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Line Drying Clothing Tips and Tricks

Category Laundry
One way to save money is to line dry your clothing rather than using a dryer. This page contains line drying clothing tips and tricks.
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Tips

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11 found this helpful
July 8, 2015

When drying your laundry outdoors, instead of using pegs, hang as much washing on clothes hangers as possible. Separate the hangers using pegs to stop them gravitating together.

Using hangers in this way has 4 advantages:

  1. Your clothes stay in good shape.

  2. You can fit far more on the washing line.

  3. You can bring your washing in much more quickly if it starts to rain.

  4. Once dry, anything that doesn't need ironing is immediately ready to hang straight in the wardrobe.

Also those peggy hangers that are meant for your smalls can also be used for larger items such as small towels and pillow cases. This also frees up space and helps to bring your washing in quickly

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Comment Was this helpful? 11
September 26, 20150 found this helpful

It all depends on what type of hangers you use. I try to use those wide rounded suit hangers for jumper/sweaters to keep them in shape

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9 found this helpful
March 2, 2009

I live in Tennessee where TVA, our electric supplier, has raised our electric bills 30% in one month. I have started really trying to be more frugal. I purchased a indoor clothes line and strung it up in my basement. I bought it off ebay for $25.00, and it will hold 2 loads of laundry. It usually dries in less than one day. With a family of five, I do at least 1 load per day, I know this will help with my electric bill.

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Not everyone has a basement, so why not use one in a room in your home where you don't actually live, like a spare bedroom. You could put the clothes line in the closet and retract the line when not in use. My retractable line is the diameter of a paper plate and maybe 5 inches wide. Very small.

In one week I was able to hang 7 loads of laundry on my line. Some loads were jeans which would have required more than one run on the dryer. I never waited more than 14-16 hours of dry time. Also, I forgot to add, my basement isn't heated or cooled. Hope this helps someone.

By Karen M. from Greeneville, TN

Comment Was this helpful? 9
February 28, 20100 found this helpful

I'm so glad to hear that so many people are using air drying methods. I have a line that my husband put up under our front porch. The house is on a full basement/garage, so the porch is even with the level above the garage. We hang our laundry there all summer long, and until it gets too cold in the Fall. We dry our laundry on plastic hangers inside when it's really cold. We have a wood stove to supplement our heat pump, so the air needs some humidifying.

Once dry, I just air fluff them in the electric dryer to soften them. Big savings! Our electric Co-op has been charging higher than normal rates this winter. The "wholesale power adjustment" was over $12.00 this month, plus now we are paying a "renewable energy" tax on top of that. A $200. electric bill for this past month is enough to confirm my frugal intentions!!

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3 found this helpful
October 6, 2015

I love hanging our clothes outside to dry, but don't like stiff jeans. My late mother-in-law taught me to turn them inside out when I hung them on the clothes line. They end up soft and wrinkle free. It also helps to slow down the fading of the jeans.

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June 28, 2010

To save on utilities and clothes softener, I line dry many clothes in the house then put them in the dryer on air fluff. It's amazing how soft they become.

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22 found this helpful
February 15, 2011

Do you line dry your laundry only to discover when it's dried out that it needs ironing? Try putting 1/3 cup of vinegar in the washer. Vinegar will take the soap residue out of the laundry and your laundry will be lots softer.

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2 found this helpful
August 19, 2013

One day, I forgot to bring the clothespin bag out with me when taking the clothes down from the line, so I just put the pin back on the line. The next load that went up, was soooo much easier to hang out - took less than half the time.

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February 23, 20094 found this helpful

I load two round baskets instead of using one large basket with my laundry to make them lighter and carry them out the door and put them in a children's wagon.

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4 found this helpful
June 24, 2010

Hanging clothes on the line not only helps to keep down the electric costs, but makes clothes smell so wonderful!. I have not dried my towels, which take so much time to dry, in a dryer for the past 3 years.

