A Clothes Line Could Save You Hundreds

Laundry in this house used to involve sorting, throwing a load in the washing machine, transferring it to the dryer and then hanging, folding etc. I didn’t even think about the fact that there may be a different way to approach this.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Multiple fragments of tissue

Then I read that the average family spends $200 in power a year to run the dryer. It was one of those aha moments as I started to imagine what we could do with an extra $200 a year. It would most certainly take a lot of pressure off our super tight budget.

It also got me thinking about the fact that we didn’t have a dryer when I grew up. Mom and us girls would hang the laundry up outside or in the basement when it was raining out (or so cold that the laundry would freeze instead of dry).

I started to look into setting up a clothes line to hang up our washed pants, shirts and towels. Turns out my savings wouldn’t just stop at the power bill. Obviously I also wouldn’t have to buy a new dryer in a few years. But what really surprised me was the fact that clothing apparently lasts a lot longer when line-dried instead of tossing it in the dryer.

I was hooked and together with my husband we added some clothes lines to our back yard. I also set up a clothes drying rack in my laundry room since I have plenty of room in there. It works great for underwear and other small items, and I can dry anything on there if weather doesn’t permit hanging the clothes up outside.

I do have to do a little more planning to make this work. I pay attention to the weather report and wash a load of sheets and one with jeans if the forecast calls for a warm and dry day. I also keep an eye out for rain when I have laundry hanging outside.

If you’re still relying 100% on your dryer, give line drying a chance. You’ll save some cash, your clothes will last longer and they smell really good from all that fresh air.

For more tips like this, check out the Keeping It Clean ebook series by Tawra and Jill.  Even though I’ve lived frugally my whole life, I leanred quite a few new tips in each of these 3 books.


79 Responses to “A Clothes Line Could Save You Hundreds”

  1. kathy Says:

    In the winter, drying racks are also really helpful because you can still avoid the dryer in the winter, and! the wet clothes act as a humidifier if your home is drier in the winter.

  2. Kait Says:

    We do half and half – sometimes we hang and sometimes we use the dryer. Even if you hung your clothes half the time, you end up saving money!

  3. BoondockMa Says:

    My dryer broke down 3 or 4 years ago, and I decided to try going line drying only. It’s rare that I miss having a dryer, although there are times, usually when I have blankets, king size sheets, etc. to do and the weather isn’t cooperating. Sometimes it amazes me how I never tire of breathing in that wonderful fresh aroma of line dried clothing. Nothing better than crawling into bed and being greeted by that fresh scent all around me :)

    This post really got my attention as my washer just broke down a couple days ago, and I posted about that on my blog, as well as my thoughts about possibly purchasing a dryer, and which options might be a better frugal choice for us.

  4. Georgetta Says:

    We live in the desert and we have a two car garage–with narrow doors that keep our van from entering it. I’m hoping my husband can set up a clothesline in the garage–when it’s 105 outside I’m guessing the clothes would dry quickly! And since the car is never in there, I wouldn’t have to worry about the usual garage fumes.

  5. Erika Says:

    I love my clothesline!! With the cost of propane so high I have been very motivated to air dry only. Of course, then the rains started–wettest summer anyone can remember here. I watch the weather report closely and plan my work accordingly whenever possible. I’ve always been a nut about hanging out the sheets–when I lived in an area where that “wasn’t done” I had a covert clothesline strung across my deck. Hard to imagine that now–it’s just us and the chickens that ever see it! Another bonus: I get through the laundry much more quickly without having to wait on the dryer to finish. I wash, hang it all out to dry, and go on about my day. I have some line in my back utility room too; in the winter with the woodstove going it’s great, but it is so incredibly damp in there now with all this rain I don’t think the things would EVER dry.

  6. Hannah Says:

    Because of the awful dust outside I dry indoors. I hang shirts up on plastic hangers and hang those in a doorway. Small things go on a rack or over the edge of a laundry basket. Sometimes I’ll put a fan on low for a while to jump-start it. I would like to try outdoors, though. I think the sun would help kill the bacteria in gross dish cloths and make them not get as stinky.

  7. Georgetta Says:

    What about the texture? Jeans that are air dryed seem stiff.

  8. Erika Says:

    Jeans do turn out stiff–downright crispy, really. Clothes really do soften up after you’ve had them on for a little bit, towels soften up after a use or 2. If it bothers you and you have a dryer, throwing this sort of thing in there for maybe 10 minutes on air fluff really makes a difference (you can take the problem items from several loads and consolidate). I have those blue spikey dryer balls that seem to help soften things very quickly, but I suppose tennis balls would work in similar fashion. Mostly my family has gotten used to it. At least it folds really neatly–could practically do origami with the dishtowels ;)

  9. Amiyrah Says:

    we live in an apartment building and aren’t allowed to line dry on our balconies but we do it anyway :)
    It does save us a lot of money since we need quarters to wash and dry here. We save a dollar every time we line dry instead of putting items in the dryer.

  10. Maggie's Mind Says:

    I started boycotting my dryer a few months ago. I lived without one for 3 years when I lived in Japan and decided that I just don’t need one. I bought a drying rack that I can use indoors or place outside in sunny weather, and I love the self sufficiency of it, even if it is time consuming. Using fabric softener is a must, and, honestly, I’m not sure that it really saves all that much money (depends on how often someone is drying in a bigger family, I guess), but I still enjoy it, just because. :)

  11. BoondockMa Says:

    I’ve found for those items I normally would use fabric softener for, just adding maybe 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water does the trick.

