Line Dry

September 20, 2009

Hands up for all who line dry their laundry. Hands up for those whose homeowner association forbids clotheslines. (That’s us.) For those of you whose lines are verboten, what do you do? Drying racks? Lines in the house? Commercial dryers?

Our little one-unit wonder-dryer is fantastic, but I’d love to cut our energy consumption. Suggestions?

(Pictured above is my in-laws’ clothesline. Vintage cool, and so energy-conscious. xoxo, rusty clothesline crank.)


22 Responses to “Line Dry”

  1. knitsnwovens said

    We’re in an apartment with no balcony, so we’re stuck with inside racks and dryers. Inside racks 75% of the year, but the summer months are just too humid for anything to dry before it starts to get musty. Makes for interesting decor, for sure, but the dryers are $1.50/load and that adds up ;).

    I think you should get a group together to petition the homeowner’s association – around here a lot of them have been struck down due to environmental reasons – it’s no longer cool to ban hanging clothes!

  2. Carly said

    I also use a drying rack in a pretty humid area. Usually if I put a small fan on the clothes it’ll keep air moving enough that they don’t get musty. It uses electricity, yes, but not anywhere near the dryer. Plus my dryer in the middle of my tiny apartment might as well be a furnace in the summer months.

  3. Winnie said

    When our dryer packed it in 4(?) years ago we elected not to replace it. I hang stuff outside in the sun but have racks inside in the wet. The real problem is things like sheets and blankets since they take up so much space. I live in small town where the word “laundromat” is unknown, so haven’t used a dryer at all. I agree with knitswoven – petition the homeowners association.

  4. Michelle said

    Living in an apartment in south florida, I thought I would always need a traditional washer & dryer, but a few months ago I found a spin dryer at and it totally saved me! I have a hand-crank washer that you fill with soapy water & drop in a small load of clothes (2-3 days worth) and hand crank for a minute or two, and then I drop the clothes into the small spin dryer” that after 5 minutes leaves my clothes 80% dry. My dark, heavy blue jeans take a full 12 hours to dry, but everything else is dry within a few hours. I just hang the items off of the cabinet handles in my kitchen after dinner and by the time I go to bed I can put them away in the closet!

  5. Kissley said

    since london weather is rarely perfect for line drying we hang our ish in the house and i cry and complain about the musty smell, the messy look of it, and the time it takes to dry: forever. rich peeps don’t even have dryers here. the electricity rates are sky high even if you get an eco-friendly machine. and my local launderette’s opening hours are most inconvenient for us city workers. help.

    i wonder how they coped during the victorian period…

  6. Rae said

    I was just at the Sustainable Ballard festival today, and there was a guy with this cool window rack for drying clothes. It can be put up anywhere you’ve got a surface to which the suction cups will stick. It was called WindowDry.

  7. The Choir said

    I always hang out my clothes in my backyard, far away from the prying eyes of streetwalkers (but I think is allowed) from April until October, on a long, 30-foot line I rigged up myself in my backyard. A few weeks ago, in the thick of an 80-degree summer’s day, a friend whom I do consider PNW-enviro-conscious-savvy said to me, “Michael, you know they HAVE invented a thing that will do that for you” as he observed me. It actually took me a few seconds to understand that he meant a clothes dryer. I was a bit stunned at the comment, as it was hot out, and I was surprised that he didn’t consider hanging out clothes the default in the summer. Years ago, I rigged up a line in my Midwest apartment; one person does not have many clothes to hang weekly, and the African violets and other houseplants (mostly tropical) love the moistness.

  8. wow, i had no idea that clotheslines could BE banned! crazy. we rigged a line in our sun room so clothes hang AND sun dry. makes for a fairly speedy process but is most effective on a bright, warm day. luckily the line is high enough not to get in anyone’s way, but if needed we could always take it down and put it up as needed. i could really use a cool old timey crank like your in-laws have, though. so cool!

  9. Shower curtain tension rods in the bath tub area is what I use to dry my towels and wash rags after using them but I also have 2 more of those same kind of tension rods tightly extended onto the exposed studs in my 3 x 5 outside utility room where the washer and defunct dryer(since 2005) is located. They serve as my clothes lines.

  10. kristina said

    Target sells two types of expanding laundry lines online. I have seen the smaller 8′ one used in motor homes and trailers before. I think I would go for the larger one though. The line locks into place so you don’t get “saggy line” when you hang pants and towels.

    You could put this across the shower.. or kitchen maybe?

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