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laceyvail

Just curious here

laceyvail 6A, WV
3 months ago

Is there anyone else who always hangs their laundry on a line rather than use a dryer? I've lived all my adult life without a dryer except for a few years when my son was in high school and we lived in very rainy upstate NY and now that I'm old and thought I might want/need one. But, I'm still hanging my laundry on a line on the screened in porch. I love the smell of air dried laundry, I don't like paying the power company to dry my clothes when the air does a better job, and I try to live in general with as small a footprint on the environment as I can.

Comments (52)

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Yes, being free is definitely a good part of the attraction. A dryer is the biggest energy hog in any home.

  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    3 months ago

    I don't dry clothes outside, but my neighbor same age as my mother always did. She had to carry a basket of wet clothes up a few steps from her basement entrance to take them into her back yard but never failed to use her clothes lines even on cold winter days if they were bright, clear. She took absolute delight in keeping her electricity bill down to the basic monthly fee many months.

    I tried drying things inside on racks for a while but they were often in my way in that home's small laundry room, towels and jeans would still have to go into the dryer for a few minutes for that final dampness and to get the wrinkles out.

    I can remember my mother hanging my fathers pants on some type of expanding frames that she had that were inserted into the pants legs. Pants came out crisp and creased front and back - I think they may have been a type of washable wool that he wore to work. I wonder whatever happened to those pants drying frames - Long time ago 😊 *In looking just now I see they are still sold and called 'pants stretchers'....


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  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Dryers are also especially hard on anything with elastic--your bras and panties in particular.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    3 months ago

    No desire to, even in good weather.....I also know it would take a long time because it's fairly humid here for a lot of the summer and winter.

    Do you drive an electric car? That will make a bigger change towards leaving a smaller footprint on the environment.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    3 months ago

    Never had a dryer in my life. I use an outdoor line for environmental and economic reasons. It is also silent and the results smell wonderful. Hanging out washing isn't a chore to me. It's an excuse to get out in the garden and do a bit of bending and stretching in the fresh air.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    No, I don't drive an electric car. I can't afford one--way out of my price range. But I had solar panels on the house that I sold two years ago, and I would have put them the new little house I now live in if I could have afforded it. As it was, this under 1000 sq ft house, built towards the end of Covid, cost waaaay more than it should have. Just one example, the septic cost of the required Elgin system, estimated at the start of construction at under $9000, ended up being $15,000 5 months later due to skyrocketing prices. However, I heat and cool with a mini split and my electric bill on budget is $64/mo.


  • Kathsgrdn
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I only did when I lived down south, right after getting married. No money for a dryer. We finally bought one, though. Having to rewash clothes multiple times due to dark purple bird droppings was frustrating. I did enjoy hanging clothes outside, very relaxing. I also wasn't working then, except in my garden so I was bored out of my mind. Last year I bought a drying rack to dry a wool sweater I bought in Ireland and some other fast shrinking clothes I didn't want to shrink more in the dryer.

  • Jasdip
    3 months ago

    I haven't used a dryer in 20 years. I'm fortunate because my small apartment building has 5 lines on T posts, so all summer I hang them outside.

    In the winter I love putting them on a rack and stick the rack outside on my balcony. Everything comes in frozen solid, but they dry nice. These were frozen instantly when I put them out. LOL



  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    At my last house, the clothesline was behind the barn. At the new little house, it's on the screened in side porch. Still works fine even if it's not in the sun. Freezing weather doesn't stop me, though of course I still wait for at least a partially sunny day. Nothing dries if it's raining.

  • Bluebell66
    3 months ago

    I hang most of my clothes inside on a drying rack year-round. If it's a humid day, I'll place the rack under a ceiling fan. In the winter, with the heat on, they dry in less than a day. I feel like it's more environmentally friendly and helps my clothes last longer. I don't feel like it's a whole lot of extra work. I do use a dryer for sheets and towels.

  • Jupidupi
    3 months ago

    I've only seen it done once, while visiting a friend whose neighbor had a clothesline in view of her kitchen window. I felt kind of voyeuristic seeing the neighbor's bed linens, clothes, even undergarments hanging on display. I'm sure it seems normal if it's what you're used to, but it was definitely more than I'd want to know about or share with my neighbor.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Having my neighbors see my laundry on the line is so way down on my list of concerns that it never even occurred to me that it could bother anyone, least of all me. Why should it?

