OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5 reasons to line dry your laundry

avatar
by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I love the response this post got when I first published it in summer 2009 — it really show the vast diversity of all our living spaces and cultures.

I‘m not a luddite—I love technology. I love the ways it enhances our home life in so many ways, from storing our food at adequate temperatures, to washing our clothes so that we don’t have to work our hands raw with a hand-cranked wringer. We have much to be thankful for in our generation.

But there’s something rather soothing about line-dried clothes, I find. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but during these warm summer months, I enjoy hanging our laundry out to dry daily, watching it flap in the breeze and shine whitely in the sun’s reflection.

Here are some of my favorite reasons for line-drying clothes during warm weather.

5 reasons to line dry your laundry

1. It saves money.

This is the obvious one. Dryers use up a lot of electricity—almost more than any other household appliance. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that an electric clothes dryer accounts for almost six percent of a household’s annual electricity consumption.

That may not sound like a lot, but consider how many items in your modern-day dwelling use electricity. If you average $100 a month for your electric bill, your clothes dryer accounts for $72 per year. That’s almost another month of electricity in your home.

All I know is, since we’ve been line drying almost exclusively, our electric bill is considerably lower than it was last year. That’s a good enough reason for me. It cost us $20 for a drying rack and $4 for a ton of clothespins. Not a bad deal.

2. It saves the clothes.

Yes, dryers make your clothes softer, but they also weaken the fabric’s fibers much faster than if they had been air dried. All that lint after a cycle in the dryer? That’s fabric slowly wearing off of your clothes. It’s gradual, for sure, but in our family, we prefer buying fewer quality clothes, so I want them to last as long as possible.

3. We go through less laundry.

Since line drying takes a (tiny) bit more of my time, I’m a bit more aware of whether our clothes actually need to be washed, or whether they could be worn another time. I don’t know what it is — I think it’s because the act of hanging out our clothes to dry is a more active activity than tossing them into the dryer while I start something else.

When life isn’t crazy, I usually do one load of laundry about five days a week (which includes two loads of cloth diapers). It’s truly a pretty quick and painless process — a toss into the washer with Soapnuts and a few drops of essential oil, and then a trip on the clothesline.

A few hours later, I take down the clothes, fold them immediately, put them away, and… that’s it.

4. It uses fewer chemicals.

The sun is a natural whitener, so when you put thoroughly wet whites out on the line, the stains fade naturally. No need for bleach. In fact, I hear putting wet whites on fresh grass to air dry gets them stunningly white.

The dryer causes static cling, and the ingredients found in dryer sheets is like a criminal line-up of carcinogens. Line drying takes cares of this need.

5. It’s therapeutic.

I genuinely like hanging our clothes out to dry. Most of the time, it’s a few minutes of peace with my thoughts, doing something basic and methodical with my hands. It’s one of those acts of quotidian liturgy that, for me, is a simple act of service for my family. I enjoy praying for each person who wears the clothes I’m hanging.

Other times, my kids join me to hang clothes, and that can be just as fun. My four-year-old hangs the clothes in all sorts of artistic ways (which I often have to re-do later), and my toddler giggles at the feel of damp, cool clothes brushing his head as he walks under the rack. He also loves emptying and restocking the clothespin basket, handing me one as needed.

Much like showering, I get some good thinking done. While my body is busy doing something rote and routine, my mind is free to wander. Where do you think I came up with this post idea?

Tips for clothes drying

• If you don’t like the stiffness of line-dried clothes, you can give them a quick spin in the dryer for five minutes after they’re dried. It’ll soften the fibers a bit.

• Plan your laundry colors with the sun’s peak. I aim to have my whites drying in the late afternoon, when the sun is at its brightest here.

• Clothes will line dry even when it’s cooler or wetter. Simply put them under a roof, like a covered patio or balcony. And if you have a drying rack (as opposed to a permanent clothesline), you can bring your drying laundry inside overnight.

• If you really want to dry your clothes in the dryer, use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. They can be rubber with little stubby spikes, or they can be all-natural made of felted wool. Basically, they bounce around in your laundry load, separating the clothes and fluffing them up, so that you don’t need to reduce static cling chemically.

Do you line dry your clothes? Why or why not? What tips do you have for effective drying?

Join the Conversation

Like This? Subscribe for free and have it delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. 6. It smells good! i love the smell of line dried sheets.

    melissa~afamiliarpath´s last blog post…Name my photo contest

    • I love to line dry my clothes too! I made myself a clothes pin apron. There is something about wearing that apron while hanging clothes that makes me feel connected in spirit to my grandmother.

      Mrs. Not the Jet Set´s last blog post…The Millionaire Next Door Book GiveAway!

      • I LOVE a clothes line. I’ve finally got my first place with a yard (bye bye city life!!) and my first claiming of the space was to set up a line for my cloth diapers. I really should expand and do all our clothes, which for some reason I hesitated at. My grandma, though, reminded me about how I’ve always loved line drying, back when I was a little 8-year-old helping her hang up their laundry on their old Iowa farm. Something about those wooden clothespins was just delightful… And it looks so beautiful and tidy when you’re done! And, Reason #7, it’s a fantastic way to spend some peaceful time outdoors.

        Ps, Mrs. Not the Jet Set, tell me more about this clothes pin apron!! Do you have a pattern or pic you could share?

    • avatar
      Rosetta says:

      Does anyone know why garments/linens smell the same no matter where they’re dried (Alaska, Kentucky, California)? I love the smell and have lines on my back porch. I’m just curious about what in our environment makes this happen.

    • good frost kills germs, old wooden pegs, lay woolens flat to dry, I have done it so often……

  2. We just started line drying our clothes this summer…I love it!!! I don’t know why, but they seem to dry faster…maybe its luck, but I’ve always been able to immediately switch the washer to the line…unlike waiting for the dryer!

    You’re totally right about the calming effect of hanging the clothes! Like your son, I remember running through the sheets on the line…much to my mother’s displeasure! Didn’t realize it until I typed this, but I always walk through the clothes instead of going around to get back indoors….love the feel of cool damp sheets billowing in the wind! Ahhhh…summer!

