Ten reasons to start line-drying laundry

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Greetings! This post originally ran on Aug. 13th last year. But since summer arrived and I’ve been in full outside-drying-clothes-mode, I thought it would be good to share these ten reasons again. Enjoy!

I’ve loved the idea of line drying clothes in the sun since fifth grade. (Lame, I know.) My teacher was a kind hippy-type woman; I remember her colorful flowy skirts and rocky jewelry. One of my strongest memories from that year is a single sentence from a conversation with this teacher. I remember her saying, “I just love drying my clothes out on a line. They just smell so fresh and clean, don’t you think?” I dumbly nodded, like I had a clue. I agreed, like I had actually seen clothes hanging on a line before or even smelled them. She made it sound so lovely. I imagined her long peasant skirts waving in the sun, infused with clean mountain air. Surely such a mountaintop drying experience would make the clothes extra resistant to unpleasant odors. It sounded magical, and I decided then and there that someday I would become one of those cool people who line-dries their laundry. Read on for ten reasons why you should be line-drying your laundry.

I am proud to announce that I am one of those hip clothesline dry-ers. I’m also a little ashamed to admit how much I love it. (Although you’ve probably gathered that it’s a lot, since I’m dedicating an entire post to the clothesline.) I get a thrill out of pinning wet clothes with a small wooden clip to a line. I love straightening Caveman’s shirts to ensure they don’t dry with too many wrinkles (because there’s no way I’m gonna be ironing). I love seeing the line sagging with baby blankets waving at me in the breeze. And you know what? They do smell fresh. I love knowing that we’re saving electricity and using God-given energy from the sun to dry our clothes, diapers, blankets, socks. Anyways, here’s the list.

1. It saves money. Every time you run the dryer, you’re using 30-40 cents. If you’re using a gas dryer, it might be as low as 15-20 cents per load. Yearly, the dryer amounts to roughly $85 to operate, according to the California Energy Commission. Those numbers may not seem like a lot, but they add up over the years. Line-drying costs nothing.

2. It gets you outside. When you sit at a computer all day, it’s difficult to squeeze out time in the sun. Putting clothes on the line or taking them off is a great excuse to get some fresh air, even for just 10 minutes at a time. I hang laundry while Red plays outside. It’s a win-win.

3. It’s downright therapeutic. Somehow, the rhythmic actions of clipping clothes on a line is a stress reliever for me. The combination of being outside and snapping the wooden clips often helps me relax. It’s no substitute for a massage, but it works for everyday stress maintenance.

4. It makes the earth smile. I imagine so, at least. Saving electricity means saving coal that gets burnt, which saves fossil fuels getting released into the air, which saves the ozone layer and saves us all from global warming. At least, that’s how I remember it from grade school. It does work something like that, right?

5. It helps you do laundry faster (if you so desire). Put one load on the line, put another in the dryer, and you can dry twice as many clothes at once. And BAM! Laundry day is over that much quicker.

6. You’ll be that cool neighborhood line-drying enthusiast. Yes, that is what they’re calling it these days. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

7. Natural bleach. After an hour or two in the intense Colorado sun (or 20 minutes, with the heat this summer has brought), you’ll notice your whites are brighter and stains are more faint. True story.

8. It will give your clothes a longer (happier) life. Dryers can be really rough on clothes. The heat and heavy tumbling thins threads faster than a gentle nap in the sun will.

9. It takes you back to a simpler time. A time when butter was churned by hand and bread rose on the window sill. Line drying is a welcome break from Facebook, phones beeping, a mile-a-minute life. It’s even better when you braid your hair and pretend to be Laura Ingalls Wilder.

10. It’s kind of a workout. I said kind of. And that’s coming from the girl who had a baby 12 weeks ago, so “in shape” is something that would not describe me right now. However, there is something to be said about the whole bending down to pick up clothes and then raising your arms above your head. That’s aerobics, friend!

So there you go, 10 reasons to start line-drying your laundry. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go braid my hair…

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14 Comments
  • Luna
    August 20, 2012

    Agreed! It’s not just the sun, but even windy days can dry your clothes. Two weeks ago, Sydney had bellowing winds for days and my washing was dry within in an hour! It helps to have a decent spin cycle too before hanging them. But I’m surprised at people who have yards or a balcony space and still use Dryers. We’ve never had one and only use them at the Laundromat, if the rain persists for at least 3 days or more.

