ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Doing the laundry - the green way

Updated on August 9, 2015
Source

It's easy to do planet-friendly laundry and still have wonderful clean clothes

Afew years ago, our clothes drier stopped working.

I say 'our' but we share our rather dreadful laundry facilities with a small number of other apartment-dwellers in a dingy, shared laundry room. Other residents just didn't know what to do but I did; hidden away at the back of our building were two deserted and rather rusty uprights that an old 'un like me recognized as being posts for a washing line.

One quick trip to the store and a couple of dollars later and I had my clothesline and was in business; ready to dry my laundry, old-style. Just like my mum used to.

I never went back, even after the dryer was fixed. I still use the washing machine, and I can't see myself reverting to hand-washing anytime soon, but I'm not going back to using the dryer, with the money that entails.My laundry dries beautifully and smells so much better than it did when I used dryer sheets, softener and all those other items I was spending money on.

Now, all I need is my cold-water laundry detergent and my 'secret ingredient' bluing liquid. But doesn't it take time? Truly, it only a few minutes longer than using the dryer.


Source

My mum used to say that you shouldn't show your dirty laundry in public but here it is! Ready to go into the washer and then to be dried in lovely fresh air using solar energy and windpower.

The benefits of line drying

  • Saving electricity and power is a major reason why I use natural resources to dry our clothing. But saving money is another great reason. We were putting about $5 a week into that electric dryer. That;s $260 a year. Earlier today I saw an online ad for a three day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas and it cost $249. Now which would I prefer to spend money on, I wonder?
  • The sun bleaches and also has a sterilizing effect on fabrics. I've noticed on white clothes that small stains disappear after a few weeks of being dried on the line. White items stay very white and this is even more so because I use the bluing liquid you'll see below. Note that I dry black clothes inside out so that they don't fade in the sun.
  • It is less harmful to your clothes. When I used the dryer, I used to be quite surprised at how much fluff gathered in the lint filter. (It always seemed a waste to put it in the trash. I always felt that I should be stuffing a pillow with it or something equally environmentally-friendly). Then I realized what that fluff was - my clothes! Gradually, they were wearing away in the dryer.
  • No ironing! I know, I said that as if I used to do piles of ironing ... I do have an iron somewhere but I forget just where. But have you ever left clothes in the dryer too long and over-dried them? Or left them in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the dryer after it's turned itself off? All you get are wrinkled clothes. On the washing line, any wrinkles drop out and all the items need is folding neatly when they're removed from the line. So easy.
  • The smell - people spend so much money on products to make their laundry smell good. There is no better smell for your laundry than that lovely combination of fresh air and sunshine. It's more money saved too as there's no need to buy any fancy products to put into the machine.
  • The fabrics are free of chemicals. Some of the dryer sheets that are available contain a whole load of nasties. Those chemicals then get into my clothes and I breathe them in when I'm wearing them. No thank you. That's a good enough reason alone to dry clothes and other laundry out of doors.

Source

But BritFlorida, look where you live

Yes, it's true that I live in a sunny climate and we often have what my mum used to call 'good drying days'.

But here's something that might surprise you. Florida is a very wet state indeed. South Florida is particularly so - Miami, for example gets around fifty eight inches of rain every year. Compare this to New York where the annual figure is a mere forty five inches per year.

Here's another interesting fact that involves the other part of my name - the 'Brit' part. Everyone knows that it always rains in London, right? Did you know that here in South Florida we get more than twice the rainfall?

In London, its just twenty four inches. And the sun isn't an essential part of line-drying. Yes, it speeds the process up - when there's a good breeze and it's sunny, my laundry is usually dry within an hour, except for heavier items like jeans that might take half an hour longer but even without the sun and the warmth, clothes will still dry beautifully outside. Some lighter items are completely dry in fifteen minutes.

MS LNDRY LQD BLUING 8OZ by MRS. STEWART'S MfrPartNo 1101
MS LNDRY LQD BLUING 8OZ by MRS. STEWART'S MfrPartNo 1101

This is completely non-toxic and has been made in the same way since 1883. (It's a shame it comes in a plastic bottle but what doesn't these days?) It is magic stuff. For whites that go yellow or get a little gray, this will perk them up in no time. I just add a few diluted drops to the washing machine. This, plus the sun, keeps whites as white as snow. We order this in bulk online and it lasts for ages.

