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Can You Use a Fan to Dry Clothes?

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For many people, laundry can be a headache, especially when faced with the challenge of having to dry clothes under unfavorable weather such as during the rainy season. Spreading clothes outdoors may not be helpful under these conditions. To keep clothes safe and dry indoors, some may ask: Can you use a fan to dry clothes?

You can use a fan to dry clothes. Drying occurs via the process of evaporation. If the air surrounding the clothes is dry, it absorbs water from the clothes. Fans make this absorption process faster as the moving air diffuses water molecules away from the clothes in the form of water vapor. 

In this article, you will see in more detail how you can successfully dry your clothes with a fan as well as recommendations that will help you achieve your goal faster. Keep on reading to learn more.

Can You Use a Fan to Dry Clothes

How evaporation works and factors affecting it.

In simple terms, evaporation is the conversion of liquids into gases or vapor. With this in mind, let’s consider the factors affecting evaporation and how they play out to keep your clothes dry.

Temperature

As temperature increases, so also does the evaporation rate. This is straightforward. When the sun is out, the temperature is high, and the heat from the sun breaks the bonds that hold water molecules in fabric together. When this happens, there is thermal energy released that leads to molecules jostling about randomly, some with more energy than others.

Those with higher energy, especially the water molecules close to the surface of the fabric, break free of the molecular bond and are released into the air as water vapor. This process continues until all of the water molecules are released into the air. 

Can you use a fan to dry clothes?

This explains how your clothes get dry in the sun. The sun’s heat energizes the water molecules in your clothes, and they get dry as they vapourize.

Humidity

This refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. As water molecules leave the surface of your clothes and move to the air, water molecules in the air also interact with liquid in the air. If water molecules are bumping into the liquid in the air faster than they are leaving your clothes, the air becomes more wet, becoming difficult for clothes to dry. Hence, the lesser the humidity, the faster water evaporates, and your clothes get dry.

Airflow rate

This factor is central to understanding how fans help to keep clothes dry. If, for example, the air is static, water leaving your clothes as vapor will mostly settle near the surface of your clothes as the air is not moving to blow the vapor away. Although there is diffusion taking place, this process is a rather slow one.

The resultant effect of this is that the vapor close to the surface of your clothes eventually bumps into them as the air is fully saturated and cannot hold any more moisture, leading to condensation. This causes the vapor to settle down on the clothes and increases the time it would normally take them to dry.

Can you use a fan to dry clothes?

Obversely, if the air is in motion, the molecules of water already vaporized will be moved away quickly before they get a chance to condense and settle on the clothes’ surface. Thus, with a fan blowing air past the wet fabrics, drying will be hastened up as the fan causes surrounding air to move, making the water vapor to be displaced faster and allowing for more air to diffuse vapor

The takeaway point here is: with higher fan speeds, airflow will speed up evaporation if the new air flowing past the clothes has lower humidity than the air it is displacing. This can help explain why clothes dry faster in breezy and dry conditions than they would in breezy but wet conditions.

Why Using a Fan May Be the Best Way to Dry Your Clothes        

It is important to note that each of the factors listed above can work hand in hand, rather than exclusively when you want to dry your clothes. Thus, while the fastest way to dry laundry is by leaving them outdoors exposed to sunlight, airflow and humidity also play a role. 

This may, however, lead to the question: what is the best way to dry clothes?

The importance of this question cannot be understated. While it is true that leaving clothes outdoors to dry in the sun is effective, it comes with a caveat. 

Can you use a fan to dry clothes?

When fabric is left in the sunlight frequently, it causes the fabric to lose color and hence fade. If you want your fabric to last longer without losing its color, it is advisable to limit its exposure to the sun. This is where using a fan to dry your clothes can come in as a preferable alternative.

A recommended type of fan to use to achieve this is the Amphora Fan, which has great features. Apart from a low power rating of 50W compared with the tumble dryer that consumes 60 times more power, it also gives off low noise and is quite useful for all kinds of weather. In the absence of this, a desk fan can also work as well. 

Here is a useful video link showing how to use a desk fan to dry laundry efficiently, and here is one showing how to dry with an electric fan and a hanger.

Caveat

While using a fan to dry laundry, please ensure that you do so in a place with enough space and good ventilation. 

Remember, humidity is an important factor that contributes to evaporation. This means that if you lock all the windows and doors and attempt to dry your clothes, you will practically have to deal with stale air, which contributes to dampness as well as slows down the drying process due to the saturated environment.

Can you use a fan to dry clothes?

Another important thing to note is that you do not want to dry clothes with a fan on a large scale. 

A few shirts, blouses, trousers, skirts – or any fabric made from light material like nylon or cotton is alright. However, if you try to use a fan to dry a couple of thick blankets, you might have to deal with the accompanying smell of dampness that comes with it as such items of clothing are usually aired outdoors.

Lastly, avoid the temptation to place clothes directly onto the fan. 

Fans are made from electronic parts, which never interact well with water. To avoid any risk of electrocution or malfunctioning of the fan, place the fabrics in front of the fan, never on top of it. Properly shake the garments after washing to drain as much water as you can before drying. 

Summary

Clothes can be dried with a fan through the process of evaporation, which is dependent on three factors:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Airflow rate

To give your garments a longer life, try to dry with a fan when you can, and reduce excessive exposure to sunlight that can cause them to fade. Be sure to keep proper space and ventilation when you do and don’t place your garments directly on the fan but rather in front of it.