    • Evelyn
      August 20, 2012

      I agree, Luna. It gets really windy here in Colorado, too. Sometimes drying clothes on the line goes faster than an electric dryer! You’re right that a good spin cycle is a must– otherwise you’re looking at a pretty long drying time. Thanks for your input, all the way from Australia. 🙂

  • Luna
    August 20, 2012

    Agreed! It’s not just the sun, but even windy days can dry your clothes. Two weeks ago, Sydney had bellowing winds for days and my washing was dry within in an hour! It helps to have a decent spin cycle too before hanging them. But I’m surprised at people who have yards or a balcony space and still use Dryers. We’ve never had one and only use them at the Laundromat, if the rain persists for at least 3 days or more.

  • mandy
    July 8, 2013

    Most of the time I would agree. However, we Only ‘line dry’ inside here in Korea and it’sso humid here, I can’t tell if the clothes are just still wet and haven’t dried in the first place or if they dried and are wet from the humidity. It would beso nice to have somereally dry clothes to put on. And no drying outside or on the balcony because monsoon season is here and it rains off and on all day! So please enjoy your bit of sunshine and warm line-dried clothes and send us all a smile. *^^*

    • Evelyn
      July 9, 2013

      Mandy, thanks for your international perspective! I wish we could borrow some of your moisture and send you some of our dry/hot air. 🙂

  • Anna Lockwood
    July 8, 2013

    Some stuff (bras) never goes in the dryer, ever. My only issue with the outdoor line is the extra pollen and the hay fever. Otherwise, I am all over it. Indoors we have a couple of drying racks. They work great if you don’t have a couple of littles. Thanks for the bit of nostalgia.

    • Evelyn
      July 9, 2013

      Fun to hear from you, Anna! Yes… the seasons that carry yuckiness in the air aren’t really great (and smoke, for COS lately!) but generally the clothes end up fresh. 🙂

  • Knapsack Heart
    July 9, 2013

    Great post! Really well written. I haven’t had a dryer since moving to Italy 25 years ago, and don’t miss it at all. I love laundry dried in the fresh air, but in rainy season have to use an indoor drying rack. But we heat with pellets, and placed in front of the stove, they still dry in no time. Enjoy your Colorado wind and sun, how well I remember it!

    • Evelyn
      July 9, 2013

      Knapsack Heart, where in Italy do you live? Rome is my favorite favorite city in the world… but I’m not sure I could ever live in all.that.noise. 🙂 I like the idea of drying laundry near a pellet stove–that ought to do the trick really quickly! Thanks for reading. Glad to have you here!

  • Kristen @ Smithspirations
    February 10, 2015

    Love your list, Evelyn! I’m totally with you on #2 & #3! With five children, I sometimes really struggle to think outside of these four walls. Line drying helps me shift gears and remember all that’s going on in the world around me.

    • Evelyn
      February 11, 2015

      Thanks Kristen! Glad to have you over at Smallish. 🙂

  • Erin_The Usual Mayhem
    October 2, 2015

    I’m nodding along with your reasons here! We live a really windy place, so it takes less time than the dryer pretty often. And we made out line a good hundred feet long, so we can dry multiple loads in a lot less time, too.

    • Evelyn
      October 2, 2015

      I’d love a line that long! Ours now is a bit too short; I used the dryer more than I’d like this summer. But one step at a time! 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Erin.

  • Renata
    January 16, 2017

    Hi! I just found your blog and I’m looking through your old posts… There’s so much I can relate to! I’m really enjoying your posts, you’re doing a great work 🙂

    As for line drying, for me that’s always been the norm. I’m in UK now, but I’m Brazilian and dryers are something really few people have there (and we do have a lot of sun so why waste it?). My mum has one and only uses it for towels and underwear because she says it’s not good for the clothes – and when I moved out and got a dryer myself, I could see why. Clothes came out with more wrinkles, don’t last long, lose their shape, and sometimes don’t dry well depending on the fabric and how much you have in the machine.

    I dried my clothes for a while but I found it was just a waste of time and power – I needed to re-dry most of the times. So now I only use it for towels, bedsheets or if I have TOO much laundry. I don’t have a garden or much sun anymore but still prefer to line dry inside the flat than in the dryer, and it’s so quick hanging clothes that I don’t see why I would not do it. (and I am quite methodic and like distributing the clothes in groups and sizes and etc haha)

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