There are simple pleasures in life — like the smell of laundry after its dried in the sun — that just can’t be substituted. My grandmother had several permanent clotheslines in her yard and my mother often dried our laundry outside as well.
Come to find out, they didn’t just hang clothes to dry because it made them smell nice, but because it was the economical choice.
To calculate just how much money you can save by air drying your clothes, you’ll need to be good at math or you can just use this easy Energy.gov appliance energy use calculator.
Here’s the cost of dryer usage in my Texas home, for example, for one year.
Of course, your state or municipality’s energy costs are likely to be different, so you’ll want to plug in your own numbers to get a more accurate picture for your home!
This is a liberal estimation of what it costs me to run my dryer during the year. I average about four loads of laundry per week: whites, colors, sheets and towels.
I dry each of these separately. I occasionally do more laundry, so I inflated my usage numbers a bit.
So I could potentially save $127 or more by air drying my clothes.
But after you account for the cost of a drying rack and my time, is it really worth it?
1. Drying rack: $40
There are as many drying racks on the market as there are dryers, it seems. Some are affordable, like this one that comes top-rated on Amazon ($20).
Some are more expensive like this traditional, all wood option ($100).
This popular stainless steel option ($42) features a spot to hang slippers and shoes.
Let’s estimate that $40 is about the median price of a quality drying rack that will hold up for years.
2. Time to hang clothes: 2 minutes per load
If I do four loads per week, that’s 8 minutes that I’m hanging clothes.
That’s 32 minutes per month, or about $3.63 if I’m valuing my time at $7.25 an hour, which is the Texas and federal minimum wage. In a year, my time would be equivalent of $43.56.
Of course, if you make more than minimum wage, your time is going to be worth much more. And maybe it takes you longer to hang your clothes.
In the first year, I would save $44.11 by air drying my clothes. That’s a 35 percent savings. In year two my profit would grow to $84.11, a 66 percent savings.
Of course, this is just based on my own personal calculations — yours may look a little different!
So is it worth it to air dry clothes? On paper, yes. Would it be nice to have $84 extra dollars per year? Sure! But do I see myself giving up the convenience of the dryer altogether? Probably not, but I sure do love the smell of sun dried laundry.