  3. Here in Australia line drying is pretty much the norm. It’s great for all the reasons you outlined. Some days it’s about all the quiet time I get! I sneak out to the line and just enjoy the fresh air and solitude. Other times, my kids love to help with the pegs (they’re too small to reach the line).

    I love Melissa’s reason as well. Line dried clothes seem to smell so fresh. I’m sure some days I can smell the sunshine :-)

    The (rotary) clothes line also makes a great jungle-gym for when mum isn’t watching :-P I found mine won’t wind up today because my little people have been swinging on it *sigh*

    Leanne´s last blog post…Benefits of pets for kids

  4. I love line drying and even though it is mid-winter we are persevering and only doing washing on non-rainy days… My motivation in the past was because I just love sun dried clothes: http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/02/01/saturday-spot-the-laundry

    But just recently our national electricity company decided to up our electricity tariff by a 1/3 – ack! And now simply for frugality I will not use our tumble dryer unless absolutely desperate. Tumbling has definitely become a luxury and is not affordable for the average family in Cape Town.

    se7en´s last blog post…Teaching Kids to Declutter in Se7en Steps…

  5. You’ve inspired me – we live in a home with a “old-fashioned” clothesline in our backyard, but I have never dried a single thing on it (other than draping the slip and slide over it).

    I don’t know if I’m ready to make the move to dry all my clothes on it, I can definitely see drying our towels, sheets, rugs, etc. (And give me time, I might progress to the rest…)

    Brandie´s last blog post…Normal

  6. avatar
    breanna says:

    fantastic post! read the title and thought, “meh” but by the end of the post I was like, “I MUST START TOMORROW!!!”

  7. Tsh, it’s SO therapeutic! I’m sure few people realize this until they’ve actually sat back on the porch with an iced tea and watched little footie PJ’s swinging in the breeze.
    Great post!

    Aimee´s last blog post…Pecan-Streusel Coffee Cake

  8. I totally love the smell of line-dried clothes, but I have to admit – I REALLY love using our dryer. In fact I whisper a little prayer of thanksgiving for technology every time I put a load in!

    We’ve line-dried in the past – when we lived in the UK and in TX before we got a dryer.

    Jamie

    steadymom´s last blog post…The Little Red Hen Revisited

  9. I just started line drying my clothes. It feels good to use less energy and I actually find it meditative. I love the idea of praying for each person as you’re hanging his/her clothes. Here’s my post:
    http://www.turnitupmom.com/go-green/the-case-for-a-clothesline

    turnitupmom´s last blog post…When You’re About to Crack: Responding vs. Reacting

  10. my cousin just purchased a house with a line out back and i was jealous to see it. we live in a townhome so i’ve not tried it here.

    previously, when i lived overseas, line drying was the only way. i have to admit that some of my clothes seemed pretty stretched out and tough after that period of life.

    any suggestions as to how to keep clothes from stretching out during the line drying process?

    Nicole´s last blog post…Summer Vacation for the Soul

    • It depends on the clothes you own. We wear a lot of quick dry outdoor wear – for outdoors, camping, hiking and casual home wear. These clothes keep their shape very well because of the polyester in them. But I know what you mean about cotton stretching out.

      renee @ FIMBY´s last blog post…Raspberry love

    • Do you hang them upside down? We hang all our basic shirts and pants upside down, and they don’t stretch out. Anything wool, definitely dry flat.

      • I do notice a difference with my favorite t’s so those, I dry on my drying rack rather than the line and they don’t lose their normal shape.

    • I hang trousers and jeans by the hem to stretch them and prevent creases so I do t have to iron. Tees and elasticated items should be hung by their strongest point- the collar or shoulder seam or the waistband of trousers / skirts to stop the weight of them pulling the fabric out of shape. You could also use hangers on the line. Some things are better off dried flat – heavy knits and delicate items that might stretch. I’ve learnt the hard way, my parents have a laundry room and dry inside so outdoor line drying was new to me when I moved away from home, and I lived with stretched hem tees for a couple of years!

  11. Hi, Im kinda shocked thats its not the norm in the US? Here in NZ we all have clotheslines and we usually only use the dryers in winter – and not all have them. We recently purchased a dryer as I have just had my second child and where I live it gets very cold in the winter. I hang mine and my husbands clothes on the clothes horse in front of the fire but the kids clothes go into the dryer (only in winter), and I miss that fresh wind smell lol. I must admit that I have never used a dryer sheet before :-p and don’t actually know what they are! hehe
    Kylie

    • I’m pretty sure the U.S. is the only country in the world (and perhaps Canada?) where line drying isn’t the norm. In every country I’ve been, both to visit and to live, almost no one has a dryer. That’s the case where we live right now. 99.9% of the people line dry their clothes.

      • This is so interesting!! It is amazing to hear how other families in other countries live their normal, day to day lives.

        Blessings
        Mrs. White

        • Your right Tsh, line drying isn’t the norm in Canada either. Many communities are not even permitted to have a clothes line, because of “aesthetics” and the possibility of lowering home values in the area… sounds ridiculous to me. Luckily, we live in a community where clotheslines are not banned, but we are the only ones I have ever seen who hang our clothes out to dry. I love the process too and often have good chats with our neighbour from deck to deck while folding laundry from my drying rack.

          • you are right – in Burlington, Ontario you can not have a clothesline

          • This is true but also, changing. The government can’t push people to conserve energy on one hand and then disallow clothes lines on the other. :)

            I finally got my line up this summer and I really, really, really love it. I got metal clothes pins that don’t break and will hold ANYTHING from Lee Valley. They’re awesome.

            I’m totally going to make myself a clothespin apron! What a great idea.

            And I echo the therapeutic comment. Something so calming about hanging clothes. I love it

            I only wish my line was longer :)

      • avatar
        Shannon says:

        You’re very right. I have lived in NZ, Aus., and Japan. I now live in NY and NO ONE here in my town dries their stuff outside. They look at me like I have three heads when I tell them that I do. I love it though, my little bit of Kwi here in NY.

