Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hung Out to Dry

The Benefits of Line-Dried Laundry


At the beginning I want to say that this is not a dryer bashing post. I am so thankful for my electric dryer! It enables me to do laundry when it is raining, or in the middle of the night if I need to. It is a great blessing to me, but I am thrilled to not have to use it for every load of laundry now that I have a clothesline in my backyard.

       I love crawling into a bed freshly made with sheets fresh off of the clothesline. It makes the whole room smell like fresh air and sunshine. When I bring my line-dried clothes inside and put them away I feel like I am making the whole smell fresh. I grew up with a clothesline and line-dried laundry, so that is what “home” smells and feels like to me. I love looking out of my kitchen window and watching my clean laundry billow in the breeze.

    I’ve been greatly enjoying my clothesline the last few weeks. I didn’t realize how much joy I was  going to get from something as simple as hanging my laundry outside almost everyday. I get excited about doing laundry now—which for me is big because I am notorious for doing other things to avoid laundry.

Some people curl their nose up at line-dried laundry. I understand this is personal preference, but to me this is silly and the benefits outweigh the reasons some prefer to use a dryer. One thing that I hear from several people is that “line-dried towels are scratchy!” They are, but it’s not like you are using a Brillo pad to dry off with ;).  A lot of people (Jacob and I included) prefer them that way. Line-dried towels absorb much more moisture than towels dried in a dryer. When using a dryer-dried towel after being used to towels hung to dry, it feels like the soft towel is only smearing the moisture around and not absorbing much at all.


Another argument that some people have is that it takes too much time to hang clothes out. It really doesn’t take much longer than tossing them in the dryer. The more you hang laundry on the line, the faster you’ll get.  I prefer to fold the clothes as I take them off of the clothesline so all I have to do is put them away when I bring them inside. If the laundry is already folded, I will put it away quicker than if I have a pile of laundry looming on the couch waiting to be folded.

Growing up we hung everything outside, but since I’m in the city with neighbors on both sides, I hang out everything except underwear and socks. I do use my dryer for those things and anything small.

Benefits of line-dried  clothes:

~Hanging your clothes outside to dry will help cut down on your utility bill, whether you have an electric or gas dryer. Especially if you hang out items that take a long time to dry in a dryer such as towels, blankets, and blue jeans.

~Hanging clothes in the sun is an effective way to get rid of stains. My mom has used this method with great success over the years, simply hanging the stained garment outside in the sun for a few days. This works very well for baby garments which are easily soiled and stained.

~In the same vein, hanging whites outside is a great way to keep them white without having to bleach them very often.

~The sun is a great way to disinfect and kill germs. Many years ago hospitals would periodically take all of the bedding, linens, beds, etc., outside and let them sit in the sunshine. The UV rays in the sun did away with all sorts of germs. I learned this from a nurse friend of mine and she said that an older nurse told her of this practice and also that staph infections started going rampant after the hospitals discontinued this practice.

After learning this, I always try to take bedding and pillows outside to air and soak up sunshine after we’ve been sick.

My mom noticed that when she didn’t hang my siblings’ cloth diapers outside in the sun, but dried them in the dryer, they were more prone to diaper rashes and other irritations.

~You can use less starch on shirts, denim skirts and blue jeans if they are dried on a line rather than in a dryer. Sometimes you can get away with not ironing at all if you make sure all of the hems, collars, and pocket flaps are straight when you first put them on the line.

~It’s a great way to make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin D. My mood and spirits are much improved when I get a little sunshine every day and hanging out my laundry is a wonderful way to accomplish this.


Hurray for clotheslines!


  1. I agree! I love this post! We are in Minnesota and unfortunately my clothes line drying is limited to about 5 months. I stop when my fingers get numb hanging them up in October and start up again as soon as the snow is gone and the ground dries up a bit. :) I can almost smell the clean line dried sheets!

    1. Gretchen,
      We have pretty mild winters here and I can hang clothing out almost year-round if the sun is shining. I have hung laundry out a few times and I my hands would get numb, but we don't get that kind of weather very often.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!