Why drying clothes indoors can make you sick – and the £1.50 item that can help

Many Irish households are feeling the pinch of the current cost of living crisis and are trying to save money by any means necessary.

With energy costs skyrocketing, some people have been air-drying their clothes rather than using the dryer.

However, the changeable Irish climate means that it is not always possible to use outdoor clotheslines, leaving the only alternative which is to dry clothes indoors.

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This has its downsides, however, and can cause mold, which can affect the health of humans and pets, as well as potentially expensive-to-repair damage to walls, ceilings, window sills, and other areas.

Air quality specialists talked to our sister site Hull Live and gave their advice on how mold forms and what you can do to combat it.

Mold in buildings is usually caused by a lack of ventilation and humidity. Fungal spores usually float naturally in indoor and outdoor air and are inhaled, and usually for most adults this is not a problem, although it can be dangerous for children and babies as well as people having breathing problems or a weakened immune system.

But when fungal spores land on damp surfaces, they turn into mold. It can cause allergies, chronic colds, skin irritations and aggravate asthma and eczema.

Mold inside a house

The best way to prevent mold from forming is to combat damp conditions in a home in the first place, in the simplest case by opening doors and windows. Extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens also help cancel steam generated from showers or cooking, while dehumidifiers used sparingly can also help minimize the impact.

Jenny Turner, property manager at Insulation Express, warned that when drying wet clothes in the home, the moisture from the clean laundry evaporates and settles on ceilings and walls, compounding existing mold problems. .

She added: “To minimize the risk of mold growth when drying wet clothes at home, always keep a window open in the room to allow excess moisture in the air to escape. As mold can quickly build up on walls and ceilings, another way to prevent this from happening when you forget the dryer is to opt for a dehumidifier. humidity in your home and collect up to 7 liters of water per day in a humid environment.

Electric dehumidifiers draw in air, extract the excess moisture which is collected in a reservoir of water, and then exhaust the air to the atmosphere. While it might seem a bit counterintuitive to buy and run an electrical device to improve air quality and save money on drying, in the longer term it saves on the need to control mold.

The Duux Bora smart dehumidifier is app-controlled and holds up to 20 liters of humidity. It has a night mode and auto timeout, costs 13.2p (15 cents) per hour to run and is currently 25% off on Amazon.

But if you prefer inferior technology, there are simpler and cheaper options, although less durable. Dehumidifier jars are available at home goods stores like Woodies and Lenehans, as well as supermarkets like SuperValu and Tesco, and even discount stores like Dealz which sells one for just £1.50.

Jenny added: “For a dehumidifying effect without using electricity, try a combination of open windows and plastic window dehumidifier pots which can trap and collect moisture in the air. These inexpensive plastic pots can help to eliminate the risk of condensation on windows that can occur when drying wet clothes indoors, adding to the humid atmosphere. of rock salt on the windowsill when drying clothes, as this will help absorb excess moisture in the air.”

If you already have mold, Ms. Hinch’s Facebook enthusiasts recommend HG Mold Spray as the best way to tackle what’s there. It’s usually £4.99 (€5.90) ​​a bottle, but it’s currently available 25% off on Amazon with subscription and backup orders. It has an average of 4.6 out of five stars from 23,686 positive reviews.

Francesca Brady, CEO and co-founder of AirRated, warns that people who find mold in their homes are part of a larger building debate. She said: “It’s important that this gets covered in the media, everyone needs a basic level of understanding of the types of environments that are unhealthy spaces for us to live and work in. That being said , there’s a much bigger issue around building stock that’s not fit for purpose, where it’s going to take more than changing behaviors to improve those metrics.”

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