A clothes dryer accounts for a whopping 12% of electricity use in a typical household. I know some of you may be a little skeptical but please hear me out and keep reading.
I grew up with a Mom that hung the laundry out in the sun to dry even though we also had a mostly unused dryer as well for long periods of rainy weather or for removing lint which only took a few minutes. There is nothing on this earth that smells better than sleeping on clean sheets that have been line-dried.
The older I get, the smarter and wiser my Mom becomes. It seems she was on to something. Let me give you a few benefits you may not have known and possibly convince you to consider line drying as well. Most clotheslines will pay for themselves within 1 year in your savings.
Benefits To Line Drying
1) Save a lot of Money – An electric dryer is one of the biggest electricity hogs in your home. Depending on the type of dryer, you are likely paying anywhere from $0.49 to as much as $1 or more per load! That can add up real quick. Line drying could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year!
2) Save your Clothes – The heat and rough and tumble of a dryer will dramatically shorten the lifespan of your clothes. It will shrink and fade them, it will break down elastic, and simply cause them to fall apart or develop holes and tears faster. I have some shirts and underwear that are over 10 years old that have never seen the inside of a dryer and they look brand new! Line drying is far more gentle on your clothing and will make them look new for a very, very long time. They will love you for it I promise.
3) Whitens your Whites – Some of your stuff getting dingy? The sun will brighten those things right up!
4) It’s a great mild exercise – Especially for people who are sedentary and truly need more exercise. Hanging out your clothes allows you a good chance to burn a few extra calories. Another good idea most Americans need to do is sell that riding lawn mower if your lawn is smaller than 1 acre and get a push mower. Small things like this can make a big difference in your weight and health. All these extra activities start to add up.
5) That Wonderful Smell of Clean – There is nothing better than the smell of your clothes after they have been dried in the sun.
6) Reduces Wrinkles – If you hang them properly chances are there won’t be any wrinkles. If you experience wrinkles try a liquid fabric softener or 1/2 cup of white vinegar in rinse cycle and gentler final spin in the wash. Some clothes will wrinkle no matter what you do so get that iron out for those types.
7) Bye-Bye Static Cling – I am sure many of you have experienced static cling and is very annoying. Line dry and that problem is gone for good. Hooray!
8) Environmentally Friendly – No, I am not trying to argue that line drying will suddenly save the melting polar ice caps, but every little bit helps. You can reduce your carbon footprint an average of 64kg or close to 142 lbs less carbon dioxide a year by line drying. Line drying is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.
9) Natural Antiseptic – The sun’s ultraviolet rays are a natural antiseptic and kill bacteria and fungi that can survive the dryer.
Anticipating Your Reasons Not to Try Line Dry
Q: What about lint?
A: I have a cat and some clothes that are lint magnets so I understand this very well. Some clothes will have lint or pet hair and some won’t. Separate out all the ones you need to remove lint after they are dry on the line and throw them in the dryer for just a few minutes. 5 minutes should be more than enough time. Or consider a good lint brush.
Q: Does it take too long to dry?
A: No. On a hot day it can dry clothes faster than a dryer. And even on cloudy or cool days are you really in that big of a rush? Air dries the clothes really fast and usually even on a cool and humid day it doesn’t take all that long. And if they are still a little damp throw them in a dryer for 10 minutes and that should be plenty. Ten minutes is a lot better than forty to fifty minutes. Get a gas dryer, IF gas is cheaper than electricity in your area, and IF you already have gas service.
Q: I have allergies. Can I line dry?
A: So do I but I still go outside. That really isn’t an excuse unless you have extreme allergies and the doctor recommends you stay inside.
Q: What about stiff clothes especially towels?
I have found a liquid fabric softener in the wash prevents that. Other options include putting it in the dryer with a Downy sheet for just a few minutes. Vinegar also works great! Add a 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle and no more stiff towels from line drying.
How to Get Started
So I have convinced you to give it a try? Great! You can probably buy all the supplies you need locally but chances are if you want some unusual types of drying devices the local selection will be very limited to options online. I built my own line with wooden T-poles and this very strong clothesline wire.
I have created a list of the top rated products here. Just click this link and you can see hundreds of options. Line drying has an option for you no matter how limited you may be for space. I bet you that one of these products will fit your taste, budget, and style. Here are just a few examples you can buy online that might be hard to find locally that got great reviews.
Congratulations on deciding to line dry! Mother earth, your wallet, and your clothes will thank you!