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    3 months ago

    Would love to have a clothes line again but we have no good place to put one that's convenient, so we use both a clothes dryer and a drying rack which we may park on the deck in the nice weather.

  • orchidrain
    3 months ago

    Didn't have a dryer until I was 30 years old. I remember hanging diapers out on the line in CT and sometimes having to bring them all in as they were frozen stiff. I did get used to using the dryer as my workday was a good 12 hours a day, but I still used to do the sheets and towels on the weekend, so I could hang them on the line.

  • Alisande
    3 months ago

    I used to, and yes, it's definitely a nice smell. But also definitely not worth the effort for me anymore. Plus my towels are softer out of the dryer, and the dryer often does my ironing for me.

  • dedtired
    3 months ago

    No, except for certain things that shrink in the dryer, like jeans. I have a line in the basement for those.

    My grandmother had a clothes line that went the length of her backyard. It had a pulley on it so she could stand on the porch and hang the clothes.

    I always enjoy seeing the laundry on the lines of the Amish and Mennonite when I drive out to Lancaster County.

  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    3 months ago

    No. I do not hang anything. I do not iron anything. If it can't go in the washer and dryer, I do not buy.

  • Sisters in faith
    3 months ago

    Growing up, we always hung clothes on the line, to air dry. As adult, I do hang blankets, and comforters on the line. Most of the, I use the dryer.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    3 months ago

    " If it can't go in the washer and dryer, I do not buy. "

    I call that survival of the fittest - if it's not fit for washer and dryer use, then it won't survive. Except my bras, which I hang or lay flat to dry - as was said, dryers aren't good for elastic.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 months ago

    " A dryer is the biggest energy hog in any home. "

    No, I don't think that's true. For most houses, heating and cooling is at the top of the list of energy users.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    3 months ago

    I agree - I think it's the biggest electricity hog in most homes, unless they also have electric HVAC or an electric car.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Oh, of course, Elmer. But after the heating system--definitely the dryer. And while you need the heat and often the cooling--you don't have to use a dryer. It's a first world luxury that you don't really have to have.

    I do understand that a dryer makes the lives of working people, especially those with young children, soooo much easier. But once those days are past...why pay for something that isn't good for the environment when you can get it free?

    Just to add, when my son was young and still in diapers, we didn't have electricity or hot water, though we did have gravity feed water to the house from a spring. I heated water on a wood cook stove and washed in a hand operated washing machine with a hand operated wringer (James washer--at least 10 times more expensive than it was 50 years ago) and hung up everything. Even now, I do hand wash more things than I think most people do, but I still would keep the washing machine.

  • katlan
    3 months ago

    Growing up we had both. As an adult I use the dryer. My allergist told me years ago, get rid of the dog, get rid of the carpet, close your windows and use ac, don't hang clothes outside, everything floating in the air gets on your clothes.

    I did everything she recommended except getting rid of the he dog.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    3 months ago

    " It's a first world luxury that you don't really have to have. "

    Most of the things in our homes are first world luxuries we don't have to have. Most of the things in all our lives are wants, not needs, including the melon I just ate on a cold day in December and the fact that we're all able to be on the internet on a Friday afternoon. I have no interest in living a life with only enough to meet my needs.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    " But after the heating system--definitely the dryer. "

    No, I don't think so. After heating and cooling the interior space, I suspect the next heavy home use of energy is to heat water. Especially true for those using old style electrical resistance units.

    You seem to be trying to hard to justify what you have or prefer to do. Most people in our country never had to live with the kind of primitive conditions you describe. I don't think anyone should feel guilty about taking advantage of modern conveniences and living a lifestyle they can afford. All of which can be done without being wasteful or shamed by others.

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    3 months ago

    When I was growing up on a farm in the midwest, we always put our laundry outside with wooden clothespins on rope clotheslines. I never minded the chore and always loved the way it all smelled so fresh. When we lived in Europe, we also hung our clothes to dry but we did that indoors on folding racks. Electrity was incredibly expensive and a dryer ate too much of it. Now where we live I would love to hang my linens and bedding outdoors to dry, but it would be a literal crap shoot if I could get it back inside without seagulls and ravens soiling it.

