Drying clothes

Since we married, we’ve been drying clothes on the clothes rack. There are only two of us, if we had a bigger family, I’d insist on a clothesline. But this works just fine.

Sometimes I have to prop them up because the wind blows them over.

I put it out in the sunshine and go about my business. In two hours, my clothes are dry–and fresh. On rainy days, I leave the racks on the back porch. During the winter, I used to bring them inside the house in Norfolk. It took a bit longer for them to dry, sometimes a day, but they dried. Now, I put them in the sun, no matter how cold. I read a blog (though I do not remember where–was it Green Anthropology?) about a woman who put her wet clothes on the clothesline in the snow. As long as the sun shone and the wind blew, she swore they’d be dry in 2 to 4 hours. I thought that was beautiful!

I do occasionally put towels and sheets in the dryer to kill bacteria, since I only wash in cold water. My man’s energy bill has gone down since he married me! But once I get that clothesline…I’m quite sure the sun will kill any bacteria just as well as a dryer. And who doesn’t romanticize the idea of crisp, white sheets whipping in the wind? It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.

What do you think? Clothesline or dryer?

 Interesting  articles on the clothesline:

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21 responses to “Drying clothes

  1. I use the clothesline in the summer when I have the time and energy – but hanging laundry for 4 people when I’m not feeling well isn’t always a possibility, so I use the dryer. It’s actually easier for me to hang laundry in the winter – I have a few racks set up in the basement in front of the wood pellet stove. The racks are right by the washing machines, dry super fast, and no wood smoke smell from wood pellets.

  2. I actually think dryers are a complete waste of energy and money. I dry all our clothes out on a clothes line or if its wet (and its wet and rainy A LOT where we live, but also luckily, often windy too), inside on a clothes horse next to our glass door during the day, or in our living room at night (which is usually warmer from the oven/heater). When it comes to linen and towels, I either hang them outside regardless of weather until they dry (a little extra rain never hurt) or, if we desperately need them, along the back of our kitchen table chairs overnight. But generally, we have plenty of towels and linen that we rarely ‘desperately’ need them washed and dried. Another trick is to use coathangers to hang all your tops/hoodies/shirts from the curtain rail to dry. In most climates in the world, there is always a way to dry clothes without a dryer :)

  3. It’s actually quite interesting reading your links about America, as here in Australia, clothes lines have never gone out of fashion or seen as a poor way of drying clothes. Sure, for people in apartments it may be a little different, but from living in apartments myself and knowing others that do, I’ve found that clothes drying racks (or clothes horses) are much highly preferenced than dryers. Apart from being the greener option, for most it really comes down to the very high running costs and energy consumption.

    • the same is in Poland. Even a few years back when I lived there you wouldn’t hear about or see dryers in apartments or even in houses. It was something “fancy”, “silly” and something that only rich people would waste their money on ;)

  4. misswhiplash

    I always prefer my clothes line..my daughter has one of the wirly-gig things and I hate it. It does not like me either as it tried to get me hung up amongst its plastic lines….No a nice straight rope line suits me fine..

    love to you both!

  5. a simple line of stiff plastic covered line does well enough to fry all our needs..i use the porch railing for heavier items such as throws and blankets..put pillows in chairs and mops on deck..love the wind which smooths wrinkles out as i use no softener..a spoon of baking soda in wash..
    fresh white sheets; ah! happy day …
    here, i’ll add an anecdote for you: in the desert, i hung clothes on bushes, went to work after grabbing beige pants from one in a hurry..felt a wasp or something too close to my.. person. grabbed cloth by the angry creature so as not to be stung..turned pants down–a scorpion seemed unhappy at my depriving him of motion..i had him by the tail…had to find a skirt in my store, while customers obliged = lesson..don’t hang clothes on sagebrush..unless you can explain to the doctor why you were stung in odd places..

  6. Hi Jenifer! We just moved and on the top of my list was a clothes line. My husband hasn’t gotten around to putting up a proper clothes line in the yard, but he ran a short line for me right between the posts on the back porch. I step out with a dishcloth, dish towel, washcloth, or bath towel and hang ‘em high! Generally, I hang items that dry quickly and items that take a long time to dry (jeans) on my clothes line. I’ve done bathtowels occasionally, and I really don’t mind the “stiffness”, it’s not a big deal. Isn’t it funny how strongly people tend to feel about clothes lines? We have a love affair with them and I think that might go back to when we were children and drying clothes on the line was something most people did.

