6.20.2012

Laundry Week Day 2: 6 Tips for Line Drying

How could you not line dry after seeing sheets rippling in the wind like this?

Welcome to Laundry Week Day 2!  Today I'm talking about drying clothes.  I love line drying!  It's not for everyone and I avoid hanging our skivvies out there for the world to see, but maybe it IS for you!  We even use a hybrid drying process at our house.  Here are both sides of the issue:

PROS:
1. You save energy by not running the dryer
2. Unless you live in Dowisetrepla, clothes smell lovely!
3. Related to point #1, you are helping the planet out
4. If you play it right, you can get twice as much laundry done in a day

CONS:
1. If you have allergies, this might not be the system for you
2. Slightly more labor-intensive than throwing them in the dryer
3. Takes longer to dry--not recommended if you need those jeans in 30 minutes.
4. In all cases, but especially in combo with homemade laundry detergent, line drying doesn't leave clothes fluffy and "Downy Soft"

Some Tips For Drying Laundry:
1. Choose which clothes go where: Z doesn't like his shirts line dried because he doesn't like the feel of them. Like I said above, I don't typically line dry our skivvies.  Sheets and blankets as well as towels are wonderful on the line.
2. Efficency: Like I said in Pros point #4, if you wash a load of "Line Laundry" between two loads of "Dryer Laundry", you get more loads finished in the same amount of time.  Line drying takes longer, but dryer drying takes longer than a cycle in the wash, so you put a load in the washer and dryer at the same time.  The washer takes less time than the dryer, so that load goes to the line.  You put a 3rd load in the washing machine and by the time it's finished, the dryer is ready for another load. (But you never have 3 loads of laundry to do at the same time, do you?)
3. Hanging Laundry: Hanging shirts from the hem instead of the shoulders or the collar helps with those pesky clothespin marks.
4. Switching Line Loads: The best way I've found is to stack two laundry baskets.  When you get outside, unstack them and put the dry clothes into the empty basket.  I often fold the laundry as I take it off the line (If I have the time).  Then hang the wet clothes and restack the baskets.  This ensures that no item ends up on the ground.  You're also not trying to fling half a load of laundry over your shoulders while endlessly squatting and standing to replace items on the line one by one.
5. Give it a shake: This goes for hanging and removing (you know, when you flick it and it snaps like maids making beds in old movies...).  When hanging, shaking the clothes out helps with the wrinkles.  When removing: some bugs, pollen or grass clippings may have found their way onto your clothes.  That good shake will keep you from carrying anything unwanted into the house and consequently into your dresser.
6. Don't forget it!: If you're prone to leaving your laundry in the dryer for days at a time, you might want to set a reminder or rethink line drying.  Leaving your laundry on the line for long periods of time makes line marks in the laundry, gives pests and pollen the opportunity to congregate (no one likes to find spider webs built between their sheets, the sun can start to fade colors and worst of all...a bird could poo on your fresh laundry!

A clothes line is inexpensive to create and no one can deny the pleasure of saving money on your next energy bill.  I am just addicted to the whole thing: the sight, the smell, just feeling "peasant-y".  What do you love/hate about line drying?  Would you ever consider it?  Any more tips out there?

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