A few months ago, we decided to make a big change in our home: we ditched our clothes dryer. I’d been wanting to do it for a long time, but the thought of not having the convenience of a dryer was a little daunting, especially with all of the clothes I wash in a week! I’m happy to report, however, that life has gone on as normal, and I’m actually very glad we made the switch to hang-drying exclusively. There’s something therapeutic, and even relaxing, about pinning up my family’s clothes out on the line on a sunny day.
As I’ve incorporated this slower paced housekeeping method into my life, I’ve learned a few good tips along the way. Here’s a little hang-drying advice from my home to yours.
- You don’t have to start off with a large clothesline. If you only have space for a single strand, maximize its usage by hanging your clothing on clothes hangers before placing them on the line. You’ll be able to hang ten times as much this way. Plus, when it comes time to put your dried laundry away, you’ll be one step ahead. For pants, invest in some pants stretchers and you may never iron pants again!
- Don’t install your clothesline so far out in the yard that it’s a long haul to get to it. A clothes basket of wet laundry can be heavy. If this is your only option, however, a laundry cart will be a lifesaver.
- If you have a well, or have somewhat hard water, you may need to add a fabric softener to your washer to keep your laundry from turning into cardboard on the line. A half cup of white distilled vinegar added to the rinse cycle will help tremendously as well. (Don’t worry, the smell rinses right out.)
- Remember not to use more laundry detergent than you need. With most store-bought detergents, you can actually get away with using half the amount called for. Soap residue and buildup will make your clothes stiff and scratchy.
Be sure to separate whites from colors. Without the added benefit of using an electric clothes dryer, lint is sure to cling to your clothing. A single white cloth washed with a load of darks is all it takes to cover your shirts in snowy fuzz.
- Hang t-shirts upside down on the line. Pinning them at the shoulders will cause them to pucker where the clothespin was clipped.
- Be sure to have a backup plan for rainy days and snowy weather. A nice expandable floor dryer rack, an accordion style wall mounted rack, or a retractable line installed in your shower are great indoor hang drying options.
- A clothespin bag or apron is a very convenient way to store all those loose clothespins, and makes an easy way to carry and grab them as needed when working with the laundry.
- Be sure to use a good quality clothesline. Cheap lines will stretch, sag and break down from sun exposure and begin to rust, leaving your laundry with a permanent stain.
- Installing a child’s height line is a great way to get the kids to help. And believe it or not, your little one will most likely enjoy the responsibility of hanging their own clothing to dry.
Did you know that hang drying your clothing will make them last longer? The heat from electric clothes dryers breaks down delicate fibers (that’s what all of that dryer lint is made up of) and wears your clothing out more quickly. By hang-drying not only will you save money on your power bill, you’ll also spend less replacing your wardrobe.
So what are you waiting for? Ditch the bulky, energy-hogging dryer taking up space in your laundry room, and give your clothes some fresh air.