line drying: good for the earth, good for your clothes

linedry90-degree April days, a perfect time to inaugurate my new clothesline.

  • Did you know your clothes dryer accounts for about 10-15% of your house’s energy consumption?
  • Do you know where all that lint comes from? YOUR CLOTHES!
  • Have you noticed how nice sun and air-dried clothes and sheets smell?

For all these reasons, I love to line dry my clothes.

In my apartment-dwelling days, I didn’t get the advantage of the sun, but it’s possible to use a drying rack, like the one in the photo.

A few line-drying tricks.

  • Sunshine is a great natural bleach. So go ahead and let the sun do its work on whites. But keep dark and colorful clothes out of the direct sun for too long.
    • UPDATE: A reader wrote in with this caveat about whites: “People should be careful about leaving even white clothes out in the sun too long, because if the item is made with optical whiteners, these can be broken down by the sun, leaving the clothing a dingy color instead of being bleached whiter.”
  • Straighten/smooth out your clothes as you hang them, and it’s like running a light iron over them. Fewer wrinkles. Natural pressing.
  • The fluffiness factor. One drawback of the natural drying method is the stiffness. There is no way you’ll get fluffy towels and soft jeans from the sun. One suggested trick is to line dry first, and then throw the towels and jeans into the drier for a fluffing up. I tried this once with towels, and I think they got too dry on the line, because they were still a bit stiff. You’ll have to experiment with this.
  • Use a retractable clothesline so you don’t have to have the line up when you’re not using it.

is an advocacy group for line-drying, with lots of helpful, and fun information. I learned that in some communities, clotheslines are even outlawed!

Doonesbury (c) 2001 G.B. Trudeau. Reprinted by permission of Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved. (From Project Laundry List site)

I know that not everyone has room for a clothesline. Or an interest in one. But hey, it’s the day before Earth Day (actually, isn’t every day earth day?,) so consider  a clothesline as another option for Everyday Sustainable living. Try it. You might like it.

This entry was posted in cleaning, clothing, energy saving, environment, everyday, sustainable, utilities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to line drying: good for the earth, good for your clothes

  1. Nick says:

    The new horizontal washing machines are a big advantage to hang drying clothes because they have faster spin-out speeds and those faster speeds mean your clothes are very well wrung out when you take them out of the washer.
    Here is the coolest clothes drying rack I have found. It folds up really small. Since the top rotates it can be near a traffic path in your house and if you get close enough to brush into it just spins like a turnstile. Putting it right below the ceiling fan works nice in the winter.

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