  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Laceyvail, other than my cotton knit nightgowns, I don't put my lingerie in the dryer, never have. DH has a couple of things I will hang to dry but unlike him, I try not to buy things that are dry clean only these days...where a stop to pick up things at the dry cleaners used to be a regular part of my work week, now I greatly resent the cost it adds to the price of clothing 😊

    My MIL had 10 children and a wringer washer. DH was in junior high school the first time he was invited to go commercial fishing summer in Alaska with the older cousins and their two boats. He bought her her first fully automatic washing machine with his earnings and still put away enough for his spending money for the year. The next year the brother next in line went too and they bought her an electric range. She had cooked with wood for that big family all those years - and was a very good cook. My MIL and FIL shared the cooking and both could put nice (and large) meals on the table.

  • Judi
    3 months ago

    laceyvail, you sound like my sister. She lives in southern California, so line drying year round is not an issue.


    I have a retractable line that I use for drying bras and garden gloves.

  • Fun2BHere
    3 months ago

    I hang-dry my clothes on collapsible racks inside the house. I use a gas-heated, electrically powered dryer for sheets and towels. The air is fairly dirty where I live and while outside air is also my inside air, window screens and an air purifier block out some of the larger particulate matter.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    3 months ago

    If you lived where I do, you would never have dry clothes if only hung outside to dry.....except for a few weeks in the middle of summer. It is virtually unheard of for anyone to have an outside clothesline here and I can't remember when I last saw one.....decades ago, I'd guess.

    I make no apologies for my clothes dryer and all the other modern conveniences that make life easier. I use them gratefully but don't abuse them.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    The 1950s house I live in has never had a dryer. Not even sure where one could go. We have an attached garage, and the washer's on an inside wall, with no extra wall space, and a dryer would require an outside vent. I used to hang everything outside , but noticed the fierce sun here fades and damages fabrics, so anything I don't want faded hangs in the garage, and we run a dehumidifier.

    This house was my grandfather's, and he installed clotheslines in the garage that we're still using today - we don't keep our car in there anyway. I have a collapsible clothes dryer I put up outside as needed, but I don't leave it out when not in use.

    The main thing I appreciate about dryers is that they remove lint and hair and make towels fluffy. When we had our little long-haired cat, I would take sheets and towels to laundromat dryers to get her fur off of everything. Now with no cat, I don't have to do that any more. I just dried sheets outside yesterday.

    I still like to put our bath towels in a dryer tho, so I use the dryer at my mom's house for those, and that's only a few minutes away.

  • lonestar123
    3 months ago

    I always use the dryer except for my jeans and winter coats. My husband's jean go in the dryer, he is hard enough on them that they wouldn't last anyway. I can't imagine hanging things outside with all the dirt blowing around, birds and wasps.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    3 months ago

    Our air here isn't the cleanest either - many busy roads quite close by, and offshore winds blow everything inland.

  • OutsidePlaying
    3 months ago

    Not outside due to all the birds and possible ticks that could, well, you know. I do have a wall-mounted drying rack in our laundry room and use it all the time for my delicates, bras, running running/workout wear, merino wool items, sweaters, pants i don’t want to shrink in length. Lots of things. My clothing lasts a long time.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Perhaps what Fun2BHere is referring to isn't exactly dirt but rather dust. Our coastal SoCal place, like many neighborhoods in the southern part of the state both coastal and inland, isn't that far from dry, dusty hills. When anything other than an onshore wind blows, it picks up what turns into dust in homes and on cars. I change the filter in our HVAC system down there often. Maybe the periodic dust blowing around is why SoCalifornians are so fastidious about keeping their cars washed and shiny clean? ;-)

    I was probably 6 or 7 when my family got a clothes dryer and the backyard line was retired. We weren't close to dusty hills and I don't remember things being as dusty then as it seems to be now. But I do remember how afterwards my mother would often comment about how useful the dryer was to provide extra time in her day and how it eliminated what she considered drudgery (hanging and retrieving clothes from an outside line).

