Line drying has a direct, beneficial impact on the environment and is making a well-needed come back. But for some of us, it means venturing onto unknown territories: what kind of line to install, what to hang your clothes with and how, what to do about the stiffness of clothes, etc. Simply follow our tips below for a guaranteed successful line-drying experience.
Choosing Your Line
The space available in your yard and your home will determine the type of clothesline best suited for your needs. In any case, stay away from PVC (vinyl) coated lines and apparatus as PVC is one of the worst plastics.Â If you have a lot of space outside or in your basement, you can simply hook up a permanent nylon clothesline from two poles or walls, available for purchase in any hardware store. If you have less space and/or donâ€™t want your line to show on some occasions, install a retractable clothesline.Â For a few more bucks, you can purchase a quality portable umbrella clothing dryer, also called a laundry spider in some areas. For indoor and outdoor use, a foldable drying rack such as Ikeaâ€™s Antonius or Moermanâ€™s Clothes Dryer is an excellent item to own.
For smaller items, such as underwear and socks, a clip-and-dry hanging dryer is very handy and can be hung on your shower rod. Also useful in the bathroom or small spaces is an Overbath Airer, which can fit in your shower, over your bathtub or even using your sink for support in order to dry damp towels or a load of laundry. If money is really tight, you can simply use your existing curtain rod or chairs to dry your clothes: just make sure any wooden surface doesnâ€™t remain wet for too long so as to not damage it.
Lining The Laundry
Besides your line, you will need:
- a clothespins bag to store them away from the rain and the sun when not in use;
- hangers (wooden, metal or plastic, depending on how quickly your clothes dry)
Before hanging and lining, briskly shake every item so as to remove any remaining lint and to minimize wrinkling. Using hangers for your shirts and other tops, just as you do in your closet, reduces the hanging marks that clothespins can leave on the fabric. Just secure the hanger on the line with a clothespin so it won't move down the line. Make sure to button shirts and blouses so the fabric doesnâ€™t sag on one side. Pants and skirts can be hung from the waistline, using more clothespins for heavy pants such as jeans. Hang socks from the toes, and fold bed sheets over the clothesline; small items such as dishrags or dish towels can be hung from one corner to use less space. To use as few clothespins as possible, connect your laundry items, so that only three (not four) clothespins are needed.
When line drying outside, it is best to turn your color and dark clothes inside out to prevent fading, especially if you know you wonâ€™t be able to take your clothes off the line as soon as they are dry. On the other hand, if you have stains on your whites, do leave them hanging outside so the whitening power of the sun can remove them.
If possible and when using a portable rack, place the rack in a warm room or close to a heat vent: it will speed up the drying process. How quickly your laundry will dry depends on the temperature, the wind and the humidity level, as well as the thickness of your clothes. While it may take just 30 minutes for dish towels to dry in full sun, it may take up to 10 hours for jeans to dry on a cloudy, cool day, and even longer in a cold basement.
Solving The Stiff Clothes Problem
Some people complain about having stiff clothes when line-drying them. We find that it mostly is true for towels, not so much for thinner fabrics, but here are a few tricks to solve this problem:
- iron your clothes: the steam and heat of the iron will re-align the fibers and soften them to the touch;
- line-dry indoors in a warm, sunny room instead of in full sun;
- fold your clothes and put them away for a few days before wearing them;
- for stiff towels, dry your laundry in the dryer for about 10 minutes before line-drying. This is not a truly eco-friendly tip, but if that allows you to only use your dryer for 10 minutes versus 60, then this compromise is still a gain for the environment.
Line drying your clothes will take a little bit more time than simply tossing them in the dryer, but living green also entails slowing down. However, you might find it somewhat therapeutic to spend 15 minutes in your yard, airing yourself out and doing a light mechanical gesture propitious to reflexion. If you have any other line drying tips, please share them!Â Â
Line Drying Clothes: Take Back Your Right To Dry