I am a clothesline fanatic. I love hanging laundry outdoors. It makes me feel patriotic and environmentally conscious all at the same time. When my sister went to Paris a few years ago, she brought home a postcard for me that showed laundry hanging from the side of a Parisian apartment building. She knew I would love it, and I did.
About 20% of Americans regularly use a clothesline, which is actually a little higher than I would have guessed. I started out using one for financial reasons, as I had loads of diapers to wash when my children were babies and didn’t want to run my electric dryer all the time (yes, parents, you still have options beyond disposable diapers). But I’ve come to appreciate the other benefits of clothesline usage, which are numerous.
Below are some of the advantages, according to Project Laundry List. Project Laundry List’s mission is to make air-drying and cold-water washing laundry acceptable and desirable as simple and effective ways to save energy. They feel that sun and wind are powerful sources of energy, that all citizens should have the legal right to hang out laundry, that frugality and thrift need to be universally practiced virtues, and that we are perfectly capable of figuring out solutions to some of this country’s energy problems.
Top Ten Reasons to Line Dry
10) You can save money
Depending on the energy source of your dryer, you can save more than $25/month off the monthly electric bill for many households.
9) Clothes last longer
Line drying is gentle on fibers. High heat can ruin some fabrics and cause permanent wrinkling.
8) Pleasant Scent
Clothes and linens smell better without adding possibly toxic chemicals to your body and the environment. The smell is so appealing that some candle companies are making candles with a “fresh laundry scent.”
7) Saves Energy, Preserves Environment, Reduces Pollution
Line drying helps conserves energy and the environment, while reducing climate change.
6) It’s Healthy Work
Hanging out laundry is moderate physical activity that you can do in or outside; it involves bending and stretching which are also good for flexibility.
5) You Get a Sunshine Treatment
Sunlight bleaches and disinfects.
4) It Helps Replace An Extra Appliance
Indoor racks can humidify in dry winter weather.
3) It Helps You Avoid a Fire
Clothes dryer and washing machine fires account for about 17,700 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 360 injuries annually. The yearly national fire loss for clothes dryer fires in structures is estimated at $194 million.
2) It is fun!
Hanging laundry can be an outdoor experience that is meditative and community-building. It may also help you avoid depression.
1) It is truly patriotic
Small steps can make a difference. You don’t have to wait for the government to take action!
I have a classic T-pole steel clothesline set; the posts were probably installed when my house was built in the late 1940’s. It holds rugs, bedspreads, as well as lots of towels, bedding, and clothes. At two previous homes I had umbrella clotheslines, which are portable and convenient, but don’t allow for as much air flow so clothes take a little longer to dry. I also have a small clothesline stretched across a portion of my basement to air dry “delicates.”