    As far as stiff jeans go, the stiffness lasts for about as long as it takes to zip ‘em up and walk out the bedroom door ;-)

  12. Kisha Says:

    I love my clothesline. Since we moved to the desert I haven’t had a dryer in 3 years so I don’t really miss it. I can do at least 4 loads a day in the summer!!! Plus we have a playset in the backyard so we spend a lot of time in the backyard anyways. Great post.

  13. Spoodles Says:

    I haven’t used my dryer since May. I finally broke down and bought some drying racks. The transition to line drying has been fairly easy, considering that we live in an apartment. I can’t have clotheslines, but I’m blessed with a very sunny balcony! Our power bill has been more than $20 less per month than last year, consistently, even with increased baking. I’ve baked more this summer than usual, as the weather has been cool enough to make morning baking tolerable. It is amazing and appalling how much it costs to use the dryer. Some nights I wash a load before going to bed and put the rack in the living room for the ceiling fan to dry overnight. I hope this will also work during winter, but I’m not hopeful.

  14. Barbara Says:

    I only have a washer in my rented duplex…no dryer hook-up. A few yrs. ago the landlord offered to give us a hook-up and even a used dryer. I said NO THANKS! I line dry. I plan my washing around the weather. If it several days of bad weather, I just wash what I have to then hang on hangers in the bathroom. I have a plastic thing that I bought at a dollar store years ago. It has some clothes pins on little chains. I hang underwear/bras etc on those and socks also when I can’t hang outside. The other day it was sunny and out of no-where it got really overcast and started to rain. I had a sheet and a small blanket in the wash along with some other things. What I did with that was just hung it in the hallway with thumbtack, kind of blocking the extra bedroom door. It dried in just a few hours anyway. The blanket I hung over the shower rod (I have an extra rod hanging for laundry purposes). I don’t feel my towels are stiff at all….maybe some are, but I am used to them. They soften right up at the first use anyways. I am just so used to it that it doesn’t bother me or my husband.

  15. Fran Magbual Says:

    I prefer line drying to using a dryer. Not only because of the savings, but they just smell and feel better to me. Unfortunately, we’ve moved into a tiny townhouse with no outdoor area for a line and very little room indoors for drying racks. I really miss line drying.

  16. Gwen Says:

    I honestly don’t know what I’d do without my clothesline. I rarely dry my families clothes in the dryer and it saves us a bundle of money( about $250 a year), our clothes do last longer, and a little fabric softener takes care of any stiffness. My wonderful hubby set up lines that can hold 2 loads at a time and since we live in the country, nobody complains about it being “unsightly”. We live in a very rural area and almost everyone has a clothesline anyway. Dryer racks are great when its too nasty out to hang the clothes on the line, just aim a fan at them in warmer months and set it near the heater in the winter. We try to live in a way that creates the least impact on the environment and also stay within our very tight budget. Another little trick is teaching children to hang up their school and church clothes if they aren’t really dirty in order to save on washing costs, as every little bit saved can be applied to something else or saved toward a future purchase or expense. I’m very glad to read about others who love their “solar powered clothes dryers” as much as I do.

  17. Zshawn Says:

    I started drying clothes on the line outside when I placed a homemade pulley system on my 2nd floor porch. It reaches across the entire yard to a tree on the other side. I do not use a dryer at all anymore- it was a real blessing when my power bill dropped $25 a month.
    In winter I have 2 drying racks in the basement which work wonderful, it just takes a few extra hours to get them completely dry.
    Dry your clothes without power and save so much $$$$$$$$$$$.

  18. mary Says:

    It is so wonderful to know our family isn’t the only one using the old fashioned clothesline method (just this year we went all out to replace a defunked used washer that was such a pain gotta love the new one energy savers are really the way to go less water/energy more clothes per load equal savings it came as a set but I still rarely use the drier). I do have a few tips. If you can a child’s swingset chain (just make sure the links are not covered by plastic) makes a great exta line (I know sounds funny but they can take the weight & by hanging shirts on plastic hangers have way more space: bonus no extra folding stright to the closet hardly worry about wrinkles anymore). My family doesn’t like whites dried on a line other tip if you can buy enough socks & underware to last at least two (+) weeks at a time this means less laundry at time to wash (before having a drier went to laundry mat only once or twice a month (often have a community board free papers & mags to read & take bulky items along that can’t be washed at home) you won’t be heating up your house & adding to your bill.

  19. Angie in Georgia Says:

    I love my clothesline too! Living in Georgia, it’s just too hot to fire up that dryer in the summer. Our A/C would run constantly! We lived in a rental home for a few months and had very little yard, so we begrudgingly purchased one of those “umbrella clotheslines”, about which I had serious doubts. I really didn’t think it would work well; you know the type, it has one pole that goes into the ground and then it unfolds at the top, like an upside-down umbrella, creating a layered rack clothesline. I was very pleasantly surprised that the clothes truly do dry well on it, in spite of being layered around each other. I found the cost of the rack to be pricey, $50 at a local hardware store, but we figure it paid for itself when the power bill arrived. One recommendation though- if your ground tends to be soft or sandy, you’ll definitely want to pour concrete/cement when you mount the pole. Happy drying!

  20. Steph Says:

    I have a drying ‘umbrella’ that I bought when the dryer started taking two cycles to do regular clothes, four for towels.

