Clotheslines Banned in Thousands of U.S. Communities

You are officially invited to join the fight to legalize it…again. No, we’re not talking about the smokable plant that’s gotten so many politicians in hot water. We’re talking about the good old fashioned clothes line.

As families all over the nation seek out different ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save money by using less energy, many have decided to return to hanging their clothes outside to dry them. However, many have met with great disappointment when homeowner’s associations and community management services have told them the lines are not allowed. reports that, “hanging clotheslines was against the rules in so many communities nationwide that state governments are being forced to step in and make it against the law to ban them. And states like Vermont and Utah have already succeeded. But the fight for the right to hang clotheslines is just getting started.”

Using an electric clothes drier can account for up to 10% of a household’s total energy use, and the EPA and other environmental organizations concerned with energy conservation and energy efficiency have been telling people to purchase Energy Star appliances for years. While this is a good idea on paper, many people aren’t financially able to simply go out and upgrade to a fancy new washer and dryer. However, they are being told they can’t have simple outdoor clotheslines, which are much cheaper and carbon neutral.

The reason for this clothesline predjudice, at least according to the ones making the rules, is that hanging clothes is unsightly, offensive, and causes property values to drop.

“It’s already hard enough to sell a house in this economy,” said Frank Rathbun, a spokesman for the national Community Associations Institute, “And when it comes to clotheslines, it should be up to each community association, not state lawmakers, to set rules, much like it is with rules involving parking, architectural guidelines or pets” (via an interview in the NYTimes).

While hanging clothes all over your trees and bushes might not be the best way to make friends with the neighbors, you can hardly call a few t-shirts and pairs of jeans flapping in the breeze an offensive practice…or can you?

Richard Monson, the president of the California Association of Homeowners Associations, told Legal Affairs magazine that a clothesline in a neighborhood can lower property values by 15 percent: “Modern homeowners don’t like people’s underwear in public. It’s just unsightly.”

What do you think?

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Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

What happened to freedom? It's a line, for heaven sakes. One that saves money and the enviorment.

Penny L.
Penny L5 years ago

Who the hell do these people think they are trying to control us this way! Clotheslines are a part of life, make your clothes smell amazing, and are eco friendly! Take a stand, or next they will be telling us what we can do in our own back yards! This is outragous, has nothing to do with selling houses, it a control thing, and i am not putting up with this! I am going to go hang clothes out right now! Screw these community management people! My dad always said we have power as a group, so use it! This is the beginning of more bs to come, so fight for your rights!

Anna Gualandris
Anna Gualandris5 years ago

CRAZY. On one hand we are to save energy, on the other, they cut our ability to do so. Clotheslines have been here forever and should stay for obvious reasons. I really hope that the authorities have better things to do than worry about jeans hanging in the wind. Have the Dollar regain its former power for one, and bring back our soldiers from the far away shores. These, should be their only priorities for now.

Doris Mason
Past Member 5 years ago

I can not believe that there is a ban on hanging freshly washed laundry, on a clothes line. Of course,I too would object, if I had to look at unclean looking laundry,hanging for days at a time. It definitely would not be to my liking either. In the days of the past, there were no automatic washers or dryers, so one had to take care of the wash and dry,by using wringers, and hanging outdoors. The sunshine and the pleasant smell of the hanging laundry, was something of a sense of pride, and love of family.

The cost of electricity has risen, so to hang ourdoors should never be banned...

David C.
David C5 years ago

For those who have weighed in recently, here is a link to photos of the beauty of clotheslines:

Joanne H.
Joanne H5 years ago

Well, we haven't come to the point in Ontario Canada re: forbidding clotheslines. I hang my clothes out for about 5 months a year and just love it. I have been doing it for about 35 years. I would certainly fight being able not to hang out my clothes. I think I have my rights ---- or do I !!!!! Now there are people who will take advantage re: hanging clothes on bushes and on fences. That should not be allowed. A friend of mine said the other day that when she walks by my house, she just loves the look of clothes hanging on my line. Don't tell anybody, but I do go out occasionally and smell the clothes. As you can see, I love doing laundry. "Maybe I should go into the laundry business"!!!!!!!!

Blessings to all


Nita L.
N L5 years ago

I still use a clothes line. I have never owned a dryer and am a professional in my 60's. I like the smell of clothes dried outside. I also do all my own housework and yard work. I find it totally amusing that so many of my colleagues have maids and yard men that they pay. Then they themselves spend money and must find time to go to the gym (by car, oddly enough). You have to wonder what goes through their heads!

John Ses
John Ses5 years ago

what is the big deal with clothes hung on a line but it is ok in stores for all too see, we do not think they are unsightly because we buy them and hide them inside the driers. What are clothes? Do they tell a bad story? ONLY IN OUR IMAGINATION!

John B.
John B5 years ago

Sorry: I meant sleek, purring dryers!

John B.
John B5 years ago

What we need is an art historian who can compare the hundreds (thousands?) of paintings of laundry-cluttered clotheslines across the globe with those (none, I'd wager) of sleek, purring washing machines.