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3 found this helpful
April 9, 2009

Enjoy many benefits from using your clothes dryer less. You'll save energy and money by running it less. In colder, dryer climates and seasons you'll put moisture back into the air by hanging your clothes to dry; therefore, running a humidifier less if you use one.

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5 found this helpful
October 6, 2010

Hanging laundry on a clothesline is one of the best green activities you can do. I used to struggle with my fitted sheets, though, trying to hang them straight when they have elastic all the way around.

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4 found this helpful
September 1, 2013

Using Hangers in Windy Weather

When line drying, it's often convenient to use clothes hangers. If the weather is windy, the hangers can easily get knocked off by wind.

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2 found this helpful
November 1, 2012

I occasionally hang my clothes to dry inside during winter months to counteract the lack of humidity from using electric heat.

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3 found this helpful
November 15, 2010

If you use a cotton clothes line, try boiling the next replacement rope in salt water for a half hour before you put it up. This will take out all the tangles and prevent wet articles of wash from freezing to the line in cold weather.

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1 found this helpful
September 27, 2010

If you line dry your clothes, you can still use dryer sheets to freshen your clothes or towels. Remove them from the line and place them and a dryer sheet in a large bag or basket with a lid.

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May 15, 2007

As I remove clothes from the washing machine to hang outside, I put socks together so that I can hang pairs side-by-side. I pin the socks on the clothes line at the toe--not at the opening.

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0 found this helpful
June 30, 2010

I have found that leaving your clothes on the line over night causes them to smell funny. I think it's because of the dew. It might depend on what part of the country you live in whether or not they don't smell from the dew.

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1 found this helpful
March 11, 2010

I got myself a portable clothes line. I stand it out on my front veranda to dry clothes. It's great, saves power and is protected from weather. It can be set up in a garage or carport.

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January 30, 2014

This is a tip if you have a garment which isn't soiled or sweaty but has been worn, and which you want to freshen. Just hang it on the clothes line in light rain, and simply leave it there until dry.

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February 5, 20100 found this helpful

A lot of us still hang our clothes out to dry during the nice days on clothes lines that require you to use clothes pins. A lot of us leave the clothes pin bag hanging on the lines to use the next time and end up with dirty nasty looking bag...

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0 found this helpful
May 28, 2005

Today I ran out of clothespins as I was hanging my laundry out to dry. We recently purchased a house, and the previous owners left behind, among other things, a lifetime supply of coat hangers in the closets. I looked through them for the kind with clips to use as clothespins.

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Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

March 26, 20170 found this helpful

Chain that is painted red to help prevent rust.

Here's a tip that can save you time drying your clothes. This is a guide about chain clothes drying line.

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October 16, 20160 found this helpful

Breezecatcher Rotary Clothesline

This is a guide about installing a breezecatcher rotary clothesline. Making a sturdy foundation for your clothes line will give you years of energy saving when taking advantage of the sun and breeze to dry laundry.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
May 13, 2010

When you hang out socks on the clothesline, which is the best way to do it so the tops don't stretch out?

By Darlene

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 23, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

My mom always hung them by the toes. During hot weather she hung them in pairs.

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0 found this helpful
March 21, 2006

Why are my clothes wrinkled after washing? I use homemade laundry soap, use vinegar during rinse, shake my clothes before placing them on clothes line; but still wrinkled.

G from from AZ

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 28, 20100 found this helpful

If there is no breeze ouside, your clothes will probably be more wrinkled. If you notice, a nice breezy day causes less wrinkles.

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 28, 20100 found this helpful

Hanging your wash outside saves big bucks, but can also leave your clothes stiff. I started putting my clothes in the dryer for about 5 minutes to let them soften up. A couple of times, I've forgotten and left it in there the entire cycle. This defeats the whole purpose of hanging the clothes out to begin with. I started leaving a timer next to the dryer and setting it for 5 minutes. The sound of the timer reminds me about the clothes. (The dial on my dryer won't set for such a short amount of time)

By Deanna from Cedar Park, TX

Answers:

Place Line Dried Clothes In The Dryer To Soften Up

I am assuming you put them in the dryer BEFORE you hang them out? (09/26/2007)

By Elaine

Place Line Dried Clothes In The Dryer To Soften Up

I put my clothes on the spin cycle of the washer a few times. Not only will the clothes dry faster on the line, they also come out soft and not hard.

