Indoor clothes drying: High-quality racks make it easy to be green

You can tell a lot about a society by the quality of indoor clothes drying racks it offers for sale. When you’ve got a population seriously committed to household conservation and energy efficiency, you’ll find excellent drying racks in stores everywhere. But when you’ve got a society that’s largely ignorant of the hidden costs of running every wet article of clothing through a power-gobbling dryer, you’ll find stores littered with $49.98 drying racks that bend, break and collapse.

Sadly, over the last four or five decades, Canada has become a cheap drying rack kind of place, though I think this is beginning to change, thanks to the internet.

Power-gobbling dryers

No other domestic appliance in your home uses more electricity per hour of operation than a dryer. You can run a 40-watt incandescent light bulb for more than 130 hours on the electricity consumed during just one 45-minute drying cycle. Over-consumption of electricity is not only financially expensive for each of us as individuals, but it also has to be generated somehow. Electricity is great, but the more economical our energy use, the better.


High-quality drying racks

If availability of high-quality drying racks is any indication, perhaps our homegrown addiction to dryer over-use may finally be over. One reason I’m hopeful is the Swiss-made drying racks that have been quietly refined and perfected in the land of the Alps for the last 75-plus years. They’re impressive, effective and promise to bring a whole new level of legitimacy to the practice of indoor clothes drying.

The brand we’ve been using for decades at my house is called Stewis, and you’ll find these drying racks in hotels, homes and institutions all across Europe. Stewis offer some of the best drying racks in the world, and when you consider what they deliver, the prices are surprisingly good, too.

All this is great news to me because, over the years, I’ve been searching for good clothes drying racks. And I’ve come up short many times.


Observant visitors to my house years ago would no-doubt have noticed two decrepit indoor clothes drying racks bandaged with every conceivable method of repair. Broken rungs have been welded, tie-wrapped, taped and replaced with pieces of 5/16-inch dowel. The way I figure it, what’s the point in buying a new piece of junk for $50 (destined to break in a week anyway) when I can fix the old junk for free?

Thankfully, our junk racks have long been recycled, replaced with a couple of cool Stewis that make me feel great just looking at them. We certainly use our outdoor clothesline whenever weather permits, but when it’s cold and wet outside, these indoor racks take up the slack quite nicely.


The model we use for bathroom towels is similar in shape to the scissor-legged basket-case we tolerated for years, except that the Swiss model:

  • Is infinitely stronger
  • The rack area expands and contracts in length, depending on how much hanging room you need.
  • Is better designed. The biggest difference between our old rack and this one is the design of the hanging rungs themselves. Instead of flimsy, breakage-prone, spot-welded steel rods, ours (called the Combi Maxi) uses rigid, corrosion-proof rungs anchored directly into tubular aluminum cross members.

One quick look and you’ve got to ask yourself if there’s anything that the Swiss don’t take seriously.


It’s not just durability that continues to impress me about the Stewis line, it’s also design. The company offers elegant, space-saving, ceiling-mounted racks. My favourite is called the Lift — simply release a cord and the drying frame drops down about 3½ feet. Clip your wet clothes on the rack, then pull the cord again and the whole thing rises to ceiling height, keeping the floor area clear.

When I think about how good indoor drying racks make it so much easier to minimize dryer use, I’m reminded that many of our environmentally expensive habits would be easier to kick if we just had elegant, frugal (and preferably cool) alternatives.


And while indoor drying racks aren’t going to completely reconfigure our electrical system, isn’t it still true that every little bit helps?


About the Author

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell has been helping Canadians with home improvement, gardening and hands-on living since 1988. Visit for videos, stories and inspiration.



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