has a huge number of benefits. It will make your clothes last longer and keep them out of landfill whilst saving you money and helping the planet. Whatever your reason for wanting to dry your clothes outside, it will come with a ton of other benefits.