It used to be a common sight, rows of clothing and sheets flapping in the wind along clothes lines. But as electric and gas dryers became more popular fewer and fewer families used the wind to dry their clothes. And unfortunately more and more areas decided that the environmentally friendly clothes lines were more a nuisance than anything.
According to an article in the LA Times however line drying your clothing may be becoming popular again. And with celebrities such as Olivia Newton-John and Rachel Bilson doing it too using a clothes line might stand a chance of making a real comeback. With the stats on just how much power using electric clothes driers takes up, it’s really no wonder that more and more families are looking for a environmentally safer alternative.
A 2001 Department of Energy report estimated that electric clothes dryers accounted for about 5.8% of total electricity usage in U.S. homes — a startling figure given that the same report said all indoor and outdoor lighting in American homes constitutes only 8.8% of electricity usage. Plus, the 5.8% attributed to dryers does not include electricity needed to power the motors of gas-heated dryers.
Of course you can’t just throw out your electric dryer with the dangerous dryer sheets. Depending on where you live hanging your clothing outside on a line might not be the best option. If you live in a very wet or dusty area your clothes could end up worse for the wear, and renters of those in some communities might not be allowed to put up clothes lines.
For the creative there are many ways to dry your clothes without the dryer inside your house. A shower curtain rod can work as a great indoor clothing line letting the wet clothing drip into your tub or shower. Some families even set up temporary lines inside their homes in places such as a porch or kitchen where their flooring is not likely to be damaged by dripping water. There are also special indoor drying lines that you can buy, such as Mrs. Pegg’s Handy Line. You can order an indoor drying rack online and also find them in most home improvement stores.
If you want to start drying your clothes on lines and pull the plug on your energy guzzling dryer here are a few simple tips to use:
- Hang heavy items on the ends of your rack and lighter items in the middle. This will reduce sag on the line and make things last longer.
- Put clothes on a hanger while still damp and hang on the line rather than using pins to help your clothing retain it’s shape.
- If your clothes are wrinkled or crisp shake them briefly. A good shaking will do as good as a tumble in the dryer at making clothes soft.
- Use the sun to your advantage. Direct sunshine can get stains out of clothing easily, hang stained items where they will get the most sunlight shining on them.
- Keep room between your lines for air flow. The better air can circulate through your clothing the better they will dry.
- When drying indoors make sure of hot spots such as furnaces and heating units. Hanging your clothes near these can help your clothing dry faster and will add moisture to the air.