It’s one of the worst parts of living in a flat – having limited space to dry your washing, meaning your living room looks like a makeshift launderette for the entire winter. So imagine my delight when, on a regular Saturday trip to Aldi, I spotted a heated clothes horse on sale for just £28.99.
The clothes horse plugs into the wall to heat 20 separate bars, designed to speed up the drying process indoors and eliminate trips to and from your outdoor washing line (if you’re lucky enough to have one).
The product has been the talk of the town this week, with people on social media saying it “looks like a game-changer”. But having used it for the past three weeks, I’m sad to report it’s not the revolutionary product of dreams.
Sure, the heated bars may speed up the process a little, but even small items like a sock take more than a day to dry. Each bar only heats a very thin line on each garment and as a result, you have to nudge your clothes inch by inch across the rack throughout the day to get any significant benefit – not exactly ideal if you’ve bought the product to save time and effort.
Some of the more expensive drying racks from other retailers come complete with a cover that secures over the airer, trapping hot air inside for better drying capabilities.
A Mumsnet thread enlightened me to the fact that people throw a sheet (or even a duvet!) over cheaper, coverless versions to form a make-shift tent. I tried this and while it does increase the heat significantly, I couldn’t relax through fear I’d created one big fire hazard.
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By making the rack hotter than it’s designed to go, I also struggled to turn it off again. The on/off switch is nestled under the side racks with another hot bar underneath and in my clumsy haste, I brushed my hand against one of the bars – enough to make me draw back in shock like touching a hot radiator.
In its product description, Aldi emphasises that the product is intentionally lightweight for easy storage, but that’s not always a good thing. On one dry day, I decided to put the (unplugged) airer outside the back door in our shared garden to save electricity and dry my clothes the old fashioned way. Within five minutes the flimsy airer had been thrown across the garden by a gust of wind, sending my knickers hurtling towards a neighbour’s window in the process.
The lightweight feature also made me wonder how suitable the airer would be in a house with young children running around, or even pets – you wouldn’t want the heated bars falling on them, so I’d strongly recommend using with caution.
After seeing the hype online, I started to wonder if I was alone in being underwhelmed by the product. But a quick search on Aldi’s site shows that while there are many good reviews, there are also a lot of people on my wavelength.
To be fair to Aldi, this product comes in at under £30, which is less than half the price of some of its counterparts from other retailers. It may have failed to dry my washing much faster than a regular clothes airer or the radiator, but it does gently warm a cold living room and is significantly cheaper than a tumble dryer.
If you’re sick and tired of having wet washing about, give it a go, by all means. You can purchase the Aldi £28.99 heated clothes airer here.
Just don’t expect miracles.
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