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
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.
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!
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!
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).
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.
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