How I Line Dry My Clothes

>> Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Now that I'm sitting down to write this, this tip seems so ridiculously simple that it feels silly to share it. Except that I used the "I don't have a backyard" excuse for years before it finally dawned on me to do this, so in case others are in my position, this is how I line dry my clothes:

I line dry all of our shirts and pants indoors on hangers, either hanging on the shower curtain rod in the bathroom or in one of our three bedroom closets. I only line dry pants and shirts; I haven't advanced to underwear or towels yet, but if I do someday, I'll get one of these babies.

I started line drying my clothes this way when we first moved to Raleigh and lived in an apartment. Now that we're in a house, we do have a backyard where we could put a clothesline, but the yard is so small and I don't want to sacrifice space. Plus, my current method has the advantage that the clothes are already on hangers, so I don't have an extra step before putting them away.

Occasionally, I'm feeling pressed for time and end up tossing my clothes into the dryer. And every time, I wish I hadn't because after the clothes dry in the dryer, they still have to be hung up and put away. If I'm going to hang them up anyway, I might as well hang them wet!

Abbie commented yesterday, "We used to line-dry indoors, actually on a rack, near the air vent, but our humid summers here in NoVa, prevented our clothing from drying, and it started to smell bad. So we put them back in the dryer."

North Carolina is also hot and humid, but I haven't had that problem yet. Maybe because we use our air conditioning in the summer?

According to the Saving Electricity site, an average load of laundry costs $0.36 to dry in the dryer. If I'm line drying two loads a week, that comes out to a savings of $37.44 a year. If I advanced to line drying all nine of the loads I wash in a week (two of clothes, two of underwear, three of towels/sheets, and two of diapers), I would save $168.48 a year. If I could just get my toddler to start using the potty, that would save both time and money right there...

How do you line dry?


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mudnessa April 27, 2010 at 1:09 AM  

I hand wash and air dry all my clothes. I live in an apartment and we have a laundry room but the machines are FULL of mold. They are front loaders and the soap/bleach/softener dispenser are covered in mold. Not to mention full of all sorts of unknown soap/bleach/softeners and gunk. It is really gross.

I finally got fed up with spending $1.25 to wash in moldy washers and $1.00 to dry for an hour (no choice in time or anything) in dryers that have lost their paddle/fin things and so they dried like crap. I purchased a hand crank tumble washer and a folding drying rack.

The washer is a wonder washer and it works great for me. I do a few loads twice a week. The folding drying rack fits in my spare bathtub so when the clothes are still dripping it's not an issue. The next day the clothes are almost dry so I move the drying rack to any open space for more airflow.

In the winter it was taking a few days to fully dry the clothes but now that it is warmer they are dry in a bit longer than a day. I can usually fold them and put them away the night after I wash them. This is the rack I got,

Jeannie,  April 27, 2010 at 2:34 AM  

I line dry a majority of our pants and shirts every week either in the guest bath on the shower curtain rod or in the laundry closet hooked to the bottom of the cabinets. I'm in NC too where summers are super humid and have had no problem with odor or clothes not drying.

I also live in suburb'ville. So, I don't foresee outdoor line drying in my future.

I've looked into purchasing an old fashioned drying rack for smaller items but I can't bring myself to pay the price for such a simple item.

Eco Yogini April 27, 2010 at 8:10 AM  

very neat! :)
We have two clothes racks that fold up. Living in 540sq feet, we don't have a lot of space to dry, so the racks usually end up taking up space in our bedroom. But usually they dry overnight and I can fit an entire (industrial sized) wash load on one rack. I've also, in the hot summers, moved the rack outside on our TINY balcony for the sun to dry. :)

Another option- a friend of mine in BC actually hung up her clothes line IN her apartment. She rigged up little hooks around her living room (you didn't really notice them every day, who stares at the ceiling anyways?) and on "laundry" day, she would attach her "clothesline" and hang up all her clothing to dry.
It is VERY dry and hot in the Interior of BC, so they'd be dry within a few hours.

I'm sure it's a different story when you have kids, but if I can dry in 540sqft, it's completely possible :)

Eco Yogini April 27, 2010 at 8:13 AM  

ps- options for drying racks on the cheap; you can find really (flimsy) but cheaper ones at Canadian tire that I have used in the past and they work just fine (15$)... I'm assuming you can find some in the states as well.

What we did was ask for a drying rack as our "moving back to Halifax" gift... you could also ask for a drying rack as a bday, xmas, or other even gift from relatives or friends. :)

abbie April 27, 2010 at 8:22 AM  

I am so honored to be quoted...but a "I have stinky clothing" quote...a bit embarrassing.;)

After seeing your indoor drying rack pick...maybe our indoor drying scenario didn't work because our items were too close together. And, because although we have AC,I don't love it. So it is usually 80+ degrees in the house, kiddies in diapers only, and windows open for a breeze, until my husband comes home. And when he can't stand it he turns on the AC. I wonder if we had it on all the time if that would work. Or if I left the clothing rack outside on the back deck...and brought it in before it annoyed the HOA.
I also thought of hanging a line in our finished basement. But with kids, I'd have nothing on that line as fast as I could hang things up. :) I love these comments though. I'll keep my eyes peeled for a little bit of energy savings.

