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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Friday, April 04, 2014

12 Reasons to Line Dry Laundry

~ if it's above freezing, or not, clothes are line dried ~
1. It annoys the Home Owners Association. Frankly, I don't understand people who carp about the environment and then use a dryer. So many HOA's have rules against clothes lines where clothes can be seen by other residents. Seriously? You're going to get annoyed because you see my unmentionables? How old are you?

2. It saves a lot of money. Dryers use a lot of electricity and the older the dryer, the more electricity it uses. According to some sites the energy hogs are heating and cooling (think heat pump), water heater, lighting, washer/dryer, refrigerator, oven, TV/DVD/VCR, dishwasher and finally, computer. The next water heater I purchase is going to be an “on-demand” gas powered water heater which should really push down the electric bill. I mean, why pay to keep water heated 24/7 when it's only used a very few times a day?

Daddy retired from VEPCO, now Dominion Resources, and used to say, “If you're leaving the room, turn the lights off; you're not paying for a dime more electricity than you use.” He's right and now I'm very conscious of my electrical use. Last year, I bought a convection oven and it's used most of the time and costs far less than my 1914 Acorn stove oven, plus food bakes in a lot less time. This is very important when I've misjudged my time and am ravenous.

I no longer have satellite television and only watch a DVD a couple of times a month. It's a time consideration; most of my time is used on the farm or in the house and there's little to no extra time for watching DVD's. Now that I'm without sat television, I'm more aware of the amount of hours I wasted watching television, even “good programming” such as PBS, Nat Geo, History, etc. Yes, I do miss it but my decision was easy based upon time and needs not to mention how much money I was spending to watch half dozen programs. Do I miss it? Yes, there are many nights I'd love to sofa crash, turn on the tube and get lost but since I've removed that temptation, I don't. 
~ clothes line dried year 'round ~
3. It's more exercise. My washer and dryer are upstairs, which is where Dave wanted them because he said, “Most of our laundry will be generated upstairs.” While that's true, it's also true I've always line dried my laundry, all year 'round and lugging a huge basket full of wet laundry downstairs then same basket of dried laundry upstairs, means some serious exercise. In winter, if it's snowing, sleeting or doing some other nasty kind of weather, I use a clothes rack, also known as a clothes horse, to line dry inside. The upside of that is the increased moisture in the air means no static electricity.

4. Clothes smell better. Really, clothes just smell better when line dried in the sun. Nothing, not even lavender, beats the small of sun dried laundry and using dryer sheets in the dryer means, eventually, your towels and wash clothes aren't going to absorb water as well.
~ photo take very quickly in Romania ~
5. Sunlight is a disinfectant. There's no need to use bleach and if you want to boost your detergent's whitening and disinfecting power, use a half cup to cup of baking soda.
6. No wrinkles. On a windy day, clothes will line dry with few to no wrinkles.
7. Clothes last longer. In a dryer, clothes are being rubbed together, somewhat violently, which produces lint. Lint is the result of clothes losing fiber and will eventually wear clothes out much more quickly.
~ Sandra with Romanian weaver ~
8. Eliminates static cling. Lovely in and of itself!
9. No shrinkage. Have you ever, mistakenly, shrunk something because the dryer was on an incorrect setting? Yeah. Me too.
10 Softer clothes. If you must use a softener, use white vinegar.
11. Time spent in nature. All right, so it's not a walk on the beach or a traipse in the forest, it's still outside in nature. On a beautiful day, it's glorious, even if you are hanging out laundry or getting it off the line.
12. Line dried sheets with line dried nightgown...'nuff said!
~ I made these spider web fabric shawls ~
Good equipment is paramount in any operation, including line drying clothes. A double T pole, opposite ends with good, plastic covered wire stretched between means long years of drying pleasure. My lines have been replaced three times in nineteen years which is remarkable, considering the winds that scream down this valley. Just last week, we had winds of sixty plus miles per hour and empty lines take a toll; when lines are full of wet clothes, the lines are ripping back and forth, back and forth continuously.

