Tag Archives: clothesline

Why Aren’t You Using a Clothesline?

There are many simple things you can do to be more eco friendly. Hanging your clothes out on a clothesline may not sound at first like a simple thing to you. But it’s really not that hard.

The Eco Advantages of Using a Clothesline

Buying and using a clothesline to do most of the drying of your laundry makes a lot of sense when it comes to the environment. It’s one of the easiest forms of solar power to use. It’s even fast on hot days. And it keeps you from using gas or electricity to power your clothesdryer.

The environmental advantages go beyond the gas and power bill, however. Line drying also helps most clothes to last longer. Dryers can be pretty hard on clothes; that’s why you get so much lint in the dryer.

The sun doesn’t cause that damage. It’s much kinder to your clothes. This means your clothes will last longer and you won’t need to replace them as often.

The Advantages to You

I know, hanging clothes on a clothesline sounds like a lot of work. It certainly is more work than tossing clothes into the dryer and taking them back out later. But it may not be as bad as you think.

I prefer to use clothespins to hang my laundry, but some other people put damp shirts, dresses, pants and so forth onto hangers to dry on the clothesline. It saves a step. If you’re in an area with a lot of wind it’s not so good an idea to use hangers because the wind can blow them right off the line.

You can still make doing your laundry more efficient with a clothesline. It may take time and effort to get the clothes up, but once they’re dry you can bring the hangers out and the clothes are easy to pop onto the hanger, as they aren’t all tangled up from being in the dryer anymore.

You also quickly save money with a clothesline. How quickly depends on the clothesline you bought, how much laundry you do and how much it costs you to run your dryer for each load. It’s likely to pay off in well under a year for many families.

Hanging out laundry is also pretty good exercise. You’re out in the fresh air and sunshine (might want to wear a hat!) and hanging up heavy, damp laundry. If you aren’t used to it, you will feel the effort.

The Disadvantages

It’s not all wonderful with a clothesline. You probably don’t want to let your jeans and towels dry completely on a clothesline – they end up kind of crunchy. But you can let them dry most of the way and then finish the job off in the dryer. They’ll come out feeling great and you will still have used your dryer less.

If you have a Homeowner’s Association to deal with, you’re likely to be facing rules against clotheslines. There are groups trying to change that, but it’s slow going. If you’re discreet about it and don’t get a huge setup that can be seen over your fence you can probably still get away with using a clothesline.

Clotheslines are also more challenging in apartments and condos. You likely just don’t have a great space to install one. However there are many good clothes drying racks you can buy and put in a space that gets plenty of sunshine and where you can open the window for fresh air.

They’re of course quite subject to weather. You’re not going to get much benefit from a clothesline on a rainy day. But even on cloudy days clothes will often dry reasonably quickly, depending on the moisture in the air that day. And when the sun goes down, the laundry’s not going to dry fast at all.

Overall, I find the advantages of using a clothesline to well outweigh the disadvantages. Give it all some thought and you might find that hanging the laundry out is a step you’re willing to take to go green.

Dry Your Laundry Using Less Energy – Green Step By Step

Laundry can use huge amounts of energy, especially when you use a dryer. But there are steps you can take to be more efficient.

A good, old fashioned clothesline is my favorite option. They can be very affordable, but not easily used in all situations. They’re more challenging in apartments and when you have to deal with a homeowner’s association, of course. Although even in those cases you can set up a drying rack indoors.

Then there’s rainy or otherwise cold or damp weather that can make clotheslines just not work.

That’s when using your dryer efficiently comes in. Don’t let that sucker cool off! If your dryer is like mine you will need to get the clothes before the dryer stops, as it cools them down for you… and coincidentally itself.

Get the next load in while the dryer is still hot, and it won’t have to reheat so much. You’ll also get those wonderfully warm clothes to hold for just a moment.

How to Make Using a Clothesline Easier

I love using my clothesline to dry my laundry. It’s not for everyone, but it certainly works for me. I dry as much laundry as possible on there, at least part of the way. It’s hard to say how much energy I’m saving, but it’s probably pretty significant.

These are some of the things that make it easier for me:

1. State of Mind

It would be harder to use my clothesline if I really hated it. That’s pretty much obvious, I’d say.

