Do you Really Need a Dryer?

I don't have a dryer, and I don't miss it.

Tumble dryers for clothing are rare in Europe. They never bit on the 1950's "Leave it to Beaver" style mentality that made the dryer an essential component of a complete household in the U.S. In Berlin, where I live, most apartments have washers -- but no dryers. Without one, I save both space and a chunk out of my electric bill.

That's right, dryers are such energy guzzlers Energy Star doesn't even bother giving them a rating and the Department of Energy says they are the #2 household energy consumer. woman with dryer photo

Dryers can also be dangerous. You are adding heat to flammable materials after all. In 1998, clothes dryers were associated with 15,600 fires, which resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Yes, some low energy models, like the Dryer Miser are coming out, but nothing beats the line-dry.

If you are lucky enough to have a line outside, sheets fold up crisp and smelling like what all those air freshener companies fail to reproduce: fresh air. Unfortunately, some areas actually restrict clothing lines.

I have a fold-away rack for hanging clothes. I add a little fabric softener to my wash (Ecover is a good choice) and clothing folds up soft and wrinkle-free. In the winter, the drying process becomes a natural humidifier. Another perk: virtually no static.

Part of getting the eco-lifestyle down, is re-examining things incorporated in daily life, as TreeHugger founder Graham Hill reminds us. In this case, as in many, giving up is not about sacrifice.

Do you line-dry? Please comment below!

Photo: Popperfoto/Getty Images.