The Kids are taking me to the cleaners!

(or the joys of heat and mass transfer for woven and non-woven fabrics versus ambient humidity and air circulation rates)

Who would have thought that kids not only wear clothes but mess those clothes up and those clothes need to be washed and then dried?

We seem to be going through loads of washing these days – loads and loads. 4 pairs of socks, underwear, t-shirts daily. The Master is out of nappies but still not bone dry – so lots of his clothes are getting washed to the point where he has no trousers left some days! It’s all getting a bit too much.

Our house has no practical outdoor space to dry clothes (and we live in Scotland so you hang your clothes on the line to wash them in the rain). And we have a bid problem of drying them.

In Summer, we don’t have the heating on so the radiators are cold – so you can’t dry them there. It can be warm enough to dry them in the house, but there is a limit.

In Winter, the heating is on and clothes can dry, but I have to go round turning over the clothes. Also the humidity can lead to condensation on a skylight window which end up dripping into the house!

In between Summer and Winter, it’s too cold to dry the clothes fast and the radiators aren’t on to dry them there. What can we do?

Our washing machine came with the house and is a sturdy German model which is now 14 years old and except for the mouldy seal, it in good nick. It is supposed to be a washer/dryer but the dryer function seems to be broken. This is a real shame as this would solve a lot of our problems.

I do have an little dehumidifier but it only drys the air not the clothes; meaning that when it is run in the utility room, the clothes are bone dry where exposed to free flowing air and bits that are not remain wet and cold. It’s a nightmare that I wish Bergman, Lavine, Incropera and DeWitt would only help me with! In favour of the dehumidifer, it is relatively low power (150W) and works well plus helps with the condensation problem.

The Lady is thinking that we should get a new washer dryer so that we can debottleneck the drying process. The tightwad in me thinks that we should not but we’ve just had some AirBnB guests come stay and all that washing (4 towels, 2 sets of bed clothes) means an extra load of washing and a lot of drying to be done!

We don’t have space for a separate tumble dryer so we’d need to replace our washing machine. After 14 years of service it’s maybe the right time – but a pound deferred is a penny saved in my mind. New washer dryers are coming in at around £300 – although the search for the right one (second cheapest as always 🙂 ) might take a bit of time – they all want to up sell.


I’m not sure how I should view this decision. I’ve got a few choices:

  1. Turn on the heat, run the dehumidifier and buy a new clothes horse for extra capacity
  2. Buy the new washer/dryer
  3. Buy a second hand washer/dryer
  4. Increase the mean time between washes of our clothes
  5. Do nothing

I don’t think that doing nothing is an option A tumble dryer might save us a lot of time ironing (which we do a lot of). But I don’t like spending money and throwing out a perfectly usable washing machine seems both needless and senseless. There’s also the worry that a new machine doesn’t last as long as 14 years and we end up replacing that one sooner rather than later – so maybe wait until ours gives up the ghost first?

I guess we’ll see what the best thing to do is. Maybe the second hand option is the best one but transport is a concern. It’s all part of the fun family life that we have here.

Thanks for reading to the end, I’ll keep you all posted on this gripping tale!



  1. You’re forgetting to place a premium on that most precious of scarce resources: your time.

    With a washer/dryer you can switch it on as you go to bed, and wake up to a basket full of clean dry clothes.

    Sure they a landlord’s nightmare, breaking down more often than any other appliance. However, £300 every couple of years is a tiny price to pay for an easier life!

    This is one of those “penny wise, pound foolish” situations GFF. Think of it as an investment in your AirBnB business, you can advertise access to a washer/dryer and maybe attract a few more paying guests.


  2. I totally get this. How does a toddler get so muddy?! A dryer doesn’t seem that expensive to me if it’s such a concern. I’ve never had a dryer though. We do option 4. In fact, our washes got a lot easier once we didn’t use cloth nappies. We never iron though! Maybe it’ll be different when our LO starts school. But that certainly adds to the workload. What helps me is I don’t wash my clothes until they look or feel dirty. I prioritise LOs stuff first. We have more clothes for LO so we dont need to waah constantly. As you say, they soon get threadbare anyway so we’re spreading rhe burden! Good luck.


  3. In the heating season we find a rack over the Aga pretty effective. 🙂

    Otherwise we use a tumble dryer or the great outdoors, the GO being effective for five to six months of the year.

    Have you got space to stack a dryer above a washing machine?

    If your car has aircon remember to take plenty of damp clothing on trips with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are perilously close to crossing the line from frugal to cheap. Buy a used drier for a hundred pounds and find a place for it somewhere. Combo washer/driers are unreliable and needlessly complex plus they limit your ability to handle a lot of laundry.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Father of a 10 and 6 year old here. It gets a little better, but a washer dryer, or separates are a necessary evil in my opinion.


  6. I recommend a washer dryer and a three tier heated airer. The washer dryers you show are cheaper than ours was, but that airer is more expensive.


  7. […] The grass is greener… I hope. Maybe the work-life balance is actually a triangle with work-life-money in it. I’m not saying that money is on top – but it’s got to be part of the solution. And doing a stint in a better paid job is a good way to boost our savings (even if it does mean our time become more important and we have to spend more for convenience – like washer-dryer. […]


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