  12. We don’t own a dryer so there is no choice but to line and in the winter rack dry. I love it. My kids are a big part of helping and I agree we do less laundry in the end.

    http://fimby.tougas.net/hang-drying-family-laundry

    renee @ FIMBY´s last blog post…Raspberry love

  13. Not only is line-drying ‘not the norm’ in the U.S., in many places it’s illegal!

    Check this out for more info: http://www.laundrylist.org/index.php

    When I moved to Italy from the States, I was very disheartened by the lack of electric dryers, but I have since learned to embrace natural, line drying as a way to save money and the environment. (I do miss fluffy, soft towels!)

    • Yes, I do miss fluffy towels as well. Sometimes we’ll throw those in for 15 minutes, either at the beginning or at the end of the drying process, and that seems to do the trick.

    • It’s grounds for eviction in my apartments. =(

      And there are no hook ups for either a washer or dryer in the apartment. But they have a coin op laundry room in the buildings. So you can go pay them even more money to get your undies clean.

  14. With little ones I also find that it’s a nice break to the morning to get out and hang laundry. After getting dressed, breakfast, and some chores we go out at around 10 and hang laundry while my boys play in the grass. They like being out there as much as I do.

    Shannon´s last blog post…The Benefits of Fermented Food: Introduction

  15. Thank you SO much for the link to Soapnuts! I have been searching for a good natural alternative to detergent. Naturally I just bought a new bottle yesterday, but back to the store it goes.

    Stephanie Cosme´s last blog post…just for you, internet

  16. I had no idea of the energy cost of using a dryer. We don’t have the option to line dry because of HOA rules. Ugh.

    We use soap nuts too. I don’t think we need a softener now, but I do like to add essential oils for a fresh scent.

    Stacie @ newmommyhelp.net´s last blog post…When Should I Begin Potty Training?

  17. I love to hang my laundry on the line!! Like you, I usually spend a lot of time in prayer or just praising God for the beauty and the sounds around me. I’ve actually had people be sad for me because I must not have a dryer since I’m hanging out my laundry!! Seriously!! I just smile and tell them there’s a perfectly good, working dryer in my laundry room. I just love to hang it outside.
    Blessings!
    Deb

  18. One point not mentioned about line drying, and at least for me is very important…I won’t line dry during allergy season which for us is spring and fall. Wet clothes would attract pollen spores and I’m miserable enough as it is without actually wearing the pollen on my clothing. Winter is out, obviously, so, for us, that only leaves the summer to line dry.

  19. Tsh, what kind of clothes line do you use with your limited space? I don’t even have a covered porch or balcony, so I’ve always thought I’d have to wait until I have my own yard. Any suggestions?

    Meghan´s last blog post…sometimes

    • Mine is like this. I definitely didn’t spend $50 on it, though! But I love how compact it folds up — I store it between some cabinets and the wall because it folds up to about four inches wide.

  20. Great post! We don’t line dry as we just don’t have the room in the back yard and I think our HOA would flip out if I used the front yard. However, our laundry has become much more eco-friendly over the past few years. First, our son was born with VERY sensitive skin. We switched to detergent with no perfumes or dyes (no more expensive than regular), and cut out the fabric softener and dryer sheets. Honestly, I like our clothes better since we switched. No powerful scents, so residue on the towels – just clean clothes. The other big change? Our old washer/dryer finally need to be retired and we bought a front loading washer. I couldn’t believe the difference. My clothes dry in less than half the time. Amazing!

  21. I started line-drying my clothes several months ago as part of my ongoing effort to go green gradually. Changing habits is not hard, it’s just habitual! I have found that it is actually easier for me…not only does it save money and help the environment by lessening my impact, but while it takes longer to hang the clothes than to toss them in, that is easily made up for in time because I fold the clothes as I go. My habit in the past has been to take clothes out of the dryer and leave them there…sometimes for weeks…I hate to admit…as more and more clean clothes piled up and got wrinkly (I dislike folding). But since I’ve started line drying, I fold immediately, put away sooner, and lessen the need for an iron because the hanging of the clothes often is enough. Overall, it’s cut my time with the laundry!

    genny´s last blog post…Tomatoes!

    • Yes! I do the same thing, too. I love folding as I take the clothes down. Such a time saver.

    • My kids (10 & 13) are responsible for their own laundry. We began hanging our laundry on drying racks over the winter months and they’ve grown to love it simply because it means they don’t have to fold their laundry or put anything away! They simply grab what they want to wear from their drying rack – LOL. This summer I am using our drying racks out on the deck for faster drying of my laundry as well as my husband’s and the household laundry, but the kids still enjoy having their racks in their rooms so we just put them in front of their window fans for faster drying.

  22. I’ve been using drying racks since last summer. I’d love to have a line, but there’s no place to run it, so for now, I have to make do with the racks. I love taking the time to hang out all the laundry. Slowing down the process makes it seem like less of a chore–if that makes sense. Since it takes longer than the dryer, I can only do two loads a day max. Now I’ll do maybe one load a day, and it feels like just part of the daily rhythm–hang the clothes out in the morning, bring them in warm and folded at supper time.

  23. i LOVE line drying! (can you tell? considering my blog name? LOL)
    you forgot to mention the SMELL! Man, oh, man. See, we’re fragrance-and-chemical-free over here, for the most part, because my mom has Multiple Chemical Disorder Syndrome. (allergy-like reactions to chemicals including ‘fragrance’ and ‘parfum’ from ingredient lists)

    In the winter time I dry things on a rack in the basement, my furnace is down there so it’s actually not too too bad. But nothing beats the summer, with the breeze and all… YUM

    some other tips:
    -if you are trying to get a smell, like smoke or fabric softener, out of say, a thrifted garment, leave it up on the line for *a few days and nights*. The wind and the sun and the dew will do it’s work. I’ve done this for some FANCY PARTY DRESSES for my then 6mos-daughter. It was the only thing that could get the smells out without damaging the garments!
    -don’t have room for a laundry line, you say? You can buy retractable ones! I got mine at canadian tire, and I will pick up another in fall to put in my basement. Not as convenient in some ways, but it tucks away nicely.

