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.
I use lengths of painted, rustproof chain instead of cotton or nylon cord on my clothesline poles. Then I hang the clothing on hangers and put on the line. When they're dry, all I have to do is hang them in the closet! Towels can be hung the usual way, with clips.
By Beth from Danvile, OH
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:
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
By Mary 2
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.
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.
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
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.
By Maria Elena from Gwynedd Valley, PA
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.
By Queen Bee from TN
We recently moved to mid Tennessee and have only a washer. I have completely enjoyed hanging clothes out on the line to dry. Who knew?
Anyway, I remember my great aunt, who NEVER used a dryer, always had this nifty little cloth bag that she carried around while hanging her clothes out. Take the pin out of the bag, put it back in....over and over. I started out using a similar bag. Now, here is where it gets simple! One day, I forgot to bring the 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.
Since we tend to wear the same items over and over, the spaces between the pins pretty much stay the same on the line. Easy!
Carrying laundry baskets has become a major problem for me as well as the bending and hanging laundry due to fibromyalgia and back problems. But running a dryer isn't economical. So, 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. The wagon holds both baskets. I attached a bungee cord to the handle to keep it upright when I am not hanging on to it. I then pull the wagon to the clothes line and hang up my laundry. No bending and minimal carrying.
By Jackie from Nunda, NY
By Gail 5
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
November 12, 2011
Spray clothes with water and pull on the clothing to straighten out the wrinkles.
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. The towels will be soft if you take them off as soon as they dry. Do not leave clothes more than the drying time. Bring them in as soon as they are dry.
By iruiz27 from S. TX
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.
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.
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.
When you hang out socks on the clothesline, which is the best way to do it so the tops don't stretch out?
May 14, 2010
Instead of hanging them on the line, hang them on a folding clothes drying rack. I also use my rack for hanging underwear and washcloths. Since I don't have a gas/electric dryer, everything has to be hung up. I don't know what I'd do without my folding dryer. --sarsi
By rabexc 1
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.
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.
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.
I occasionally hang my clothes to dry inside during winter months to counteract the lack of humidity from using electric heat.
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.
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.
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...
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.
When the weather is warm, dry your clothes outside. You save both water and energy by hang drying your clothing. It also decreases the wear that dryers inflict on your clothing. You can even hang some clothing inside when the weather is bad if you set up drying rack in your laundry room.
I need advice on hanging laundry on a clothes line so that they smell nice and don't have funky spots where they were hung and aren't stiff and scratchy! Help Please (my dryer is broken and can't get a new one). Thank you!
Cindy from Fowlerville, MI
We also hang our shirts on hangers and hang them on the shower curtain rod to dry.helps put moisture in the air and leaves a nice scent from the fabric softener (09/10/2006)
During nice weather I hang almost all my laundry out to dry. There is almost no way to avoid stiff clothes. I do use liquid fabric softener in the wash and that helps some. Once you put on the clothes though, they will soften up in a few minutes and you won't even notice that they were stiff to begin the day.
I have a couple of ways to avoid clothes pin marks. If I'm going to tuck in a shirt or wear it under a jumper, I hang the shirt upside down. That way the "ears" are at the bottom where they won't show. If it's a shirt I'll wear untucked, I turn the shirt inside out and hang it by the shoulder seam right by the top of the sleeve. When I take it down and turn it right side out, I usually can't see the clothes pin mark at all. In fact, it's good to hang most things inside out because if your clothes line is in the sun, your clothes will fade some. At least this way the fade is on the inside. Also, just the act of turning things right side out again will soften them a little.
I like to wear knit shirts but don't like clothes pin marks on them either. Although the inside-out-by-the-shoulders works well, I have even better luck hanging them inside out on plastic coat hangers on the line. They always look fine with no marks when I turn them right side out again.
Good luck--line drying is a great way to save money and not waste resources. (09/12/2006)
By Katie A.