    The umbrella fits in a 6×6′ area in my yard and will hang 3 full loads of laundry at once – it was about $70 at Sutherlands. It folds down to just a pole in the ground when not in use – I think it would fit just about anywhere.

    White vinegar in the rinse does wonders for cutting down on the stiffness – better, really, than fabric softener. I put my line dry towels in the dryer for about 5 minutes, though, to make them super soft. I like stiff jeans.

  21. arlene Says:

    we have not had a dryer in 3 yrs, and i have only gone to the laundry mat to dry clothes 4 times in that 3 years. i even line dry my thick blankets! we have a washer and dryer combo but the dryer has never worked(landlord will not fix) but i am ok with that, we live on a very fix income and plus the clothes dried on the line smell so much better, and even though the towels are stiff, they asorb water so much better!

  22. Lezah Says:

    I LOVE hanging my clothes especially towels and bed linens. Jeans are a little stiff (complaints from DD) but I can just run them in for about 3 minutes in the dryer with a dryer sheet. A tip to pass is to spin out the clothes (if not too delicate) on the heavy duty selection and it wrings out more water. I’m lucky I live where it doesn’t get too cold to hang out. I did one time break an arm off a blouse when I lived up North. It is nice to be out even if for a few minutes during a busy day and it saves the electric bill.

  23. Julie Says:

    I live in a rented duplex with a large yard, and I strung up some clothes line rope on two trees. I don’t know if I would recommend it though, since I have had problems with birds “messing” on my white sheets! Lol. I am excited to dry as much as I can inside this winter on a rack though, the extra humidity in the air would be very welcome. I also have a rolling clothes rack that I hang damp clothes on (on hangers) inside. It works great.

  24. Renee Schnarr Says:

    I used to use a clothesline all the time too when we lived in Washington state. Then the Navy sent us to Georgia and the city we were in didn’t allow clotheslines for some crazy reason. After that we were sent to Norfolk Va and I tried making one in the backyard by tying clothesline between trees. Then it turned out that the pollen in that area was much more problematic than in the Seattle area so we couldn’t use it there either bacause we were allergic to our own clothes when we did! Right now I’m back to using a dryer but still dry some stuff inside on a wooden rack. Hopefully our next move will be to someplace where I can use an outdoor clothes line again without causing an allergic reaction.

  25. Ali Says:

    During the rinse cycle, you can add a little bit of vinegar to one of those Downey balls. It acts as a natural fabric softener and often helps with the stiffness that comes with line drying. We don’t own a dryer and I only miss it when it rains for days on end and I can’t get the cloth diapers dry!

  26. Christine Says:

    I love clothes hung out! We live in a rural area and almost everyone has a clothesline. When my children were small and in diapers I used cloth and you know what? The sunshine has a way of killing bacteria in clothes. I could not use bleach on their diapers as it caused terrible skin problems for my children. My children are all grown up now, but I still use my clotheslines and drying racks as much as possible. I have an illness and sometimes I just can’t carry clothes out to the lines. The smell of freshly line dries clothes is so fulfilling.

  27. JoyfulC Says:

    We’ve taken it one step further: we don’t bother with the washer for anything but the largest items anymore. We do laundry in the tub, using a Breathing Mobile Washer (www.breathingwasher.com) for agitation, and letting pretreating and soaking do most of the work. After washing, we use an extractor (www.laundry-alternative.com) to spin laundry nearly dry. This leaves us less dependent on weather for outdoor drying, as the stuff doesn’t need to be on the line that long. The extractors also get a lot more detergent out of the laundry, and the whole process uses considerably less water and detergent. We use the suggestion we found here — vinegar! — in the rinse for fabric softening. We have an outdoor clothesline, and for indoors, both retractable lines and drying racks. Indoor line drying is a great economical way to humidify the air in the dryest months of winter. I can’t see us ever bothering with a washer or dryer again. I will note, though, that we’re a very healthy older couple with no kids at home. It might be different with a big family!

  28. ozzyemm Says:

    So great to see so many people using clotheslines!

    We also have an umbrella dryer, it has lasted two houses with us. A hint for that dryer would be to use either the included dryer holder (ours came with a tube with a lid that you put into the ground. When you remove the clothesline in the winter, the tube stays to keep your spot ;) ) or a piece of PVC pipe a size or two larger than your pole, and cement it into an old tire! The tire is heavy enough that your clothes won’t knock over, and yet its still portable.

    Joyful C, I love that breather washer! You can buy something similar at Lehmans.com, but it is metal, and rusts if not dried properly. Also, I would like to see the extractor, but the link isn’t working for me.

    getting away from a washer is my next step. We already use the line for all laundry except diapers (they dry so stiff, and my son has real skin issues. I am also too lazy to “fluff up” in the dryer. Still, its just one load every day or so), and we make our own laundry soap.

  29. Suzanne Says:

    G’day!! I’m writing from Tasmania, Australia and had to add that an aussie home isn’t completet without an original “Hils Hoist” clothesline out the back. There’s nothing that says summer to me more than my kids running around and playing under the sheets blowing in the breeze.
    I lpve being outside with the girls in the sunshine hanging the clothes out while they play and there really is a fresher smell about things dried in the sun.
    We’re a cloth nappy family too and the sun not only does a great job drying them but it kills germs and whitens as well. The sun is fanastic for stain removal as well!
    Big thumbs up for a clothesline!!

  30. Cindy Says:

    I’ve always used a clothes line for cloth diapers but this summer tried to use the line for everything. The first month I was able to skip the dryer completely and saved $40 on that months’ electric bill. Well worth it!

    I too love the smell of clothes dried outside and find it relaxing to hang clothes out.;)

  31. Judy Says:

    One nice thing about hanging out your white clothes is you won’t need to use bleach. The sun bleaches them very nicely. I usually just give the towles a real good shake and hang them up. Same with the Jeans.Seems like it always rains on Laundry Day.

  32. Robyne Says:

    I didn’t relize Americans used their dryers so much till my sons pen pal came to visit us and wanted to use my sisters dryer when it was 30C.
    I have never have a dryer in 35years of marriage. I have a clothes hoist that I put near the fire but far enough away to be safe or I hang it up in our shed. We have so many days of sunshine here in Australia there’s no need for one.
    Just think of how much you are helping the envorment and your pocket by not using chemicals and extra electricity

  33. Stephanie Says:

    The A/C in our home doesn’t work very well, so running the dryer in the summer is torcher. We are also not allowed to have a clothesline where I live (landlord will not allow it). Here’s my solution, we have a clothing rack that we hang clothes on hangers, and we bought a retractable clothesline and hung up in the bathroom. It takes longer for the clothes to dry, and they are stiff, so vinegar in the rinse cycle, and the really stiff stuff goes in the dryer for about 10 minutes to soften.

  34. Meschell Says:

    Greetings from Sunny Phoenix Arizona!!!

    I have a really nice LG front loading washer and gas dryer. I do have a clothesline though, the old fashioned stainless steel T-Bar style. With all of the sunshine here I can use the clothesline almost any day of the year. It’s like having free, unlimited solar power. I wouldn’t have it any other way!!

  35. Catherine Says:

    Greetings from Texas More helpful hints of drying with clothes line. I learned to use minimal clothespins and to maximize space on the line by butting the clothing end to end and using one clothespin to hang the the two items end to end. Also, when hanging shirts, any kind, fold them in half longways and hang them by the shirt tails. This is great if its warm and dry, but don’t crowd them like this if it’s humid and cloudy.

    Careful smoothing and hanging eliminates or reduces the needs for pressing. And did I mention how easy it is to fold as you pull stuff off the line. It’s all folded and put away immediatly. Gotta love that!

    Has anyone seen pants strechers lately? These are wire frames that you put in pants and jeans to hold their crease and eliminate the need for pressing. If your guys like starched jeans, using pant strechers and line drying completely eliminates the need for starching.

    Also, using towel scraps for pin pads is helpful when hanging delicate items you don’t want the clothespin mark to show on. Use one scrap on the line under the item and one on top between the item and the pin. Also, having a supply of the old fashioned friction pins, without the spring, can be useful for hanging delicates as they won’t grip as hard. Of course, if you hang these indoors or on a rack, this isn’t an issue. Unless you have kids, animals or spouses who tend to knock things over, pull stuff off as they pass by etc.

  36. Wes Says:

    I haven’t used a dryer for 4 or 5 years at least. I have a good time every spring explaining to people that I am installing my solar powered clothes dryer. In the winter, I use a clothes rack for everything. I did enjoy the article and the comments.

  37. TideMama Says:

    i love my clothesline…it runs nearly the length of our backyard and has 3 lines on it plus 2 smaller ones i ran from the line poles to a tree…i use the smaller ones which run the oppisite direction for things like undies , nightgowns , etc – things the neighbors may not want to look out their backdoor and see first thing in the morning.
    during the summe ri use my line all day everyday sometimes i can get up to 4 loads of laundry up in a day – start out with the heavy stuff like jeans and finish the day with the tiny clothes of my toddler- they dry in a snap !
    right now it is awful , winter, with no dryer…we have very little space to hang up things and it is making me insane lol .

  38. Donna Says:

    My hubby is putting me up a clothesline today. Yeepee! I was raised up putting clothes on a clothesline and still did it after I got married and did it then for about 17 more years. We moved to this new house about 5 years ago and didnt have one. I asked my hubby to please put one up so I can start to save money on my electric bill. I hate how the dryer eats away at the clothes everytime I take the lint out. He is a pipefitter by trade and of course he goes and gets 6″ PVC pipe and a T’s and a pulley system,something I have never had before. He made one end a little higher so I can pulley it up to that end. How clever of him.It cost about $75 for it all. I was hoping for something less costly but he has to go all the way. You can do it cheaper than this. You can just get a plastic clothesline and tie it into 2 trees, some wooden clips for $1 each pack of 50 and a pin bag for $1.

  39. lazycookmom Says:

    I finally got a real clothesline. Hubby put it up last weekend and have used it almost every day since. Had a couple that it rained. We are trying to be self sufficient and dig out of alittle debt mostly the business not having work this winter. we have had to really cut costs and the electric bill is one that is very high. I have always hung what I could out to dry my favorite is a line full of little white diapers but now will be more diligent . Mine only cost 3.00 for a bag of concrete. I had the line and have another one to add to it. Hubby put up wooden T’s and even put them low so I can reach them easier. do have to get more clothes pins though but somethings can just be hung over without like towels. Its pretty windy most of the time so things dry pretty fast. Lovin it

  40. Charity Says:

    OK, I know….. I am late to the party with this post as this thread is nearly a year old but I digress…

    Anyhoo… I live in wet rainy Seattle. My dryer broke over a year ago and instead of replacing it I opted to get a parallel line umbrella style clothesline. I set it in concrete in the back yard where I can take advantage of sunshine and it is also the area of the yard that gets the most breeze coming through. I haven’t really missed having a dryer for the most part. There are times in the winter where I could have used a dryer on occasion but with good planning I keep up on laundry.

