Sunday, November 4, 2012

Frozen Clothes

 With the cooler temperatures, it is getting trickier and trickier to get my laundry done. I watch the weather closely to see what days are warmest and what ones have the least wind. It doesn't work to hang out clothes when the wind is blowing 35 to 40 miles an hour. My clothes might end up at the neighbors.

To get three loads done, which is what my clothes line will hold, I have to have the clothes washed the night before and put them out at first light to get them dry by evening.

Our drier has been broken since June and Kirk and I have been too busy to get around to take it apart to check, if for sure, it is just the heating element. With the calendar still booked, I might yet figure out an old questions I've had for years. Do clothes dry more quickly if frozen?

I remember my mom sprinkling her ironing with a pop bottle that had a contraption in the top, a cork with a metal piece that had lots of holes in it.  Then she would stuff the clothes in a clear plastic bag and place them into the freezer. When she got around it, she'd iron. This method helped to smooth out the wrinkles more effectively than ironing alone but she never hung clothes out in freezing cold weather.
I've read of the pioneers hanging out their wash in the winter, they froze, and then they brought them in to dry. Sounds like a lot of work to do a load of laundry. I can't help but wonder how in the world they kept up with a baby and all those cloth diapers. A heated basement in this instance would be a big plus. 
I've been in a position before where I had to dry clothes on my two collapsible clothes racks in front of our basement free standing stove but it hasn't been cold enough to keep our stove going. I'm wondering if I'm going to have to start doing a load at a time and hanging them on the racks to slowly dry in our cool basement. Surely it isn't colder down there than outside. But I can't even do a full load at a time.  
This has my brain whirling, you know how it works. I can't help wondering about hanging clothes out in the freezing weather and drying inside. I bet the wrinkles disappear just like when mom use to freezer her ironing. Once at least I've got to try hanging clothes outside to freeze and then dry inside just to see what happens.
 One Internet site said since water freezes it stretches the fibers in clothes. Wonder if they spring back or just stay stretched? You know how hanging jeans on the line leaves them larger than those thrown in the dryer. Would frozen jeans be even larger? Not a bad idea for those who have to lay on the bed to get the zipper up.
A step further is drying clothes in freezing cold weather. It's possible I guess. The process is called sublimation, frozen water molecules go from ice to gas, floating away. We have dry air most of the year but in many areas of the USA, the air is dryer in the winter than in the summer and hence the clothes dry faster. Icicles have pressure that is low but pressure in the air is even lower when dry, drawing the moisture away from the clothes. A breeze can speed up this process.
So would the clothes dry faster frozen and then brought in to dry on a rack or left outside to dry frozen?
Some of you are wondering why this is even important, after all we have electric and gas driers? But if the shortage of electricity happens, like they are expecting in the future, we could be looking to save energy cost any way we can. Some of you might already be there because of your economic situation.