For many of you, doing the laundry is a dreaded and never ending chore. I personally absolutely enjoy doing the laundry. In all honesty, I have not used my clothes dryer in years. In my quest for living a more natural lifestyle, I let the sun and gentle breezes dry my clothing and linens. I love hanging out clothes out on the clothesline. For me, I find it very relaxing and peaceful. It also provides me a break where I can contemplate my day or listen to some music and enjoy the outdoors.
Besides the benefit of Mother Nature drying your clothes, you will see significant energy savings on your electric or gas bill and once you have a clothesline set up, hanging clothes is free. You can’t beat free! Other advantages include a fresh natural outdoor scent (without using products or chemicals to mimic scents), clothing and linens lasting longer (yet another savings!), preserves clothing elastic, a natural germ and odor killer that can also help bleach out stains by the sun, reduction in emissions and carbon footprint, and depending on your wash load you can get a mini workout from carrying the basket and stretching.
When it comes to outdoor clotheslines, the three most popular styles are the T-line, the umbrella style, and the classic rope (tied to trees). I currently use the umbrella style clothesline and have been extremely happy with it. One of the best things about it is that it easily folds and can be put away during winter months or pending storms. Our future plans include building a T-line clothesline to allow for multiple loads to dry at the same time.
When winter or an inclement weather comes around, I move the clothes drying inside. Due to limited space, I have three different style racks, all of which fold down or collapse for excellent storage. I currently use a Basic Folding Drying Rack, Homeware’s Heavy Duty Folding Drying Rack and the Badoogi Foldable Heavy Duty Compact Drying Rack (wheels and all….it is my favorite!). The makeup of the laundry load or load size determines which type of rack is used. Once a load has been set up on drying racks, depending on the time of year, I use a fan or set the racks in a room that has a fireplace burning. As a rule, drying time only takes a few hours. For the most part, when I hang clothes in the evening they are dry come morning.
For renters/condo owners or residents of communities that ban the ability to use clotheslines and hang clothing out (so much for their green initiatives!), there is always the option of hang drying clothes inside your home. With so many styles available, you should have no problems finding one that works for you no matter what the space constraints may be.
Those interested in learning more about the unique battle between the clothesline vs the electric dryer, there is a documentary film available called “Drying for Freedom”, now in general release. The film follows activists who are campaigning to bring light on the bizarre practice of clothesline bans! If you are interested in watching this award-winning documentary, it is available on Amazon (rental) and Vimeo. The trailor can be seen by going to https://www.dryingforfreedom.com/
Some tips for line drying your clothes:
– The Clothesline: Make sure your line is high enough so heavier items won’t brush the ground.
– Clothespins: You’ll need at least one or two packages of clothespins. I personally use the wooden kind and recently purchased bamboo clothespins. Also have a portable container/bag that you can store and carry your clothespins in.
– Hanging Clothes: As you get ready to hang the clothes and linens, give each of them a good snap to minimize wrinkles. To prevent bunching of the shoulders, hang clothes from the hemline.
– Weather: Monitor the weather forecast to plan accordingly.
– Texture: If one of your concerns is stiffness of clothes, such as towels and jeans, add ½ cup to ¾ cup of vinegar to each load just prior to the rinse cycle. Do not worry about the vinegar scent, as it disappears during the drying process.
If you are looking to start or continue on your journey on a more “natural” and budget-conscious lifestyle, we hope you take the opportunity to enjoy the experience of letting it all hang out on the clothesline. Also check out our Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent.