I have two young kids at home, so there’s a LOT of laundry every week.
I used to rely on a tumble dryer to help me get through it, but for the past few months, I’ve been using a dehumidifier instead – and there are a lot of benefits.
A dehumidifier is more economical, energy efficient, and safer for laundry. However, that doesn’t mean that dryer dehumidifiers are right for everyone.
Before you shut down your tumble dryer, it’s important to know the benefits and limitations of a dehumidifier.
In this guide, I’ll explain:
- How a dehumidifier dries clothes
- The advantages of using a dehumidifier to dry your washing
- The full dryer dehumidifier vs tumble dryer pros and cons
A dehumidifier helps to dry wet clothes more quickly by actively removing moisture from the air. This allows water to transfer from your clothes to the dry air.
Your dehumidifier will then continue to absorb the humidity and give you dry air, allowing more water to transfer from your wet clothes and accelerating the drying process.
When I use my dehumidifier for drying clothes, the water tank can sometimes fill up 2-3 times.
This is moisture drawn in from the air that’s been removed indirectly from the clothes, leaving the laundry and room a lot dryer.
The reason that dehumidifiers make drying wet clothes more efficient comes down to how they operate.
Refrigerant dehumidifiers draw in humid air, pass it over condenser coils to extract the water vapor, and then release less humid air back into the room.
Desiccant dehumidifiers use moisture-absorbing materials instead of coils.  Salt, crystals, or another desiccant material attract water vapor from and contain it.
Both desiccant and refrigerant dehumidifiers basically do the same thing, and it will lead to a reduction in the relative humidity in the space.
I’ve experimented with a variety of desiccant dehumidifiers, but they tend to take longer to have an effect than refrigerant models.
As clothes dry, the water is released into the air around them over time.
If the dehumidifier is placed in the same space then it will absorb the water in the air and leave the air dryer.
This means that more water from the clothing can be absorbed by the air, and the drying process is accelerated.
Many dehumidifiers also have a special laundry mode for use when drying clothes, and I always look out for this feature.
This uses more energy but absorbs more humidity, making the drying process take even less time.
Dehumidifiers don’t release any heat, so they won’t actively dry out the clothing like a tumble dryer, heating system, or radiators would.
However, dehumidifiers give your wet washing the best conditions for drying at a much higher rate.
The first reason I use a dehumidifier to dry washing is that it’s faster than leaving wet clothing to dry naturally.
That means I don’t need to leave it for as long, and I can do more loads of washing.
It’s not as quick as a tumble dryer, but it helps me dry over 5 loads of laundry a week, and it is much faster than drip drying.
The cost of living has increased in my area a lot over the past 12 months which can put pressure on my monthly budget.
While tumble dryers or radiators are typically the fastest way to dry wet clothing, dehumidifiers are much more energy efficient, and switching has saved me a lot of money over the last year.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the average costs:
- A tumble dryer costs $0.30-$0.90 an hour
- Heating radiators costs $0.20-$0.60 an hour
- Dehumidifiers cost just $0.03-$0.15 per hour
The exact running costs can vary depending on size and range, but the dehumidifier is clearly in first place.
This makes it the obvious choice for customers like me who don’t want to spend as much on their energy.
Dehumidifiers don’t produce any heat, so you will need to run them for longer than tumble dryers.
However, considering how much cheaper dehumidifiers are to run, we can all agree that they are still the most energy-efficient and less costly option.
I’m always looking for ways to reduce my environmental footprint and make my household greener. Less energy means more environmentally friendly.
Because dehumidifiers don’t draw as much energy as tumble dryers or heaters, they can aid in drying out clothes with less environmental impact.
I’ve shrunk my clothes, my partner’s clothes, and my kid’s clothes before in the tumble dryer – it’s incredibly frustrating.
One of the advantages of dehumidifiers is that they don’t use any heat and instead gently dry your clothing.
This means there’s no risk of shrinking or causing damage to your clothing or valuables.
I hate ironing, so if there’s ever a way to reduce my ironing pile, I’ll jump on it. Dehumidifiers dry clothing in a way that removes creases, so you don’t need to.
Dehumidifiers speed up the drying process, so if you hang all the items properly, they should remain virtually uncreased with no need to steam or iron.
One of the key benefits of using a dehumidifier as a drying solution is that it also provides dehumidification for the whole area (depending on the range of the unit).
This removes moisture from the air and can help to prevent mold, mildew, and other contaminants from spreading in your home – leaving you with cleaner air.
The dehumidification will also stop water condensing and pooling in your home.
This will help to protect the area from water damage and stop you from having to pay for costly home repair work.
A tumble dryer is the traditional way to dry your clothes which my parents and grandparents used.
It’s the household solution that’s been used for decades, but people are starting to question purchasing one.
You can purchase tumble dryers in all shapes are sizes, but they all work in the same way.
Clothes are placed in a metal drum which is rotated around while hot air is circulated around.
A thermostat maintains the correct temperature, and the heat dries your clothes out.
I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of using a dehumidifier, but here are the pros and cons of using a tumble dryer.
- Dries clothing quickly – my laundry will be dry to the touch in 15 minutes!
- Large capacity and have no problem handling big loads.
- They’re expensive and cost more in electricity to run.
- They use a lot of energy and are bad for the environment.
- They aren’t suitable for all clothing and can damage certain types of fabric.
- If they break, they can be expensive to repair (though a good quality model will last many years).
Tumble dryer vs. dehumidifier – which should you choose?
Using a dehumidifier is the most energy-efficient way to dry your clothing.
It’s not just energy efficient either, it’s cost-efficient, and you can dry your clothing for less.
It will also give you the added benefit of reducing the humidity, which will assist in improving the air in your home.
The downside is that it will extend the time taken to dry clothing.
In contrast, a tumble dryer is expensive to buy and run. There’s also a risk it can damage your clothing if you aren’t careful.
The upside is that it’s fast and simple. It can dry a lot of clothing in no time at all and allow you to do several loads of laundry a day.
If you have longer to do your laundry, then I would recommend choosing a dehumidifier as the safe and efficient option is best.
It saves me a lot in electricity every month, and it doesn’t have any of the sensitive fabrics in my kid’s clothes.
If you live in a very busy household with lots of laundry, then you should have a tumble dryer installed as it’s the faster option.
It takes 3-5 hours for a dehumidifier to dry an average load of laundry.
Place the laundry on a clothes horse in a small room, and position the dehumidifier nearby. Choosing the right dehumidifier is key too. A model like the CLIng Dehumidifier is ideal because it has the right range for a small space and a specific laundry function to remove moisture quickly. It’s also durable and should last many years.
I use a dehumidifier to dry my clothes because it’s low-cost and eco-friendly.
They can’t match a tumble dryer for speed, but they can save you a lot of money over the year, and, for me, that’s a big plus.
I can also move a dehumidifier between rooms in my home to do different jobs, which is an added benefit.
I think most people will benefit from using their dehumidifier to dry clothing, but your situation will be different from mine.
Hopefully, this guide has explained how dehumidifiers can dry your clothing and what the benefits are of doing so.