Line Drying Clothes

I have been practically absent from this little space of mine. Let me start by saying, SPRING HAS {finally} SPRUNG here… and I have embraced EVERY second of this long-missed, lovely weather! I dreaded and feared that Old Man Winter was never going to leave!

Today I had the opportunity to do something that I absolutely LOVE!

Line dry our laundry.


This is how I used my two little ones’ nap-time… and such opportunity was my inspiration for today’s post, in which I will be sharing some tips and tricks that I’ve learned to get the best experience out of line drying.

The Laundry Line

This is the first place that you want to focus your attention on. If you don’t already have a laundry line, carefully consider the placement of your line. You don’t want it right beneath any trees (where birds can decide to use your freshly laundered clothes as target practice)!

You also want to make sure that your line is CLEAN, especially if you will be folding sheets over it to dry (don’t want a nasty dirt line left on your pristine white sheets)! Just take a damp cloth, running it along the line till clean. This is especially important when line drying clothing for the first-time of the season, following winter (and same applies for your clothespins – which can be placed in a mesh bag, swished around in soapy water, rinsed and left to dry). :)

Make sure that your line is taught. You don’t want your clothes to weigh down the line and end up touching the ground. At the same time, make sure your line is at a comfortable reaching level. You don’t want to be straining to hang your clothes. Clothes Line Support Poles can be helpful in achieving this balance of being able to reach your line, while keeping clothes from touching the ground. I had a slightly difficult time finding them, as the big box stores didn’t carry them, but eventually found them at a smaller-scale, local, hardware store.

The Weather

This may seem like a given, but seriously check the weather before putting the effort into hanging out all your clothes. Nothing like having a bright, sunny morning of hanging out laundry be bombarded by a late afternoon shower. Even if the weather doesn’t call for precipitation, air on the side of caution if you note any ominous clouds rolling in (weather-man can after all be wrong).

Also, I try to make it appoint NOT to hang out my clothes if we will be mowing the lawn or our neighbors will be mowing their lawns. We have a fairly decent enough relationship with our neighbors that they will let us know if they plan on mowing or avoid mowing if I already have clothes out on my line. :)

Hanging the Clothes

I always give my clothes a good shake and “whip” (for lack of a better term) before hanging them. This gets out any fine wrinkles out and prevent folded-over hemlines that may be more difficult to correct after drying.

The sun can work wonders at brightening your lights; however, it can be rather harsh on darker fabrics and/or screen prints. Therefore, I usually turn my darks and screen-printed items inside-out prior to hanging. You can also prevent fading by not allowing the clothes to hang-out in direct sunlight the majority of the day (hang in the morning and try taking down by noon if dry… or hang later in the afternoon around 2, taking down following dinner).

And nobody wants those annoying clip marks on the shoulders of their shirts from the clothespins, so I tend to hang my shirts from the waistline (the hemlines).

Also, make sure that you fold over enough of the item to keep it put on the line, preventing it from falling to the ground. :)

This may seem slightly obsessive, but I tend to hang larger items first and work my way down to the smaller items, sorting by whose item it is as I go. It makes it easier to take off the line and immediately fold.

And I’m not ashamed to hang LW’s little cotton undies out on the line. We happen to have an “L” shaped clothes line, so I just hang them on the length of the line that runs parallel to our house, which is less visible to our neighbors.

That Crunchy Feeling

I’ve read that adding vinegar to the rinse cycle of your machine during washing can eliminate that “crunchy” feeling that is often associated with line drying. I however, have never taken this approach (we have a washing machine that is on the fritz and while shopping for a new one, don’t want to make any moves to further jeopardize its current state). Has anybody tried this? Does it actually work? Is it a safe approach for all fabrics?

In the meantime, I will take my slightly more primitive approach of utilizing breezy days to slightly “beat” the clothes around on the line. ;)

…And The Benefits

I will continue to line dry our laundry… I find it very meditative. A quiet moment out in the sun (usually all to myself), while still being productive. I enjoy stepping back afterwards and admiring my work.

Do YOU line dry your laundry? If so, what are your favorite tips and tricks to achieve the best results? Please do share in a lovely comment below because I have missed all my readers and would love to hear from you all! :)

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9 responses to “Line Drying Clothes

  1. You’re back! I’ve missed your posts! I was never a fan of line drying (refer to crunchy clothes lol), but who knows.. maybe I’ll get hubby to throw up a line for me and I can give it a shot!

  2. Here’s my two-cents on the vinegar bit. I have been using it as a fabric softener substitute for a couple of weeks now. It isn’t QUITE the same as fabric softener but I definitely notice a difference in our clothes. I have also done some line drying since using the vinegar and I would say that the “crunchy” effect is definitely reduced but not completely eliminated. The only thing I haven’t tried the vinegar on is my delicate and hand-wash items because I wasn’t sure if it was safe for them, but everything else has been fine! Oh, and no ill-effects on my (fairly old) washing machine!

    Three cheers for spring! :)

    • Well, needless to say, we ended up purchasing a new washing machine the other night and it will be delivered Tuesday… Our other one put on it’s final act the other day. It has been putting dark spots all over our clothing (strongly resembling fabric softener stains, BUT I don’t use fabric softener, since I misplaced my Downy Ball). It also randomly stopped running the other night with a full tub of water and I couldn’t get it to drain, so I ended up removing and wringing out about half the laundry before it randomly started running again. Haha! Such a temperamental thing :P

  3. Have always loved the smell of line-dried laundry, especially bed linens –I about thought it was a dying art until your post! You have it down to an art, and I don’t think you’re overdoing it — my mom taught me the very same things. Sometimes if it’s really important that something doesn’t fade I may hang it to dry indoors, and I’ve been known to hang shirts on a set of thick plastic hangers I have (to keep the clothespin marks off of them) and then hang them on the line — I clothespin the top of the hanger to the clothesline to keep it from sliding back and forth along the clothesline. I used to tell my husband I could make it rain any time I wanted to. Frank called me on it one time when we were having a drought in Texas, and I just went out and hung out some laundry. We didn’t have a clothesline so I put up a makeshift one. Sure enough, it rained (I just got lucky)!

    • Ohhh, I never thought of hanging a hanger from the line! May have to try next time I line dry, but it has been rainy today and yesterday {April showers, giving way to May flowers}. And that is too funny, how you can “make it rain.” :)

    • Haha… that is quite possibly an outcome when adding puppies to the mix, I suppose :) We don’t have any dogs {yet}, so we are safe in that respect!

  4. I use vinegar on the diapers when we wash them — seems to help with making them less crunchy :) There is still a wee bit of a crunch but I find a couple minutes on the fluff cycle after I bring them in helps to get rid of the crunch… and also any creepies who may have found their way into the clothes as they hang. Nothing more disturbing to me than sorting diapers and finding a spider!

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