Author Topic: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk  (Read 6734 times)

MrsPB

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« on: March 13, 2017, 08:57:20 AM »
I want to hang more clothes to dry but living in a place with a long cold winter (Canada) and humid summers does limit outside drying opportunities. I do some inside drying (not towels) but I'm a little worried about mold risk. Our house doesn't have any major mold issues and we have forced air A/C /air exchanger with a heat pump but we still get black mold build up on the window sills due to condensation in winter from the temp contrast. I really don't want to do anything to add to that issue.
Is it worth the savings (in electricity and clothing wear and tear) to hang dry inside for a few months of the year?
Those of you who dry inside, what do you do to mitigate this risk?

MMMaybe

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 387
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2017, 10:50:18 AM »
I would look and see if you can get a cheap electric dehumidifier. I put it next to the washing and it should dry overnight.

MightyAl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 10:55:58 AM »
Nothing.  In the winter the air is so dry that there is little risk of mold because clothes are going to dry quickly.  The minimal moisture being introduced into the air from clothes drying is not a risk.

The condensation on your windows is either windows that are inefficient or there is something else going on in your house.  Mold occurs when there are constant wet conditions in a warm area.  Clothes drying does not carry this risk.  I dry my clothes inside year round at this point.  I am thinking about putting up a clothes line.

redbird

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 534
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 12:19:25 PM »
I agree with MightyAl. I dry my clothes inside year round. I am not allowed to do it outside any time of the year because I currently live in an apartment that doesn't allow clothes to dry on the balcony. Mold is caused by constant wetness. MAYBE clothes drying inside will make a different for mold growing if you are washing clothes every single day and thus always have wet clothes around. But otherwise it should not cause a problem.

I've lived in many different places, both around the US and outside, and I've generally only ever had problems with mold in 3 different places - bathrooms, kitchens (the sink specifically obviously), and then anywhere inside or out that gets wet often from rain. In a previous house that I owned, some parts of the outside deck's supports got mold because my property used to be part of a creek bed. When it rained a lot, anything wood could get mold issues.

Notice all of those things are around wetness all the time. The places I hang my clothes to dry are not constantly wet, especially because I only do laundry ~once per week. The clothes are completely dry for me, even when it's humid outside, in about half a day.

MrsPB

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2017, 12:58:22 PM »
Whoops I meant to post this in Ask A Mustachian. Can a mod move it? Sorry!

Frugal Lizard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1786
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2017, 01:06:53 PM »
I have been without a clothes dryer for almost a year.  Family of four excessive clothes-dirtiers.  (none of us works construction or farms but we do manage to get pretty dirty somehow) We dry them in the winter in the basement near the force air gas furnace.  Only months that have been hard are October and November when it was continuously rainy and not very cold so the furnace didn't run.  Almost took clothes to the neighbours to use their dryer.  Being far from a lake or ocean we aren't too humid during the summer for outdoors.  Clothes will almost always dry in the day and will smell great.  I have once resorted to turning on a fan to keep the air moving around three sets of sheets hanging in the basement because I wanted to put them back on the beds that night and not have to fold them.  I figured this was less energy consuming than the de-humidifier.

chemistk

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 380
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2017, 01:36:10 PM »
We dry some of our clothes inside, and some in the dryer.

Socks, underwear, kids' shirts, bedsheets, etc. we dry in the dryer. We have a gas dryer - I went a month without using it and a month with using it and the difference was negligible for what we use it for.

The rest we dry in our basement (fall-mid spring) or outside (late spring-summer). We have a dehumidifier in our basement, so with that going everything dries overnight for the most part.

If you're worried about mold, the best thing you can do is make sure everything dries evenly. I'll rotate, flip, and resituate laundry if there's a lot or it's taking a while to dry, just so that all of the damp sides get exposed to dry air at some point.

