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How to use a dehumidifier to dry clothes

When it comes to drying clothes indoors, a dehumidifier is a cost-effective alternative to a tumble dryer. Here is everything you need to know about using a dehumidifier to dry laundry.

By Laura Cooke | Last updated Aug 22, 2023

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As the seasons change and summer rolls into autumn, drying laundry can start to pose a bit of a challenge.

Dry, sunny days become few and far between, ruling out drying clothes outside on the rotary airer, and high energy prices have made tumble drying an expensive option.

So what is the answer to fast and cost-effective drying during the winter months? Enter, the humble dehumidifier.

What is a dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier is an electrical household appliance designed to reduce excess moisture in the air in enclosed spaces. It works by drawing in humid air, cooling it to condense the moisture, and then reheating the air before releasing it back into the room. This process results in drier air with a lower humidity level. The excess moisture is collected in the dehumidifier’s water tank, ready to be poured away.

How do you use a dehumidifier to dry clothes?

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Using a dehumidifier to dry clothes is a fairly straightforward process:

Select the right dehumidifier: Perhaps the most important part of this process is selecting the best dehumidifier to meet your needs. Choose a dehumidifier with a laundry mode or a high-powered option. These are specifically designed to facilitate faster clothes drying. Ensure the dehumidifier's capacity matches the room's size to maximise efficiency. 

Sort and hang laundry: Start by sorting your clothes by fabric type and thickness. Thicker fabrics take longer to dry, so separate them from lighter materials. Hang the clothes on clothes airers or hangers, allowing enough space for air circulation. To dry clothes even faster, heated airers can be used in conjunction with a dehumidifier. Check out Mumsnet’s guide to the best heated clothes airers to find one that best suits your family’s needs.

Position the dehumidifier: Place the dehumidifier in a well-ventilated room near the drying area. Make sure there's enough space between the dehumidifier and the hanging clothes to avoid direct contact.

Activate laundry mode: If available, activate the dehumidifier's laundry drying mode. Alternatively, set it to a high fan speed and a lower humidity level for the best results.

Rotate your laundry: If you want to speed the process up, check and rotate your laundry periodically to make sure everything is drying evenly. Don’t forget to factor in that thicker fabrics may take longer to dry.

Which is the best room to use for drying clothes with a dehumidifier?

Ideally, choose a well-ventilated room for drying clothes with a dehumidifier. Utility rooms, or spare rooms with good air circulation are ideal. Ensure the room is clean and free from obstacles that could impede air movement. 

When you buy a dehumidifier, the manufacturer usually states the maximum room size, so you can be sure that you have chosen the best size appliance for your living space.

How much does a dehumidifier cost to run?

A picture of a boy playing, whilst his Mum relaxes. There is a dehumidifier in the background.

The cost of running a dehumidifier depends on factors like the unit's size, energy rating and how often you use it. Some models are more energy efficient than others, using less electricity while producing the same level of dehumidification. 

To estimate the cost, multiply the wattage by your electricity rate. Dehumidifier experts Meaco estimate that, on average, the running costs of a standard dehumidifier works out at less than £1 a day. In comparison, a tumble dryer can cost anywhere between 65p and £1.60 to run per cycle, depending on the type of tumble dryer and the programme used. So if you are looking at simple ways to keep the costs down, switching your tumble dryer for a dehumidifier is really a no-brainer.

Using a dehumidifier to dry clothes indoors can be a game-changer, especially when outdoor drying is challenging. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make the most of your dehumidifier and enjoy the benefits of efficient and convenient clothes drying, regardless of the weather conditions. Remember to choose the right dehumidifier, optimise its settings, and be mindful of energy consumption to keep costs down.

If you are looking for more tips on how to dry laundry over the colder winter months, check out How to Dry Clothes Indoors: 10 Savvy Tips featuring parents’ thrifty hacks and top tips on how to dry clothes indoors, whatever the weather.