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Drying bath towels
Old 04-07-2009, 12:45 AM   #1
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Drying bath towels

I started looking into how much electricity different appliances use around the house. If you have never done this it's pretty interesting.

The #1 biggest electricity user is.....the electric dryer. It probably is responsible for at least 40% of the total bill.

So I started to look at what it used for different loads of laundry. The bathroom towels were by far the biggest energy user. They are big fluffy towels and they must be really hard to dry because they really take up the energy.

Now I know I could just hang them up but there is two problems. The first is one of my family members would have a fit and I live in Pa where it's ultra-miserable for 8 months of the year.

I have 2 bath towels that are thin and they would be a much better idea to use but I can't find any more of them!

Just wondering if anyone had any suggestions on places that I could find thin bath towels or anything that would be easier to dry?

Jim
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:17 AM   #2
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Now I know I could just hang them up but there is two problems. The first is one of my family members would have a fit and I live in Pa where it's ultra-miserable for 8 months of the year.
Jim
Jim,

I didn't completely understand the issue you are pointing out here. Is it too cold, too hot? How is it miserable and how does that relate to drying towels either outside or perhaps inside. I DO understand the family-member fit situation, but perhaps they will celebrate your lower electric bills and realize that it's worth the "tobacco road" look. But, good luck with that aspect of your dilema.

Our electricity is typically the highest cost in the nation (it got to at least 30 cents/KWH when oil prices peaked). So we hang clothes either outside on those occasional days it doesn't rain and inside the rest of the time.

When we lived in the midwest, we often hung the towels around the house to at least partially dry, even in the winter. It added moisture to the winter-dry air and saved drying costs.

Don't know a source for thin towels (other than our old ratty ones which used to be thick). I like thick ones 'cause they absorb more and get you dry more quickly.

Consider inside/outside drying. If the towels seem "stiff", wait until they're just about dry and then finish them off in the dryer. The tumbling will soften them. I don't like fabric softener (dryer sheets! heh, heh) 'cause it's just waxy stuff that reduces the drying capacity of the towel. YMMV Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:21 AM   #3
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I'm just north of you in NY.
I use the method Koolau suggested, only I predry my towels indoors, in any season.
Just above my washer and dryer are 3 short lines, running left to right and spaced about 10" apart. Take 2 short pieces of 2"x4", cut to the wall size above your equipment, and firmly nail them to the wall studs. Take medium duty "cup hooks" and screw them into the 2"x4" board in pairs, spaced equally opposite each other. Use thick nylon cord, flexible type so you can tie a knot, and string 3 separate lines left and right. Time your laundry so the last load is the towels. Hang damp towels up for 1 day. Put in dryer for approx 15 minutes to soften the terry cloth fabric. Voila - lower energy bill and fluffy towels.
I also have a family room with a steel floor-to-ceiling support post and a roughhewn fireplace mantle with a supersize nail protruding. I run a stronger clothesline across the room for blankets, multiple pairs of jeans, coveralls, etc. It takes maybe 1 day for them to dry. I untie the line until the next time I need it.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:06 AM   #4
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You guys need to move down south. I spend less than 800/year on electricity - no gas - single person 2700' townhome. With global cooling the summers are cooler. I don't have a washer/dryer - use the laundromat.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:22 AM   #5
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I came to the same conclusion as Summer2007 a few years ago, and quit purchasing the pricey thick towels as they just too much energy to dry. You can get really thin, cheap towels at WalMart like a friend of mine did or Penney's.
However, I bought a bunch of Ralph Lauren towels on sale no less, and find they are thick enough to make me happy and thin enough to dry quicker. I've had this bunch since 1998, and so I can say that they realllly have lasted. No holes, rips, tears in them and even very little fading. When I move from my current location I'll spring for new ones. Anyway, I like this brand, and purchased them at Marshall's and TJ Maxx--half-price or less at these discounters. For, say, $9-10 a towel--and they've lasted 10 years--I have no complaints at all.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:36 AM   #6
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You guys need to move down south. I spend less than 800/year on electricity - no gas - single person 2700' townhome. With global cooling the summers are cooler. I don't have a washer/dryer - use the laundromat.
That is the 10 year plan.
dh2b has exactly 10 years to go as of April 1st. wooooohooooooooo
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:48 AM   #7
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Ditto on buying the cheap thin ones at Walmart or wherever. When we lived on the boat, we had to use those instead of the fluffy ones and I really got quite used to them. Our big fluffy ones that DH's mom gave us for Christmas never quite dry on the rack each day, leaving them musty smelling all the time.
I second the idea of line drying and then finishing in the dryer.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:59 AM   #8
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At home in the winter I use big thick towels and I dry them on radiators. They dry fast and add moisture to the house. Some do not like the initial stiffness of the radiator dried towels but I like it and it disappears after one use anyway.

