By Colleen Vanderlinden, Planet Green
We haven’t used our dryer in years. Literally, years. During the winter, we hang our clothes to dry on lines that run the length of our basement. During the spring, summer, and fall, our clothes are dried and freshened by Ma Nature.
We’ve loved the energy savings, the fact that we are lessening our impact on the environment, and the clean way our clothing smells — no overpowering fabric softener smell here! But I have to admit that I, especially, love hanging clothes outdoors on the lines, feeling the warm sun and gentle breeze as I smooth and clip towels, t-shirts, and jeans onto the lines.
Your clothes will dry on the line. That’s nature. But there are a few little tricks to line drying that will make the process run even more smoothly.
Tips for Line Drying Your Clothes
1. Use vinegar in your rinse cycle to avoid stiff clothing.
I often hear people complain that when they line dry their clothing (especially jeans and towels), it ends up stiff and scratchy. Using just a half to three-quarters of a cup of vinegar per load, added just before your rinse cycle starts, will keep your clothing soft. Don’t worry about any vinegar odor — it disappears as the clothing dries.
2. Hang your shirts by the hemline, rather than the shoulders.
This prevents weird bunching at the shoulders, which is a pain to get out after the shirt is dry. Use two clothespins at the hem instead, and you won’t have to worry about bunchy shoulders.
3. Don’t fold clothing over the line.
Use clothespins, and clip all of your clothes to the line. Folding results in longer drying times and fold lines in weird places once your clothes have dried.
4. Don’t crowd your lines.
If you’re like me, you just want to get the laundry done as quickly as possible, and you might, maybe, sometimes do larger loads than you have room to hang. Resist the temptation, and give your clothing room on the lines. Crowding results in wrinkles and longer drying times, as well as weighing down the line (which could make your clothes drag on the ground.)
5. Freshen between washings.
If you have an item that you’ve worn, but isn’t exactly dirty, go ahead and hang it out on the line to let it air out. For even more freshening power, make an all natural linen spray, spritz the item, and let it dry. Double energy savings!
Line drying is easy, effective, and (dare I say it?) enjoyable. I hope these tips help make laundry day a little simpler.