Drying laundry indoors – what is allowed?


As a tenant, you do not always have the possibility to hang up your laundry in a drying room. And given that rented apartments do not always include a balcony or garden, the tenant sometimes has no other option than to hang up damp laundry in the apartment to dry. But are they even allowed to do that? And what are the health risks and moisture-related damages when drying laundry indoors?

Drying laundry indoors – what is allowed?
Drying laundry indoors – what are your rights as a tenant? (Source: pixabay.com)

The legal situation

Swiss tenancy law does not generally prohibit the drying of laundry in apartments. So it’s completely fine to put up a medium-sized clothes horse in your apartment once or twice a week. But you should be aware that hanging up damp laundry increases the humidity in the room by around 30%. The condensation on the windows and walls resulting from the humidity makes an ideal breeding ground for mould, which may then lead to breathing difficulties and allergies. Furthermore, as the tenant, you must pay for any damages arising from the build-up of mould caused by your actions. To prevent this from happening to you when hanging up laundry in your apartment, and to also avoid the potential negative impact on your health and finances, you should keep a few things in mind.

How to dry laundry indoors the right way

As a general rule, you should place the clothes horse in a heated room, as only warm air can absorb the moisture in the wet laundry. When drying laundry, make sure you properly ventilate the apartment several times a day – this means fully opening each window for a short period. It is the best way to let the resulting moist air escape and prevent the build-up of mould. You can also open the windows in other rooms, creating a draught which will help lower humidity levels even faster.

Dehumidifiers for mould in apartments

Dehumidifiers are another way to prevent the build-up of mould when drying your laundry in your apartment.  These appliances remove excess moisture from the air that is released by drying, collecting it in a tank that can then be emptied easily. However, appliances like these are often energy guzzlers. So always enquire about modern and energy-efficient appliances. Cutting-edge devices are also very quiet and switch off automatically when the tank is full.

In order to check throughout the entire process whether your actions are effective, you can measure the humidity level in your apartment using a device called a hygrometer. This way, you can determine whether the apartment is too humid and there is a risk of mould forming. Ideally, indoor humidity levels should be between 40 and 60%. And for those who do not want the help of a new appliance, there are now even hygrometer apps available that allow you to measure humidity levels with your smartphone.

Drying laundry indoors – what is allowed?
Laundry dries outside even in winter (Source: CC0/Pixabay/mrkazoo)

Drying laundry outside in winter

Does your apartment building have a laundry area or a garden? If so, you can hang up your laundry there without any problems. But did you know that you can also do this in winter? It works really well if it is cold or frosty outside. The water in the laundry freezes in seconds at sub-zero temperatures. It then transforms from a frozen state directly into a gaseous state – in other words, it evaporates – and the laundry dries. It will dry even faster if a brisk wind is also blowing.

Incidentally: laundry dries quicker in winter than in summer, as in summer the air is often humid. The humid air is much worse at absorbing the moisture in the laundry compared to dry winter air, which results in its taking longer for the moisture to leave the laundry.