  7. Love to have a clothes line, The one we have here in MI is too high for my short butt to reach- David promises to lower it for me and streach the line tighter- as of right now the bird feeder gets to use it more than I do- but the darn squirrels have figured out how to jump from the line and hang up-side on the bird feeder. Now with sunflower bird seed on the ground the chip-monks are back, they’re cute but Not chip and dale more like a distroying band of banchies- I’m going to try mothballs around the house again and hope the stray cat has not moved out of the neighborhood for good! Do you have any ideas how to get rid of pesky squirrels and chip-munks? I hate that they attack the garden and the dog tries to chase them digging up the yard as they run down one of the many holes they have around the yard for their excape hatches.

  8. @Jackie—we’ve fought the squirrels too. We opted for one of those bird feeders that doesn’t hang, but stands straight up in the yard. We slather the pole with Vaseline and cayenne pepper. It works well, but has to be applied again after a hard rain. Maybe move it from the clothesline or they won’t stop now that they’ve found a 24 hour 7-11. And get uncle David to lower that line for you, bless your heart. You aren’t any taller than me!

    @Jesusknowsmyname–I hope your move was smooth and that the unpacking goes quickly!

    @JO–I LOVE hearing about your Australia stories. I don’t know when we switched over. Both my grandmothers had a clothes line and it was normal. Then we all just seem to have gotten a little spoiled between their generation and ours.

    @Polish mom—you’ve made me move Poland way up on my vacation list!

    @MissWhiplash–So good to see you back!

    @Nadine–no sagebrush, eh? That was a scary story. I often try to remind myself to check for spiders…but I always forget! In Africa, we hung clothes on trees, across bushes and rocks, while Eurorailing–across seats, our bags and from the bag railings. I had a rope I used to tie from the window to the bed in hostels and pensions. I learned in Brazil you can hang them up soaking wet and they’ll dry just fine, no need to wring out anything. But I have never had your desert experience! Yikes! You brave woman!!!

    @LIghtly Crunchy—winter or summer, at least you’re hanging them. So many people don’t. We just installed an energy counter (future post) and found the dryer was a huge energy hog. The air outside is free! Once those little ones grow taller–future chore!

  9. We use a clothesline all summer except that on forest fires all around us year. I’ve nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award, the Sunshine Award and the Genuine Blogger Award. Join in if you like but there is no obligation to participate…a gift not an obligation. I so enjoy your blog and wish to thank you for sharing and dropping by my blog too. For more info go to: http://lovinglifeagreenjourney.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/awards-received-and-passed-on/

  10. There is nothing that compares with the fresh scent of sun-dried clothes. And, of course the benefits to the environment and reduction in fuel bills …

  11. Thank you Eldy! You’re so generous with your awards!

    Juwannadoright— I’m surprised by the amount of people that don’t feel this way. They say the clothesline makes their clothes hard or crunchy. I mean, really? Ever heard of an iron?

  12. I miss having a clothes line but living a congested part of the city in an apartment building, that’s out of the question. I do however use racks all over the place. As for the bacteria in the sheets when washed in cold water, you can use peppermint oil. It kills the bacteria and it’s natural.

    • I just made another batch of powdered laundry soap last night – I didn’t have any dr bronners peppermint soap this time, so I useda bar of natural laundry soap from the health food store and added 40 drops of peppermint ess. oil into the food processor. Smells great, and now I know it’s antibacterial, too. Best yet, the soap from the health food store is all natural and packaging free.

  13. NotWiredThatWay—peppermint oil. I’ve never heard to add this into the laundry. Thanks for that!

  14. For some reason, dryers never made it to the Japan mainstream – so laundry drying and futons airing on balconies are a daily site (my old neighborhood: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jfchenier/3029031085/). In our apartment in LA, hanging clothes outside is against the rules. Aesthetics and image win our over the ecology, it seems.

  15. If we had a big yard and a long clothesline, that might be a different story, but as it is, we have too much laundry to hang on the drying rack of our balcony. I dry all my son’s cloth diaper covers and pocket diapers out there though. I was trying to dry inserts in the sun as well, but then I ended up with a mildew problem. It’s just too humid.

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