 
Source

Tips

  • Some areas and condo associations don't allow line drying. This is an appalling state of affairs in this day and age. Write to your city officials or homeowners' association and explain the environmental impact of using electricity when we can dry our laundry free using natural resources.
  • Shake the garments before you put them on the line as this will get rid of any wrinkles.
  • If you don't have a garden, or if it's raining remember that washing can be dried on a covered patio or balcony,
  • Don't use too much laundry detergent in the wash. Some people say that line-drying makes their garments stiff but it won't if a) they are completely rinsed of any detergent and b) if you don't leave them out too long to bake in the sun.
  • When you remove items from the line, shake and fold them before putting them in the laundry basket. They won't need ironing.
  • Remember that you can use hangers on the line if you wish. This is a good idea for items such as dresses. Just put clothes onto the hangers and attached to the line by hanging it on the clothesline and securing with a clothespin.
  • Speaking of clothespins, I love the look of wooden ones (and they are so nostalgic) but they quickly discolor. Plastic is better and more fun if you choose funky colors!
  • In some areas, it might not be feasible to line dry all year round but you can still take advantage of it - and save money - during the spring and summer months.
  • Do remember to take your laundry inside before your neighbors fire up the grill in the evening. Clothes smelling of hot dogs and onions is not the desired effect :)

Did you notice my clothes pole / prop?

Source

It's essential to have a clothes prop or pole. (I can never remember which to call them). These raise your washing as high as possible to make the most of the breeze. When our dryer broke down, we went to the store to get the line but I forgot all about the pole.No problem.

There was a small dead palm branch in our jungle-like garden so we took that, cut a notch in the top with a bread knife and have been using it ever since.I call it my 'Tarzan clothes prop'. I'm sure that Jane would have used something similar!

Source

Here's my lovely dry, wrinkle-free, wonderfully-smelling laundry after being on the line.

Source

The amazing Mrs Stewart's liquid bluing.

Other products to help you make the most of line drying your laundry and being planet-friendly.

Really?

I was reading an article about this subject recently. The article writer was, of course, extolling the virtues of outdoor drying. She addressed various problems, such as some neighborhoods not allowing it but then came up with another 'common issue'.She addressed the problems of what to do if you'd be embarrassed to dry your underwear in public.Really? Are people really concerned about that? I find it hard to believe, don't you?

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Snakesmum - brave admission:) However, the Wars of the Roses were a long time ago!

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Have to admit to being born in Lancashire, Brit. Did revisit Yorkshire a couple of years ago on a trip to Europe, and loved it. Really like the moors.

      PS - I remember having a clothes prop in the UK too! :-)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @snakesmum - all this time we've been talking to each other on forums and I never knew that you'd lived in Yorkshire! I knew you were a good lass :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Country-Sunshine - the great thing about the prop is that it raises the clothesline so that the laundry gets more breeze :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Ann Hinds - what a good idea! I put a drop in the fountain in our courtyard from time to time. It makes the water a lovely pale blue.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Yes, I dry my clothes outside on a folding line, and I don't own a dryer. In the UK, when I lived there, we always dried the washing outside - dryers were unheard of then! And Brit, I have lived in a couple of places in Yorkshire too. :-)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Aquamarine18 - I just hate putting money into the dryer :) It's funny that here in Florida, with the most perfect drying weather, I'm the only person I know who uses the line.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 3 years ago from Texas

      I use my clothes line during the warm months, but enjoy the electric dryer when it's snowing. I've never heard of a clothes prop, and am still not certain why one is needed. Nice article; everyone should make an effort to save a bit of electricity and enjoy the freshness of line-dried clothing!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 3 years ago from So Cal

      I am going back to line drying for some of my clothes. I like the way they smell and all of the benefits you mention. We have always used bluing. In fact, we also used it in the rinse water when we washed our Samoyed who love to roll in the dirt. A little goes a long way.

    • Aquamarine18 profile image

      Aquamarine18 3 years ago

      I have always line-dried my clothes too. Living in sunny Greece obviously helps a lot. In my country, practically nobody uses electric dryers, except maybe on rainy winter days, but even then I prefer line drying on the covered patio. Great lens Brit and lovely colorful laundry!!!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @DreyaB: I know, my mum would be appalled. :) I like the way great (Yorkshire) minds think alike when it comes to clothes props!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Margaret Schindel: That sounds like a great system! We wash in cold water too - because the gas water heater in the communal laundry room broke several years ago and was never fixed :)

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 3 years ago

      I think this is a great idea. I have been drying most of my laundry the natural way for awhile too. I have a laundry hanger I can also use in the house during the winter months. It saves on electricity bills and as you say, the laundry smells so much nicer.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @jolou: It's wonderful, isn't it? Thanks!

