Slow News: Discover the Act of Line-Drying Laundry

A couple of weekends ago, my family and I were wandering around the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, when I caught sight of this laundry blowing on a line in the breeze. I found it quite pleasant and mesmerizing to watch, and it got me thinking about the act of line-drying laundry.

Lots of people are re-discovering line drying as a way to use less electricity for the task of drying their clothes. For others, it takes them back to a time when outdoor clotheslines were more common and summers included the sweet, fresh smell of laundry drying  (and, in my husband’s case, the sound of his mom’s wooden clothespins plunking into her metal bucket, as she released her laundry from its line.)

This site offers lots of tips to get the most out of line drying. I like to use a drying rack, to reduce both my electric use and the wear-and-tear on my clothes. Another site, Urban Clothesline, features lots of great drying racks, lines, and other solutions that can be used in a variety of settings, from backyards to apartment bathrooms.

The Project Laundry List site has a wealth of information about the economic and energy savings associated with line drying. It also covers programs, trends and issues, such as the role of homeowner’s association rules concerning practices like outdoor laundry drying. There’s even a laundry history. As much as I like line drying, I am thankful for the invention of the washing machine nearly every time I use mine.

Lastly, if you seek lovely, uniquely scented soap for your wash, Maylee’s Garden offers natural vegan and eco-friendly soap in a variety of great fragrances like Lavender and Cedar, Bergamot and Lemon, and many more.

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10 responses to “Slow News: Discover the Act of Line-Drying Laundry

  1. Thanks so much for the love! Great article too about line drying. I rather enjoy it myself. Its nice to slow down a bit and do things the old fashioned way sometimes. Love your blog!

  2. “plunk”..

    I can still hear it. Thanks for taking me back.

  3. i’ve been a long term line dryer, since i left the city (NY) 13y ago. i was an amateur at it in the begining, but as years went on i’ve gotten it down. i had 2 residences in SD where i had no dryer! now i use the dryer minimally: damp dry for towels, jeans and clothes that needs the dryers softening action. then i hang to finish. i love the smell of fresh air dried clothes in the spring.

    i have 3 sets of lines: one set (3 deep) in the sun for whites. one set (of 3) in the shade for colors/darks. one set (of 3) in the basement for rainy weather.

    i enjoy the whole laundry routine: dirty clothes in the washer, then outdoors to pin the on the line, then folded into the baskets and onto the closet shelves. its a simple way to enjoy a feeling of having accomplished something.

    i too remember my mother pinning up laundry outside on the clothes line.

    i do have to say though, i’m not sure that the laundry drying video is going to go viral with the ADD-MTV generation.

    • Hi Libby! I’m so glad you visited and that I got to mention your terrific, uniquely scented laundry soaps.

      Hi Lippy! I know you kept the bucket and clothespins so we can still hear that delightful “plunk”.

      Hi Kath! Great to see you here. Wow – you are a dedicated practitioner of line drying! Your routine sounds great for the clothes, the planet and your peace of mind. I bet everything smells great, too. That’s funny about the video! It may join my other You Tube sensations, which include birds chirping a fawn taking its first steps.

  4. Hanging out the washing is one chore I do enjoy. Fresh air and bird song. I’ve always hung out my washing. It’s better for you and the planet and saves you money.

    Thanks for a great post Suz, as always.

    • Hi Marghanita! Lovely to see you. Thank you for bringing up the delightful images of fresh air and bird song, in addition to all the good things that come from line-drying one’s laundry.

  5. It’s unfortunate that people got out of the habit of using clotheslines. They save so much energy, and it is kind of peaceful to hang the clothes.

    We live in an apartment and don’t have a clothesline, but still air dry our clothes using this laundry drying rack – being round it works really nice under a ceiling fan!

  6. I stopped using the dryer about six months ago and I love it! I started to save money (which for me, means putting quarters in the machine, because I don’t have laundry facilities in my home), but doing it has made me think about environmental factors more. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using a dryer again!

  7. I have been wanting cowboy to fix me an old timey wooden clothes line for several years as I would love to line dry my sheets for sure. You can also make a super children’s tent if you have a clothesline. I want one, but so far he does not have it on HIS list!

  8. Greetings Nickie, Starving Student Survivor and my buddy, Weekend Cowgirl! (Sorry for the delay in writing. I was off-line for a bit – blessed with a wonderful sunny weekend and was out in it.)

    Nickie, thanks for the drying rack tip. I also have limited space for a clothesline and have to get creative. That looks wonderful and efficient.

    SSS, I love all the ideas and recipes on your blog and will be visiting often. Yes, once you move beyond a dryer, it’s hard to imagine going back.

    Ha, Weekend Cowgirl, there must be a secret to meshing those lists. You *need* an old-timey wooden clothesline. The children’s tent idea is great, too. I had the kind of kid who made forts and tents out of everything. (Couch cushions were always gone.) Also, lots of games revolve around sheets (used kind of like a nylon parachute — I should post some.)

    Thanks again for visiting and writing, everyone!

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