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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Contributor
November 08, 2012

Laundry Story: Drying Clothes Indoors May Cause Health Issues

Drying your laundry indoors may sound practical during the rainy season, but a new study says that it may not be practical for your health. By Charlene J. Owen

In a country where condo-dwellers don’t have access to rooftop clotheslines and typhoons come to visit no less than seven times a year, it’s become a norm to hang your newly-washed clothes indoors in the oddest places: in the middle of the living room, in front of a constantly running electric fan, and even at the back of a refrigerator. Although these common practices do get your laundry dry (albeit slightly smelly), doing them could prove to be unhealthy.

According to a three-year study by researchers from the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit (MEARU) at The Glasgow School of Art featured in, drying clothes indoors may cause various health risks, as this could increase the moisture in a room, making it more ideal for bacteria, mold spores, and dust mites to propagate. Such conditions may trigger wheezing spells for individuals who have asthma.

Fabric softener is often used to overpower the weird kulob smell given off by clothes dried indoors, but this could prove to be even more dangerous, as doing so may increase the amount of cancer-causing chemicals in the air.

If you really have no other choice but to hang your laundry inside your home, always make sure that the area you’re putting them in is sufficiently ventilated. Open a window if you can, so that moisture wouldn’t build up as much. Also, lessen your use of fabric softener to avoid inhaling harmful air particles as your clothes dry. Being practical about your laundry won’t only give you sparkly-clean, advertisement-worthy clothes, but you’ll also keep yourself and your family healthy.

(Photo by Lili Vieira de Carvalho via Flickr Creative Commons)

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