    I have some steel pipes suspended in the garage and on those I can use clothes hangers to hang up my clothing, and supplement with a wooden drying rack for all my towels, bras, undies, socks, etc. I use that system all winter and then from about April to Sept/Oct. I can use the outdoor clothesline.

    I notice in comments above several people talking about stiffness. I just want to say that most of the time that is from too much laundry detergent. Consumer Reports just came out with an article that backs up what I have been doing for ages. That is, to half dose your laundry detergent. Most caps and scoops are bigger than the required amount for a medium or even large load of clothing. I use the minimum amount of detergent I can get away with and still get my clothes clean. Sometimes it takes a little while to get the hang of how much detergent you can get away with and still have clean clothing. With powdered detergents, I use about 1/4 cup of detergent per large load of clothing for medium soiled clothing and about 1/3 cup for heavy soiled clothing, this is in a top loading machine. In a front loader you can use about 1 Tablespoon of regular detergent (as per “the laundry room” on Gardenweb). I throw out those scoops that come with the detergent and just use a cheap set of measuring cups from the dollar store. If you use less detergent, it rinses out of your clothing better and your clothing will be softer coming off the clothesline. Also, about 1/4 cup of vinegar in a downy ball for the rinse cycle will ensure the remainder of detergent gets rinsed from your clothing. I purchase one of those giant 200 load tubs of washing powder from Costco for about $11. This means that instead I get about 400 loads out of a tub. My clothing is clean and stain free. I seldom if ever use fabric softener and that is only reserved for clothing made out of synthetic fibers to reduce static in the winter. A good tip for stiff jeans is to give them a few good shakes before putting them on. This will help loosen the fibers some and as soon as you put them on, within a few minutes your body heat will soften them up.

    I just wanted to let everyone know, even in a rather wet and rainy climate, I do very well using a clothesline and indoor drying racks/hangers quite effectively. It can be done with some planning. I just am sure to watch the weather report and do laundry on days I know I can hang my clothes outside. If I can’t wait that long, it gets hung indoors. Clothing hung indoors (even in the garage) in the middle of winter dry within 24 hours MAX.

  41. Old School Ma Says:

    First line drying cloths is as old as the hills. Second snooty, pencilnecked yuppy (don’t know how to boil water. females and Couldn’t pound a nail males) have no right dictating their failures in what it is to be a real rounded woman or man, to the REAL people of the world.
    I lined dried forever, then I got a dryer. The Benefits: can dry cloths on rainy days and removes lint. Down falls: Cost a fortune for the chinese made dryers we are forced to buy today, dryer breakdowns are a promise, cost you in gas or electric, cost you in rerpairs. And l;ast but not least, DRYER FIRES!
    Line drying: Free, cloths have a wonderful smell, won’t breakdown, (unless your line breaks), sun bleaches out stains chemicals can’t get out, and if they get rained on it is the BEST fabric softner going. I am now in the process of Line Drying again.
    And I was looking at our grandson metal swing set and thinking of taking it down. Then a thought entered my mind. I will transform that set into a useful cloths dryer by putting steel eyelets down both side of the legs and across the end of the set.
    I WILL continue to line dry and if you don’t like it, MOVE or put up a fence. Better yet Mind your OWN damn business!! When peole pay my taxes, mortgage and bills, then they can dictate to me what I can and can not do on my OWN property!

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  43. Retractable Clothesline Says:

    Really like using the outside clothesline. Haven’t made use of my indoor clothes dryer since it broke last year.

  44. Trisha Says:

    I love this article about hanging clothes out to dry. We used to do this all the time when I was a kid. I would LOVE to be able to do this now….honestly, I have 4 kids and do at least 4 loads of wash a day. It would be a full-time job to wash and hang the clothes out to dry. I do find myself hanging out wash clothes and towels on weekends when I can. Hey even using the clothes line half the time is much better than using the dryer all of the time! Great article! Thanks for sharing.

  45. Brenda Says:

    Go to Walmart and purchase a clothes rack. I dry all of our underware on this rack. In Winter
    it sits in my laundry room. In summer, spring and fall I put it on my screened porch. It takes less time than hanging on a clothes line. The rack is aboub $10.00
    In winter we live in FL in a mobile home. My husband put up a chain for me across our drive. I
    hang our shirts on hangers and hang them on the chain. They don’t blow off. I bought the chain
    cheap a Lowe’s. The links need to be big enough to hang the hanger on.
    I have a retractable clothesline to use for sheets, blankets, rugs. etc.
    I use homemade laundry soap, and my laundry smells wonderful!!

  46. Tina Says:

    you all are so lucky you can hang out your clothes. At our old house we did it all the time. But now our HOA is against clothes lines…we may have a drying rack only on our deck…but w/ a family of 5 I would have to have many drying racks. I am hoping our HOA will eventually go “green” and allow us to have a clothesline.

  47. Patti Says:

    Okay, Susanne, you’ve got me all nostalgic about clotheslines again today! I know the point you are making is about the frugal nature of hanging laundry out, and I agree. But I still tend to get all dreamy and warm inside whenever I remember the clothesline at home growing up.

    Funny you should mention watching the weather. That IS an important part of line drying laundry. Even, like you said, planning what to wash and hang out (it takes a long time to dry a pair of jeans, so it better be a sunny breezy day.)