Yesterday, I replaced one line, probably should have replaced the other but I was expecting Donald, Mary's husband, after work to put up barb wire on a fence line, and fixing one was gracious plenty. What it takes a man 15 minutes to do, it takes me an hour, not including the figuring out time.
~ I hand crocheted this rag rug hung on fence ~
I've some of my grandmother's clothes pins and would love, dearly love, to replace them with exactly the same kind. That's not happening because, as we all know, they just don't make 'em like they used to and 'em means everything. Please, whatever you do, do NOT buy cheap clothes pins; you're wasting time, money, effort and, probably, clean clothes when the pins break and clothes fall to earth.

As an aside...Dave once bought an expensive gas grill and his friend said, “Good grief, Dave, don't you ever buy anything cheap?” Dave looked at him and said, “No, I can't afford to.” There's a lot of wisdom in that simple statement.

If you don't know about Lehman's, Simple Products for a Simpler Life, in Ohio, visit when you have time and plan on spending some pleasurable time perusing their it. Lehman's is the primary source for old order religions such as Mennonite and Amish; most of what they offer is non-electric, hand's on and stuff you've not seen for years, even decades. For example, they have pant stretchers which I've not seen since I was a teenager. For 25 clothes pins you'll pay $6.95 but if you buy 2 packs, you'll pay $6.00 each.
~ clothes, frozen on line ~
In Vermont, if you can believe it, a law has been passed “protecting the right to dry laundry outdoors” even though “many people—due to community, landlord, or zoning restrictions—are still prohibited from letting their clothes dry naturally in the sun.”

Oh yeah but they're “environmentally correct” in all other ways...snort, chuckle, guffaw, laughing out LOUD! As an aside, does anyone else see the absolute and total irony in the words “community restrictions”? Can you say o.x.y.m.o.r.o.n.? Can you say s.t.u.p.i.d.? Can you say... ain't no way I'm living that kinda life! These are the same people who passed a law stating truckers cannot leave their truck motors running when they're catching the few winks required by law. Let's see now...we want our “stuff” but we want to be environmentally correct and not release any smog into the air and, by the way, it's okay to let the truckers freeze to death. Sheesh!

But I digress.

The Vermont Country Store, another delightful mercantile, has clothes pins; Theirs are 25 pins for $9.95 but the words RIGHT TO DRY are printed, in red, on each and every pin, letting your neighbors know where you stand. Unless, of course, you live in a “community” where such shenanigans as line drying your delicates are prohibited.
~ crazy quilt, circa mid to late 1800's ~
The last place I found to purchase wooden clothes pins is Lee ValleyTools and is, probably, where I'll buy my pins. I plan to as they look very similar to my Grandmother's pins and, at $4.95 for 50 pins are more than reasonably priced.

I will admit to using the dryer...sometimes. Like today, the day started out bright and sunny so I threw my blankie into the washer; by the time blankie was finished washing, it was raining. That blankie is important to an excellent night's sleep for me so it's going into the dryer.

What about you? Do you line dry? Why or why not? Nosy minds want to know! 

Blessings ~ clothes lines and pins ~ clean blankie ~ Romania ~ gift of travel ~ gift of line dried clothes ~ the work of our hands and hearts ~


  1. I rightly don't recall ever before being the first to comment on your blog. Line dry ? Is there any other way? When we moved here in Nov. of eleven I set into figuring out the dynamics of line drying in Shasta Co. We are at about 1000 ft. elevation on the way to Mt. Lassen Volcanic (oh yeah just check out the abundance of lava rocks on our 42 acres) National Park. Summers are a breeze easily hitting 95 plus. Spring can be iffy, this year it is still winter. Fall is solid for the most part and winter is well , winter. But I have found that if the high temp is at least 52, with a sunny sky and a bit of a breeze no sweat. If I get 'er on the line by 10 am then it will be dry no later than 3pm. In the summer and it is "Hotter than blue blazes" kind of day . Well then the first hung is often dry by the time the last is hung on the line. So hip hip hooray for clothes lines! And Sandra you totally crack me up at times when I most need it.