  24. I’m a HUGE fan of drying clothes out on the line. I’m one of the lucky few in my area who can line dry. Most people are not allowed to due to neighborhood covenants. When I lives under those restrictions, I would set up two folding racks outside to dry my clothes. In the winter I like to set up the racks over our heating vents inside which helped to dry them quickly. I had never heard of those dryer balls, I’ll have to try them out. I admit I hate ironing, so I do put a handle for items in the dryer so I don’t have to iron out any wrinkles!

    Lindsey´s last blog post…making more dish towels

  25. I line dry my clothes, towels, sheets and diapers as much as possible. Living in Texas, there’s plenty of sunny days and I’m constantly surprised by how fast things dry out there on the line!
    I find it incredibly therapeutic to hang clothes on the line and I love to take that time to listen to the world around me that I’m often too busy to notice. The birds are singing, the breeze through the trees ruffles the leaves and the locusts can be heard in the distance. It is very peaceful.
    My only tips for line drying are to hang sheets, folded in half, open side down (keeps leaves, grass or what-ever from getting stuck in the crease and the corner pockets.) Hang clothes by their bottom hem to pull out wrinkles as they dry (pants/shorts get hung by their legs.) Fold towels length-wise and hang from their ends, also to pull out wrinkles.
    Enjoy your day!!

    Sarah´s last blog post…Redefine your Pillows!

  26. We don’t line dry now, but when my boys were little and both in cloth diapers, I line dried them. I can still remember when I would think I could get one more load dried on the line, before winter set in, in IL, and would bring in board stiff diapers! I loved line drying, and yes it was a bit of solitude and peace to go hang them out. Now my boys are grown and I am working full time, which doesn’t allow much time for laundry.

  27. I do love the idea of it but with 6 people in our family the dryer really is convenient! Maybe when they are all out of the house! LOL.

  28. I’ve used 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of the wash as an alternative to fabric softener. It also removes the musty damp smell that towels can sometimes get.

  29. I arrange my laundry loads so half of the wash goes out on the line and half in the dryer. So in the end I have a 2:1 ratio But I really should hang most of it out.. need more line space though!

  30. I love line drying my laundry – LOVE IT! I find it to be quite meditative, plus I love the smell. People are always commenting on my laundry line of clothes.

  31. About line drying being illegal in certain parts of the U.S., here’s an interesting little news feature story: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5153411n

    Frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed to be from a country that values the aesthetics of a clothesline over saving money and energy! And in fact, I rather like the look of clothes drying in the breeze.

  32. We also use vinegar in the rinse cycle (instead of fabric softener) to soften cloths and help remove all the soap residue. We turn our colored clothes inside-out to help prevent fading. And we hang almost everything upside down. It works well! We put ~1 load of clothes in the dryer every 2 weeks or so. I have several shirts that become stretched out and loose their shape when we line dry them; and these are primary the shirts I wear to work. And I too miss soft, fluffy towels – but I think it’s worth it.

    • avatar
      karen martindale says:

      to fluff up line dried towels put them dry into the tumble dryer for one minute only. They come out all fluffed or hang them in the rain.

  33. I started line drying last summer when our energy bill was super high. I love it…our clothes are fresher and so is my mind (a bit of free therapy).

  34. I did the math and figured out it costs me 50 cents per load to dry my clothes in the dryer.

    I have the formula to figure out how much it costs here:
    Save $ Drying Clothes

    My husband hates the feel of line dried clothes – but fortunately, for $2 a week his work’s uniform service will do his workclothes!

    Milehimama´s last blog post…7 Quick Takes

  35. I rarely hang clothes to dry. Why?
    1) It takes longer – tossing everything in the dryer takes about 2 minutes. Hanging a load up on the rack takes 15-20 minutes, and another 5 minutes to take down again.
    2) We don’t have a clothesline, only a little folding rack. So I can only do 1 load at a time, and it generally takes several hours out in the sun to dry the clothes.
    3) With heavier clothes like pants, or the inserts to our pocket diapers, I usually end up having to put them into the dryer ANYWAY.

    It’s a great idea, and when I was growing up, my mom did it every time the weather was sunny. It just doesn’t work for us.

  36. I line dry all of my clothes, some of my daughter’s, and none of my son’s.

    My favorite tip that I figured out this year is a rolling clothes rack. I roll it over to the washing machine, hang my clothes straight out of the machine on to the rack, and since we don’t have a “laundry room”, I roll it into the guest bedroom out of site while the clothes dry . When we do have guests, it collapses easily and goes under the guest bed (I got it at the container store). This saves oodles of time over taking them out to our porch, and works in all weather.

    Lee´s last blog post…Photo of the Day

  37. What timing, Tsh! The other day I got so disgusted at having to run my dryer on a really hot day (we were getting ready to go on vacation, and I *had* to get the laundry done). I had no line nor clothes pins. While on vacation, I visited a friend who is very environmentally conscious and also lives a beautiful farm life. I got jealous of her clothes line. :) Immediately when we arrived home, I purchased a really nice drying rack. Our last 4 loads of laundry have dried in the sun. Wahoooo! I was *just* returning inside after hanging up the last load and read this post.

    I am going to dry as many loads outside as possible. The issues that might be tough: with 3 little boys, we go through *a lot* of laundry. This would be okay, I guess, if we had a large clothes line outside, but the drying rack is not going to be able to hold all our laundry. We also live in a damp area. There will be many months of the year when drying outside isn’t feasible. I’ll try bringing the drying rack inside. Also, I don’t really care for the stiffness of our clothes when they are dry, and I don’t really want to go to all the effort of line drying only to put it all back in the dryer! Maybe at some point I’ll prefer stiff clothes. :)

    I also think I am going to invest in a rotary clothes line for outside so that I have room for more laundry.

    I haven’t used dryer sheets in a very long time. Decided I’d just deal with a little static clean and avoid the cost/chemicals.

  38. I’m pretty sure line drying is forbidden in our HOA, but we have a retractable line, and I’m careful to only have the line up when there’s stuff on it. No one can see except the people who live in the house behind us b/c their house is 2 story.

