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.
Image source – tracitodd on Flickr
I looove hanging my clothes outside to dry. In our hot summers by the time you hang the last article of clothing, you can start taking them down again! In the wintertime or when it’s raining I use indoor retractable lines in my laundry room. I’ve never had any clothing drip as the washer tends to get out any excess when it spins. But drying indoors isn’t the same. I can’t wait to setup my outdoor line again.
Isn’t it sad that we’ve got to the point where people need hints on how to hang up washing?
Useful to know that if you hang the washing tidily (very flat and folded nicely) it will minimise the need to press laundry afterwards. We always line-dry and never use an iron – lazy and earth friendly!
Kimberly Herbert says
I use an indoor drying rack. With Houston humidity things will mold before they dry – and get covered with pollution. I set up the dry rack near the box fan I use to help keep the room cool that helps with drying.
Laura Pryst says
We do it inside (and a great way to help humidify the house in the winter without using as much electricity). I am not sure, but I think we have a local ordinance that prohibits hanging clothes outside.
Some of my fondest memories of my grandmother’s house involve gathering the laundry from the attic and the back yard and shaking everything to get it soft. And then everything smells like summer!
M. Hoover says
I have been line drying clothes for years. Due to allergy problems, I hang them in the house all the time. I have lines in my laundry room for the hanging clothes, but I still dry towels and bluejeans in the dryer, but everything else on the line to dry.
Crimson Wife says
Somebody needs to invent a solar-powered mechanical dryer. I did line drying for our first year of marriage while we saved up for a dryer and even with just the two of us, it made doing the laundry a huge chore. I can’t imagine how much work it would be now that we’ve got 3 kids.
Do y’all seriously think that these celebrities are hanging up their own wash? If I could afford paid household help like them then sure, I’d have my maid line dry my stuff too!
I’ve been without a dryer for 2.5 years now. I live in an 8th floor apartment, so no outdoor drying for me.
I’m sorry, but no amount of shaking, twisting, rubbing, or ironing gets my clothes as soft as a dryer. I recently bought bamboo towels, since they dry soft without a dryer. Cotton towels come out feeling like sandpaper! Even if I had a dryer, I’d still hang dry most things, but what I wouldn’t give to have a dryer for jeans and such. Next apartment, you will have a dryer!
I just started selling these amazing laundry drying devices on the internet. Please take a minute and check out the site. These devices are very well made and imported from Switzerland (not made in China!). I would appreciate it if you would chekc out the site and spread the word. Let’s hang it all out!
Try adding vinegar to the rinse cicle, that will help with the clothes/towels being softer when air dried.
david bambic says
cloths lines in some towns its against city ordances to let the cloths fly in the wind.
Mary Q Contrarie says
I found a washing guide how to hang washing properly made a huge difference to how I went about haning my laundry. It really helped with drying time and wringles.
Jonny Lyons says
Our tumble dryer broke recently and we’ve gotten used to life without it. It’s really a very small inconvenience even with 8 people in the house. We have a clothes horse that sits indoors so can also avoid the rain, and it fits a load of washing easily, and makes it less necessary to use an iron (except for shirts)
Best Fashion Info says
Somebody needs to excogitate a solar-powered machinelike dryer. I did stemma drying for our introductory twelvemonth of rite patch we found up for a dryer and change with just the two of us, it prefabricated doing the garment a large chore. I can’t envisage how more apply it would be now that we’ve got 3 kids.
A spin dryer is a real help when it comes to line drying clothes. I picked a used one up for next to nothing. A quick one minute spin leaves the clothes almost dry. Spin dryers use very little power, mine is around 200watts, but they spin really, really fast.