You know, with the coal mine accident that happened in WV, I think about those miners each time I turn off an appliance to save a little electricity. I love your tips, keep them coming!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 27, 2010 at 8:52 AM  

Abbie - Sorry! Didn't mean to embarrass you! I was just trying to point out that this system might not work for everyone. You might be right about your clothes being too close together though.

Ashley April 27, 2010 at 9:23 AM  

We only try do one load a day, but we'll start hanging stuff on a small clothes rack that is now in the garage (just outside the hallway where the washer/dryer are). If that fills up, we have a curtain rod hanging at the other end of the hallway, in front of a window that always has sun. If that fills up (like when we need to do multiple loads) there is an even longer curtain rod hanging above the washer/dryer. And if for some reason we've gotten behind on laundry (or it's winter and things need more time) we hang stuff in the doorways (one door leads into the bathroom, another into the kitchen... thus filling the washer/dryer hallway with drying clothes)

Brenda Pike April 27, 2010 at 10:44 AM  

Do you find that your shirts get stretched out drying them like this? The only clothes I rack-dry right now are handwashables, and I've noticed that if I put them on hangers still damp they get really obvious dents in the shoulders or stretch out longer over time.

We usually do marathon bouts of clothes washing on the weekends, so I can't imagine having enough room to air dry three loads of laundry. But maybe if I get a second rack and set it them up in the basement... Of course that would involve cleaning out the basement first!

DownDoggin in MN April 27, 2010 at 10:45 AM  

I love this, I dry all of our clothes on hangers just like you do. There are pluses and, just like you mentioned, the clothes are already on hangers ready for the closet, minus we are always ducking around some item of clothing to get in the closets :)

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 27, 2010 at 11:41 AM  

@Brenda - Not our regular shirts, but definitely sweaters. Those I lay flat to dry.

A Green Spell April 27, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

This is EXACTLY how I line dry my clothes! It's easy and when they're dry, I just put them in their "sections" in the closet, as they are already on hangers. Saves a lot of time!

Elle Bee April 27, 2010 at 4:01 PM  

I've got a clothesline in the backyard but I'm waiting for warmer weather to use it. Your indoor idea is great!

Sense of Home Kitchen April 28, 2010 at 10:45 PM  

Love my backyard clothesline. There is nothing like hanging clothes out at the break of dawn, listening to the birds sing, and then the smell of lined dried clothes.

Jana May 8, 2010 at 8:14 PM  

Thanks for the encouragement@ I've started hanging some clothing to dry-I'm working towards doing this more and more.

Anita May 13, 2010 at 9:29 PM  

I love pegging my clothes out! It is a mini Zen moment to carry the basket out into the sun and hang the clothes.

I really do it because I love to and it is just a bonus to get environmental credits.

No static cling! And the sheets and towels smell of the sun.

I confess to tossing my shirts into the dryer for a few minutes to knock out the wrinkles-I pop them in and let them toss while I hang out the other stuff. Then I put them on hangers and I, too, use the shower rod for the hanger items. Protects them from sun fading, right?

Using fatter plastic hangers might help with the shoulder dent issue? I don't really notice an unacceptable dent but maybe my standards are lower. I do use plastic hangers and now have some really fat ones I found at the Goodwill that I use for my "nicer" clothes. They are hideously expensive to buy new!

I am lucky in living in a relatively low humidity area for most of the year But the winter rains in Central California leave so much moisture in the ground that nothing will dry outside for days after a rain. Then I confess to using the dryer for sheets and towels. I use a folding rack for my bits and pieces (underwear) during the rains. And shirts on hangers on the shower rod.

My DH has the opposite approach-he doesn't care how wrinkled his shirts are but is too lazy to peg out socks and underwear. So he puts his shirts on the line (on hangers) and his bits and pieces go into the dryer.

for the small yard people I would suggest seeing if you can figure out how/where to put up one of the retracting mutli line devices. I would love to have one but the effort of figuring it out....from the house to a pole that would have to be rooted in cement? If one had a fence to fence situation that might be relatively easy and not look too awful when retracted.

don't you think we need to deal with those HOA anti line drying covenants! Wasting resources on drying with fossil fuel is tacky, not clotheslines! I wonder if in todays pro environment culture if anti line drying covenants are actually enforcable-but who wants to test it or make the Elmer Fudd neighbor all twitchy. Still might be worth trying to push the change thru if the neighborhood is talking about other changes to the CRCs.

Try dropping the phrase "solar dryer" into conversations-it is such fun. As in "I love my solar dryer" or "ooops, gotta go get my clothes out of the solar dryer." And if one is going to push for change to the CRCs using "solar dryers" would be the path.

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