A part of what I do is look at it as a chance to get a bit of exercise, which can otherwise be hard to get with 3 young children in the house. There’s a lot of lifting, and holding wet laundry to the line to clip it, then repeating over and over certainly gives the arms a bit of a workout. It’s not as much fun as lifting my baby of course.

2. Know How Long to Leave Clothes on the Line

My husband hates the feel of towels and jeans dried completely on the line. I do too. But what he doesn’t realize is that I dry all laundry at least part of the way on the line when the weather is nice. Jeans, towels and anything else that will feel kind of crunchy after I take down before they’re dry and toss into the dryer. Just doing the last little bit of drying by machine takes the crunch out.

3. Recognize the Benefits

I love knowing that I’m saving money drying my laundry this way. I also enjoy seeing how much better white items look after drying in the sun. It’s most obvious with my baby’s cloth diaper inserts, which often still have some yellow to them after washing. By the time they’re dried by the sun, the yellow is gone. The dryer can’t do that.

4. Have Enough Clothesline Available

I still need my husband to hang a second line for me. I may end up doing it myself if he doesn’t get to it soon. It’s not that hard, but I’d need a time when the baby doesn’t need me. On the plus side, it would do my son good to see that Mommy can do that kind of work too. Same for my older daughter, but I think I would probably try it while she was at school. Just the time of day I’m most likely to do these things.

Not having enough space for more than a load at the time makes using a clothesline harder on days that aren’t hot enough to dry everything quickly. That especially goes for if I’m doing general laundry and cloth diapers on the same day. Those inserts can take forever to dry! They are absorbent, after all.

5. Plenty of Clothespins

You can save on clothespins and clothesline space if you clip two pieces of clothes together, side by side, but that only goes so far. Running out of clothespins just before you run out of laundry in a load can be quite frustrating.

6. Hat and Sunglasses

One of my peeves with a clothesline is looking into the sun as I try to hang the clothes. Wearing a hat and sunglasses can really help. I don’t feel so blinded.

What tips do you have for drying clothes on a clothesline?

The Disadvantage to Line Drying Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering my daughter is going really well right now. She still has the occasional leak if she naps too long and I only have the infant insert in the diaper, but so long as I pay attention all goes well. She can even make it through the night with the full size insert in her bumGenius 3.0 cloth diapers.

Caring for them is going really well too. I’m pretty used to the clothesline routine for drying them. But there’s one little disadvantage we have to deal with…

There’s a pepper tree next door. It’s dropping those tiny little flowers all over the place.

I keep finding them in the diapers when I bring them in. I’ve not had this problem with other laundry, although I will admit I’m pickier about the condition of diapers when then come in than other clothes. Selene’s smaller, after all, and diapers have a rather important function.

Aside from that, I’m loving the clothesline, at least on warm, sunny days. The sun nicely bleaches out the color that the washing machine doesn’t quite manage.

Enjoying My Clothesline More and More

The weather has continued here so warm, and my energy level has been picking up some again. Add in the nightly bed wetting phase my son is going through right now, and my clothesline is really getting some use at last.


We had been just drying the sheets and mattress protector outside, but I’ve found that if I try I can fit a whole load on there, even with the sheets taking a lot of room, so that’s what we’re doing now.

It’s really not that hard to do, even if the weather out is 90+ degrees still. A little time consuming, but I’ve already warned my husband that I probably want a second line hung soon. It’s southern California, after all, which means the weather is perfect for drying clothes outside much of the time.

I also figure this will help to ensure that smells have a hard time building up. Washing does quite well, but I trust the sun quite a bit.

I had to smile when my daughter asked me when I’d gotten the laundry basket. It’s been sitting unused in the garage since we moved in here, a relic of when my husband and I lived in an apartment and had to carry loads to the laundry room. I don’t bother with one when I can just pick up anything I drop.

Going outside makes the laundry basket make sense again. Don’t want my clean clothes on those dratted wood chips. Bad enough getting splinters in my feet. Don’t need them elsewhere.

My husband has been teasing me that I could just start using the bathtub and the antique wash board we got from my grandma. He knows I have no interest in adding that much labor to the job, although I gather it’s quite the arm workout. Still not going to happen. Fun to not take everything seriously in life.