(09/26/2007)

By Ziggee

Place Line Dried Clothes In The Dryer To Soften Up

Good idea! I use liquid softener but clothing (esp. 100% cotton) is still a bit stiff. Your idea may work just as well on a no-heat cycle. For towels, to avoid that "wrinkled" look, I fluff them in the dryer on no heat for a few min. before hanging outside. They look much nicer and also not as stiff. Kudos to all us line-dryers! (09/26/2007)

By Christine

Place Line Dried Clothes In The Dryer To Soften Up

Actually it works better to put them in the dryer FIRST for 5 minutes, then hang on the line. Try it! (09/26/2007)

By kayrayriggs

Place Line Dried Clothes In The Dryer To Soften Up

One thing I've learned about those made-from-cardboard clothes. Use home made laundry detergent! I noticed that new clothes that I'd never washed in store-bought detergent don't get stiff at all. I harbor a secret suspicion that manufacturers put something in to make clothes nasty-sandpapery-stiff just so they can sell fabric softeners (just look at who owns what companies!) Clothes that I'd been washing in other detergent for a while take many washes to start softening up, but whatever they've gotten full of does wash out--eventually. Towels are the toughest, but even they come around in the end. I have found an extra rinse cycle to be beneficial with very dirty or stiff clothes, and as someone else posted, a nice windy day helps too. And I also whack the clothes hard against my leg when I take them off the line, though mostly to remove any moths or other bugs that have decided to set up camp on my laundry before they end up setting up camp in the house.

Final verdict from Mama Gina's Laundry Room: avoid store-bought detergent like the plague! (Anybody ever wonder why there are so many detergents that irritate your skin? I've heard of things like ground glass used as an abrasive. Nifty) (09/27/2007)

Mama Gina

Place Line Dried Clothes In The Dryer To Soften Up

I found many years ago that hanging clothes out in the early morning or early evening works best. Also, you MUST bring them in AS SOON AS they are dry. The first couple of loads, you'll be checking several times to catch them just as they dry. After a little practice, you'll know just how long each fabric takes. I have done this for a long time and do not have trouble with stiff clothes ( I do not use liquid softener)
(09/27/2007)

By tamak

Place Line Dried Clothes In The Dryer To Soften Up

I run my bluejeans through the dryer for a few minutes before I hang them up to dry. They don't have wrinkles or dry as stiff. (01/29/2008)

By hoptownracer1

Place Line Dried Clothes In The Dryer To Soften Up

A half cup of white vinegar in the rinse water helps to remove the detergent that has built up on the clothes. It acts as a natural fabric softener. And no, the clothes do not smell like vinegar at all. (07/01/2008)

By Jeanne

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

February 15, 20110 found this helpful

How can I soften wind dried laundry?

By Jenny from Eastern Shore of VA

Answers:

Softer Line Dried Clothing

When I had clothes lines, all I ever did was use liquid fabric softener in the laundrey. However, the clothes do dry nicer if there is a fairly brisk wind. I never had any trouble with the towels or anything feeling stiff. (04/18/2010)

By redhatterb

Softer Line Dried Clothing

It's not easy, but you can try using 2 parts water with 1 part fabric softener and 1 part of rubbing alcohol or 100 proof vodka. Mix these together and put in to a spray bottle. This is the recipe for the "wrinkle remover spray" but I bet you could spray your wash while it's on the line and already dry, about 10 or 15 minutes before you take it down. The alcohol is added to make it dry faster.

You might also try using "Calgon" water softener in your wash or rinse cycle. With Calgon in your wash cycle you'll only need half your normal amount of laundry soap. Also, it helps to shake your clothes as you take them down.

