Most definitely. Quite easily. In fact, take that dryer and list it on Freecycle right now, you don’t need it for anything!
(Sorry, letting my rabid greenie tendencies come through there. I’ll pull my head in)
But anyway, it is more than doable to use cloth without a dryer. It is the preferred method-the sun sanitises your nappies, the fresh air leaves them smelling great, and line-drying is free and non-polluting. I have never owned a dryer, nor lived in a house with one. People told me i’d need one when we moved to Cairns, I wouldn’t be able to get by without one in Tasmania, etc etc, but it’s never become a necessity. So, ignore the modern opinion that a dryer is a must-have and a time-saver (because the little you save in time you pay for in buying the dryer, increased power bills at around $1 per load, and a shorter lifespan of your nappies). Plus, seeing nappies hanging on your clothesline flapping gently in the breeze brings a strange sort of satisfaction-and it’s not just crazy me, it’s a common feeling!
So, how to prepare for it, or wean yourself from it?
1. Don’t buy silly nappies-If it has six built-in absorbent layers, it will not air dry. Maybe if you live in Alice Springs, but even then it’ll probably get smelly pretty soon. These are dryer nappies, and unless you want to dry them every time, don’t buy them. Personally I stick to less than three layers of bamboo, and less than four of hemp. Plus I make sure that only one layer (the inner or the outer) is stay-dry or waterproof. I distrust nappies that are expected to wash clean and dry completely when the absorbency is encased by PUL on one side and microfleece on the other. Basically, the quicker they’ll dry, the better-think pockets and trifolds, fitteds with added boosters etc.
2. Have enough nappies-If you have just enough nappies to get by, you’ll get caught out. Not using your dryer does not mean using way more disposables to make up the difference! This doesn’t necessarily mean a huge cost-terry squares as your back-up are more than acceptable (and dry really fast!)
4. Have sufficient drying space-A clothesline in the backyard and a clothes horse for inside should be ample. If you have the space, a compact clothesline in an undercover area is fantastic-no more racing out at the first sign of rain to wrench everything off the line. And these things below save lots of time pegging up wipes and skinny inserts-i’m not sure what they’re called but we bought ours from IKEA.
Drying by climate
After living in humid Cairns, the cold and soggy Dandenongs and Mount Gambier, subtropical Queensland and frosty, windy Tasmania, plus not being able to kick the travelling bug, I think I have virtually every climate in this country covered by personal experience.
Desert-No problems at all there, except them getting dusty! When camping in the centre we would hang everything out in the evening, dripping wet, and get it off in the morning bone dry. With the added bonus of greening up the grass below.
Tropics-Undercover drying is a must in wet season, with regular rain. I used to let them dry outside, then spread them out on my bed under the ceiling fan for an hour or so to take the tacky feeling from them (and if a child is having a nap at the same time, that’s no extra power). Dry season doesn’t require anything special.
Subtropics-Strangely enough, this can be the hardest. There’s quite a few days during summer that are overcast and not especially warm, but with high humidity. The days when you hang your clothes out, and 12 hours later they don’t feel any drier. But there’s always sunny days between-try to stick to them, and make sure you have lots of quick drying nappies such as terry flats or pockets. Again, if the ceiling fan is on, use it. We used to get a decent breeze under our highset so strung up lines under the house to catch it.
Temperate/Cold-Take advantage of your heating! Generally, you only have problems drying nappies when it’s cold, and when it’s cold you have heating on. If you have ducted heating place your clothes horse over the top and throw a sheet over the top that drapes to the ground-they’ll be dry in a couple of hours. Invest in a clothesline that hangs from the ceiling and can be raised and lowered, taking advantage of the hotter ceiling air while taking up no room. On sunny days I take advantage of heat sinks, like the brick wall and concrete below, to reflect more heat and reduce drying time.
I think that about covers my tips-if you have any questions or anything helpful to add, please feel free!