  2. I have been line drying our clothes since 1978! Gees I'm getting old! grin. Anyway, I still use a wooden clothes horse and have since 1993, and I have a rod over the dryer where I hang things all year round. I have clothes drying here tonight inside. I get very little sun in the winter here, perched on the side of a shady mountain hill, so don't hang them outside until the warm weather returns. I have always had at least a line or rod inside to use in cold weather. I use the dryer at most 2 times a week, usually for heavy towels or sheets. Otherwise out they go! Liked your post! I absolutely hate cheap clothespins, I find good used old ones at yard sales sometimes, and always get them when I do. One down side, on the first warm day we had this year i went out to get in my dry underwear. There on my freshly laundered undies was a big stink bug! EEk! life in the great outdoors! I think we have a million of those nasty things here for about 3 years now, before that was the lady bugs. The smell of fresh laundry from the line is worth the risk!

  3. A woman of my own heart. I love to line dry my clothes , I actually love the look of clothes hanging on the line and I was one of the those girls who was taught the proper way to hang the clothes , you know in a certain order matching socks etc.;-) However where I live and the amount of snow we receive I can not hangout clothes in the winter months but I start now in April and will continue on until late November and be sad when that time to stop comes . I love the smell and I love the fact I am saving money but most important I love my time outside in the fresh air just listening to the birds .

  4. Hello Sandra:

    Previously we never considered there was any other way to dry washing apart from hanging it out on the line. Now, living in flats all the time, patterns have changed but we manage with a clothes horse which, in summer, sits out on the walkway where, washing dries quickly in the sun's heat, and in winter it sits by a radiator. We do not possess a 'dryer'.

  5. I typically machine dry - many things I put on a clothes horse and dry to avoid shrinkage. Occasionally I put something out on the fence - but with pollen allergies - drying outdoors is like putting more irritation directly on my face - yes it smells fabulous and on days when we've had rain (hard to remember those days - we are in a drought) I can put some things outdoors and enjoy the freshness. It is cheaper and smart to line dry - my itchy eyes and swollen sinuses salute you!

  6. by the way - my clothes horse is indoors to avoid whole allergen and dust issue - since I think I wasn't clear about that.

  7. Line dry in the summers cause I like to but dryer dry in the winters . We have gas water heater and dryer and stove . Good post though . Thanks for sharing . Have a good weekend !

  8. P.S I don't hang my underwear or bras out on the line lol !

  9. GREAT post and wonderful photos.

    I line dry and have done so for what seems like forever. Not because I don't enjoy it, but because I tried a dryer (dryer over washer) that we had found curbside many, many years ago. It was small, the elec. meter was spinning out of control :-) and I just wasn't impressed.

    I love hanging the laundry out to dry and love taking it in too as it all smells so wonderful. There is something really wonderful about that little chore.

    Thanks to the links, I've been needing some new clothespins.

    Have a wonderful weekend ~ FlowerLady

  10. I would line dry some things but for a few issues here. First no line to dry them on, though that is easily fixed. Second, fireants who love to walk along lines strung up wherever you put them. Lastly a covenant on the HOA we sadly have to live under which bans them (it's not a hill I want to die on...).

  11. A wonderful post, dear Sandra! I am going to pin it on my cleaning board.
    I quite agree! I am going to make a clothesline with pretend laundry for my Wendy house. Notice I said MY, because Granny loves it best.

  12. I'd no idea there were line drying restrictions anywhere-absurd! GREAT post, my hubby is the washer man and has 5 outdoor lines :-)...

  13. We don't line dry, but only because the backyard where we would run a clothesline is way too far from the washer and dryer.

    There sure are some crazy laws in some states... in most states!

  14. You make an excellent point! I have never hung laundry out to dry. I remember my mother doing that but that was before dryer become part of the household appliances.

  15. I have been asking for a clothes line for years! I miss having one.

  16. Yep, line-dried clothes and bedding just smells better! I absolutely will not use the dryer for ANY of my clothes. I have one of those folding racks which I take outside. It makes me so much happier, my clothes stay new longer, and they definitely don't shrink. Now, towels are another thing, I really love the fluffy-ness you get from a dryer. Did you get the TED video I sent you yesterday about getting corruption out of government? I'm going to sign up for the Texas walk. I need to walk anyway, and this is a really good reason to hit the road. love you, Sandra...

