Tips for Hanging a Clothes Line and Air Drying Clothes

A few years ago, my husband and I decided that hanging a clothes line would be a smart thing to do. Hanging clothes on the line outside saves money and is better for the environment. Of course, between the pollen and the humidity, I haven’t gotten to use it as much as I would like. But, despite restrictions from our neighborhood association, installing a clothes line was easy.  If you want to know how to hang a clothes line and why you should, keep reading!

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Hanging a Clothes Line? Help Preserve The Right to Dry!

Why Are People Not Hanging Clothes to Dry Outside?

There are many people in our neighborhood who want to BAN clothes lines because they are considered ‘tacky’ or ‘poor looking’. Yes, somehow hanging clothing out to dry detracts from the value of my home.

Let’s get real, people. A few decades ago, hanging a clothes line would have been no big deal. Everyone had some sort of clothes line in their back yard, right? Well, I decided to share with you a few facts about clothes lines and an easy way that YOU can help preserve the right to dry your clothes however you see fit. Because my neighborhood is not the only one trying to ban innocent clothes from being dried in the sun! So, buy yourself an outdoor clothes line kit  and some wooden clothes pins and join the green laundry movement! 

More Green Laundry Tips

Help Preserve the Right to Dry Clothes on a Clothes Line

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Benefits of Drying Clothes In The Sun

So, why should you start drying your clothes in the sun?  Isn’t it easier to just toss them right into the dryer in your laundry room?  Easier?  Probably.  But, line drying clothes has a lot of benefits too:

  • Clothes can also last longer hanging under the sun because it does’t get manhandled quite like it does in the dryer. 
  • Clothes won’t shrink hanging on the clothes line.
  • Sun is a natural sanitizer, so if you dry you clothes under sun, they will smell cleaner and fresher.
  • Hanging a clothes line saves money! Air drying your clothes is much cheaper than running a clothes dryer and buying dryer sheets.
  • Hanging clothes outside is better for the environment than running a clothes dryer. 

Drying Clothes on a Clothes Line_ How and Why to Air Dry Your Clothes

Consider Hanging a Clothes Line This Spring!

Years ago, drying your clothes in the great outdoors was commonplace. Every house had a clothesline of some sort. You would see people with baskets of wet clothes and little pouches of clothespins hanging up their towels on a sunny day. You would also see those same people frantically pulling in the laundry when the storm clouds loomed in the distance! I remember many days when I was young having my mom call to me frantically to come help pull in the clothes because it was starting to rain!

How to Keep Clothes Soft When Air Drying

The biggest complaint people often have about line drying clothes is that they are stiff when dry.  You CAN keep clothes soft when air drying by following these tips:
  1. Add a cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle to help dissolve the laundry detergent. Detergent residue often makes clothes stiff after drying on the line. 
  2. Cut the amount of detergent that you use. Add only the bare minimum of detergent.  You will save money and clothes will still get clean.  Spot treat areas that are particularly dirty. 
  3. Run your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes, before putting them out on the line.  Just taking out a little bit of the moisture before you hand them will help keep clothes soft when air drying. 
  4. Shake out your clothes before hanging them. This helps get rid of a few wrinkles as well. 
  5. Hang your clothes out on a windy day.  The more motion your clothes get on the line, the softer they will be. 
Hanging a Clothes Line

Handy Facts About Line Drying Clothes

Are you considering hanging a clothes line but aren’t quite sure yet? Want to start line drying clothes but aren’t sure how.  Or maybe you aren’t sure it is the right choice for your home or laundry needs.  Here are a few facts about drying clothes outside that may help you decide.

