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17 January 2022

Are Washer Dryers Any Good?

They might not be the most energy efficient way to dry clothes, but when you have a family a tumble dryer is a huge help for keeping on top of the clothes washing. If you don't have a big kitchen or utility room you might be considering a combined washer dryer to save on space, but are they any good?


A close up of a washer dryer talking about if they are any good
Washer dryers are a good space saver but are they any good?

When we moved into this house I had to choose between a tumble dryer or a dishwasher. I hate washing up so the dishwasher was essential and I compromised with a combined washer dryer for clothes. Lots of people have issues with washer dryers, and I understand why, but I have no regrets with getting one. 


The Disadvantages Of Washer Dryers


Do Washer Dryers Take Longer To Dry Clothes? 


Having your tumble dryer combined with your washing machine obviously means it takes longer to get through the washing. If you have separate machines you can take clothes out of the washing machine, put them into the dryer and then put another load on to wash. When they are combined you have to choose to either put the clothes on a drying cycle or to put on another load of washing.

A lot of people complain that their washer dryers take a lot longer to dry clothes than when they have used a separate dryer, but I think this is a combination of some models not being very good and people not using them properly. To dry clothes a dryer needs plenty of space to move the clothes around so it is really important not to overfill the drum. Washer dryers will have 2 capacities shown on them, the first larger weight is how much they can wash, the second smaller number will be how much they can dry. We have a large capacity machine and it can wash 10kg of clothes in one go, but only dry 6kg. That's a big difference. If I put on a large wash load I take out part of it after the spin so it can dry more efficiently. If you have a smaller capacity machine the amount of clothes it can dry at once might be surprisingly small.


Checking On Clothes Mid Cycle

Any homes where I had a separate dryer I have been able to open the door mid way through the cycle to check on the clothes, add things etc. With most washer dryers I have used the door is locked during the cycle and you can’t normally open it mid cycle. Honestly this is the only thing I miss about not having a dryer and it's not a big issue.


Our Washer Dryer

The first washer dryer I bought was by Hoover. It lasted about 5 years and after a whole string of issues we decided to replace it, but I had never been very impressed with the drying aspect because the cycle time was really long. Our newer machine which we have had for about a year is an Bosch Serie 6 and I regularly use the drying cycles. It’s shortest cycle for drying is 1 hr 30, although it automatically reduces that if there isn’t much in there. For a big armload of drying it’s all done in that time, although if there are thick waistbands like on my son’s tracksuit bottoms those can still be damp. I tend to just put them over an airer to finish them off. 

I sometimes use the cycles where it goes straight from the wash to the drying, but normally I run them separately because there will be items I don’t want to tumble dry. On the fastest spin cycles I find some of the clothes are stuck to the edge of the machine after a wash (because it spins so fast) so I make sure everything is loose before putting a drying cycle on.


Tips For Drying Clothes Faster In A Washer Dryer

  • If the clothes feel fairly damp after the wash cycle finishes put them on for a fast spin. A spin can take just a few minutes and it will remove excess water quicker than the dryer.
  • Don’t overfill the machine, the clothes need plenty of space to move around.
  • Use dryer balls (affiliate link). These help move the clothes around more, separating them, making them softer and reducing the drying time.
  • Half way through (if your machine allows you to open the door mid cyle) try putting in a damp tea towel. For some reason this seems to speed up the overall drying time and the steam helps to reduce creases
  • Aim to always take clothes out while they are still warm. Fold them or hang them over a chair if you are in a hurry and it will save you from needing to iron. I get away with never ironing the children's school clothes this way. 

If you prefer to dry clothes without using a tumble dryer, then this post shares the fastest ways to dry clothes inside.

Are washer dryers any good?


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