Harmonious Homestead
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How to Hang Laundry Like a Pro

rachel hanging laundryOk, so I am actually (and thankfully) NOT a professional laundress. No one pays me for the service of drying clothes outside, just as I collect no paycheck for growing fruits and vegetables, cooking, canning, homeschooling, or writing this here blog. I do, however, save $1.05 in electric costs per load of laundry NOT dried in the dryer.

(Want to know how much your dryer costs per load? Look for the amps and volts on the label inside the dryer. Multiply these to get watts. Then, multiply by the average load time in hours and divide by 1000 to get kilowatt hours. Multiply that by what you pay per kwH to the electric company and you'll have the electric cost per load. In other words:

amps x volts x drying time in hours / 1000 x cost per kwH = cost per load)

Each load of laundry in the clothes dryer also saves wear and tear on the machine and unknown environmental costs.

I believe there are aesthetic benefits to hanging out laundry. The clothes smell simply clean and fresh when they are done. The sun naturally bleaches whites. Hung properly, line-dried laundry is wrinkle-free. The few minutes it takes to hang and fold clothes is a tiny bit of an upper body workout.

And could clothes waving in the wind be more charming?

laundry hanging on a line

To make hanging laundry a simple addition to your routine, invest in a few quality tools and follow these techniques:

  • Plastic clothespins trump wooden. We tried both and the plastic has outlasted wooden by a long shot. We have the PRESSA clothespins from IKEA; for $1.99, the price can't be beat.
  • Find a high quality clothesline. Yes, you can hang laundry on anything, but a line between two pulleys or a spinning dryer works most efficiently. In some small spaces, a retractable line would be useful. Local hardware stores may carry clotheline options. Lehmans carries a wide variety online.
  • Hang shirts upside down with clips on the bottom hem at the side seams. This leaves the fewest marks.
  • Hang thick items, like towels, in a single layer.
  • Remove clothes as soon as they are dry. Occasionally song birds like to roost on our line and, well, no one likes bird poop on their 'clean' laundry.
  • Get over your fear of neighbors viewing your laundry. Everyone wears underwear and what you hang on the line is at least clean!
  • You can plan on a load taking 2-3 hours to dry in the summer.

Do you line dry? Share your tips and tricks below.


Added to Simple Lives Thursday 50.