There’s nothing better than the smell of clean linens dried on a clothesline. But in most areas, this delightful sensation can only be experienced in the summertime.
In contrasts, clothes dried inside in the winter time tend to have an almost moldy smell. And not without good reason: drying clothes inside makes your home more humid, which is exactly the kind of environment in which mold and other fungi thrive.
Scientists in England have actually studied the phenomena, which is known to cause respiratory infection throughout the country.
The Hidden Dangers
As your clothes dry on a drying rack or over your radiator, water evaporates and makes the air in your home more humid. Since a load of wet clothes contains almost two liters of water, drying it indoors can actually increase the humidity in your home by 30% (1).
This extra moisture creates ideal breeding conditions for mold spores and dust mites, which can cause respiratory discomfort and infection, especially in people suffering from asthma, allergies or hypersensitivity to allergens (2).
What Science Is Saying
Professor David Denning and his team at the National Aspergillosis Centre in Manchester told the Daily Mail this habit is the leading cause of patients being treated for having inhaled Aspergillus fungal spores (3).
Professor Denning said: “Most of us are either immune to the fungus which grows in these humid conditions, or have a sufficiently healthy system to fight the infection.”
“But in asthma sufferers it can produce coughing and wheeziness, and in people with weak or damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, AIDS patients and people who have an auto immune disease, the fungus can cause pulmonary aspergillosis – a condition which can cause irreparable, and sometime fatal, damage to the lungs and sinuses.”