As winter is coming near, lots of us resort to drying our laundry indoors, draped on drying frames or warm radiators as opposed to hanging it out in rough weather. However, researchers warn that hanging damp clothes indoors can increase moisture levels by 30% in the home, thus creating ideal breeding ground for mold spores.
WHY IS DRYING CLOTHES INDOORS DANGEROUS
A study conducted by Scottish scientists from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, revealed that many homes had dangerous levels of indoor moisture, 30% of which was caused by drying clothes indoors. According to the researchers, three-quarters of the homes surveyed had unsafe moisture levels, which stimulate dust mite growth. The same houses were also found to be at a risk of mold spores growth, which significantly reduces air quality and leads to serious lung issues such as asthma and other allergic conditions.
Experts are particularly worried about Aspergillus fumigatus spores, which can trigger lung infections.
A team from the National Aspergillosis Centre in Manchester, England, led by Professor David Denning, has issued a warning after a growing number of patients who have inhaled Aspergillus fungal spores have required treatment.
According to Prof Denning: “One load of wet washing contains almost two liters of water, which is released into the room.
“Most of us are either immune to the fungus which grows in these humid conditions, or have a sufficiently healthy system to fight the infection.
“But in asthma sufferers it can produce coughing and wheeziness, and in people with weak or damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, Aids patients and people who have an auto immune disease like Craig, the fungus can cause pulmonary aspergillosis – a condition which can cause irreparable, and sometime fatal, damage to the lungs and sinuses.
“My advice would be when in doubt dry wet washing outside, in a tumble dryer or in a well-ventilated indoor space away from bedrooms and living areas to be safe rather than sorry.”
Moreover, people using fabric softeners are exposed to a higher concentration of cancer-causing chemicals, known as acetaldehydes, in their indoor air.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY
First of all, you can start by getting an outdoor clothesline, which is quite easy to fix. Plus, your clothes will smell better if dried outside.
Another thing you can do to prevent mold is to aerate your living space every day, use extractor fans and repair anywhere damp is getting in or remaining. This includes roofs, cracked wall tiles and windows.
Last, but not least, you can always opt for driers. As far as dryers are concerned, your best option is to upgrade your washer to one with faster spin cycles, ideally up to 1800 rotations per minute, and your dryer to one with a moisture sensor, which automatically shuts the dryer off when your clothes are dry, in order to save on energy costs.