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8 Tips for Drying Clothes on the Clothesline

  • June 19, 2011
  • 6:01 pm
  • 2 of 4

The Clothespins
Once you have a line, you’ll need some clothespins to hold your wash on it. I prefer the spring clip type, and I’m partial to the wooden kind. Buy the sturdiest ones you can find—in my experience, the cheap ones lose their grip in even the lightest breeze and fall apart easily. Keep your pins in a portable bag or other container that you can hang on the line while pinning up your laundry. But store the bag inside when not in service; if your pins are left outside, they will get dirty and may stain your wash. Plus they won’t last as long. You can make a very serviceable clothespin container out of a stiff plastic milk or water jug: Cut off the bottom of the handle to make a hanging hook and cut away some of the jug’s top for easy access to your clothespins inside.

Hang ’em high!
If you want to speed up the drying process, you can run your laundry through an extra spin cycle in your washer. (When I have plenty of drying time, I actually prefer to reduce the spin time and let the clothes hang outside longer, to save even more electricity.) When your laundry’s been spun, grab your clothespins and tote your wash out to the line. Give each item a good snap to minimize wrinkles and attach it firmly to the line with the pins. I like to gently stretch collars, the strips down the front of buttoned shirts, and seams that are prone to shrinking, pulling them to their normal lengths before I hang them. But be careful not to overstretch anything. Fold the top edge of each item of clothing over the clothesline and clip the fold to the line. Clothing dries fastest if it’s hung a single layer, with nothing folded in half over itself. If space is limited, you can scrunch things closer together; it will all just take a little longer to dry. Hang small, thin items like dress socks together in pairs to save on pins and space and overlap the corners of larger items so one pin can hold both. On windy days, use extra clips to make sure everything’s especially secure.

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Rodale

Rodale.com is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. Rodale.com focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice.

221 comments

+ add your own
4:49AM PST on Feb 18, 2014

noted

4:21PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Thanks.

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.

1:42PM PDT on Jul 6, 2011

Nothing is nicer than sleeping on sheets that I have hung outside in the fresh air to dry! What is not to love about saving money on the dryer? and sleeping better on fresh smelling sheets?

10:36PM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

I used a dryer for many years but have now gone back to hanging my clothes outdoors..hate the way my towels feel afterwards so will try a couple of your tips...thanks.

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