A study carried out in the United Kingdom indicates that drying our clothes inside the house could cause problems for those at risk of asthma, rhinitis and other types of allergies.

Recent research found that many homes had excessive levels of indoor humidity. It was found that up to a third of the humidity was caused by the drying of washed clothes.

This moisture was linked to the formation of mold spores and dust mites that can be a health risk.

Why drying clothes indoors can affect our health and cause allergies?

The study looked at clothes drying habits across a wide demographic area of ​​Scotland with a mix of residents, where detailed analyzes were made of air quality and energy consumption related to clothes drying habits.

Scientists found that 87% of homes dried laundry indoors during the colder months.

When visiting the homes it was found that they were drying their clothes in the living room or in their rooms.

A total of 75% of the homes studied, built in varied styles, had humidity levels that can lead to the development of dust mites.

A strong association was also found between the drying of clothes and the formation of mold spores.

A particular spore, known to cause lung infections in people with weakened immune systems, was found to be present in 25% of the households tested. All types of houses investigated lacked adequate space to dry clothes.

Automatic clothes dryers are a solution to this problem, but the cost and energy consumption of these machines is very high for many people.

Released spores and allergy problems

The Asthma Society of Ireland , through Pheena Kenny has issued a warning in this regard:

Humid environments encourage the growth of mold that can release ‘seeds’ called spores; spores can cause allergic reactions in some people. Mold and fungal spores are often invisible to the naked eye.

Normally, when people breathe in these spores, their immune system helps eliminate them by coughing or sneezing. If you are not sensitive to mold, you may never experience a reaction. But for some people with asthma who are sensitive to mold spores, it can act as a trigger and make asthma symptoms worse.

Kenny explains that the Aspergillus fumigatus spore can cause lung infections.

However, it is not only asthma sufferers who are at risk: the elderly, infants and children, those with eczema, and people with weak immune systems should also heed the advice.

So how to wash clothes so as not to affect health?

Whenever possible, wash and dry your clothes outdoors or in a tumble dryer in a well-ventilated indoor space, away from bedrooms and living areas.

Mold and spores can grow in warm, humid places like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Therefore, the great importance of paying attention to spaces without good ventilation, and failing that, use dehumidifiers to try to remove the fungus.

  1. Wash mold off surfaces like walls and other surfaces with a mixture of water, vinegar, and soap.
  2. Don’t store clothes in damp closets or store them too tightly in closets.
  3. Open windows as often as possible to keep your home well ventilated, especially after showers, cleaning, cooking, and using the dishwasher, if you have one.

It is best to build houses with special areas dedicated to drying clothes to avoid health problems, or failing that, dry clothes outdoors.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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