We have been drying our clothes on a clothesline since we moved to California in 2011. At the time we were living in my in-laws’ basement while we paid off six figures of law school debt. Since my in-laws use a clothesline pretty much exclusively, that’s what we did too.
It’s been years now and it has become just what we do. When we bought a house, one of our first improvements was putting up a clothesline.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on electricity, then using a clothesline will be right up your alley! But reducing electricity costs isn’t the only great benefit of using a clothesline. There are some great bonus benefits that come from using a clothesline to dry your clothes.
Here are a few of the reasons we love using a clothesline.
Save Money on Utilities
Appliances with a heating element are a sure energy suck. Whether your dryer is gas or electric, not using it will save you money, though the amount will depend on where you live and what kind of dryer you have.
Hanging clothes out gives you an excuse to get outside and enjoy some sunshine. It’s easy to get so busy with things indoors that I don’t even go outside (except to tell my kids to come in for dinner).
Enjoy Alone Time
In addition to time outside, my clothes hanging time is typically alone time as well. The kids can manage for the ten minutes it takes to hang or take down the clothes. Sometimes I just enjoy the silence, while other times I listen to a podcast without interruptions.
Naturally Whiten Whites
The sunshine will naturally whiten your whites. Cloth diapering parents probably already know and take advantage “sunning” their whites. The sun naturally bleaches out stains and keeps your clothes looking spiffier!
Extend the Life of Clothes
Did you know that the friction in the dryer wears out clothes more quickly? Your clothes will last longer if you use a clothesline to dry them.
Drying clothes in the sunlight gives them a fresher scent. Whether it’s the suns ultraviolet rays sanitizing them or because they are hanging in a dry, airy environment (not a hot, moist one like in a dryer), clothes dried outside have a natural fresh scent. It’s a great way to get rid of stubborn odors on towels, socks, and other stink culprits.
It’s Often Faster
In the summer, drying clothes on a clothesline is much faster than using the dryer. Where the dryer would normally be the bottleneck in the laundry process, the clothesline speeds up the entire chore. By the time I’m finished hanging a load of clothes in the summer, the first things I hung are already dry.
Avoid Setting in Stains
When you’re hanging clothes to dry you can check to see if stains came out in the washer. I don’t know how many times I have intended to check to see if a stain came out before I accidentally threw the clothes into the dryer where the stain was permanently set. If you catch a stain before it goes into the dryer, you’ll have another chance to get it out. Hanging clothes out on the line, gives me a chance to handle and check each item.
Easily Match Socks
I usually hang all my socks together on the clothesline using something like this. When I take the dry clothes off, I can match socks as I take them down. I also fold towels and blankets as I take them down.
It’s not for everyone
Some people just prefer their dryer, and that’s okay too. I have a friend who grew up exclusively using a clothesline. When she went to college and discovered the convenience of an electric clothes dryer she said she could never go back to using a clothesline.
For some, using a clothesline is particularly challenging. If you live in a really humid climate, a clothesline might not work very well. Some home owners associations have regulations against drying clothes in your yard. If you do your laundry at night, then a clothesline probably won’t be very effective (though I’ve been known to hang a load at night so it can be ready for the first morning rays).
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
I have heard from readers who have made a clothesline work in situations where others might not. For example, Celeste says:
I live in a one bedroom 740 sq foot condo. I have a rack that I bought at the Amish market that we hang stuff that can’t go on a hanger. Hanger items go on the shower rod in the bathroom. This system works all year because it’s against condo regulations to hang clothes outside.
There are plenty of other ways that you can choose to save money. However, if you are looking to cut down on your utility bills, then give the clothesline a fair try!
How about you?
Do you use a clothesline? Why or why not?