Why you should never dry your clothes indoors

Publish Date
Friday, 9 June 2017, 12:50PM

At this time of year, racks of drying clothes can feel like permanent fixtures around our homes. And while you may feel like it's a better option than constantly running your dryer or risking whole loads being sodden on a line outside, an expert has revealed it could be affecting our health.

According to Nick Osborne, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health at the University of NSW, drying clothes indoors creates a breeding ground for mould and dust mites, organisms which love moisture and will proliferate in damp spaces.

Speaking to Kidspot.com.au, Osborne also said for people with asthma, being around drying clothes in a confined space can trigger or exacerbate symptoms.

Dr Christine Cowie, a senior research fellow with the University of NSW, echoed Osborne's claims:

"From a health perspective ... many biological agents are found indoors and they usually thrive on dampness and inadequate ventilation. They have found that dampness itself has been a good indicator of risk of asthma and respiratory symptoms. There are other studies that show inhalation of fungal spores ... are linked to allergic sensitisation and asthma," she said.

On top of wet washing indoors, Osborne said winter time often sees wet coats being brought inside and people spending more time in their homes.

"... add to that showers and cooking steam. If a house isn't correctly ventilated moisture builds up inside and will condensate on windows and in walls," he said.

Reducing moisture

Dr Osborne's top tips for minimising dampness in your home.

We tend to cook more hot meals in the winter months. Remember to always turn on the extractor fan.

Reconsider where you're storing wet weather gear - is there somewhere like a garage or verandah you could hang your coat and keep umbrellas?

If you are using your dryer, make sure it's vented to an external point.

For pet owners, try to dry your animals off if they've gotten wet outside.

Modern houses are often tightly sealed with double glazing on windows and blocked off chimneys, all of which can add to the potential for a home to be damp. Take every opportunity to ventilate your house and keep it warm.

This article was first published on NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.