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Line-Dry Your Laundry

There must be something great about drying your clothing outside, as it seems all of the laundry detergents aim to get that fresh smell. I see promises of fragrances filled with the smell of mountain freshness and April showers. What’s not to love about that? Did you know it’s possible to achieve that just by line-drying your clothing outside? With a simple clothesline and some clothespins, you can save your family money and achieve the scent that every detergent company is trying to capture.


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One of the best benefits of line-drying is that your clothes will last longer. Have you ever thought about how much lint is in your dryer filter after a cycle? That is actually worn-away fabric that would have remained on your garments if you had line dried them. Zippers cause snagging on clothing when tossed in the dryer, but when line dried your garments will remain intact.

You’ll also save yourself some dough in the process. Did you know that electric dryers are often the top energy users in a home, followed by refrigerators, lighting and water heaters? Not only will you save on your electricity bill, but you can also save on laundry products. The sun is a natural whitener, so no need to buy any bleach. Static cling results from clothing rubbing together, but if you hang clothing out to dry it is not necessary to buy dryer sheets.
Getting Started
If you live in a subdivision, first check the guidelines of your homeowner’s association. Since many associations can mandate house colors, drapery and whether your garage should be open or shut, a clothesline may also be on the list of big no-nos.

To begin line-drying your clothing, you will need a good clothesline. Pull it taut when installing it, so the hung clothing does not cause the line to sag. The only maintenance you will need to do is wipe it down once a month with a damp rag. This prevents a dusty line getting your clean clothes dirty. Personally, I wipe this down every time I use it.

Clothespins come in several varieties, but I prefer plastic. They are not hard on your clothing and come in bright colors, making them easier to find for unclipping. I buy them at the dollar store, in the laundry section. Whatever kind you choose, make sure to keep them in a place where they will stay clean and dry. I store mine in a small plastic tote with a handle, which keeps them in good condition and helps me to find them when I need them.

For Best Results….

The most important element of line-drying is hanging them properly. This will reduce your ironing and help maintain the shape and colors of your fabrics.

Before you hang your items, first shake out the fabric with a snap, and you will see the wrinkles begin to loosen. Pin the item up on the line and smooth it out with your hand. This is where you save a lot of ironing time — and I will do anything I can to accomplish that!



Have Allergies?

Outdoor drying is not recommended for those who suffer from allergies. If you must line dry, do not hang clothing until midday, when pollen counts tend to be lower. But if pollen-laden laundry still causes discomfort, save money somewhere else in the budget and resume dryer use with renewed appreciation for modern appliances.



Next, hang shirts and socks upside down, to help avoid stretching in the material where it might be noticeable. Jeans and towels should be folded in half over the line. Halfway through, you can flip these items and dry them on the other side.

Hang your colored garments inside out, to maintain their color. For whites, you will love that bleaching effect of the sun, but you don’t want this to occur with your colored pieces.

There are items that can be a bit trickier to hang, but they are easy once you know how. Sheets, for example, can be folded hem to hem. Turning the sides in by a few inches on only one hem, fold three to four inches of that hem over the line, and pin. Secure the corners of the other hem a few inches inside the first two pins. The sheet should then open towards the wind and blow like a sail, assuring you of even drying.

I have never been brave enough to hang my unmentionables. I figure that I am saving enough money by putting larger items on the line that the personal attire can go in the dryer for a quick tumble. If you are braver than me, however, you can create a wall of clothing on each side and then place your undergarments in the center, making it difficult for the neighbors to see your items.

If you find your clothing to be stiff after drying on the line, you can throw them in the dryer briefly to loosen any wrinkles and soften up the fabric.


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Line-Dry Your Laundry:  Created on June 27th, 2007.  Last Modified on January 13th, 2010


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About Amy Allen Clark

Amy Allen Clark is a stay-at-home mother of a two wonderful children. She is founder and creator of Her Web site is geared towards mothers who are seeking advice on staying organized, living on a budget and work-at-home employment. The author resides in Granger, Indiana. Her hobbies include reading, writing and cooking. Please visit her money-saving blog on


© 2003-2004 Amy Allen Clark. All rights reserved.



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