In the motorhome and in the summer I have moved to these microfiber towels: Amazon.com: Aquis Microfiber Body Towel, Waffle, Linen, (29 x 55-Inches): Health & Personal Care

Unlike earlier microfiber, these are nice and soft. They dry very quickly. At home I have a newer front loader washer that spins things pretty dry anyway so that gives me a leg up on hanging them dry or just putting them in the dryer. They never get musty smelling. Yet they are very absorbent. I have even taken to using them as towels at the pool as they dry you off so fast.
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:04 AM   #9
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Easier indoor drying line options

the hotel special
Retractable clothesline from FAMOUS PLUMBING SUPPLY

some of these ceiling ones are cool
ClotheslineShop.com: Indoor Clotheslines
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:47 AM   #10
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Consider inside/outside drying. If the towels seem "stiff", wait until they're just about dry and then finish them off in the dryer. The tumbling will soften them.
Excellent, thanks. Towels are the only washables I don't line dry.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:17 AM   #11
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I like pampering myself with a fresh towel every day. Each day after I shower, I put my towel on an indoor drying rack. They dry nicely there. Later I wash and dry them with other laundry, which I do about twice a week. My washer has a good spin cycle that removes much of the water, and then I finish drying them completely in the dryer.

I have a gas dryer. So, my monthly electric bill is not greatly impacted by drying towels. Can you get natural gas where you live?

I don't know where to buy thin towels, but have you tried bargain stores like The Dollar Store? I would think that a $1 towel would be thin enough for your needs.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:37 AM   #12
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OK, ready for this? Here's the technique I use to put the water down the drain instead of on the towels.

  1. Buy some microfiber camp towels (something like these).
  2. Cut them into squares about 8 x 8 inches.
  3. After your shower dry successive parts of your body, and squeeze the towel so that the water goes down the drain (e.g. dry hair, squeeze, dry arms, squeeze, etc.).
  4. You can finish off with a cozy real towel, but you'll be mostly dry at this point.
I do this because we have a problem with high humidity, so I want that moisture out of the room.

BTW, usually the fridge is the biggest user of electricity in a house:

Refrigerators consumed the most electricity (14 percent of total electricity use for all purposes), followed by lighting (9 percent), clothes dryers (6 percent), freezers (3 percent), and color TV’s (3 percent);
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:48 AM   #13
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Jim,
Consider inside/outside drying. If the towels seem "stiff", wait until they're just about dry and then finish them off in the dryer. The tumbling will soften them.
This is exactly what we do. We have a small clothes rack that we set up in the laundry room and air dry quite a bit of our clothes. Then we toss them in the dryer for a couple of minutes to get rid of the stiffness.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:46 PM   #14
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Yesterday I saw soemthing for this purpose "Magic Drying Balls". 2 of them cost $3, and I have heard that they do help. Supposedly replace dryer sheets too.

Ha
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:51 PM   #15
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:28 PM   #16
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A front-loading washing machine makes your dryer obsolete. (Ok, I still
dry sheets in the dryer, because they're so huge and unwieldy to hang up,
but the dryer dries 'em in about 5 minutes).

A lot of bad press in other thread about front-loaders stinking from retained
water, but I just leave the door open all the time it's not running, and don't
seem to have this problem.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:42 PM   #17
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Down in 29 Palms last week we saw a number of outdooor showers at little desert hutments. I suspect air drying worked quite well there, with no need for towels, clotheslines, or gas /electric clothes dryers.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:50 PM   #18
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ditto on the cheapo walmart/kmart towels. I think I just saw some in an assortment of colors for $3 each that would meet your specifications well. Most of our towels are like that. And another hidden benefit is that after you use them to dry off, you can hang them up and they air dry by the time you are ready to shower again (ie in 24 hours).
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:51 PM   #19
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I just hang myself out to dry....
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:32 PM   #20
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I change bath towels 2 or 3 times a month, wash them in hot water, and use either clothesline or indoor wooden racks; don't have a dryer.

They dry in a day or so indoors when heat is on.
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