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Episode 2: Hang-drying your Clothes in 99% Humidity

Hang-drying your Clothes in 99% Humidity  
Part 1

An Inexpensive Way of
Reducing your
Drying Time

2 DAYS...

1 or 2 HOURS.

now just tell me that luke martin's comic doesn't say it all. just think of how many times you've waited days for your jeans to dry in the high humidity...

...or how many times you have not waited (and just gone out on the town with soggy pants).

yeah mr. soggy pants.

however, today's story is about pants dry and crispy. as a matter of fact, just last night in my little billa i did laundry and hung my clothes to dry on the drying rack, went out, came home a couple hours later and...
clothes were dry and relatively wrinkle-free.

and in order to share my secrets with the world, let me take you down the trail of my thinking.

what do hot soup, rain puddles, and radiating excessive amounts of body heat have in common?

nothing, actually.  but they each share in a common theme in today's story.

picture it. it's august, it's hot, and it's sticky. my friend john leaves the office in the afternoon heat to pick up some dumplings. he comes back and sits down 2 feet away and i can FEEL his "heat field" radiating onto me. you see, everyone has a heat field, but right now i can actually feel john's affecting my own. fascinating and sick at once.

picture it. it's april and it's raining. sometimes the rain puddles dry up quickly even though there's no sunshine, and other times the puddles stick around for a while. what is up with that? i've even seen puddles dry up over night! when i was young, mr. wowchuk pointed this kind of thing out to me.

picture it. it's november and mama mia that soup is too hot to eat without burning my mouth off.

back to august for a moment. as you now know, each of us has an invisible heat field surrounding us which helps keep us warm. one of the reasons we feel cooler on windy days is because the wind disrupts this invisible blanket of warmth which surrounds us.

this is also partially why your spoonful of hot november soup gets cooler when mom tells you to blow on it before eating it.

"itsa hot, boy-a" i can still hear my ma say.

and it's the same story in april. during those times when the rain stops but the wind is blowing, the puddles dry up in no time (even without sunshine!) because the rushing air disrupts the "humidity field" which looms over a puddle.

you see, this creates free space over the puddle for more water to evaporate into a new humidity field (which the wind then sweeps away... and this allows more free space for evaporation...  which the wind sweeps away, and so on until the puddle is all dried up and the worms get all dark and gross). this is my theory, anyway.

so, you already know what i'm going to say about your wet laundry, don't you?

simply hang your clothes to dry outside on a windy day on your spacious rural property in nebraska...


do it billa style:

선풍기 입니다!

you see friends, just like with john's heat field, there is an invisible field of humidity surrounding your wet clothes. and as you may have experienced, jam-packing a drying rack with wet clothes actually takes longer for them to get dry because each item's humidity fields combine and keep each other wet (just as john and all his sweaty friends stuck together in a room would take a lot longer to cool down as their heat fields combine and keep each other hot). this non-drying effect is only aggravated during humid season. [UPDATE: see part 2 for hang-drying in humid weather.]

but getting your soggies dried is just a matter of using a fan to disrupt the humidity field around your clothes... and wala!

i've been using this fan-drying method for a long time, and it is so effective (and cheap) that i long-ago stopped dreaming about getting a clothes dryer (or lamenting the fact that i can't purchase one here).

just a little bit of downy fabric softener added to the final rinse cycle to get out the wrinkles, hang 'em up, click on the fan, and you're on your way with esso.
it works well to put heavy materials (like denim jeans) or priority items (like that shirt for work this afternoon) closest to the fan.
even if you're only on the peninsula for a few more months, go to the store or market and get yourself a fan for 30,000 won (a mere 25 bucks to ease months worth of burdens). ask your retailer for a 선풍기. you will not regret it.

try it. me and my friends get our stuff dry in a matter of hours (not days), even in august's 99% humidity. clothes, bedding, towels, even blankets!


to be Continued...

Smelly Billa 
why be soggy?