    EB´s last blog post…3 birds, 1 stone

  39. avatar
    Shannon says:

    I had my manfriend install the brand new clothes line that I’ve had in the garage for a few years. I LOVE IT. I wait for sunny days to do my laundry.

    But it’s been rainy and wet for a week. Does anyone hang out clothes when it’s cold (13C) and damp, but not raining?

    I can’t hold out much longer!

    • Where I live 13 C could be considered warm :) I’d definitely put the clothes out even though it’ll take longer to dry. Sometimes at the end of a coolelr, humid day my clothes may still feel a bit damp and I’ll end up throwing them in the dryer for few minutes.

  40. I am planning to begin as soon as I can walk on our grass. (new sod) I just recently read that a new Colorado law allows for retractable clothelines overriding HOA rules and regulations. Our neighborhood rules have kept me from doing it in the past. I am so looking forward to getting started!

    Kimberly´s last blog post…In a Pickle?

  41. I have tried in the past to use a clothesline, but I tend to think my clothes smell absolutely awful after being out there. I wonder why this is? (sometimes my hair smells the same way and I have to wash it when I get back inside because it makes me feel ill.) Perhaps there are chemicals in the air? Also, I’m lucky if I have a chance to throw my laundry quickly into the dryer – I suspect hanging up clothes somewhere might take a wee bit longer than I have. Of course, then there is the problem of where to hang clothes here. We share an outdoor space with the owners, but there is no line out there (and if the dog is out, I can’t go out – she barks her head off and runs at me). I’d bet someone here has a creative solution that I’m not thinking of! :)

  42. No one has mentioned that the truly lazy can hang their clothes on the line, right on hangers! You would have to hang them anyway, so why not hang them wet? (doesn’t work so well for jeans because if they are folded over they take forever to dry). It even saves things from dents from the clothespins.

    Yesterday was humid, but i really wanted to dry the cloth diapers outside anyway. They took 4 hours before I brought the folding rack in, and they weren’t even dry, but it was starting to sprinkle. Ironically the microfiber inserts were much drier than the heavy duty prefolds.

    Becca´s last blog post…Making the Trek to the Bishop’s Storehouse

  43. I love my line and even like crunchy towels! When I use my dryer (which is most of our harsh winter) I use dryer balls and dry certain things on rack (my undies/t.shirt, for example). During high-allergy season I dry my sheets in the dryer too b/c my allergies are ridiculous. In many ways I find the line easier – I can fit three loads at once and not worry about folding straight away.. .they can all be folded at the end of the day. Still, if I’m feeling particularly stressed it feels easier to use my dryer. When I look out my kitchen window and see clothes drying on my line I feel HAPPY.

  44. I love line drying my clothes, sometimes I use the dryer on the towels. My husband built me a nifty rack similar to this one
    http://simple-green-frugal-co-op.blogspot.com/2009/01/line-drying-laundry-indoors.html
    The design is great for both in/outdoor drying, and is great for small spaces.

    shelle´s last blog post…Today’s harvest

  45. Can I add one more thing? When I want something dry extra fast on a hot day, I hang my clothes on the porch from the “ribs” underneath the porch roof. That way if it rains, I don’t have to be home to rescue my clothes. Also, we are renting and I don’t have to get permission to put up a clothesline.

    Lee´s last blog post…Photo of the Day

  46. I love to line dry our clothes. For all of your reasons, and then these others: I love the way they look on the line, in the sunshine – especially the linens; my bedsheets and cloth napkins are crisper than when they come from the dryer, and I don’t even have to think about ironing them; and finally, line drying is a ritual that refuses to be rushed, and I love that little bit of mandatory slowness in my day.

    Rachel´s last blog post…Mama Said There’ll Be Days Like This

  47. I LOVE to dry my clothes on the line, and here in Ireland it is the norm – despite the amount of rain we get!

    I posted about this at the end of May on my blog – with photos of my line, and was amazed to discover this was not the usual thing to do in many places.

    I too love to pray over the clothes while I hang them (when I remember) and I love it when my kids “help” too.

    Janmary, N Ireland´s last blog post…Online Poster Printing Canvas Print Giveaway

  48. Currently, I can’t line-dry for lack of a line. Or rack. Or the $$ to get either, even used. Too many other priorities…which bums me out. BUT…I have discovered a marvelous product that eliminates the need for drier balls, fabric softener, or dryer sheets. Charlie’s Soap. It’s not as cheap as making your own, but it’s cheaper than commercial detergent, because you only use 1 Tbsp. of powder for a FULL load. :-) Very nice. And…my clothes come out of the drier sans static, VERY clean-smelling (no fragrances in the soap), and SOFT.

    That’s my story for now…still holding out hope for a line very soon. :-)

    Faerylandmom´s last blog post…I *Knew* It!

  49. Along the lines of the sun’s bleaching effects, it is the only way to get out the stains of a breastfed baby’s poop. Those yellow poop stains look awful but they completely come out when line dried. Not when dryer dried though.

    Melodie´s last blog post…Foodie Fridays: Simple Pleasures

    • Yes. And I find for non-breastfed poop, too! :) I was so surprised at how well those poop stains come out just from the sun.

  50. avatar
    smilinggreenmom says:

    Great post!!! I just bought a line and clothespins too :) I am so excited to get it ready and am even more excited now :) Thanks!

  51. I LOVE to use my Solar Powered Clothes Dryer! :D I like “crunchy” towels. Who needs a loofha. hehehe… I love the smell of them, how white they get my daughters cloth diapers. I also like to hang my jeans on the line. They stretch out extra and it makes me feel like I have lost weight! hehehe

  52. I have a little rack that I set outside, but I need to find a way to have a line. I don’t really want to buy a freestanding line–too expensive. I’m intrigued by the last picture. Maybe I can anchor something to the house? Anyway, great ideas here.

