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Clothes drying cupboard for Melbourne winter

Growing in Experience

Clothes drying cupboard for Melbourne winter

This project was undertaken as part of a much larger complete laundry renovation (which is of course still underway).

We wanted a clothes drying solution for the cold and wet weather which did not involve having clothes horses scattered around the house over heater vents - the house was built in '89 and has heater vents in the floor.  With three kids and two adults, we can produce a fair amount of washing very quickly, which is hard to get dry through the winter months.  We have the heater on anyway, so we may as well use it.


The Solution

The solution was pretty simple - a large cupboard with a heater vent.  We installed Kaboodle cupboards and drawers in the new laundry design, for the drying cupboard we used a double door pantry, which gave us a useable interior width of about 870mm.  Even with a cupboard this wide in a relatively constrained space, we have ample storage space through drawers and overhead cupboards (refer last pic below).  The laundry is roughly 2.6 x 2.4 metres - not tiny but not huge either, so the drying cupboard represents about 1/3 of the space on one wall.

We had to cut a hole in the floor and relocate the heater vent, bringing the duct through the floor and up into the base of cupboard.  The Kaboodle kick panel hid this - we also sealed around the duct to avoid drafts.




























As the cupboard had an end panel and the laundry bench with under bench drawers to fix to on the left side and the wall on the right, there was more than enough rigidity provided that we could leave out the fixed centre shelf.



As the heater vent is in the base of the cupboard, we were able to vent into the ceiling, using natural air movement to vent rather than an exhaust fan - we debated the need for an exhaust fan, however thought we'd see how we went without it.  We've been using it for two winters with no humidity or mildew issues (excuse the lint in the picture).

Just cut a circular hole in the flooring under the cupboard and align a rectangular hole above it in the floor panel of the cupboard.  Make sure you allow for the position of the cupboard feet, so that the hole in the floor does not encroach on where the feet land (we were very close in the centre front).























The vent into the ceiling was achieved with a standard grill vent and flexi duct through a hole into the ceiling space, just as any exhaust fan or range hood.  We built a bulkhead between the top of the cupboard and the ceiling to hide the ducting - we debated whether to use the duct or simply leave it as a plenum with a hole into the ceiling, but this may have led to some condensation issues, so we went with the duct.


The finished product

5.jpgWe installed an adjustable rack system that gave us two levels and put a standard wardrobe/towel rail across the top to hang items from.  The best approach is all anything that can be hung, like shirts and hoodies, go on hangers and pants etc go on the racks.  We still use the clothes dryer for socks and undies etc., just the larger items that don't go in the dryer go into the cupboard.  There is a small gap between the racks and the cupboard wall on one side which allows a long item such as a dress or coat to be hung - this was more good luck than good planning.

We have a 10kg washer and the cupboard takes the full load easily.  Generally the washing is dry within a day or so, depending on how much is in there and how much the heater is on.  Wet shoes can go on the floor or on the racks depending on the space available.


We sealed the predrilled holes for the pantry shelves with small plastic caps, which gives it a nice finish.





Improvements and lessons

We have been known to put a small heater in the cupboard to dry things (yes we know this is not encouraged, however there is sufficient clearance around it) - in hindsight it would have been a good idea to get the sparky to put a power point in there when he did the rest of the room.  When we do this, we need to have the lead coming out the door which is ugly.

We had one small issue with one of the doors warping due to over heating - this was when the heater was in there cranked up as high as it could go.  This was a concern for me as I had heard of other similar projects where the doors had warped.  As long as the heater is kept on a low setting, this issue is avoided and once everything had cooled down the door returned to normal.  The normal ducted heating presents no problems.

Another idea would be to utilise the air from the roof space to provide the warm air for clothes drying, however again this would have required extra wiring, ducting and an extractor fan in the ceiling - so not really practical unless I had thought of it before the wiring was done.


Otherwise it has been a huge success.


One final note - the pic below shows the as yet incomplete laundry with the cupboard on the right hand side.  We use a Kaboodle twin side mount pull out bin for the dirty clothes basket (whites in one, colours in the other).  This was my wife's idea and I must admit I was sceptical, however it works a treat and is right next to the washer.  All the cupboards and benches are Kaboodle.

And before you ask - the dryer and washing machine are not side by side as there had to be a cavity under the other bench to allow access to a hatch through to under the house, so that is where the dryer has gone.



The drying cupboard on its own was a relatively easy project, especially as it was done within a larger laundry renovation so there was ease of access to install and cut holes in the floor and the ceiling etc.

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Clothes drying cupboard for Melbourne winter

Hello @John916


Thank you very much for sharing your clothes drying cupboard. What a very ingenious way to dry your clothes, it's like a slow form of air drying with the assistance of the home heater. Two years is a long time and I think your assembly has passed proof of concept. It's understandable that you had to use an extra heater to provide extra heat to dry the clothes. I'm guessing that there is a theoretical limit as to how many clothes you can put in the cupboard and expect them to dry off in a certain number of hours.


Please keep us updated on the performance of the cabinet, we look forward to hearing how it holds up in the next two years.




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