The 4 Benefits of Line Drying Laundry

This spring when the weather started getting sunny, my first outdoor project was to set up an umbrella type laundry line. I put it right outside the laundry room door, so it would be convenient to step outside and hang my laundry. Since then, I’ve been hanging laundry every sunny chance I get!

People often look at me funny when I say I like to hang my laundry to dry. They wrinkle their noses and scoff at the fact that my towels can be kind of crunchy. Or that I would “waste” precious time in my day hanging clothes to dry, when it’s faster just to pop them in the dryer.

That’s true, but there are benefits to line drying laundry that outweigh the downside.

Line Drying Uses Less Electricity

For a frugal person, this is reason enough to line dry laundry. According to the electric use cost calculator at Saving Electricity, the average cost per load is $0.49 and average American family spend about $194 per year on electricity from the dryer alone.

Now the savings from not running the clothes dryer may seem paltry, but it adds up over the years. And when combined with the other benefits of line drying laundry, I think it’s worth it.

Line Drying Preserves Clothes

Another way line drying laundry saves money is by making your clothing last longer. Have you ever noticed how much lint a dryer picks up in the lint trap? And have you thought about how rough the dryer must be on clothing to pick up that much lint?

Line drying is very gentle on clothing, so your clothes last longer. Which means you don’t have to replace your clothes as often. Which means you spend less money on your clothing.

Line Drying Gets You Outside

For me, this is important. Since I do a lot of work from home on my computer, it’s good for me to take a break to get outside once in a while.

By making a commitment to line dry my laundry, I know that I will have periodic breaks during the day, where I’m getting out in the sunshine. And hanging clothing is very relaxing. As I was hanging my last load, I was thinking of all the things I wanted to say in this post. Sometimes I think of my plans for the day. Sometimes I sing. Sometimes I pray. But the time I use for hanging my laundry is also time where I’m alone with my thoughts. As a busy mom, I treasure that time.

Line Dried Clothes Smell Great

I love the smell of clothes that have been hung out to dry. It’s a smell that commercial laundry detergents and fabric softeners can’t replicate, no matter how hard they try.

So that’s why I line dry my laundry. How about you? Do you hang up your laundry? Why?



Author

By , on Apr 21, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{40 Comments}

  1. bydrered:

    Its much better for your clothes. I have a wooden drying rack I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $10.00.

  2. cindy:

    Its much better for your clothes. I have a wooden drying rack I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $10.00. I live in NYC, with no washer or dryer in apt., so I take my clothes to laundry mat. I was having to wait for 45 min to an hour for my clothes to dry in the dryers, not to mention spending about $5.00 every week on the dryers. Well, no more! Now, every week I just wash everything up in several washers, load it up wet, and lay everything on the drying rack in my apt. The sheets I hang from doors. Its all done in about 1 hour. And the colors of my clothes stay much brighter and nothing is shrunken and terrible. Its so much better!

  3. Rose Marie Pacheco:

    I am the inventor of the Tibbe-Line, a device used to air dry laundry easier and more pleasing to the eye http:/www.tibbeline.com
    The Tibbe-Line is multi-functional in that it can be used on an existing clothesline and can be made into a portable clothesline and can be used at home or taken with you (camping, traveling, etc.) YOU CAN HANG 21 ARTICLES OF CLOTHING IN THE SPACE OF 39″ AND HANGARS ARE USED INSTEAD OF CLOTHESPINS.

    The Tibbe-Line can also be used to transport clothing in a vehicle, as a space saver in the closet and for people in wheelchairs giving them access to their own clothes without help from anyone.

    I have cut my laundry time by more than half as well as cutting down on my electricity consumption and electric bill, not to mention the environment.

    The Tibbe-Line retail for $14.95/Set of 3 plus S&H.

    If you have any questions or want more information, please feel free to contact me by phone or email: 719-544ROSE(7673)or http://www.rose@tibbeline.com. Thank you for your time.

  4. marci:

    Why does it equate to subsidized housing?
    I own my house free and clear, in a nice residential area,
    and I like hanging clothes out when the weather permits!

    Lots of people in my rural area hang clothes out – especially
    the bedding – as it smells so good and fresh and sun-kissed
    when it goes back on the bed :)

  5. Shelly Dee:

    In the US hanging clothes outside = subsidized housing and that isn’t a good thing.