    Kelly Feinberg´s last blog post…More Recycling in the Garden

  53. We are finally moving to a house in two weeks & I’m SO thrilled to have an opportunity to line dry our clothing — AND our diapers!!

    desiree fawn´s last blog post…Fawned Friday

  54. I do not think my family of 30 years has ever slept on sheets dried in a dryer. Line dried sheets are so sweet and remind me of my childhood. I wanted to add that all five of your reasons are great, but there is one more – clotheslines are essential in tie dying. My 14 year old daughter is reviving the sixties here and tie dyed 15 T shirts – check out the picture on my web site http://www.sketchesofmyday.com

  55. Have never seen any other way than line drying around here… I’m not even sure if we get clothes dryers in India :D
    Silks and handlooms are always dried indoors or in the shade because they tend to fade faster or shrink.
    I wear a lot of handloom cottons with vegetable dye prints – which also needs to be handwashed and starched!

    • When we first moved here, I hadn’t thought about how line drying is the norm in every country but America. So we had to special order our dryer from the appliance store, and it took six weeks to arrive. Now, I hardly use it — it’s mostly a counter for my laundry basket and clothespins! Every now and then it gets use, but very rarely.

  56. I have line dried for years both inside and out. I think drying ruins clothes and makes them wear out faster. It pains me to think I of what I paid for a nice top and then watch the dryer suck the color out of it. Also I purchase boutique clothing for The Bird and no way that stuff is going in the dryer. Mainly it is our better clothes, but I figure every little bit helps. I have a great picture of my laundry hanging under the market umbrella on the porch last summer and will have to add it to a blog post.

    • That is SOOOO incorrect the truth is that the rays of the sun make colors fade out of shirts sooo much faster than in the dryer.

  57. I’ve been line drying every since we bought our house six years ago and the previous owner left her traditional pulley line hanging in the back. Works great for diapers and naturally bleaching those nasty stains.

    Indoors, we have a mounted rack on the wall along the tub. The Leifheit Telegant is a life saver when it’s raining outside. When not in use, it folds away in a second and looks very discreet.

  58. I love it but the neighborhood does not…also Line drying is not nearly as effective in getting rid of germs…say the ones clinging to your underwear or from someone who was sick…using the dryer is the only way…especially if you are like me who uses cold water washes. You even have to be careful when you transfer wet clothing cause you can contaminate your hands. I say this cause most people don’t know. We have an imunosuppresed person in our home so we are careful.

  59. I had to laugh when I read your post. I have two aunts who LOVE to hang their laundry on the line. And I hate it. It was my job growing up to put the laundry out and take it off the line so maybe that is where it stems from. And because I tend to do my laundry at night (when my electric rate is lower) using a clothes line would not work. I remember flinging bugs off clothes. And my mother rewashing what the birds hit. So since I have so many trees around me, line drying was not on my list of priorities. Although I will admit, I do love the smell of sun dried laundry.

  60. I love line dried clothes! I’d dry everything on the line, but dh doesn’t like crunchy towels. I’ll have to try the dryer for a few minutes and see if I can fool him! I don’t like laundry per say, but I love using a clothes line, you’re right, it’s kind of therapeutic!

    Carol´s last blog post…7 Cheese Tortellini Salad

  61. I don’t line dry my clothes outside right now, I use drying racks inside. We used to live out in the country with a clothesline in our backyard. Blankets, sheets, comforters, etc. dried outside on the line smell just heavenly!!!! That’s one of the best smells. I agree line drying your clothes makes them last so much longer. This is a great post.

    (I popped over from Nester’s bl0g)

    Carmen´s last blog post…Hooked on Fridays

  62. I have been blessed with clotheslines in each of the 3 homes I’ve live in as an adult. My Mom and grandmothers all had clotheslines. I use my dryer in the winter when I am teaching and the days are cool and short! I love the smell of line dried sheets and towels. I also get to watch the birds and butterflies in my yard while I am hanging out the clothes. Our neighborhood doesn’t have an HOA (thankfully). My clotheslines are in the backyard and we have a privacy fence. I also have 8 chickens tucked away in a small run in my yard!
    Blessings,
    Lorilee

  63. I also come from a country where line-drying is the norm. There were only a handful of families in our little town who had dryers (but I don’t think they use it either). I agree with you, it saves a lot of energy and the fabric does not wear out so fast. Unfortunately, now that we’re living in a small flat (with a very active toddler), hanging clothes would not be a good idea (for now).
    But just like breastfeeding, I think hanging clothes is now gaining more popularity than in the past decade. And that’s a good thing!

    Rowena @ RiseFallNeverQuit´s last blog post…Six Things You Should NEVER Tell a Mom

  64. I only found out recently that it wasn’t common practise in the Us to not hang your washing on the line. Here is the UK as soon as we get any decent weather which is far and few between we stick our washing on the line – I love it! Here is apost from my blog and a fellow American commented on the washing on the line and thought it looked nice :)

    http://theshabbybungalow.blogspot.com/2009/05/so-happy-with-my-console-table.html

    Debbie at the Shabby Bungalow
    xxxx

  65. Growing up my mum always line dried everything. If the weather was bad (as it so often is in england) there would be row upon row of laundry along the large stair banister and every radiator in the house. It would always cause lots of condensation to gather on the windows on cold sundays while my mum was cooking a sunday roast dinner, one really potent memory from my childhood.

    Drying clothes in a dryer was always a weird concept to me, when I got married to an American and moved to the states I found myself without my own yard and nothing to hang laundry on to dry. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do and ruined a lot of my clothes in the dryer.

    Now we live in Germany, we live in an apartment. The only place we’re allowed to hang a line is in the basement (which is full of spiders and other such creepy beasts) the yard is shared so we can’t hang anything there. I ended up buying one of those indoor clothes lines from IKEA and setting it up in the spare room. On cold days I end up recreating the condensation on windows memory from my childhood. I love it.

    Satakieli´s last blog post…Break

  66. Oh how I miss line-drying my laundry. I was able to do it in my first 3 homes, but we are not allowed to hang laundry here, and I miss it. Line-dryed bedsheets – yummy!

