Drying Clothes: Homemaker’s Headache!

Drying clothes is a headache for the homemaker’s, particularly for the people who are living in flats in high-rise buildings. Before the era of urbanization, i.e. during agriculture wave when people used to live in villages or small towns, people used to dry clothes outside the house in the backyard or a courtyard where they could easily dry their clothes in the natural air in the open on the clothesline. The problem is severe in developing countries where people can’t afford washer dryer.

The rapid urbanization has created high rise buildings where most of the people live in either 2 or 3 room flats. The furnished rooms including bathroom and kitchen have hardly any space for drying clothes, which is needed almost on a day to day basis. Therefore, people have no option but to use balconies, which otherwise are designed for some other purposes. The first provider of the balcony might have never thought that the one day in future, balconies would be used mostly for drying clothes and viewing processions on streets and not as an extended sit out. Even this challenge is unattended by architects.

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For Example, In Mumbai city, almost 55% people live in slums. There is no proper space available for drying clothes which is the major problem here. In Mumbai near Mahalaxmi, Dhobi Ghat was the most popular for laundry as shown in fig. some years ago.

Courtesy - goodfreephotos

Another example is Varanasi Ghat, where people dry their clothes on steps as shown in fig. But are these right practices of drying clothes?

Courtesy - shutterstock

Drying clothes outside the house is great, but it doesn’t work every time, especially in monsoon and in a humid climate. It is difficult for you to do it outdoors. In the absence of balconies, people use bedroom, bathrooms or passage between the rooms for drying clothes.

One of the major problems which become very critical in the monsoon, especially for a housewife, is -“how to dry clothes during this season”? These problems increase in a country like India where the power cuts are not uncommon. India is a country of villages, semi-urban, urban and metro cities. In villages, there is a wide open area, so there is enough space for drying clothes, but in urban and metro cities, one finds that there are small flats, where very little space is available to dry their clothes. In many of complexes, people are asked not to dry their clothes outside on a cloth line just because it gives an indecent look to the entrance complex.

They tie clothesline on the upper level of the balcony from the ceiling or on walls, or they just use the hand railings of the balcony or tie some strings on the hang railing for the same. In the absence of good design solutions, such crude devices have led to fatal accidents with people falling from the balconies claiming lives frequently.

Courtesy - everydayminimalist

Hence, drying clothes indoors is a major burning problem, especially in India and South East Asia.

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Further, normally during cold climate, clothes take a long time to dry as the proper sunlight is not available but that will also depend upon humidity present. It depends on the location where you live. Also, drying clothes outside the house takes a longer time to dry. That means you need drying clothes indoors. There are two major options, hanging them up or use the mechanical dryer.

For example, In North India, during the snowfall, people cannot hang their clothes outside the house. Hence they dry their clothes inside the house as there is no other option. So it takes a long time to dry the clothes.

Minimum Space Required

For a family of 4 to 5 person considering 6 to 7 garments per person (including small and large), there would be around 25 to 35 garments to dry which needs minimum horizontal space of 30 to 50 ft. in length. One needs 3 to 4 hours of daytime for drying, depending upon the season. Hence for a 10’0” wide balcony, you need to tie minimum two and preferably three rows of strings at 8” to 12” apart.

Unfortunately, this challenge has remained unattended by even architects and builders. Hence people and most housewives have found out their own indigenously-developed devices including very crude devices in the absence of designed ones.

Drying clothes problem is thus big headache for the homemakers. This problem is more prevalent during monsoon season, particularly when it rains continuously for 2 to 3 days. The architects and designers need to find better solutions or builders need to provide space for it for solving this problem which will ultimately satisfy the housewife. Hence, this is the critical problem and a big headache for homemaker but the right user-friendly solution is still not found and search continues. However here at gharpedia, we have linked and compiled various solutions which have been adopted at one or other place. We hope one of them might be suitable for you. You may therefore refer “Tips for Drying Clothes Indoors”.

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