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How to Soften Line Dried Clothing

Category Laundry
If you are lucky it will be windy on the days you hang your laundry outside. If not you can soften them by tossing them into the dryer for a few minutes, if you have one. This is a guide about how to soften line dried clothing.


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February 15, 20110 found this helpful

How can I soften wind dried laundry?

By Jenny from Eastern Shore of VA


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 Joan

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 jean leiner

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 Johnston

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 Grandma J

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

June 28, 20100 found this helpful

Soften You Line Dried Clothes in the Dryer

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 before line drying.


By Deanna from Cedar Park, TX

Extra Spin Cycle

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.

By Ziggee

Liquid Fabric Softener

I use liquid softener but clothing (esp. 100% cotton) is still a bit stiff. I fluff them in the dryer on no heat for a few minutes before hanging outside. They look much nicer and also not as stiff. Kudos to all us line-dryers!

By Christine

Homemade Detergent

Use homemade 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 have washed in storebought detergents require several 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.

The final verdict from Mama Gina's Laundry Room: avoid store-bought detergent like the plague!

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).


By Judi

White Vinegar

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.

By Jeanne

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.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

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?

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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