  67. avatar
    Melinda says:

    Yes, I’ve been drying clothes on the line for 2 yrs now for my family of 6. All my friends pity me and my lack of a dryer but I don’t mind. Except on rainy afternoons which are frequent in Florida in the summer. But the rest of the year I enjoy my quiet outside time. My load per day record was three. I was able to dry two on the line and one inside on the drying rack:). I’m rather proud of that:).

    • The family that lived here before us had a large family. I got 5 loads of wash on the line. It’s a triple line and it’s very long. Love it.
      It’s funny I think they were large, they had 5. We have had as many as 9 kids living here ( we’re foster parents).

  68. i typically line dry my clothes in the house causing one bathroom to be covered in laundry. i too line dry because we do not by great quality clothing, and line drying DOES make them look nice longer (i’m also an obsessive ironer). today however after reading your post i ( my husband really) moved the laundry line outside under the patio.
    i am looking forward to brighter whites!

  69. I really enjoyed this post. I grew up with my mom line-drying our clothes. When we were just barely tall enough, Mom gave the job to my younger brother and me. I have memories of STRETCHING to reach the line and trying to pin the clothes on with my eyes closed to avoid looking into the sun. :)

    I love line-drying clothes for my family now. As many have already stated, I feel it’s therapeutic…a chance to quietly think while still doing an important task. And it’s a great excuse to go outside more frequently.

  70. I agree with all of the points you mentioned. I’ve been line drying my clothes for years now, and have been saving money up until I got a sensor based dryer. Now, I don’t feel guilty using my dryer.

  71. We live in Texas, and I’ve been line-drying everything for our family of 11 for about a year now. We started out draping clothes anywhere we could when the dryer broke, but when we graduated to “real” drying racks we decided not to replace the dryer.
    I’m totally in love with <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80119043"my huge IKEA drying rack. It holds nearly 3 loads of laundry, making it painless to keep up with laundry, even with a family of our size. It works indoors or outside, and folds flat when not in use – though it’s nearly always in use for us.

    KimC´s last blog post…Help: need parts for my Kitchenaid FGA

  72. Leeanne from Australia wrote about her kids using her rotary line as a jungle gym. My daughter did too. She used to swing and swing for ages. Imagine – a three year old with actual calluses on her palms and fingers from all that swinging! Her tiny hands felt like a workman’s.

    Incidentally, I’ve never used a clothes drier in my life. It’s outside on the line for probably 90% of the time, and anything I can’t dry outside gets hung on a clothes rack inside. I live in New Zealand in one of the more temperate zones.

  73. Wow, so glad I’m not the only one who finds line drying meditative! It really connects me to my Grandma who died this past Easter.

    • Our province passed a law making it legal for any and all to have clotheslines in spite of the communities that have forbid them.

  74. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to line-dry my clothes. Thankfully our neighborhood isn’t that hoity-toity and so I have retractable clothes lines that I use daily! My favorite part is the smell—nothing better than crawling into bed with my sweetie between crisp, sweet-smelling line-dried sheets!! Yum! Great post!

    jen´s last blog post…Happy Birthday, Payton!

  75. Does anyone read all the comments this far down the line? I forgot to ask: what do you do about lint? After line drying everything for a year, I still haven’t found the answer to that question. Our dark clothes are sometimes so covered in lighter fuzz that they hardly look fit to wear.

    • Are you washing your clothes along with towels? That might be the main problem. If not, I have no other answer!

      Blessings
      Mrs. White

    • Yes they do read this far down!
      Lint is from washing the wrong things together, all dark washed together would have no light lint to show. wash fluffy stuff together a good windy day helps blow lint away and gets clothing very soft.
      Karen

  76. Found you from Nester……..
    Yes, I hang up my laundry. Even have a wooden rack for those items I don’t want the whole world to see. I use the rack on the patio. Love the smell of fresh laundry off the line. I love the smell of it. I don’t have to iron as much as when I use my dryer. Yes, I am a throw back & iron. As for the fuzz on the clothes, you just have to be careful not to mix things too much in the washer. Like, never accidentally wash a pull-up in with the jeans…….it’s a tad messy.

  77. I LOVE this post and am in 100% total agreement that line drying laundry is wonderful for so many reasons!! My husband just told me the other day that even HE finds it relaxing to hang up our laundry on the line! Yeah, this is coming from a man!! So seriously…there is just something special about it. <3

    Amber´s last blog post…Fashion from the Fields

  78. I totally agree with your reasoning! After we adopted three more children, I began seeking in earnest ways to become more frugal. Hanging laundry saved us $165 a month on our electric bill! Homemade laundry soap for 5 cents a load was another huge saver. Using white vinegar as a natural fabric softener and deodorizer has been another natural money saver (pun intended). :)

    We recently moved cross country and we’re renting until we find a house we want to buy. Last weekend at a yard sale I found an umbrella clothesline for only $2 and two HUGE bags of old wooden clothes pins (the kind without the springs, my favorite)! I was over the moon and still am!

  79. What I love about drying clothes outside is that somehow they smell fresher. I wish I can do this at home but I live in a small apartment where cloth drying lines or racks are prohibited! :(

    lvlc @ FromMomToMom´s last blog post…Kids and lies… to laugh or to …..

  80. Thanks for this terrific reminder with some great practical tips. I am such a frugal, natural type, but the dryer is a big holdout for me.

    ChristineG´s last blog post…All in a Nap’s Work

  81. avatar
    melinda says:

    Another reason to line-dry: The clean laundry smells great! I’ve been a line-dry person for 20+ years. MKW

  82. I’ve been considering getting a clothesline, maybe this is the little push I need:) I know there are great benefits to line drying, but I feel like I’m too busy already, how do I make the time?

    Tashia´s last blog post…Garage Sale Secrets Giveaway ~ Ebook, Planner & Pricing Guide

  83. I grew up with line drying. In the summer, we’d hang whites outside, but everything else was inside (didn’t want the colors sun-bleached). Occasionally had to chase down a sock or two from the neighbors’ yards.
    In the winter, we had set up lines in the basement. Had a dual purpose, since it was so dry in the winter, it helped humidify the air without needing to turn on the humidifier.
    In the summer, unfortunately, we end up running our de-humidifier all the time. It’s humid where I live, so it ends up running a lot anyways, I’m not sure how much less water would be pulled from the air if we were not line drying.
    When I was away in college, it was the first time I ever used a dryer and was appalled with how quickly the elasticity my socks & undies fell apart. There wasn’t any room to line dry, but the second I was living on my own again, I went back to line drying.

