Do You Line Dry Your Laundry?




Line drying: so simple, so frugal, so green.

And yet, kind of a pain. In green blogger circles, you sometimes here this confession: I no longer line dry. We all have a finite amount of time in the day, and it could definitely be argued that the time and effort you spend line drying might be better spent participating in writing letters or making phone calls to your representatives regarding your concerns about climate change.

I have many frugal friends who rarely touch a dryer. My friend Heidi even considers hanging her laundry somewhat therapeutic or meditative or something. Even though I've fallen off the line drying wagon I still always line dry certain types of loads:
I line dry small loads (sometimes just draping things over towel racks and shower doors and over the edges of laundry baskets) because it's not that hard and it just seems like such a waste of energy to run the dryer (some might say running the dryer is always a waste of energy). I rarely run small loads, but when I do, I ease my conscience by skipping the dryer. 

As for diapers and second-hand clothes, I always line dry those because nothing beats line drying for removing stubborn odors. By line drying, I can get away with going a week-plus without washing diapers and training pants. Because my 20-month-old is nearly potty trained, even after a week I'm still running a very small load, but by then we are almost out of wipes (we are running a sort of hybrid family cloth-TP household here) and the other stuff is really beginning to smell like ammonia. Still, I only rinse and run a regular cycle to clean them, and sometimes they still smell a bit when I take them out of the wash. But then I line dry them, and it's all good. Many folks also love line drying for removing stains.

Used clothes also often need several days hung outside to stop smelling. Only this time I'm not trying to get rid of that ammonia pee smell, I'm trying to get rid of the smell of the arsenal of synthetic fragrances present in conventional laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets. It never ceases to amaze and concern me how persistent these odors can be despite repeated washings and days hung outside in the fresh air. But by washing with RLR Laundry Treatment (which cloth diaper users use for removing detergent build-up from their diapers) and then line drying second-hand clothing and hand-me-downs, I can usually get the smell faint enough that I feel OK about letting my children wear them.


Do you line dry? Why or why not?

13 comments:

  1. How do you deal with pollen? This is has been my biggest concern with line drying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I live in No Cal and if that is a problem here, I haven't noticed. We also don't suffer from seasonal allergies in my family, luckily. Is this a problem all spring and summer for you, Anna?

      Delete
  2. Here in the UK line drying is the norm for anyone with access to a line. Sheets come in practically pre-ironed with the frost! I do have a tumble dryer but it only gets used in the winter when the overhead airer is full and I can't fit anything else on the aga. Oh and I use it when I am (a) tired (b) lazy and (c)I left the washing on the line and it rained :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes perhaps the issue for me is more habit than anything. I was in the habit at one point. I also use the dryer for the reasons you listed. Also because (d) I ran a load of laundry at 10 pm and am unwilling to go outside there and hang it in the dark. I am most successful when I schedule my line drying so that it coincides with my children playing outside -- then I can do double-duty. Hang laundry while keeping an eye on my toddler.

      Delete
  3. Have't line dried in years. We're all set up but too many trees = too many birds. However, after reading this article, am going to give it another try. Don and I CAN! :-))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never had a bird poop on my laundry yet. Fingers crossed!

      Delete
  4. I don't have a line outside but I do in the basement (where the laundry room is) and I dry everything but linens on the rack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I would line dry more if my line were closer to my washer. Very wise.

      Delete
  5. We line dry everything. Very few exceptions—maybe one in the last six months? Biggest perk to me is that once it's dry, it can stay there for a while — no need to be available to fold it as soon as it's done. How many loads became ridiculously wrinkled after sitting in the dryer for hours? No more!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I line dry whenever the weather's nice (I live in Seattle so that's not as much as I'd like), and if I can wait till the weekend to do the wash because I work full-time. I love the way laundry smells after it's been dried outside. That said, sometimes laundry is necessary at 9pm on a weekday and then it goes in the dryer. (We have our washer/dryer upstairs and I have a line--made out of old computer network cord--strung across our upstairs balcony which we really don't use for anything else.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the 9 pm load is a problem for me too, even though I'm home all day. Sometimes that's when you realize you are out of underwear. Oh well.

      Delete

Have something to say? Please leave a comment below.
I read all comments and try to respond to questions in a timely manner.
No more Anonymous comments due to spam overload : (