    • DreyaB profile image

      DreyaB 3 years ago from France

      Guess what? My washing line prop is made of bamboo from the garden! It looks very similar to yours... Never had a dryer, but can take advantage of the French sunshine now to dry our clothes outdoors. Your page did make me smile - how could you air you dirty washing in public?! ;0)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      We always wash our laundry in cold water, and while we don't have a clothesline we do have a very large folding wooden drying rack in our basement next to the laundry room. The rack has multiple tiers that hold quite a bit of laundry, and in the laundry room we also have a wall-mounted hanger rack for drying clothes on hangers. I can't remember the last time we used our electric dryer! :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: The smell of the clothes is gorgeous! It's a bit infuriating that people buy drier sheets to make their laundry smell good - there is no better smell than line-dried clothing :)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      the palm trees, blue sky and sunshine was wonderfully distracting - and I swear I could smell the fresh scent of clean clothes here!

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 3 years ago from UK

      I line dry whenever possible, nearly all the time in spring and summer but in fact even today-on a cold but dry and windy Feb day - I have washing out! We have a dryer which i have to use when its raining a lot - which it has this winter in UK -but I love it whenever we can get clothes outside to dry they just seem so much fresher.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Erin Mellor: Good idea! Our condo board have muttered about removing the washing lines and I have protested - hard. I went off on one about saving the planet and consumerism and they soon shut up, presumably thinking that I was an English madwoman but it worked :)

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      Neighbors in Michigan tolerated line drying, but only just, because I was English and so a bit odd, though they did tut to each other about it. Neighbors in North Carolina complained. It's bizarre, it's so sunny everything could be dry outdoors in minutes, but people put on the dryer and then have the air con running to cool the house down. I've sneakily dried clothes in the garage instead.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      Yes, your laundry is beautiful in every shot. When we lived in windy land I still dried clothes outside in good weather. More than one the whole umbrella style line got picked up, laundry and all, and deposited elsewhere in the yard.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Klaartje Loose: Good for you - that's so much better than taking laundry to the laundromat. Saves a lot of money too :)

    • Klaartje Loose profile image

      Klaartje Loose 4 years ago

      I don't own a dryer and live in an apartment on the second floor in The Netherlands... No problem, I line-dry everything, with good weather on my balcony, rainy days in da house ;-)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Virginia Allain: I remember that too!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      When I was a kid, we hung the laundry out even in wintery weather. I remember bringing the frozen stiff clothing back into the house. My fingers were freezing too from hanging the wet wash on those days.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @LiteraryMind: The bluing was a revelation for me. It gets rid of those horrible yellow underarm stains on white t-shirts. My mum used to use blue too - it came in a little bag that was placed in the washer. The liquid is easier I think. You must be right about Florida inspiring the bright colors!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I am amazed at how bright and colorful your laundry is -- it must be reflective of Florida sunshine and bright tropical colors. Northeast laundry is a lot more subdued -- think navy, burgundy, plaid. (I know this is off topic, but I had to note the difference). Great lens. Hadn't thought of using bluing, although my mother did.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @mrdata: Happy Earth Day to you :)

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your green ideas and congrats for your LOTD! Happy Earth Day!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @hovirag: That's great to know - being originally from the UK, I agree!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Rosetta Slone: Wow, that's great that you use cloth diapers! The other kind are SO expensive. I used cloth too and they were always beautifully clean and sweet-smelling after drying on the line.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I've never actually used a clothes dryer, so I don't know what I'm missing. But I've found that sun drying is the best thing to get stains out. We use cloth diapers, and the stains evaporate after a few hours outside.

    • hovirag profile image

      hovirag 4 years ago

      I love the fresh smell of laundry that was dired outside!!! I also chose to dry my clothes naturally. For those who are sceptic: I live in a climate where we have 4 seasons and even in winter you can put your laundry out to dry! Takes more time that's true but you don't need that piece of clothing immediately anyway :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: Hi Tipi, my mum always did too and in a way (hoping this doesn't sound too mystical) I feel that it gives us a little bond now that she's gone. I always think of her and smile when I'm hanging laundry on the washing line.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love line drying laundry. Mom always did when I was a kiddo. Naturally that is what I prefer doing. I have even gotten into cloth pin crafts and cloth line rope, too. Those Palm Trees look great too. I can smell the freshness. :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @lisln: Thank you!

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

      ha ha cute lens Brit