If you’ve ever lived in an old house, you’ll be familiar with that musty smell your washing takes on when you’ve been trying to dry it for three days solid.
In the summer, there’s no chance of putting the heating on – it’s far too hot. And with the unreliable British climate, you’re a braver person than I to trust the weather app with hanging your washing outside – as a downpour is tres likely to happen, taking you back to square one.
It’s not something you can instantly tell while viewing a rental, either. “Will my clothes dry within a three-day period?” is not normal estate agent chit-chat. But now I know the signs: high ceilings and single-glazed windows.
For me, it almost (almost) got to the point of not wanting to do my washing, as it was such a faff. First world problems, I know. But clean clothes is a must. Ironing on the other hand, is a task I have no interest in. And thankfully mostly nylon clothes aid me in following this relaxed way of life.
But let’s return to the issue of clothes drying. Even strategically placing the most important items on all radiators around the house and blasting it for a few hours wasn’t enough to get through one load of just two people’s clothes. Small radiators plus annoying pets that pull things off them is not a good mix.
And don’t even get me started on bedsheets. Slung over doors, or half over the backs of chairs and the other half on the radiator was one trick. But this often resulted in soggy wallpaper behind the radiator.
Enter the heated dryer. Before owning one, I thought it was a modcon I didn’t need in my life, let alone have room for in my flat. After feeling sorry for me, my mum offered to buy me one while I was in my late 20s. I politely declined the offer after wondering where on earth we’d put it, seeing as the cupboard under the stairs was full of suitcases, forgotten skateboards, cat paraphernalia, winter coats and other little-used items.
Then my partner’s mum bought us one – apparently it was an issue the family had picked up on. It turns out, behind the sofa was the best storage place for it when not in use, as is the case for many things.
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The Gamechanger: Dry:Soon deluxe 3-tier heated airer and cover bundle
Dimensions when open: 70cm x 74cm x 132.5cm H
Folds to: 8cm deep
When your flat is so cold that you can see your breath while inside, you know there’s an issue. Especially when it doesn’t even really get that cold in south-east England.
Luckily musty clothes will be no more for me. This admittedly rather cumbersome-looking heater is actually a dream to use. All you need to do is fold the horizontal shelves and clip them into the vertical stand, before turning it on. It then proceeds to heat up very quickly.
It comes with a cover that is designed to aid the drying process, but I’ve never really felt the need for it as it’s already much, much quicker than I’m used to.
This can also be used as a storage cover too. But in all honesty, mine is up so often, it was usually only packed away when people came round. And as that’s not happened in a very long time, there’s been little need for that either.
You can fit a decent load of washing on, thanks to its three spacious tiers. My washing machine has a 6kg drum-load capacity, which is usually a few days’/a week’s worth of washing for two people.
King-sized sheets can be draped over the top, while a bottom sheet can lie across the middle and pillowcases on the bottom. So with a little reshuffling every few hours to make sure all corners of the duvet cover are dried, you can dry all the linen for a bed in one go.
I’ve never been a fan of tumble drying for a dislike of that crispy towel effect and the risk of shrinking clothes (I’m clearly doing something wrong on both accounts). And there’s no room in our rented flat either. Lakeland says the heated airer is very cheap to run, apparently 6p an hour. Not that I’ve worked it out, but since having it there’s been little noticeable difference in bills that would warrant not using it. It does make a great alternative to a tumble dryer both in terms of cost and space, and of course it’s far less risky when it comes to potential shrinkages.
If space is a real issue, there are smaller designs, or this one can be half-assembled, so only one side of the shelving is up, making it useful for smaller loads too.
The airer also claims to hold 15kg of wet washing, which sounds an awful lot and I’m not sure I’ve ever put that much on it. But it feels pretty strong – my cat likes to sit on it while it’s full and we’ve not had any issues, bar fluffy clothes.
And if ever you can’t find your cat, rest assured, it will be sprawled out across the middle layer, basking as if it were on a beach sun lounger in Tenerife. Oh, what a life.
This may seem like a lot of money, but considering its endless usefulness, the fact it’s more affordable than most tumble dryers, and a huge space saver compared to one, it’s great for renters or for families with a lot of washing. I’m sure you’ll never go back to a plastic, non-heated airer again.
Buy now £184.98, Lakeland.co.uk
For more game changing products, read our review of the £12 pan lid holders that are perfect for tiny kitchens