    I've never had nor used an outdoor clothesline in my adult life.

  • Patriciae
    3 months ago

    We never had a dryer when I was growing up. I was hanging clothes from a very young age. At Grannie's house we not only used a wringer washer we had to carry water from a different well than the one that was electric. Too much iron. My grannie boiled heavily soiled things and the whites in a big wash pot over a fire. Now that is work. I have a dryer now of course. We tried having an outside line but it is just too drizzly in the PNW. What I do is toss a lot of the laundry into the dryer for about 15 min to partly dry and fluff and then hang shirts and such on hangers and hang them on a rack to finish. I will use my bath grab bars for pants and towels. I dry the smalls that dont take much time by leaving them in from the previous load. It works for me and keeps the bill down.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 months ago

    Natural gas clothes dryers are relatively economical to operate, compared to electric ones. They're becoming less commonly found but still available.

    We've found that using a Medium temperature setting rather than High is more gentle on clothes. For many people, more damage is done in the laundering process by their washing machines - I'm thinking of old style top loaders with agitators that batter the clothes inside in saying that.

  • Lola Bojackie
    3 months ago

    The washer & dryer (combined) typically are responsible for about only 5% of a home's annual energy costs, assuming "average" washing/drying habits.


    Number one is heating/cooling

    Number two is water heating

    Number three is lighting (even with LED bulbs)

    Number four is a refrigerator

    Number FIVE is laundry machines - the washer and dryer, combined



  • Lars
    3 months ago

    When I lived in Venice (CA), we had an electric dryer, and I noticed how it caused spikes in the electric bill, and so I went outside to look at the electric meter when it was one, and I noticed it spinning like crazy when the dryer was in use. Therefore, I hung a clothesline and started hanging all my laundry out to dry. I also made special gladiator outfits for me to wear while doing laundry and hanging it in the back yard. This made hanging laundry more fun for me.

    In Venice, we did not have A/C because it almost never got hot, and it also never got especially cold, although I did light the pilot in our wall furnace every December and then turn it off by the end of February.

    I often leave clothes outdoors to dry in Cathedral City, and they dry very quickly because of the heat and dry air. I could hang clothes outside in L.A. (Westchester) also, but I have a gas dryer now, and that costs a lot less to use than an electric dryer.

  • Adella Bedella
    3 months ago

    I don't like the smell of clothes dried on the line or the stiffness either. I sometimes will dry clothes in the dryer for 10-20 minutes to reduce the moisture and then hang or lay flat to dry inside the house.

  • lily316
    3 months ago

    I have had a dryer for at least 50 years and I never use it if I can hang clothes out on two long lines in my backyard. I hate clothes done in the dyer. When I take my sheets off the line and put them on my bed immediately , they smell wonderful and are smooth and wrinkle free. Most particularly I hate towels in the dryer. I don't want fluffy towels, I want absorbant rougher ones which are the ones line dried. Unfortunately this is one of the days that I had to use the dryer since it rained all day. We're in a bad drought so it doesn't happen often. I dried everything but my bath towel which I hung over the heat vent.

    When I was first married I didn't own a dryer and hung diapers on the line all winter every day and they were stiff as boards when I brought them in. I don't do it to save energy. I like the clothes line dried and they wear much better and last longer. Call me a Luddite.

  • Jasdip
    3 months ago

    I get them outside as soon as I can :-)


  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Picturing a Roman gladiator hanging laundry - thanks for that image, Lars 😃

    I wonder what the neighbors thought?

  • PattiG(rose)
    3 months ago

    I have a umbrella type clothesline in my backyard. I live in a hot, dry climate and I find it very handy. I hang jeans mostly, and various other items. I wouldn't want to be without it.

  • mxk3 z5b_MI
    3 months ago

    Oh heavens no -- hanging clothes outside to dry is one of the worst possible things you can do when you have environmental allergies/hayfever.

  • lily316
    3 months ago

    So true, Glenda

  • ladypat1
    3 months ago

    I do hang out sheets and towels when it is summer, and more now that I am retired. Love that smell.

  • dedtired
    3 months ago

    Glenda! Nice to hear from you.