Tips for Line Drying Clothes

  • Hang Laundry With Care: Leave space between items on your clothesline, so everything will dry as quickly as possible.
  • Can clothes dry in cold air? Yes, as long as it isn’t freezing.  They will dry slower, however, will eventually dry.  Hand in the sun on a day with a light breeze to speed things up.
  • Can clothes dry at night? If you have to work during the day, getting clothes on the line may be tough in the morning.  it will take longer for clothes to dry at night, but they will get there eventually. 
  • Is it OK to dry clothes indoors? If you can’t air dry clothes outside, consider setting up an indoor clothes line.  It isn’t an ideal situation but could work in a pinch.  Hanging wet clothes inside can increase the moisture in the room which in turn encourages the mold growth.  Make sure to set up a fan and/or dehumidifier if you consider this option. 
laundry on an outdoor clothes line

How to Hang a Clothes Line

So, there are several types of clothes lines available but I wanted to share this video by GardenFork TV on how to hang a clothes line.  It is a great way to air dry clothes and save money on laundry this year!


Project Laundry List: Help Preserve The Right to Dry!

60 million Americans live in community associations that prohibit or restrict clotheslines. According to Project Laundry List, it typically costs 30 to 40 cents to dry a load of laundry in an electric dryer and approximately 15 to 20 cents in a gas dryer. Over its expected lifetime of 18 years, the average clothes dryer will cost you approximately $1,530 to operate. That is an awful lot of money and energy that could have been saved if only there was a simpler way to dry clothes…Oh, WAIT! There is! A simple rope strung up between a couple of trees could have saved you over $1,500 dollars and reduced your impact on the environment significantly!

 Air drying clothes on a clothes line

How did drying clothes on a line outside your house go from being the norm to being a social taboo? It seems that McMansions and cookie cutter homes are okay but reducing your carbon footprint by air drying your unmentionables is not.

It’s not easy to change these neighborhood association rules but it CAN be done! In many communities, majority rules so start talking to your neighbors about the Right To Dry and see what you can do in YOUR area. Many states now have laws on the books that limit the power of home owners associations to prevent clothes lines from being banned and  protect the “right to dry.” That happened because concerned citizens raised their voices and demanded it.

Do You Want To Help Restore the Right To Dry? Check out Project Laundry List for ways that YOU can get involved in promoting the air drying of clothes and protecting our rights to do so, no matter where we live!

Will YOU be hanging a clothes line this spring?

(NOTE: Post updated and content added from previous publish date)





9 thoughts on “Tips for Hanging a Clothes Line and Air Drying Clothes”

  1. I live in London and don’t have a dryer, most people I know don’t. Those who do still air dry many of their clothes because dryers are not that great here and electricity is very expensive.

    It was difficult to get used to at first, crunchy towels and socks take forever to dry in the winter! However for the most part I’m used to it now after 3 and a half years.

    When I visit my parents in the US now the only things I dry are towels.

  2. Well heaven forbid the rich people should be offended by my jeans hanging on the line. Makes me very glad I live in the middle of nowhere. The squirrels and chipmunks couldn’t care less that my panties are drying on the line! Great article! I hope these silly rules get changed.

  3. I seriously don’t get why they would ban line drying anywhere. When I was little I remember my mom line drying things….awesome, and good for those that can!

  4. When our HOA opened (almost 20 years ago) it BOASTED about being “Environmentally Friendly”. It talked about keeping the open feel of the land, requires “natural colors” when it comes to siding, roofs, and exterior coloring – it prevents certain types of fences, and limits home many sides of your property can be fenced, BUT…. (and this always confused me as someone who air dries 90% of my clothing) it BANS any and all use of outdoor drying of clothing!! Environmentally friendly my arss!! Environmentally friendly on paper so as to keep the neighborhood looking “beautiful” (aka… “Elitist”) It’s time that these zealots put to action what they claim… Ugh!!

    • Agreed! I am seriously thinking of digging up my lawn and putting in a few more garden beds but I can just hear the complaining already!

  5. A clothesline visible is to some is an insult to their view because they want everything pretty, sheer snobbery is what is behind it all. I love the smell of clothes fresh off the line


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