How To Line Dry Clothes

How to line dry clothes from
Knowing how to line dry clothes won’t just help the environment — it’s easier on your clothes, too. You’ll also save money on AC costs in the summer since your system won’t run overtime to remove the heat your dryer adds to the house. As if that’s not enough reasons to consider line-drying here’s one more: hang your laundry the right way and you can get out of ironing, too!

The Basics Of How To Line Dry Clothes

Decide where you want to hang your laundry. Will you run a line indoors, or do you have room for one in the yard? Some homeowner’s associations don’t permit permanent laundry lines (mine doesn’t), so check your HOA rules first. We got around our restriction by drilling a hole into a corner of the railing on my deck. Come laundry day, I haul out my umbrella-style laundry line and put it in the hole. As soon as I’m done, I fold the thing up and put it away so my neighbors have nothing to complain about.

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Buy good-quality clothes pins. Plastic clothespins are pretty but can break if they’re dropped, say, off a deck. (That happens more than I care to admit.) I’ve found the wooden ones clamp more tightly, too. Stash them in a bag that hangs from your line to keep them in reach and off the ground.

Don’t put your line near a tree. Birds love trees. Birds poop. Get the picture?

Watch the weather. The best days to line dry are sunny with a slight breeze that will blow out any wrinkles. But just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t line-dry — your clothes will dry, they’ll just take longer.

Flick your clothes before hanging, and smooth them as you hang. This will get rid of stray threads and lint. Smoothing means you won’t have to iron, either.

Don’t let clothes bunch. Be sure clothing doesn’t droop or sag so it dries smoothly. You can avoid this by hanging heavier items on the ends of the line, lighter ones in the middle.

Give it space. Clothes dry more quickly when there’s plenty of room for air to circulate. If you’re using an umbrella-style line try to stagger the clothes so there’s space between as well as in front of each item.

Take clothes down when slightly dry and tumble them through the dryer for a few minutes. This will remove any pollen, lint or other airborne stuff. It gets rid of that crunchy line-dried feel, too.

Remove it from the dryer properly. Don’t just scoop everything out of the dryer and shove it in a basket. That causes wrinkles. Remove items individually, laying things that need to be hung (versus folded and put in drawers) on top of the closed washing machine. Put everything else in the basket. Immediately hang the clothes that require it, then move on to folding the rest.

How To Line Dry Clothes By Type

Shirts: Button the collars and cuffs then hang from the hem, letting the sleeves dangle.

Pants and shorts: Fold so the crease runs down the leg and hang from the cuffs. Turn pockets out for faster drying.

Skirts Full skirts look best when spread out and hung by the hem, although this takes up a lot of space. Straight skirts can be hung by the waistband using two to three pins.

Socks: Hang individually by the toes.

Wash cloths and towels: Be sure to give them a very good snap before hanging and they’ll come out softer. (White vinegar in the rinse water will also reduce the crispy feel of line-dried towels.)

Sheets Fold in half and drape over the line, pinning in place.

Underwear, and other unmentionables: I run ours through the dryer, figuring that our neighbor just doesn’t need to know that I have huge pink granny panties with a black poodle on the rear end. Come to think of it, you probably didn’t need to know that, either.

And remember: the laundry isn’t “done” until it’s all been put away!

Equipment I Use For This:


  1. Mummy Pig says

    You mean putting all the clean clothes in baskets and allow them to form a mountain behind the sofa for a week or so isn’t the way to go?

    Argh. Now I know where I’ve been going wrong!

    Seriously though, trying to stay on top of my laundry is possibly the hardest household task for me. I am a gardener and have a husband who mountain bikes several times a week, sweats buckets in his sleep, works in an office & drives long distances in the heat. Plus two pre-schoolers who garden, ride bikes, play in the mud, sand, paint, glue and draw with colouring pens every day (in between fighting dragons, hunting for mammoths and running their mud cafe) and are still at the stage where dinner mostly goes down their front. Come to think of it, so is their daddy!

    I find that being home to do the laundry is hard and actually getting it sorted correctly, soaked, washed well, dried, ironed, folded, hung or put away is almost impossible.

    Generally we go with the mountain until I crack because the kids actually practice mountain climbing on it, then I quickly sort everything into a basket for each person and put my own clothes away. My husband will leave his in the basket forever, mixing in his worn but clean and dirty clothes for good measure and then complain he has no clean clothes.

    My girls are better and enjoy the chore, using their beds to sort into little piles of the same things and put them in their drawers.

    Only mine ever gets folded, none ever gets ironed or hung, and most of our things are covered with stains because I stopped soaking before wash when my eldest pulled a basin off the laundry counter and over the floor.

    My clothes are in fact sorted into ‘unstained’ and ‘stained – wear only at home’ shelves.

    Sure could do with some tips on removing old stains, refreshing clothes that are a bit past their best and training cats on how to do the laundry when everyone else is out.

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