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6 money-saving tips for using your dryer

When line drying isn't an option, here's how to use your clothes dryer without breaking the bank.

clothes dryer and wallet with money
Last updated: 18 April 2024

Whether it's persistent cold and damp weather or a late-night laundry emergency, you can't always dry your washing effectively the good old-fashioned way. When it's just too wet, too chilly or too late to hang your clothes on the washing line, you'll need to bite the bullet and use your clothes dryer.

But if you're concerned about the cost to your wallet or the cost to the environment, here are six ways to use your dryer more efficiently.

1. Air dry your clothes wherever possible

Clothes dryers use a lot of energy to run, but sunlight is free. Even if it's raining, can you find a dry spot to pop your laundry on a drying rack?

The drier you can get your laundry before putting it in the clothes dryer, the less time you'll need to run it for, which is better for the environment and your energy bills.

If you have solar, then you can run your dryer without drawing electricity from the grid – which will obviously save you plenty. If it's sunny but too cold outside for your laundry to dry quickly, run your dryer during the day to capitalise on the sunshine. 

If you have a battery you're not limited by daylight but you'll still save money on your power bills, even if you need to use your dryer.

lint filter from clothes dryer

Clean your lint filter after every load so your dryer runs at maximum efficiency.

2. Keep your lint filter clean

Cleaning the lint filter can be annoying, but it's an important habit to get into.

A blocked lint filter makes it harder for air to circulate through your clothes, making your dryer less efficient and creating a fire hazard.

Try to clean your dryer's filter after every load.

3. Use the highest spin speed

The more water you can remove from your laundry load, the less time it'll need to spend in the dryer.

Choose the highest spin speed available on your washing machine, or if you're shopping for a new washing machine, look for one with a higher spin speed – this will extract more water so your dryer has less work to do, meaning a shorter drying time and therefore lower energy consumption.

On the flip side, if you're line-drying consider dialling down the spin speed instead. Line drying is free, so it doesn't matter if it takes a little longer, but higher spin speeds can crush the pile of your towels so they'll feel less soft.

Read more about how to keep your towels soft and fluffy.

laundry with open window

Vented dryers perform best with a window or door open.

4. Open a window

If you have a vented dryer, it's going to blow moist air back into the room, increasing the humidity of the air the dryer is sucking in. This means your dryer will have to work harder to dry your clothes, which will cost you more.

Open a window in your laundry space whenever you use your dryer, or use your home's ducting (if it's available).

If you can't vent the air outside, consider a condenser or heat pump dryer. They do cost more to buy, but they won't leave you with water dripping from the ceiling and down the walls.

5. Choose an energy-efficient dryer

If you can't avoid using your dryer, opt for the most efficient one you can find – look for a high energy efficiency score in our dryer reviews.

Or buy a heat pump condenser dryer. These cost more to buy but are cheaper to run, so they can save you money in the long run. The more you use your dryer, the better an option this becomes.

The type and model of dryer you are using can really make a difference to your energy bill. In our dryer reviews, we calculate how much it costs for each dryer to dry a load of washing, and the figures range from 37c per load up to $1.45 per load.

We also calculate the running cost of each appliance over 10 years and the difference ranges from $577 over 10 years to more than $2100. 

dryer balls

We've found that dryer balls don't work, so don't waste your money.

6. Be skeptical of gimmicks

Don't get sucked into paying for gimmicks. Some people will tell you that adding dryer balls to your dryer will reduce the time and energy required to dry your clothes.

We've tested dryer balls and found they just don't work. Save your money and put your time into smarter ways to use your dryer.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.