Why You Should Line Dry Your Clothes

Now that summer is here, it’s almost impossible for me to use my dryer without feeling guilty.  It’s beautiful outside, and line drying is so much cheaper and better for my clothes, so it’s hard to justify using anything but a clothesline!

Years ago, people didn’t have a choice – they line dried because that was their only option.  As the dryer became more and more common during the energy-wasteful years in the 50s and again in the 80s and 90s, clotheslines started to disappear in favor of the more convenient indoor choice.  And now that the dryer is seen as a household necessity, there are neighborhoods that have even outlawed clotheslines – Home Owner’s Associations are notorious for this – so much so that some residents are taking back their rights to line dry, and one man even made a documentary about it.

There are many benefits to line drying – so many, I’m just going to make a “laundry” list:

1. The first and most obvious – it’s cheaper! Take a look at these numbers:

Both gas and electric dryers use about the same amount of energy: about 3.3 Kwh for a 40 minute load.  At the average price per Kwh in the US – $0.12/Kwh, that’s $0.39 to run the dryer for 40 minutes.

Now that’s not much, but it adds up.  Our dryer isn’t as efficient I guess, because it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to dry – twice what the calculated amount is above.  So it really costs us closer to $0.78 a load.  At two loads a day, five days a week, that’s $7.80 a week!  If I line dry every load for a month, I’ll save over $30 on my bill!

2. Clothes wear more slowly when they aren’t exposed to the extreme heat of a dryer.  Have you ever thought about where that lint in the filter is coming from?  That’s little bits of your clothing wearing away from the heat.

3. No static cling.

4. No shrinking!  (This is one of my favorites.  I rarely can find shirts with long enough sleeves.)

5. Also, something that is of great benefit when you cloth diaper or have young children who still have “accidents” – the sun kills bacteria on the clothing.

6. In the winter, drying clothes on drying racks like this one allow moisture from the wet clothing to evaporate into the dry air:

Drying Rack from Amazon.com

Drying Rack from Amazon.com

7. And finally, I love to line dry because it forces me outside and away from my other obligations. I can take a few extra minutes to do a simple task and clear my mind and enjoy being in the sun and breeze. Often, the kids play inside while I hang, and it gives me a moment of peace!  G also likes to come outside with me and help me hang and take down clothes.


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