Not everybody is fortunate enough to have outside space in their house or apartment, forcing them into drying clothes on radiators around the home.
Avoid drying clothes indoors, and never dry them in a bedroom that you’re using. Damp laundry increases air moisture by 30%, magnifying the risk of breathing difficulties while sleeping and compromising the immune system. Also, damp clothing can lead to mold in the bedroom.
If you must dry clothing indoors, keep your garments as far from the bedroom as you can. Wherever possible, keep wet laundry out of the home entirely. If this isn’t an option, be aware of the risks.
Is it Bad to Dry Clothes in Your Room?
Drying laundry can be problematic if you don’t have an outside area within your property. Experts always recommend air drying damp clothing in open spaces, but that may not be an option.
When we drape damp laundry around our home, we increase the interior moisture levels by around 30%. This can lead to health concerns, issues that are magnified when we apply them to a bedroom.
The main concern related to moisture in the air is that it causes damp in a property’s walls, and dampness often leads to black mold. As per Indoor and Built Environment, inhaling black mold is often linked to ill health. Also, mold smells unpleasant and look unsightly.
Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid black mold, moisture will create a humid environment, which is ideal for dust mites.
Moisture in the home may cause a reaction to chemicals found in a fabric softener. Be particularly wary of the synthetic dye D&C Violet 2. Despite being FDA-approved, this dye is a suspected carcinogen.
These risks can be managed in a larger space, such as a hallway or a dedicated laundry room, as you’ll just be passing through. A bedroom is usually smaller, and you’ll spend more time in the location.
Is It Bad To Sleep with Wet Clothes Drying
Now you know why drying laundry in a bedroom isn’t ideal. You may figure that it’s OK to do so if you distribute the laundry early enough, so it’s not lying around when you retire to bed for the night.
In these instances, you may have the occasional night when you’re ready for bed, and your clothing isn’t yet dry. Would it hurt to leave the damp clothing lying around while you sleep?
The main risk of sleeping with wet laundry in a bedroom is the problems it can cause to breathing. The enhanced humidity and moisture levels can be hazardous to anybody living with asthma or COPD.
As we touched upon previously, these higher moisture levels have two primary side effects – dust mite infestations and mold growth. If you’re sleeping while breathing in mold spores, your immune system may not react in time, and an asthma attack could be triggered.
As per the Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, dust mites are another significant asthma trigger for many people. Do you feel comfortable knowing that you could suffer an asthma attack in the dead of night?
Even if you don’t have a diagnosis of a breathing issue, be wary of sleeping in such moist conditions. The human body expects a cool, dry environment when at rest.
While we sleep, our body repairs itself from the wear and tear of the day, including internal organs and muscles. By breathing in damp air caused by drying laundry while we sleep, the immune system is working overtime to counter the impact.
At best, the immune system will be successful, and you’ll not fall ill. As a result, your sleep will be disturbed as the body works overtime when it should be resting and recuperating.
There’s no guarantee that your immune system will combat the additional moisture while you sleep, especially if you regularly surround yourself with damp laundry. This vulnerability will lead to upper respiratory infections, which are likely to grow increasingly debilitating.
If you have ever compared drying laundry inside to hanging it on a line, you’ll have noticed a fundamental difference in drying time. Leaving clothes to dry at room temperature may take all day, whereas exposure to the sun and wind takes half as long.
This is because clothing hung outside provides more significant space for water molecules to evaporate. These molecules escape faster, especially when blowing in the wind. Naturally, exposure to the sun’s rays generates more heat.
A simple solution seems to be turning on the radiators in your home, upping the ambient temperature, and speeding up the dissolution of water molecules. This brings its own problems, as it’s always advisable to sleep in a cooler room.
Frontiers in Neuroscience explains how our body relies upon a natural drop in temperature at night, reflecting the expectations of the circadian rhythms. Cranking up artificial heat sources makes it challenging to cool off at night, which will disturb sleep.
Solutions to Drying Clothes in a Bedroom
We have established that drying clothes indoors is far from ideal and that doing so in the bedroom is even worse. Some people may feel they have no choice, though. For example, if you share a home, you may not feel comfortable leaving your laundry in communal areas.
If you have no choice but to dry clothing within a bedroom, there are some steps you can take to make this safer. None of them are flawless, but they’re preferable to breathing in the damp air created by wet clothing in a bedroom overnight.
We have mentioned how you should avoid increasing the temperature in a room to dry laundry while sleeping. If you have no choice but to do so or wish to enhance ventilation anyway, consider sleeping with your windows open.
Opening windows may not always be an option. If you live in a city, this can be too noisy to sleep – and as per Indoor Air, attract CO2 into the bedroom that impacts sleep quality. There may also be security concerns at play.
In these cases, investigate alternative ways to ventilate the room in which you sleep. If appropriate, keep doors open and invest in a fan to keep air circulating. Installing vents into walls, or even a full air conditioning system, will also help.
Dedicated Cupboard or Closet
Another solution could be to use an empty closet for drying your clothes.
If you place the laundry inside the wardrobe and close the doors, the damp air will have limited opportunity to circulate around the bedroom.
Include a small fan in the closet and drill ventilation holes for the best results. If you hang clothing without taking these steps, moisture will become trapped in the closet itself, resulting in smelly clothing, dampness, and rot within the furniture.
Always dry out the closet between bursts of drying and stop using it at any sign of mold. Use this solution sparingly and ensure that you spin your clothing in the washing machine multiple times before hanging it in a closet. The closer the laundry is to dry when placed in a closet, the longer you’ll be able to sustain this approach.
This is arguably the most effective solution to drying wet clothing in a confined space, such as a bedroom. The fan on a dehumidifier reduces humidity in a room, which is essential when wet clothing is present.
A dehumidifier achieves this aim by extracting moisture from the air of a room. Better yet, most modern dehumidifier models have a laundry setting designed to work harder to counter the side effects of drying damp clothing.
Dehumidifiers are more cost-effective than tumble dryers, as they require significantly less energy to operate. They take up to six hours to dry laundry in a bedroom. Arrange your damp clothes early, leaving plenty of time for them to dry before bed.
It’s not always easy to get laundry dry in a small home but do all you can to avoid leaving your damp clothing in a bedroom. The best solutions are visiting a laundromat with drying facilities or getting a tumble dryer yourself. They may come with a price tag, but your health will be enhanced.