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1698
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2017, 01:41:43 PM »
In the summer, I dry everything outside. (Sob - my 22yo umbrella clothespole broke off this winter, and will have to be replaced. :-(  )

In the winter I put sheets and towels in the dryer for the sake of expediency, but I air dry everything else. My house is very, very dry when the furnace is running. Any humidity added to the air is a good thing. My clothes racks are under the heater vents in the basement, and stuff dries fast.

The only months that are a little tough are October and April, when it's often still too cool to hang stuff outside, but not cold enough for the furnace to kick in.

MrsPB

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2017, 03:52:38 PM »
I think a big part of the window mold is the fact we have little kids, so we keep the bedroom doors closed all the time, and my kids share a small room so the breathing they both do adds a lot of moisture to a small space! It's not as bad in the living room /kitchen area windows but this space is much bigger and with outside doors.
We probably need a dehumidifier!

Future Lazy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northglenn, Colorado
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2017, 04:36:01 PM »
We exclusively and successfully dry clothes inside year-round. We place them on hangers and put them directly into the closet. Slightly thicker things (like jeans or blankets) sometimes get hung over open doors until they are dry. For towels, I simply hang them back up on the towel rack in the bathroom. By the time I go to shower, they're usually dry.

Blankets, towels, pants and bedsheets do dry significantly faster outside. If I need to wash and dry these in the same day in the winter, I shoot for a sunny day with a temperature 50 degrees or above by 10am, and try to get the materials washed and hung as early as possible (before 11am).

Colorado is a pretty dry location, so this might vary for you. However, even on humid days when it rains a majority of the time, I typically only need to add some extra airflow (like a box fan) to get things dry within 12 or 18 hours.

Sounds like you should get a dehumidifier for the kid's room! That's a lot of breathy moist build up!

PoutineLover

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1166
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2017, 08:04:30 AM »
I dry my clothes inside but I still use the dryer for sheets and towels. Never had a problem with mold, I actually think it would help increase humidity, my apartment feels more dry in the winter. But honestly, I've never even noticed if the clothes make a difference.

WinterSkies

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • Location: Manitoba, Canada
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2017, 08:17:32 AM »
It sounds like you have a humidity control problem, and I agree with the comments about needing to take a closer look at your windows.  We keep our kids' doors closed at night, and they're in small rooms.  No condensation issues.  If you're keeping the doors closed all of the time, the lack of airflow could definitely be causing problems. 

Are you running a dehumidifier during the summer months?  We have one that empties into our basement floor drain, and it is set to run all summer (turns on when humidity in the basement reaches a certain level).  Our first year in our first house, we had to run a dehumidifier for several months to draw all of the moisture out of the basement (the previous owners had not finished the vapour barrier properly so there was a lot of condensation in behind the insulation).  Once we got it all out, we didn't have any more problems.

I'm also in the Great White North, and our basement is bone dry in the winter.  I don't hang all of our clothing to dry, but there are several pairs of pants and shirts in every wash that aren't dryer friendly.  They will dry overnight without a problem.  I won't do that with towels though.  They'll go outside in the warmer months, but for October-April, they get put in the dryer.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6302
  • Location: BC
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2017, 04:56:03 PM »
When I read your title, I thought you were having my problem -- during shoulder season, the towels go moldy before they dry.  This is a problem for me with people in the home with mold allergies.   I tried air drying that year and it lasted until mid fall.   

As long as you are drying your clothes in a large open space (not a closet / small room), and as long as your items are drying within 2-3 days (max), you should not have a problem.  (I can hang light weight things but need to place sweaters on a warmer of some sort to keep to 2-3 days drying time)

It's when they don't dry for 5 days -- that is a bigger problem, and I would not add any more moisture to your home.... in the end you may end up ruining your clothes, anyway.

MrsPB

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Hanging clothes to dry and mold risk
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2017, 06:13:04 PM »
I'm so glad I posted here. Turns out my husband turned off the air exchanger in the summer as we have the forced air heat pump AC on, but he forgot to turn it back on do it's been off all winter! That has definitely added to the humidity issue, since we turned it on, plus we are leaving the bedroomdoors open all day when we are gone, there's been minimal condensation.