  84. It does take a bit more time to line dry, but not much. It’s a great way for those of us who feel nature-deprived to get out and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine! And my kids (even my 2-yr.-old son) usually want to help me before I even ask!

  85. I line dry the vast majority of my clothes, and I love it. I started it to save on bills ($1 to dry in my last apartment) and then just found I liked it better. I dry my clothes indoors almost all the time on drying racks. It’s great during the winter, as it adds a little extra humidity to the air.

    I first learned to air-dry in Europe while studying abroad. The place I was living literally didn’t have a dryer — everyone hung up their clothes. I loved seeing that. Economical and earth friendly is a great combo :-)

  86. Both my mom and my grandma hung everything out to dry. I do hand quite a bit of our things out on the line or in the house. But this has inspired me to do more.

  87. I do line dry some of our clothes. But we live in a rural town in Vermont and it is very cold here. It takes a couple of days for the clothes to even come close to being dry, so it is hard. (Even in July!) We have not had much sun at all this summer. I have seen some of the old, historic houses and they have permanent clothes lines on their covered front porches. These housewives had to hang up the laundry even in the winter. How is that possible? (smiles)

  88. There is just something nice and refreshing about line-dried clothes!

  89. I have included you in Buddy’s Extra Best Blogs of the week with a link to your blog. I hope this brings you many new friends. Great post,

    Margaret

  90. Line dried laundry is a no-brainer on clothes that don’t need special attention. Huge savings.

  91. We are going to start line drying our clothes too! It brings back memories of my childhood and will not only be a money saver, but being green too. :)
    .-= June´s last blog ..Bookshelf Makeover for $3 =-.

  92. If you like to line dry, you’ll enjoy the Project Laundry List website: http://www.laundrylist.org.

    A fun site with lots of ideas and sources for purchasing all kinds of drying racks.

  93. Hey, I’ve been line-drying for a few months now. Since I like numbers and I was curious about the actual financial impact of this, I monitored the change in my electricity bill: month over month, turning off the dryer has reduced my electricity bill by 15%.
    A nice savings don’t you think?
    .-= wandermom´s last blog ..TBEX Trip Report =-.

  94. avatar
    Mary Contrarie says:

    I got rid of my dryer two years ago. I use a clothes drying rack . Then I can move it inside or into the sun or next to the woodstove. I just find it very convienant and flexable. It also saves lots of money!

  95. This post inspired me to buy a drying rack a few weeks ago. It has been my latest favorite purchase! I’m running my dryer much less now and am looking forward to my next electric bill to see if it has helped me out any. Though I am in TX and am having to run the AC so much that it may be difficult to tell – the bill is so high to begin with! Anyway, I’ve loved the idea that I’m doing something good for the environment and my pocketbook! I may even buy one more drying rack or look at installing a line. I have 3 small children one of which is a 7 month old with bad reflux (tons of burp cloths and bibs being used) so we go through a lot of laundry! Sometimes my next load is ready to be dried and the one already hanging isn’t dry yet even in the TX heat.

  96. So glad I cam across you blog! I’ve just started to line dry my families clothes, still finding my niche, but I love it!
    .-= montanna´s last blog ..{i want them all} =-.

  97. love the way my sheets and towels smell after line drying. They always smell so fresh and clean. I also DO NOT use fabric softener (liquid) for my towels. They do not absorb as well when you use the stuff. Plus the roughness of the towels help to exfoliate your skin!

    I have noticed that by using the dryer my clothes seem to wear out much faster. And I am easier on clothes now than when I was a kid. So I am back to line drying like when I was growing up. If it is raining or snowing I will use the dryer. I live in NC now, so when it is really cold I will use the dryer as well. But I prefer the clothes line.

  98. I LOVE to line-dry my clothes, but I don’t love the stiffness. We live in college housing, so we have to take our clothes to the laundry room and pay to use dryers….so I don’t have the option right now of throwing them in the dryer for a few minutes! So for now, I use dryers….but someday when we have our own house with a backyard, I’d love to have a clothesline!
    .-= BeccaJane´s last blog ..Trying So Hard =-.

  99. I have come to love line drying since moving to S. Africa. I never thought I would but I love all the reasons you listed. Whenever we move back to the states I plan on still line drying my clothes in the summer months. Here I don’t even own a dryer and the weather is great for line drying all year long. Because the sun is hotter here than the states I always turn them inside out for hanging. This keeps the color bright!
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Tour Guide Destination :: The Waterfront =-.

  100. Hmmm…you wash 5 loads of laundry a week, and save $72 per year.

    Lets say that it takes you 6 minutes to hang a load, and 6 minutes to take it down (can you really do it that fast? I can’t!)…that means one hour per week hanging laundry. So 52 hours per year.

    To save $72.

    Yeah, there is the “clothes last longer” thing…but I don’t even spend $1000 per year in new clothes for my family (of 5 kids & two adults). So even if I saved 50% of that…which is impossible since the kids do grow…I’d only be “earning” $11 per hour for the time spent hanging laundry. My time is more valuable than that.

    I do line dry diapers occassionally to help whiten them.
    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..Cesarean Rate Information in PA =-.

    • Ahh the usual ‘opportunity cost’ argument against something like line drying. You must however consider, would you actually be working during those hours in which you hang up the clothing? (Many jobs have set hours and there is not much of an opportunity to be earning instead of hanging clothes up for a few minutes every few days). If the answer is ‘no’ then the opportunity cost is in fact $0 and yes you have saved that $72. By the way, $72 can be a lot of money to some people, especially families with kids.
      By the way, if you adopted the hang the clothing straight onto clothes hangers and then hang those you can actually save time too.

Speak Your Mind

*