My dryer has been broken for many years and I always hang my clothes in the shade on my porch and or indoors and mine are never stiff. (but maybe I don't notice after all these years!) I will say, that I save LOTS of money on my power bills by line-drying!

* Also, hang your dark clothes inside-out so the UV rays don't fade your clothes. But the UV rays are wonderful because they kill bacteria and viruses! (04/19/2010)

By Cyinda

Softer Line Dried Clothing

Try putting the line dried clothes in the dryer for 5 minutes and taking out immediately, and hanging or folding. Saves a lot of electricity, but gives you softer clothes and linens. (04/19/2010)

By Omanana

Softer Line Dried Clothing

If you make homemade laundry detergent, as per some of the recipes from this site, the clothes will stop being stiff. It's additives in the store bought detergent that cause this. It takes a while to wash out of the towels, but it comes out eventually. As a bonus, it makes things much nicer for sensitive skin! Think of this, if you go out in the rain, do your clothes turn to cardboard on your body?

Best wishes! (06/19/2010)

By Gina J.

Softer Line Dried Clothing

Remember with allergies, asthma, pollution, etc, the amount of time you want your clothes on the lines. We have highway traffic going by. If I can smell their diesel, I know it is on my clothes. I get a daily allergy alert from Pollenex. On low count days, I know it is safe to hang out laundry. It gives a couple days ahead of time potential amounts. This also means the environmental contaminants will be less too.

Don't leave them over night, your morning clothes will be full of pollens, possibly sap and bird poop. (06/21/2010)

By TandT Grandma

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

June 24, 20100 found this helpful

To save on your electricity try hanging your clothes outside. Most permanent slacks come out really well if you hang them outside. Be sure to fold them the way you want them to dry and hang them from the bottom of the pant leg. I hang my clothes outside especially in the summer and it takes no time for them to dry.

By Renee

Answers:

Save Electricity: Hang Dry Your Clothes

I love hanging my families laundry out to dry in Spring and Summer! They dry in no time, they smell great and to me its' very relaxing! My two labs especially love napping underneath the laundry as it blows in the warm breeze!

(04/27/2004)

By Chris, Benson, NC

Save Electricity: Hang Dry Your Clothes

We hang our laundry year-round, spring, summer and fall outside and winter inside. We've found that hanging things inside during the dry, cold months helps add humidity to the air and that helps keep our skin from drying out! (08/06/2004)

By duckmom

Save Electricity: Hang Dry Your Clothes

I hang my clothes all year round, I put them directly on the clothes hangers Spacing between, I drape my socks and underwear over a cloth clothesline

Everything dries and takes a lot less space, I use skirt hangers for my towels, I even use 3 skirt hangers for A sheet.
(07/08/2007)

By BABBIE

Save Electricity: Hang Dry Your Clothes

If you need to soften up some things, such as towels, just pop them in the dryer for 10 minutes after they have dried outside, and you will still save a lot on energy! (07/13/2007)

By roblarson

Save Electricity: Hang Dry Your Clothes

you can put them in the dryer and turn it to air drying this doesn't heat them up just fluffs them (07/16/2007)

By imaqt1962

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

April 18, 20100 found this helpful

If your clothes are stiff when line dried try this. Hang your clothes out in the late evening and leave over night. Bring them in as soon as they are dry in the morning. They will be so soft.

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June 15, 20090 found this helpful

I like the feel of linen shirts that have dried in a clothes dryer with fabric softener. But to save money, I dry them on an outdoor clothes line.

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April 19, 20090 found this helpful

I love to hang clothes on the line. How do I get them to feel like they came out of the dryer and not so hard after coming off the clothes line?

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April 9, 20090 found this helpful

When the weather is warm, dry your clothes outside. You save both water and energy by hang drying your clothing.

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September 10, 20060 found this helpful

When the weather is warm, dry your clothes outside. You save both water and energy by hang drying your clothing.

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