Thursday, June 10, 2010

You mean you put your clothes outside and they got dry?

(For all you awesome, long-suffering, longtime green people out there, skip this one. It may induce eye-rolling and possibly a gag reflex.)

I couldn't help but be intrigued by the concept of line-drying (as though it were something new and humans haven't been doing it for thousands of years), but it is new ... to me ... as a modern, suburb-grown person who never even considered putting wet clothes outside. Why should I ever have, when my own personal clothes dryer has sat there beckoning, offering tumbled ease?

So anyway, it worked like crazy! The weather (100-plus degrees, very sunny, slight breeze) aided my task. I cheated a little by keeping all socks separate and throwing them in the dryer for one big sock load. Other tips: Use vinegar as a natural fabric softener. Avoid windy days. Towels get scratchy this way. (Help, please?)

This is how to do it:

1. Keep the kids inside and occupy them with something.

2. Tie a strong piece of string or twine very tightly between two sturdy points, preferably at least 5 feet up and more than 10 feet apart. A long nail hammered into a wood panel worked as a point for me.

3. Fetch wet clothes from washer and carry outside in a basket. Shake each piece well and attach with clothespins to line. A clothespin makes a small hole near the middle of the pinch through which a string can run smoothly, then clothing is clasped separately by the end of the pinch. Surprisingly strong.

4. Put larger items near ends of clothesline, smaller items near middle where it sags. Use two pins for larger items and one for undergarments.

5. Start next load in washer.

6. Check dryness of clothing after an hour or so, when next load is finished in washer.

7. Take down each dry item, shake it and then fold it into a basket. Voila.

Putting up and taking down clothes took 5 to 10 minutes each time. I probably will continue to line dry my clothes; it wasn't too tough. But the socks and towels may still get tumble dried.


  1. You have inspired me to try this too! Crispy towels though...ugh. I was reading a tip on another site that said either put them in the dryer for 5-10 minutes when they're almost dry or just 5-10 minutes on air fluff/no heat after line drying. I have some essential oils that I keep meaning to try out, either mixed into vinegar rinse or on damp washcloth in the dryer but I guess line drying makes your clothes smell nice regardless. Do you know anything about diverting gray wash water to water plants?

  2. Cool! Thanks for the tips!
    I have some wet towels in the washer right now ... I'll try the air fluff with damp washcloth/essential oil after I line dry them. That way I can do the socks simultaneously and keep from heating up the house. I'll let you know how it works.
    Re the grey water: I know nothing about it! Would you divert it into a bucket or something? What about the suds/vinegar/other that are in the water?

  3. Not sure about the suds/vinegar but I think it's okay as long as you're not watering food plants. I think there may be ordinances against collecting/saving the water. I think you could just water at the same time that your wash is going maybe?,0,6396110.story