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Hanging your clothes out to dry vs using your dryer.

Updated on August 27, 2011

Well folks, for us here in good ol' Virginie spring has sprung and what a glorious thing it is. As a child, and still as an adult, for me the advent of spring heralds the time for hanging my clothes outside and my dryer's long hiatus.

Growing up we did not have a dryer, or use one except for the direst of situations, and then we took our clothes to the laundry-mat. My mother and grandmother, would hang the clothes inside when it was raining outside or in the winter. My father hung up clothes lines in a little room that served as a home for the furnace and his little workshop. For my grandmother in Maine my grandfather had hung up clothes lines inside the barn. If for some reason there were more clothes than inside lines, these crafty women, would trot out their little drying racks or hang them from the shower rod in the bathroom.

However, when the days started to get warm, and the snow would melt we would all start to look at the outdoor clothes line with great anticipation. I can remember as child the great joy that would overtake me when I would go outside with either my Mama or my Gramie to hang clothes. Nothing was more fun than running under the clothes lines and dodging sheets. The smell of clothes that have been warmed by the sun all day and the sheer joy of being outside.

As an adult, I still take great pleasure in spring for the simple joy of knowing that I will be hanging my clothes outside. However, as I grow more conscious of my carbon footprint I realize that this simple delight is actually a very beneficial thing.

The obvious benefit to line drying your clothes is the amount of money you will save in electricity cost alone, and the reduction of your carbon foot print. The California Energy Commission estimates that the average dryer will cost you about $1500.00 to operate over the life of the dryer. The energy consumed by dryers can be from 1800-5000 watts per hour. That works out to roughly 1.8KwHr. Which means that 1.5 pounds of carbon emissions per kilowatt hours is generated from coal fire plants. Keep in mind about 90% of US homes have dryers and are on average used 400 times a year. That is a lot of carbon emissions that can be cut by more people simply hanging their clothes to dry.

Another great benefit of drying clothes out side is the UV rays from the sun actually help kill bacteria in the clothes. I know that when I hang out my towels after being dried inside all winter the mildew smell disappears with one hanging. Also the sunlight will help to bleach your clothes particularly your sheets, socks or any light color items. Why buy all the extra cleaning goodies when you can get them for free. If you don't want your clothes to fade just hang them in the shade. Also, ever wonder where the lint comes from in your dryer. It is actually your clothes being worn out quicker. By hanging your clothes to dry you will expand their life span by quite a bit.

For me, the best part of hanging the laundry outside is the smell and the feel of sun warmed clothes. The smell of clothes that have been hung outside is one that man can't reproduce through any chemical. In fact, when I make my kids beds up with fresh sheets off the line I tell them that they are guaranteed to have sweet dreams because they are sleeping on sunshine.

Unfortunately, in the US, a lot of communities frown on the use of outdoor clothes lines. But with a bit of creativity you can hang your clothes. Check in to using a fold-able drying rack. I bought one at IKEA and it is huge. It is great for hanging towels, shirts, socks, etc. Where it is collapsible you can move it outside to your deck or patio. Also, find a sunny window that you can open and hang your clothes on a retractable clothes line. Not quite the same but it will save you money, and just think you will be pulling one over on your HOA.



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    • Lindy's World profile image

      Lindy's World 6 years ago

      Thank you for you comment. Put a little lavender in your wash. Moths hate it.

    • profile image

      Beca 6 years ago

      I love hanging my clothes out to dry but....the moths are eating them up! How can I stop the out door moths from doing that?

    • Lindy's World profile image

      Lindy's World 6 years ago

      I am glad that I inspired you. You will never want dryer clothes again. Enjoy!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Hello Lindy. My dryer has a broken belt. I've been plopping pants on the bed. Now, I'm going to do it right. Thank you for this article!

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 6 years ago from United States

      Lindy's World - are you going to post your answer here or on your other Hub? Thanks!

    • Lindy's World profile image

      Lindy's World 6 years ago

      Myfawny thanks for the comment. And you are correct they always smell better on a Windy day!

    • Myfanwy profile image

      Myfanwy 6 years ago from Tennessee, USA

      I love hanging my clothes outside to dry. I love the way they smell once they are dry, especially if it has been windy. I much prefer to dry my clothes this way. I do not own a dryer. I hang my clothes up to dry all the time.

    • Lindy's World profile image

      Lindy's World 7 years ago

      Thank you Marlo! I saw your comment on my other hub about dryer sheets. What a great question. I am currently researching your answer and will post an answer to your question soon.

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 7 years ago from United States

      I love hanging my clothes to dry - and I love saving on the electricity bill! Great idea for a Hub.

    • Lindy's World profile image

      Lindy's World 7 years ago


      Your comment is right on the mark. I too wish that more people would get beyond the stimga of hanging their laundry out. And I like you love to see my clothes flapping in the breeze and it gives me a good excuse to be outside.


    • profile image

      Serena 7 years ago

      I hang my clothes outside because it is quicker than my new dryer. I wish that some people would try this method that might be opposed to it. I also find that it is peaceful and look forward to it at times, plus better on our environment...

    • Lindy's World profile image

      Lindy's World 7 years ago


      Thank you for your comment. With the rising cost of energy I would love to see more people go back to hanging clothes. It would make such a difference. Plus everyone's clothes smell so nice.

    • Ruth Benjamin profile image

      Ruth Benjamin 7 years ago from Georgia

      Excellent hub. I've seen that until today people in Greece and Italy dry their clothes outdoors.

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 9 years ago

      Great article once again...I, like you, grew up drying our clothes outdoors too. However, the clothes dryer has saved the day many times...I think I'll keep it around!



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