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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.