The air and sun make them smell nice. The wind will make them soft. They won't get spots if the line is clean and you're careful how you clip the clothespins. And the sun will whiten whites, too. I hang out my laundry whenever possible. Even in freezing weather. They freeze-dry and that helps whiten also. You may find you never need a dryer again. Let Mother Nature do the work. (09/12/2006)
I drip dry quite a few of my clothes and the children's nicer things. I have a dryer and appreciate it but don't use it for everything. I think it can be hard on clothes and can shrink and fade. I just hang a lot on hangers from a rod in my laundry room or from the shower curtain rod in the bathroom. All my tops get dried this way and they come out nicely too. I use liquid fabric softener in the washer or even vinegar in the rinse. I am not an ironer at all and feel my drip dried clothes look fine without ironing. (09/13/2006)
The hardest thing I've found to line-dry are jeans. If you wash them separately with a little extra fabric softener, and hang them from the BACK of the belt using 3 clothespins, you might get acceptable results.
Do be careful to not overlap materials. Some more delicate things can fade in the sun, and you might want to dry them on a hanger on your shower bar.
Try to keep a large basket near the back door so that you can do an emergency snatch-grab in the event of sudden rainshowers. : ) (09/13/2006)
Shake them out really well before you hang them. That really helps with softening. I put nearly all clothing on coat hangers, that way I can just hang them in the closet when they are dry. Smooth out the button plackets and pockets while they are still wet. Shake, shake, shake and fabric softener doesn't hurt either.
Susan from ThriftyFun (09/13/2006)
Don't ask me how or why this works but if you hang your clothes on the line and spray them down with a hose they will dry very soft. i found this out by accident with a lawn sprinkler. towels and sheets were extra soft. I've also had this happen when laundry was left out and rained on. (09/14/2006)
My Mom always said "Hang tops from the bottom and bottoms from the top" (09/14/2006)
I don't dry my pajamas in the dryer because I don't want them to shrink. Instead I dry them on separate hangers. They only get a little wrinkled, not bad at all. Once you get into them they won't be as wrinkled but they do smell clean though (01/06/2007)
Should we hang Polo shirts by:
I need some help, I am new to hanging my clothes . Here is the problem: the clothes always smell funny when I bring them in from being hung. I use liquid fabric softener but it doesn't seem to help. Could it be the washer? Please help I'm desperate! We have to hang the clothes due to the small dryer size in this house. We live in a Japanese style house in Okinawa. Help! (06/14/2007)
I think we've really regressed if we start hanging every thing we wear and/or use. Let us remember that in winter some of us live in extremely cold and snowy, sleet, environments and it really isn't feasible to hang our fabrics. Hang them inside you say? Well, fine except many live in apartments, studios, etc. Try to find a place where they will dry without having to be ironed. Sheets? Where do you propose we hang those. If they have to be ironed, what good is it doing to not use the dryer to save energy? Makes sense, all right?
Editor's Note:It often works well to put clothing in the dryer for a little while, then shake out and hang. That way they have lost most of the wrinkles. It's true it isn't practical for everyone but for many it is. (02/29/2008)
I love hanging clothes outside. I got some fresh air myself, and the clothes ended up smelling great. I absolutely love sheets that are dried on the line -- smells like summer all night long. :) If your clothes are smelling "sour", then something is not right. Are you hanging them immediately after they finish washing? They could be souring in the machine. As soon as they finish washing, take them out and hang them on the line. Do not "bunch" them or double them over the line, as this will leave spots that don't dry as quickly, and could smell sour. Always use clothespins. Take the items and pin them corner to corner, if they are towels or washcloths, or shirts. Heavy pants and jeans, you may need to hang on their own. Also socks pretty much have to be hung singly, but underwear can be pinned each one to the next. The one thing I don't really like to line dry is towels, as they just don't get as soft, but that's just my opinion. And they are perfectly fine dried on the line, it's just a matter of preference for me not to dry them on the line if at all possible -- but I have used many a towel dried on the line anyway! (03/03/2008)
We have hard water from a well and no matter what we've done the clothes always come out with a funky smell, especially the towels. Once you use them they transfer the smell onto your skin if you try to use them again. Find a nice perfume or put dryer sheets/potpourri in you drawers. That's the only thing I have found that helps. Good luck! (05/29/2008)
If you go to Phancypages, you'll see a whole article I wrote on pegging out clothes, but even after all the years of outside drying, I'm learning a lot from you folks, so thank you for that.
In Australia, dryers are far more uncommon than clotheslines, which go under the name, usually, of Hill's hoists or clothes hoists.
