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8 Tips for Drying Clothes on the Clothesline

  • June 19, 2011
  • 6:01 pm
  • 1 of 4
8 Tips for Drying Clothes on the Clothesline

Save money, cut carbon emissions, and extend the life of your clothing—all with a few bucks’ worth of rope.

By Jean Nick, Organic Gardening

Line drying is back! True, electric clothes dryers aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. But, as you may find simply by strolling around your neighborhood on the next sunny Saturday, it seems like more people than ever are returning to the tried-and-true combination of sun, wind, and clothesline to dry their clothing and linens. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times reported that the trend was becoming popular among celebrities, even as some ordinary folks had to battle with local home owner associations that banned the practice as “unattractive.” Hanging your laundry out to dry instead of firing up your dryer reduces your electric or gas bill, lowers carbon emissions, helps your clothing and linens last longer by eliminating some wear and tear on the fabric (saving you more money), is a great excuse to get outside, and gives your fabrics that natural, fresh outdoor smell (no need to use chemical fragrances that claim to mimic it). Even if you don’t hang every wash load, each time you do, you save yourself money and help protect the environment.

The Line
There are all sorts of drying line setups, but all you really need is a length of clean, strong rope that you can tie between two trees or poles. Having a tightening mechanism of some sort is a good idea, as every type of line I’ve used has stretched over time. You can buy tighteners at a hardware or home improvement store; they attach to the line and make it easy to take up any slack without having to untie and retie the rope. Be sure you hang your line high enough so heavy washed items won’t brush the ground. Pick a site where no one will run into the drying laundry and also consider how far you will need to carry your laundry. Avoid putting your line under trees that drip sap or where birds tend to perch. If you are short on space, you can buy a retractable clothesline, which attaches to a wall and lets you extend the line when needed, or an umbrella-style clothesline, which is like a patio umbrella but has clotheslines in place of umbrella fabric. These options require a bigger up-front investment, but you’ll recoup the costs.

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12:33PM PDT on Jun 22, 2015

Thank you.

4:45AM PDT on Oct 15, 2014

The DIY branche clothing clothesline: best way to arrange clothe on clothelines, simple cool. T Shirt Box

4:49AM PST on Feb 18, 2014


4:21PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012


3:35PM PST on Jan 17, 2012

thnx for this

8:01AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

When I was growing up, everyone hung their laundry outside to dry...and oh did the clothes smell so fresh. I really miss those days!

12:11PM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

I love it, but Seattle weather doesn't cooperate alot.

5:48PM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

I really need to get a line put up

12:51PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Thanks for the tips.

7:32AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

Reading this made me smile because these tips are common knowledge to me, or so I thought! In my house, we always used the clothesline, and even now that my mother has a dryer, she only uses it when it's raining or in emergencies. Now that I live in an apartment I have to rely on dryers, and I miss clotheslines more than ever. Nothing like the clean smell and feeling of clothing that has dried under the sun.

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