Tips For Hang-Drying Your Laundry

clothesline crop

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.

Put down the iron! Use the Pants Stretcher to get crisply creased pants and keep the wrinkles out. An old-time favorite and one of our best=selling items, ever! At Lehmans.com.

Put down the iron! Use the Pants Stretcher to get crisply creased pants and keep the wrinkles out. An old-time favorite and one of our best-selling items, ever! At Lehmans.com.

  • 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.
Our sturdy apron eliminates bending down to reach clothespins. At Lehmans.com.

Our sturdy apron eliminates bending down to reach clothespins. At Lehmans.com.

  • 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.
large drying rack

Amish-made rack dries an entire load of laundry! Collapsible, too. At Lehmans.com.

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.

15 thoughts on “Tips For Hang-Drying Your Laundry

  1. I also like to hang my clothes out to dry. However, I did not ditch my dryer. When I bring them in from the line, I put them in the dryer on the “air dry” cycle for 5 or 10 minutes and they come out nice and soft. I don’t like to use fabric softener, so I put a little white vinegar in the rinse cycle.

  2. I used to love helping hang the clothes out on the line when I was a kid! I would still have to keep the dryewr as a back-up during the snowy/rainy season though! ;) xo

  3. I Love hanging my clothes out, makes them smell so fresh and they dry so much faster then in a dryer. But, since I live in an area where we get heavy winters with a lot of storms & snow, I keep the dryer for the times I cannot hang stuff out. I end up using the dryer only about 6 times or so in the winter only. There is nothing like an outdoor line.

  4. we have been 20 years without a clothes dryer, except what we lovingly refer to as our solar powered, sometimes wind generated clothes dryer…the clothesline. I hang up clothes in the dead of the winter and the heat of the summer. Would not change it for the world. Its a solid 20 minutes of aerobic exercise too. Something good about knowing you have what it takes to hang up clothes in 14 degree temps. Freeze dried clothes work just fine !

  5. I remember when we hung clothes out to dry when we lived in Calif. The clothes feel sooo much better, smell fresher too.

  6. the highlight of my Saturday morning is to go to the line by myself & hang my clothes. and yes, sometimes I find myself singing a hymn or two, or twelve! and my favorite, talking w/the Lord!!!

  7. I just came in from hanging up a load of clothes. I think I could go back in 5 minutes and they’d be dry. (I live in East Texas.)

  8. Rachel, I live in the same area, and you are so right! Sometimes the first things are dry before I hang the last ones.

  9. Where I live it is against ordinances to hang laundry outside…I find it funny that the city board squawks about “Going green” and they forbid this very green (and DO-able) practice. Can’t wait to retire where there is less interferance

  10. I love hanging clothes out on the line. I have several lines strung up around my backyard. I live in central New Jersey & I hang the clothes out in winter if it is 40degrees or higher. If not I’ll do smaller loads & drape pants on dining chairs & hang shirts on hangers on the shower rod.

  11. Where I live, the summer California sunshine can bleach colors and ruin elastic, so I’ve taken to hanging the wet clothes out just at sundown and harvesting them first thing the next morning. The low humidity sucks the water out of clothes here!

  12. Here in New Zealand most people have a clothesline in their backyard which they use with every wash. We just don’t do laundry on days if it looks like it’s going to rain. (And many times my kind neighbour has brought my washing in for me if it’s started to rain while I am out.) I live in Christchurch in the South Island where it is cooler, and we still dry our washing (which is what we call laundry) outside all year round. Here is a tip from my friend’s grandmother who lives in the coldest area of New Zealand. She hangs her washing out in the deepest winter days even when there is no sun, and to get it dry in a day, she goes out again at lunchtime and turns it upside down and re-pegs it. At the end of the day if it is still damp, she uses an indoor rack and has the laundry hanging over it, placed near the fire (obviously not too close). Or, she gets out the iron and presses it. It is super-luxurious to have freshly washed and freshly pressed clothes and sheets/pillowslips. The smell of freshness can’t be bought. Truly the life of kings.

  13. I make my own laundry detergent, I rinse with vinegar and I hang my laundry out on the line.
    but during winter months, I have a retractable
    line in my laundry room.This adds much needed moisture to the dry indoor heated air of the house.