Hang Your Clothes Outside to Dry
10 Reasons Why
1. Saves energy. Electric clothes dryers account for one ton of CO2 emissions per year. Gas dryers use less, but still a non-renewable resource.
2. Saves money. Duh! The less you run your dryer, the less your utility bill will be.
3. Easier on your clothes. Heat from the dryer and agitation from the tumbling action both cause your clothes to wear out faster. This is especially true of anything with elastic or spandex.
4. Clothes need less ironing. Plackets, cuffs, pockets, and pleats all require less ironing when hung with a tiny bit of care.
5. Removes stains without special products. The sun does a terrific job of bleaching out stains from organic sources (tomato sauce, red wine, etc.). Pre-treat with a paste made from water and salt or backing soda to deal with stubborn stains.
6. Smells great. Nothing beats sleeping on sheets fresh off the line. Fresh air and sunshine give clothes a scent that cannot be duplicated by any cleaning product.
7. Good exercise. Build muscles carrying loads of wet clothes out to the line. Do squats and stretches while bending to take clothes from the basket.
8. An excuse to be outside. Feel the sun on your face and enjoy the birdsong while doing your laundry instead of being cooped up in your basement/laundry room.
9. Cuts down on folding time. Sheets are easily folded with perfect creases by one person. Socks can be matched as they are taken off the line.
10. Good for the soul. Once you get your rhythm hanging clothes, your mind is free to daydream or meditate, leaving you more relaxed and happy.
Tips for Drying Success
I’ll be posting a video of my tried and true methods soon!
- Let’s get practical. The weather has to cooperate. If you live somewhere with low–moderate rainfall and an abundance of warm days year–round you can eliminate the need for a clothes dryer altogether. Unfortunately, most of us have seasons that make hanging clothes outside prohibitive. So use your dryer when you must, but strive to hang clothes outside as much as you can. To do that, you might have to plan your laundry days around the weather forecasts. Keep in mind, that clothes can dry just as well on a breezy, cloudy day as on a still, sunny one.
- Some things dry faster than others. Sheets and light cotton clothing can dry in under an hour on a warm day, but heavy jeans take longer. Some days, I opt to put the jeans in the dryer, and hang the sheets. Some is always better than none.
- Keep clothespins in a waitress apron. Some people swear by holders than hang on the line and travel with you, but I prefer the apron method. Whatever you prefer, bring it inside when not in use to keep rain and bugs out.
- Hang dark colors in shadier spots—especially if you plan to leave them for the day. Strong sun can fade your clothes if left out all day. I learned that lesson the hard way when I lived in San Antonio. In Seattle, it’s rarely a problem, but I still reserve the shadier spot for darks. Be mindful of the conditions in your area.
- Clip clothespins work best and eliminate the need to “fold-over” a portion of the garment on the line.
- Flat pieces like towels, pillowcases, napkins, etc. can share clothespins by placing one edge over that of the next.
- Take the time to square up sheets, matching corners when folded over the line, so they can easily be folded while you take them down. That perfect center crease takes out the guesswork when making the bed too—no more short sheeting!
- Cotton knits can stretch on the line. Use a padded clothes-hangers rather than clothespins to eliminate that problem. Secure the hook of the hanger with a clothespin to keep them from traveling down the line in the breeze.
- I love the roughness of towels hung on the line and find the “scratchy” surface invigorating. If you prefer fluffy towels, line dry, then toss in your dryer for 5 minutes to soften them up.
- Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
- April 22, 2014
- 3 Comments
Excellent advice, as always!
Now your waitress apron is fab for clothespins. I am waiting until tomorrow to do the wash so I can hang those clothes out in the sun. You are so full of great ideas. Do you have a page on Facebook?
I schedule my laundry days around the weather too! There’s a load of towels on the line right now. And thanks for the nice comments. You CAN find me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Green-Queen-of-Moderation/192953520916000