    A funny note… my Mom even hung things out in the winter (and living in northern Wisconsin made that quite a trick!). I still think she just enjoyed the peace and quiet of a sunny day outside at the clothesline, hot of freezing cold, away from us kids! ;)

    Thanks for this informative and fun look at clotheslines. I sadly don’t get to have a clothesline now where I live (condo) but every time I go back to my hometown to visit family, I beg them to let me do the laundry for them and hang everything out! (It doesn’t take much begging!) That way I get the clothesline experience twice; once when I hang out the sheets and again when I crawl into bed!

  48. Patti in Arkansas Says:

    Oh how I miss the smell of clothes dried on the line and not having to use so much bleach as the sun whitened my whites! I live in an apartment complex. I have no where to put up a “clothes line”.
    We have an apartment size washer and apartment size dryer. The dryer takes a minimum of 2 cycles to dry clothes. I really don’t have a lot of space. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  49. Patti in Arkansas Says:

    Oh ya, Vinegar in the rinse cycle? Wouldn’t that make your clothes smell like a salad?
    I mean I use a gallon of vinegar at least once a month for other purposes(ie:cleaning the fridge, microwave, floors, walls, etc…) then re-clean using lemon scented Lysol. It’s a lot of work, but I’m a heavy smoker.

  50. Jaylee Says:

    I’m an apartment dweller, so even though a clothesline might be possible, it might also be possible to have college students steal your clothes off the line! I found a great solution, though. I ordered a sturdy “bi-wing drying rack” (mine is from Italy.) It folds out horizontally and is big enough to hold 1 week’s worth of clothes for 2 people (creatively.) I put it out under the ceiling fan winter or summer. Clothes dry anywhere from 3 to 8 hours. I bought a compact Haier portable washing machine which has an almost full sized load capacity for about $350. It rolls over to the kitchen faucet, and I wash the clothes. The rack folds up neatly and nearly flat. I store it against the wall with the washer pushed against it. To get the most out of the drying space, I hang socks, underwear, non-wrinkling shorts, handkerchiefs and kitchen towels vertically, held by one pin. Trust me, it is worth every bit of convenience not to have to go to a laundromat! And, it saves me $$$. I make my own soap — usually powder, but recently I tried the liquid. The only downside is that it separates. I’ve always used vinegar in the rinse, and there is absolutely no residual smell, it’s like it was never there! The nice thing (besides being really cheap at the warehouse club) is that it disinfects, too.

  51. Annie Says:

    I have been using a clothes line this year almost exclusively, but in years previous I only used it when the mood would strike.

    I can see a noticeable difference in my electric bill this year, even with doing extra laundry from going paper-free.

    Great post!

  52. Becky Says:

    There is another money saving factor you are missing in using the clothes line- we live in a moble home and it saves us a bundle in the summer time on cooling the house. The dryer makes the house so hot! So for us, it saves much more that $200.00 per year.

  53. Deborah Says:

    I lived in Mexico for 10 years. I washed clothes for my family (cloth diapers for 2 babies) in the river on rocks and on a wash board in a #3 tub. Always had a line. Then we moved into a city and still used a wash board for small everyday stuff and a line. We did buy a washing machine eventually (family of 8 makes a lot of dirty clothes) but I didn’t use it alot. Was nice to get wet and cool off everyday!!!

  54. Deborah Says:

    oh BTW use a line here in sunny SoCal everyday!

  55. Nancy in Upstate NY Says:

    I have been hanging clothes to dry forever. Growing up we had outside clothes lines for summer and basement lines for winter or rainy days. I now live in a city but have lines and drying racks in my basement. I simply put my clothes in the dryer for 3-5 minutes to soften and take out wrinkles. Safes a ton of money and our clothes last for years…..I can’t believe line drying is just now catching on.

  56. Beverly Says:

    I use an outside clothes line in good weather for towels, sheets, quilts, etc. It is a challenge sometimes, but luckily I have enough of those items that I can wait the weather out.

    My clothes I usually dry in the basement. To keep jeans from being super stiff I use wooden trouser clamps. They are wooden hangers that I use to hang jeans upside down, legs folded together. They dry well like that, and don’t have as many wrinkles and they are not as stiff.

    I do own a dryer, I haven’t turned it on in nearly a year now. :-)

  57. KERRY SEARLE Says:

    For those who wish to speed up the drying, who want to dry clothes inside such as apartment owners, and even those who still like their dryers but want to cut costs, nothing beats a spin dryer. Basically it’s a centrifuge for clothes but with no heat. You can put it anywhere because no venting is necessary. I bought a compact one a couple months ago. Within 5 minutes, the clothes are almost dry when they come out. A spin dryer can be packed to the hilt because it doesn’t rely on air to dry the clothes I simply lay my clothes on a mobile clothes drying rack in my living room because the clothes don’t drip at all. They are dry in an hour or two depending on the weather. I calculated that my spin dryer, for one person would cost me 10.00 dollars per year. Even if it went as high as 30.00 per year it’s still worth it compared to coin washer and dryer costs. Another advantage is I can dry my clothes inside so I don’t have to worry about dust or clothes pinning because of wind. On fair days I leave the mobile clothes drying rack near my sliding glass door. From what I understand, if a person still wants to use the traditional dryer, using a spin dryer to remove most of the water first will reduce the drying time in a regular dryer by about 30 minutes. That’s still a considerable savings. It fits in my small bathroom ready to use. Mine has a spout at the bottom that goes into any rubber bin. Others have different drainage arrangements.

