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Maximising Efficiency: Using your air conditioner to dry clothes

Doing the laundry can feel costly when looking at the running costs of our larger appliances. To add to this, in the colder and damper months, it is not always possible to leave the clothes outside to dry naturally. A tumble dryer is a popular choice but with concerns over energy usage, we are often looking for a cheaper alternative. One alternative is an air conditioner. Whilst not designed to dry clothes, they can be quite effective.  

How do air conditioners dry clothes?

Air conditioners can help to dry clothes through their ability to remove moisture from the air. As it conditions the air, it can begin a dehumidifying process whereby the appliance condenses the air into water droplets and capture or expel. As this process continues, the air will absorb moisture from the clothing, which the air conditioner continues to remove. This dries the clothing as the air circulates in the room. This contrasts with more traditional methods of drying which involve heating the clothing up to increase the rate at which the water evaporates. 

What are the benefits of using an air conditioner for clothes drying in the home?

So, we know how air conditioners can dry clothes, but why would we choose this method? Here are the top benefits of this method: 

  • Energy efficiency: Firstly, using an air conditioner, rather than a large appliance like a tumble dryer, is more cost effective to run. This is because they require less energy to run which translates into savings on your energy bills. 
  • Quick drying times: Air conditioners can provide quick drying times as the moisture is removed from the air rapidly.  
  • Reduction of moisture inside the house – this can greatly improve comfort levels in your house and reduce the chance of damp or mould building up when drying clothes inside. 
  • Drying all year round: Using an air conditioner allows you to dry the clothes indoors without needing to check the weather forecast. This means you don’t need to put off drying your clothes because of a rainy day. 
  • Convenience: Drying indoors with an air conditioner is more convenient for those who do not wish to monitor outdoor drying or waiting for their tumble dryer cycle to finish. 
  • Reduced wear and tear on clothes: Over time, the cycles we put our clothes on via our tumble dryers can contribute to wear and tear. Air drying with an air conditioner can reduce this risk and help to increase the lifespan of your clothes.

Getting the best drying results from your air conditioner

To get the best drying results, there are some simple steps you can take: 

  • Optimise settings: If your air conditioner has specific dehumidifying settings, then choose this to dehumidify the air. If it doesn’t, then choose the maximum settings for the appliance to circulate the air. 
  • Take advantage of positioning: You should position your clothes on an airer and keep the air conditioner in an open space in the desired room so that the air can flow effectively. 
  • Rotate clothing: Throughout the drying process, rotate the items of clothing periodically so that they receive exposure to air flow. This will ensure that all surfaces of the clothes will dry. 
  • Regularly maintain: Cleaning the air filter and vents play a part in the performance of your air conditioner as a build-up of dirt and debris can block the air flow and blow out dirt particles. Clean frequently to remove blockages and allow the appliance to circulate effectively.  


By using your air conditioner as an alternative method of drying clothes, you can benefit from reduced costs, energy consumption and convenience of drying when you like.