How to Use an American Dryer In Europe

If you're American and moving to Europe, you may be interested to know something about using American clothes dryers over here. There are many, many differences between the US and the EU in terms of day to day routines, and I was able to adjust to all of them -- except the part about not using a clothes dryer. You see, Europeans tend to line dry all of their clothing (even in the winter, when they use a drying rack inside their homes or in their cellars) and then iron them. Americans may iron, but they tend to use clothing dryers first. There are some combo washer/dryer things over here (not stacked, but in one unit: it washes and then it dries) but in my experience they are crap and just give you hot, wet clothes. Fortunately, there are American style clothes dryers for sale all across Europe for very reasonable prices, though there aren't typically a lot of models to choose from. But hey, what they've got is perfectly fine -- you just need to know how to use them effectively. Read on to learn how.

1. Where to put it.

Since clothes dryers are not common in Europe, there isn't going to be a special place in your flat or house with a vent to the outdoors. This means you're going to need to situate your dryer near a window that has an outlet close by. If you've got a winter garden (closed-in balcony) then this would be pretty ideal, but if you haven't got that you can just stick it near a window, which is what I've always done.

2. What you need.

You will need a long exhaust hose thing. By this I mean the slinky looking hose that the hot air passes through. Connect this to your dryer and then hang the hose out the window when it's in use and it will work perfectly. Note that you may need to combine two hoses together in order to get it long enough to hang out the window.

3. Things to be aware of:

  • Most dyers have reversible doors so if you've got the perfect corner but wouldn't be able to open the door from that position, simply remove the door and pop it back on the opposite way. This is very easy to do, just read the instructions in the manual.

  • Lint will travel through the exhaust hose along with the steam. For this reason you may want to consider putting a mesh cover over the end the hose to collect the bits. But if you do this, make sure you clean it on a regular basis, as you don't want to clog the hose up and defeat the purpose of having it to begin with.

  • Do NOT connect the hose the exhaust fan in your bathroom (if you've got one). I did this in the first flat I had the dyer in and my then-landlord thought the bathroom exhaust fan/pipe thing was the most logical place for it. Not: We hadn't considered the lint build up and the fan quickly became filthy and icky and man, was that a PITA to clean. That, and it just didn't work well to begin with -- the bathroom was always steamy when the dryer was in use and the clothes took a long time to dry. Once I moved it to a window location, it worked like you'd expect it to.

  • Mind the shrinkage! For some reason, European clothes shrink more often in the dryer. Seriously, I've had to stop wearing several pairs of jeans because they shrunk so much and couldn't be stretched back out. So if you use your dryer, check the labels of your European clothing carefully.

Image: Mantas Ruzveltas / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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