  58. KERRY SEARLE Says:

    Not sure what happened to the website I listed to show you my spin dryer. If it doesn’t show again, just Google spin dryer and make sure it’s the kind without heat.

  59. Michelle Says:

    I do use my dryer at times, but we use the lines a lot. Our meter is right above our dryer and when I turn on the dryer I can watch it speed around…and I know that is money. I use organic hemp diapers on my little ones, and I will dry them a few minutes in the dryer to soften them and then hang them on the line (the sun is better thatn any bleach to keep them white and fresh). I also love that the sun seems to kill anything that makes the cloth get stinky over time…or if it just gets a bit musty (like dishcloths). My sister has had problems with her HE washer leaving cloths musty, when she hangs them on the line the sun kills the bacteria…for what it is worth.

  60. Michelle Says:

    Patti in Arkansas…when we lived in an apartment I got a line to hang in the bath tub…it wrked great in our dry winters, not so good in the summer. In the summer I hung stuff on a foldable rack that I placed on my deck. I used that rack in the spare bedroom as well…I’d open the windows and they would dry quickly.

  61. brande Says:

    last year i noticed it saved $40 a month when i dried my clothes out side. my landlord wouldn’t let me hang a line up so i just laid my clothes over the rail of the deck and when the first side was dry i fliped them over to let the other side dry. we have bought a house now but the community frowns upon hanging our clothes out to dry so when everyone else is gone at work i lay my clothes out on the car. i also have a line going along my shed nobody even notices it is there i can hang my clothes uo on that lline or in the shed if it is raining, but i have to leave the doors open to get the air to circulate. i have my clothes in the house by the time the neighbors get home from work. and when i bring my clothes in i out them in the dryer for 5 -10 minutes to soften them up.

  62. Kimberly Says:

    My clothesline was a recent gift from my husband! I had been requesting one, and I’ve noticed that since I’ve been using it (about three months), we’ve been dirtying fewer clothes per wash cycle. It’s an easy, almost thoughtless, action to throw clothes from the washing machine into the dryer. Hanging clothes on the line is good exercise, too.

    I really enjoy gathering clothes off the line. In fact, I fold them as I take them down. When I walk in my house, the clothes are washed, dried, folded, and ready to put away! :-)

  63. Diane Says:

    I have two problems with the clothesline. 1) We are a family of 6. I do 2-3 loads of laundry daily and am usually still behind. That would be a LOT of clothesline! 2) My biggest concern is that my husband and several children have indoor and outdoor allergens to everything: dust, trees, grass, ragweed, pet hair, mold, corn pollen etc. Has anyone had any experience with line drying with these kinds of allergies? Does it cause any problems for anyone?

  64. Annie in Ark Says:

    I live in the country and have a big clothesline. I also have an indoor drying rack that works well I place it over the vent in my kitchen in the summer months, and in the winter I place it near our wood burning fireplace. We now have an empty nest so I have alot less laundry now. My huband wears unifoms 5 days a week and I work for a bank so my clothes are dellicated and I hang dry all my things. I bought a scrub board to use for really small loads so I don’t have to use the washing machine. Enjoyed this post, lots of good ideas…

  65. Christine Says:

    Hi from Denmark. Most of my friends and I do not have dryers and line dry all our clothes. In an apartment I used to live in there were several rooms in the communal basement where one could hang up clothes for a day or two until dry and nobody bothered them unless they had been hanging there for a week or two. I am from America and havent used a dryer the entire time I have lived in Denmark and prior to that not for a couple of years before I moved here. I havent missed it but once when it was so humid here that it took 3 days for my clothes to dry. Once in 7 years is not enough to make me want to spend that kind of money again. Great Post!!!

  66. LB Says:

    We (a family of five) have not had a clothes dryer for about 3 years or so. It does save on electricity we have cut our bill from $130-140 back to $105-115 a month depending on read or estimated bill. I also have been making my own soap I just saved my last laundry bottles and I refill them when it is time to make more laundry detergent. That does save you money as well. I found a site off line that I had ordered laundry soap ingredients from. This is definitely a way to save money! Sometimes we even hang our clothes out in the winter, they still dry as long as it is not snowing. We do have drying racks and I do use my shower curtain rod to hang somethings on as long as they are not to heavy. When the wood stove is going I can get a load done in the morning and a load done in the evening.
    May the Lord bless you all for your desire to save and care for your families.

  67. Linda Says:

    I have hung clothes out of the clothes line for years but then I had to iron them. with a clothes dryer if you take your clothes out as soon as the dryer cuts off and hung them up on hangers while they are still hot it looks like you have ironed them. You talk about how much money you can save by hanging your clothes out on the clothes line and that is true. however you did not figure in how much money it would cost to iron your clothes after you hang them out on the clothes line. I am certainly all for cutting cost and saving money any where and every where that I can. Living on a limited fixed monthly income I do not have money to waste any where as most people do not either.

