I've been meaning to line dry for a long time. Now I'm finally doing it! -- thanks to my engineer husband (and a very inexpensive nylon line). When my first was in cloth diapers, I frequently dried the diapers on a rack, but drying them like this on a line is way more awesome. In a matter of weeks, I have gone from a reluctant foot-dragging I'll-get-around-to-it-someday line dryer to a true believer.
This week has been rainy, and when I realized I needed to wash cloth diapers but might not be able to line dry them afterwards, I nearly had a conniption. I even ran out and bought another crummy rack at Target to use inside because I was so distraught at the thought of drying the diapers in the dryer. When my husband saw the crummy rack, he opted to put up another line in our garage instead. Hooray! Now I can return the crummy rack and line dry my laundry in the garage when it rains. Nothing beats drying outside in the sun and fresh air for getting rid of unwanted smells (and stains), but drying my cloth diapers on a line in the garage is still much preferred to drying them in the dryer.
So, I don't line dry everything, folks. But line drying cloth diapers is THE BOMB. These days, I only need to wash diapers every week or two, because my 2-year-old is nearly potty trained (more on that...someday). In times past, I never would have considered going so long without washing diapers, because the stink factor would just have been too great. Or I would have had to do 2 washes and 6 rinses to get the overpowering ammonia smell out of the diapers if I waited this long to wash (I find that the overnight urine from the older toddler is particularly potent). But thanks to my line drying, I do one simple wash in warm (no pre-rinse, no post-rinse, and just detergent), and that's it. After hanging outside for a few hours (or several days -- sometimes it takes me a while to get around to taking them down), the diapers don't smell at all. Even after 2 weeks in the pail. It's like magic.
I've found it takes me about 5 minutes to hang my cloth diapers. I leave the clothespins up between loads and that speeds things up quite a bit. I've also tried line dyring my kids' clothes and my load of "whites" (underclothes, kitchen towels, rags, etc.). I'll admit, sometimes I'm too lazy to hang out a load of laundry, especially a particularly large one (I tend to wash only very large loads that completely fill my front loader). It's important to keep in mind, though, that while it takes longer to hang laundry to dry than to toss it in the dryer, line drying makes sorting and folding quite a bit easier. When you line dry, you can sort as you hang up, or just take all like-items off the line at once. I like that. You can also hang up items destined for your closet right onto the hanger (and then hang the hanger on the line), and then you haven't really lost any time at all.
I thought I might need to put the diapers or shirts or pants or underwear in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up just before or at the end of line drying, since some things feel a little like cardboard straight off the line. I asked my friend Heidi (who line dries nearly everything) about this, and she said her family is used to their stuff straight off the line and nobody cares. So I haven't bothered with using the line/dryer combo at all. I've found that no one at my house notices or cares either about the cardboard factor.
In short, if you cloth diaper, you absolutely should be line drying because of the huge payoff in smell. As with so many green changes, it turns out that line drying is, in fact, not a sacrifice, but actually far superior to the conventional alternative. In addition, I am saving energy and money, as well as extending the life span of my cloth diapers and whatever else I line dry.
Do you line dry?