We're really blessed at the moment, in that, where we rent has both an undercover set of parallel lines and an umbrella-shaped rotating hoist. It's full-on Winter at the moment, so the washing is all undercover.
We do use inside racks, but it's only if it's really urgent. My dd insists on sleeping in a sleeping bag on her bed (go figure!), and she's staying at her brother's during the school holidays that are on now, so I've finally washed her sleeping bag, gave it an extra spin and have it hanging over some exercise equipment in the lounge room, which is the only room in the house we can afford to heat. It's dried nicely, and has no pong to it.
I don't use fabric softener, for many reasons - a mix of laziness, frugality, suspicion of yet more chemicals in our systems and waste down our drains, and I don't think we really need it. But of course it's a personal matter.
Anyways, try Phancypages, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how interesting it is. I'm not the webmistress, Nita Holstine is, and has been for years.
Dominus tecum (07/10/2008)
ByLeonie in (brr!) Southern Australia
I love to hang clothes on the line but hate the sandpaper, stiff feeling. How do I get them to feel like they came out of the dryer and not so hard after coming off the clothes line?
This probably sounds silly, but I used to dry things on the line then run them through the dryer for about 5 minutes or so to soften them up. You'd never know they'd not been completely dried in a dryer. Think of the electricity saved cutting down drying time. (05/18/2005)
By Sharon from KY
Shake them hard both before and after hanging to dry. This really helps. I like the slightly harder finish, but if you don't there are fabric softeners that go in the washer, try using less to find how much you actually need. Also stretch side seams, that helps keep stuff wrinkle free.
Smell the clothes. The wonderful smell of sundried laundry is worth the slight stiffness. (05/19/2005)
My slacks and tops are placed in the dryer briefly to dewrinkle them. Then I place them on hangers and hang outside to finish drying. Most times they do not even need to be pressed. I always use fabric softener in my last rinse. (05/19/2005)
One thing I do is save laundry I want to turn out soft for a sunny, but windy day. The combination of sun and wind, along with a little fabric softener, will do as well as a dryer. For example, I can hang out bed linens anytime because the stiffness helps avoid wrinkles. I save sweaters, towels, corduroy, denim, and t-shirts for windy/sunny days. (05/19/2005)
Here's a tip, add vinegar to the rinse to soften them, or use less detergent. (03/09/2007)
By Gaab Family
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. Unfortunately, line drying leaves them stiff, with wrinkles. What can I do to get them soft again?
By AmnesiaWes from Hawaii
Use liquid fabric softener when you wash them and pop them in the dryer for 4 or 5 minutes after taking them off the line. (04/19/2009)
Fabric softener when you wash, and I used to put all shirts on clotheshangers and then hang them on the line. Much less wrinkles. (04/19/2009)
I put everything in the dryer for a few minutes before I hang them outside. Clothes that shrink, I put on the no heat cycle. I try and dry all my clothes without using my dryer in the winter using wooden dryers and a cloths line in my basement. If you need the clothes the next day, a small fan on the lowest setting works wonders, and uses less electricity then the dryer. (04/23/2009)
I use fabric softener in the last rinse, hang things on hangers after shaping/stretching them and then hang the hangers on the line. After they sun-dry I toss them on "Air-fluff" in the dryer for about a minute. Works very well for me. Even with towels! (04/23/2009)
By Cathy S
I know this can not always be done, but if you can hang your clothes out on windy days or when the wind is blowing your clothes will be softer. The more wind the less wrinkles. In the hot summer and on days with no wind, my clothes are stiff. Fabric softener helps. I do not like to use it, because it's bad for pipes and septic system. Also double rinsing clothes helps. The soap still in the clothes after one rinse makes them stiff, and clothes last longer and look better getting the soap out. (04/24/2009)
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.
By grannygirl from Lexington, NC
Baking soda in the rinse water, it softens water so why not your clothes. I think that would work. What do you think? (06/16/2009)
By bird watcher
I put vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser. Fabric softener is not good for things like towels. (02/28/2010)
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.
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!
By Chris, Benson, NC
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)
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.
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)
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)
How can I soften wind dried laundry?
By Jenny from Eastern Shore of VA
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)