  6. Lynnae wrote “I apologize for getting the figure wrong. I must have accidentally scrolled one of the figures before hitting submit.”

    There is no Submit button in the calculator. The figures are calculated automatically when you choose any item. You chose 5 days per month, but in your post you labeled it as 5 days per week.

    “Finally, I said “according to the electricity calculator at Saving Electricity”, which is correct, and I make no apologies for using that wording, as it’s accurate.”

    No, it’s not accurate when the figure that follows is _not_ what my calculator says.

    It’s not accurate for me to say, “According to BeingFrugal.net, we should all live in caves and forage for food”, because your site doesn’t say that. The problem isn’t that the figure is wrong, it’s that the wrong figure is attributed to me.

    Anyway, thank you for correcting the figure in your post.

  7. Lynnae:

    @Michael Bluejay – I apologize for getting the figure wrong. I must have accidentally scrolled one of the figures before hitting submit. The information has been corrected to exactly what the calculator said now.

    I think the reason most people link to the calculator, is because that’s what pops up when you do a Google search for how much appliances cost per year. Plus, calculators are really interesting to play with.

    Finally, I said “according to the electricity calculator at Saving Electricity”, which is correct, and I make no apologies for using that wording, as it’s accurate. I do apologize for getting the figures wrong at first, and I have corrected them.

  8. I line-dry every chance I get. I started doing it because it was better for my clothes, the other benefits never really factored in for me. But, I started line-drying my towels because I got tired of the mildewy smell after washing. I’ve tried all the tricks and I just couldn’t get that fresh, clean smell with my towels…until I line-dried them. I don’t know what you’re referring to about the towels being crunchy, I’ve never experienced that.

    Great post! I hope more people learn the benefits of line-drying because it really is great. Beyond that, we could be saving some serious energy by not using our dryers!

  9. Tami Lewis:

    I line dry also and love it. saves money , smells great and makes me the frugal queen of the neighborhood lol

  10. Murdock wrote: “You have lots of links and no organization.”

    Are you kidding? You can’t see the massive menu on the left-hand side of the page? Left-hand navigation is exceptionally common.

    And for people who miss that, there’s also another complete menu at the bottom of every single page — something that the overwhelming majority of websites lack.

    Over 7,000 people managed to find the dryers page last month.

    The washing machines page is separate from the dryers page. I split them into separate pages when each topic got too long.

    What I don’t like about the misquotes is that they’re always things like “According to the Saving Electricity site, somesuch costs $X to run”, when the figure is just wrong and I said no such thing. But by tagging it with “According to Saving Electricity”, it implicates me in the error, naming me as the source.

  11. We have a gas dryer (though yes, some electricity is needed to run the dryer) and I’ve calculated that each time I use the dryer it costs about 25 cents. Really not enough to justify it monetarily, but I do line dry sometimes due to the other benefits you mention!

  12. Erika:

    We live in Florida and I line dry all of our family’s clothes.

    My husband and I like to kid his brother who considers himself “Mr. Green” but would never imagine doing this and living without a dryer!

  13. Murdock:

    Michael:

    I think the reason us people get confused is because going to the following link: http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html, goes to a page that only talks about washing machines…to me laundry is both washing and drying. You have lots of links and no organization. You may want to redesign your site to have tabs or menus across the top. That is why. I am sorry that you are frustrated. The tool you mention above is not easily found. It took quite a bit of searching just to find the clothes dryer link you mentioned.

  14. Two questions:

    How do you get around the crunchy towels and stiff jeans?

    How do you fit a clothes line in a backyard with 3′ x 20′. We have a pool. I’d love to be able to do it but can’t figure out the logistics.

    • Nancy K:

      If you are tight on space, put the clothes line on a pully system. People living in the cities used to run the lines from one building to the next and hang the clothes out from the window. Perhaps they still do.

      I have a retractable clothes line in the garage and am thinking about putting a clothes line up in the back yard. My concern is that the clothes will fade in the florida sun over time. Once, I laid a light pastel shirt out to dry on the picnic table. I went out of town for the weekend and forgot to bring it inside. When I got back, the front of the shirt was faded to an almost white color, while the back side was the same pastel color. Perhaps I will hang some things outside and the others in the garage. Although, things hung out in the garage do not have that wonderful fresh smell.

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