  17. I completely agree - line dried washing definitely has the scent of sunshine, nothing like it!

  18. I love this post-I totally agree I love to hang my clothes out

  19. I never knew that about Baking Soda being good for the wash. I do use it as a beauty aid. I scrub my face (gently) with it before showering. It's like using an Luffa with clearasil without the expense. Makes my skin so smooth and helps keep the blackheads at bay.

    I quit line drying when I was so sick all the time, so, the line is gone. Guess I ought to get another one some day. ~:)

  20. Extreme beautiful photos, Thistle, artist!

  21. What a great post. I LOVE line dried laundry and do it for several months out of the year. Is there anyway you can rig a line from an upstairs window on a pulley to a pole or some such outside to allow you to line dry clothes without all the lugging? xo Diana

  22. Your post brings back good memories when everyone used to use clothes lines and no one I knew had a clothes dryer. Your pictures are great!

  23. I have a retractable clothesline so that I can get it out of the way when its space (in a small suburban yard) is needed for wood-stacking or moving giant carts of compost through, etc. We don't have ideal clothes-drying weather where I live, but I always am thrilled when the sunny skies and my laundry schedule coincide. There truly is nothing like that sun-dried laundry smell -- I don't know the physics of it, but it's real!

  24. Another good reason to live out in the country- nobody cares about your clothesline! Folks here hang dead animals in their yards. : )
    Bed linens dried on the line are one of life's luxuries. The fresh scent, the crisp's what Sundays were all about when I grew up because all the beds were changed on Sundays.

  25. The smell of fabric that's dried outdoors is one of the finest delights in life, I believe. I often hang things over the fence to air, even when they don't need washing, just so they will smell wonderful. On a sunny winter day (like four days ago) I hang my down comforter outside for a few hours and at bedtime I am so glad I did!
    Very interested in your convection oven story, Sandra. I am leaning toward getting a large counter-top type oven to replace the walloven that is now my breadbox, and they all seem to be convection-based.

  26. I line dry sheets & blankets in spring, summer and fall for the most part. Can't beat the scent of line dried bedding! :0)

  27. When my dryer (a Freecycle special) died a few years ago, I never looked back. I use a rack in the winter and the line the other three seasons. There is nothing that compares to it - and you have said it all.

  28. Goatldi -

    Annie, I've been line drying all my life, it's how I was taught. I need to visit yard sales to find pins...great idea, thanks!

    Sheila, sigh...the *proper* way to hand few of us there must be now!

    Hi Jane and Lance, So much of European and UK ways seem sensible to me especially with Aga stoves and the constant heat. I much rather using radiators, heaters, clothes horses than the dryer. A dryer is such a waste and, ultimately, ruins clothes.

    Hi LindaSue, with allergies, I can understand why you wouldn't dry outside...that's adding insult to misery! Hope you've been doing well, haven't heard from you in a while.

    Country Gal, I hang it all on the outside line but I haven't any neighbors. A gas water heater...want me one!!

    Rainey, thank you and know what you mean about the meter spinning out of control...the looks of that meter going makes me a nervous nellie. Let me know if you buy clothes pins and if you like them.

    Vic, good reasons all...and you're right, choose your battles wisely! As to fire ants...that's enough reason for me to NOT line dry...shudder!

    Lynn, I'm envious...FIVE OUTDOOR LINES...fabulous!

    Debby, hanging out laundry is almost a religious experience, especially here where there aren't neighbors. It's me, the sun, wind, animals and I use that time to talk to God.

    Oh gosh, Amy, when one realizes the money saved by drying clothes on an outside line, it's an easy choice.

    Kathy, oh yes, love hanging clothes on a line on a sunny day.

    Pam, I use baking soda as a teeth cleaner too although brush gently. Line drying has to fit your life style or it doesn't work.

    Dori, thank you!

    Diana, no but thanks for the idea. Line drying is one chore I don't mind, it relaxes me.

    Absolutely! I NEED vast amounts of solitude and sleep and regular meals to function.

    Gretchen, those are nice although I've never used one.

    You are SO right and gave me a chuckle, thanks! I've seen more than one dead deer hanging in a yard.

    I think so too, Quinn. When I can, I drag everything outside to hang over fences, clothes lines, etc. It brings that wonderful odor back into the house.


Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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