Johnny Random경기도  평택시, 2010
click 'subscribe' to make your billa a happy one!

results may vary depending on anything possible in physics or earth sciences, but it usually works fine.  use at your own risk and never stick your fingers in a fan.

special thanks to luke martin for the comic and stimulating interaction. check out the rest of luke's stuff at ROKetship.com. in a word, it is clever, succinct, and very telling of our experiences as expats here. kudos to luke on his skillful use of true comedy (i.e., hilarious without "having to" hit below the belt), a difficult and rare skill. 
stay tuned for more posting about washing and drying clothes in a billa, how to save space when drying, how to use the fan-trick in winter, and especially how to stop stretching and ruining your t-shirts, sleeved things, and delicate wears.

all images used in this post click-through to their sources.


  1. works great, but it would be great if there could be a way to get your clothes nice and tight again. they are loose and look shabby, which is why I am looking into buying a 2-in--1 washer/dryer. unless you come up with another brilliant idea..

  2. yeah no doubt a real dryer will keep your clothes nice and snugly fitting. i've definitely stretched many a fine article of clothing myself but have discovered three or four methods which have minimized most of the clothing damage/stretching i was experiencing (which i'll try to include in the follow-up post to this one). takes a few extra minutes, but is cheap. and not perfect, but darn-near almost. thanks for reading, mr. rawandthecooked.wordpress.com. JR

  3. I always use a clothes drying rack. If it can't go out side I am lucky enough to have a couple rooms with ceiling fans. So on they go and wow amazingly enough I soon have dry clothes. During the winter I love placing my rack near the wood burner. Puts moisture into the air and I have nice warm dry laundry. Just like taking them out of the dryer.

  4. Mary, thanks for reading. So you've discovered the same! Good stuff. A wood burner, eh? Those were the days, for sure. I have to say, ceiling fans and a wood stove places you far away from the Korean Billasphere. How did you discover smellybilla? Best to you.

  5. here's a relevant comment which one of our viewers named ben just left on the dish-washing post, which i'd like to follow up below:

    "I just got to Korea and this is awesome. I found you because I ran into the clothes-drying problem. I am about to head to e-mart to buy a fan. I did not realize that my place was called a billa. Your sink area looks exactly like mine. Looking forward to the [laundry] stretching-avoidance post."

  6. about getting a fan, ben...

    e-mart may have pulled them all since fans are a seasonal item. e-mart has their space-heaters out on display right now (which you might be able to find a good deal on right now since we're on the tail-end of winter). in part 2 of the laundry post, i write about how a space heater really speeds up laundry-drying in the cooler months. (look for a little one like i have that looks like R2-D2 [see pic in part 2 of the laundry post], which has a little fan inside that projects the heat a little farther outward.)

    anyway, about the big fan itself: at e-mart, go to the section where they sell seasonal items (like heaters in winter and fans in summer). this will put you and the clerk into context within a language-barrier situation. CONTEXT (and sign-language) are huge things here, even among locals.

    standing there, ask the clerk if they have a "sun poong kee" (sun poong gee), which is an upright household fan.

    if they motion that they don't have them for sale right now, then try to find the nearest open market (the outdoor market). ask someone at your workplace where the shi ja'ng is located in your town. that's the korean word for what english calls an open market.

    open markets sell everything. look around for a dealer that has heaters and the like (he/she may even have fans out on display too, but it's unlikely in the month of march). ask the dealer for a "sun poong gee" (an upright household fan), and they may be more able to go grab one out of their back room for you than a basic employee at e-mart could.

    but definitely try e-mart. you may have better luck than i expect. let me know what you find! thanks for reading!

  7. Thanks! am actually thinking of setting up a laundry shop after school and looking for ways of giving the best service with little capital.
    Adeoso S.G.

  8. Great post! Where I live, electric fan is pretty much a staple in the household. It drives mosquitoes away and keeps your room fresh without the stuffy feeling of an air conditioner.

    I also maximize the use of energy by just using the electric fan to dry up my clothes. Whenever I do my laundry at night, i just spin dry them to get rid of the dripping moisture and then hang them up in my room with the electric fan turned on and go to sleep. The next morning, my clothes are dry already.


  9. Thanks for the article! I'm in a same stinky-laundry situation, from hang-drying my clothes outside in the streets of Barcelona. I will def try this trick!

    1. Hi, such a knowledgeable information. Thanks for sharing.

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