  68. Melissa Says:

    I live in Arizona where it is sunny mostly everyday. When I first moved here I would hang out laundry occationally, mostly because I felt guilty over the fact that my father in law had put in a really nice clothes line for me. Recently, I have been trying to really cut back in as many areas as I can, live more frugaly and wisely, to be a good steward of my finances. Anyways, since I have stopped using my dryer I have noticed a big difference in our utility bills, and it is just my husband and I. I was so surprised! I didn’t think it would make a difference in our bills because it is a pretty new dryer and I don’t do that much laundry with just 2 of us. I am very pleased, and, I have found that I actually LOVE to hang out laundry!!! There is something so relaxing about it for me, and it kind of gets me in a more frugal mind set if that makes sense. :) I have so enjoyed reading through all you other ladies comments, it is nice to have “fellowship” in hanging out laundry!! :D

  69. Kristin Says:

    We haven’t had a dryer in almost a year. I have two clothes lines in my bedroom, a drying rack and little umbrella looking things for socks – 8 clothes pins each. Pants & towels get flung over doors, 4yo dd’s clothes & wash cloths/rags go on drying racks, shirts are on hangers hung from the clothes lines and whatever doesn’t fit there, goes on the clothes lines. Sheets usually get folded in half so they fit on the clothes line same with blankets. It’s worked really well for us. But to be truthful, I haven’t noticed much of a difference in my electricty bill. $20 maybe? I suppose something is better than nothing. Either way, we’ve made it work. :)

  70. Jeannie Says:

    Hi, there, hope that you can help me. I still love to hang up my wash–love saving money. However, my ancient foldable metal wash holder has canvas that is wearing out. I would love to find another wash holder, so much more convenient than a basket that you have to bend down to. I like this foldable metal canvas contraption because it is waist high. Can you help? I cannot locate another one. I think that it is from the 50′s or 60′s. Thanks so much. J.F.

  71. Amy Says:

    One tip….

    If you have problems with certain dress shirts or dresses looking horrible wrinkled when you hang them up to dry, just put your clothes in the dryer for the first 5 minutes or so. This is enough to loosen the wrinkles and they should dry on the line in much nicer condition!

    As for jeans and towels, I do the opposite with them. I hang them up until they are dry and then throw them in the dryer for about 5 minutes to soften them up a bit.

    It saves a ton of energy while getting the same results!

  72. Kim @ Homesteader's Heart Says:

    I’ve only recently started line drying but I had to write a whole post about the money I saved. You can read about it here if you’d like.

  73. Brandee Says:

    I Love my pully System clothes line!

  74. Lynne Sargent Says:

    I’m back to using a clothesline again, after living in an apartment for 12 yrs, and all I can say is, “Thank goodness!!”

    However, I live in Ontario, Canada, where wintertime temperatures are often -20F or lower! I do have a line in the basement, but it takes DAYS to get anything dry down there — any suggestions??

  75. Cathy Says:

    I talked my husband in to putting a clothesline in the backyard this summer. After 1 month of using only the clothesline our utility bill was the lowest it has ever been since we moved in to our house 10 years ago! Now that winter is here and electric rates are going up I am trying to find a was to line dry the clothes inside.

  76. sALLY Says:

    i AM 69 and have line dried all my life and i had 8 kids. 40 yrs ago I figured I saved $60 a month on
    power..now what would it be.??? I too love the smell. and the whiteness….I will never forget the coach of my 3) girls volleyball team asking me how I got their white Home uniforms so white!! All i could say was
    hanging them outside in the great Colorado sun!
    There was times i would cheat and throw all the tiny sox and undies and wash cloths in the drier as i washed and dry at one time …the rest was hung outside. There is NOTHING from a bottle that will even
    mimic line dried sheets! Wow! Sweet dreams!
    For those of you that have to hang inside…I have a pull out line in the family room and hang up a load
    while I hear the evening news. They are dry before the breakfast is eaten.
    My sweet daughter in collage was poor….I only gave her $50 for expenses…she washed her clothes and
    then carried them to her apartment wet and dried them on a rack to make ends meet.
    We all can do it if we have a desire.
    And old Uncle of my husband said, “A poor wife can throw it out the back door with a teaspoon faster than a good man can bring it into the front door with a shovel.! A word to the wise…..
    can carry it through the front door with

  77. Suz Says:

    I line dry everything except bed linens; the sheets are just too big. My clothesline runs the depth of my garage and separates the bays — the garage is HOT so everything dries quickly, but being inside keeps underwear elastic from rotting in the Florida sun and keeps the birds off it, too! Sure, I have to iron my husband’s work pants, but I’d have to do that anyway. Jeans come down a bit stiff but my husband likes his rolled rather than folded, so by the time he unrolls them, they’re not stiff at all. And while I haven’t bothered to check the meter or the difference in any past power bill, I will say that line drying is saving our clothes. I do have to be careful to keep all towels in a load by themselves or EVERYTHING comes out covered with lint, and only the clothes dryer got it off in the past.

    And thanks to the Ozzies for mentioning the Hills Hoist! A neighbor from my Michigan childhood had one and I’d never known what they were called.

    I want an “Amish clothes rack” for my husband’s wool socks and my bras.

  78. Hillbilly Housewife Says:

    Thank you, Suz, for sharing your experience with line drying your clothes. Also thank you for the link. I just took a look and it is so cute and handy. I imagine if you found an old window with several panes, you could retrofit it to work like the one in the link. Very fun. Thank you again, Suz.

  79. Pat Says:

    I was raised in Germany and almost everybody there drys outside. Even apts have clotheslines on their balcony or attached to the wall over the bathtub. Growing up in this environment (germans believe if you don’t need it don’t use it and recycle, recycle, recycle) we tend to dry outside weather permitting. I did bring my german what you call an indoor drying rack but haven’t used it much as we mostly line dry outside or over the deck railing. Love all your great ideas. Thanks for sharing them with everybody.

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