Remember back in the days of our youth, when women hung their laundry out to dry? Of course, many of us still do, but a lot of women found it quicker and easier to toss a load into the dryer and go on to the next chore.
My mother loved to hang her whites (well, she hung all her laundry) out on the line, and let Mother Nature do her magic. Remember the smell of freshly hung sheets? Mmmmm. I love to hang my sheets and blankets out on the line.
Have you gotten away from hanging clothes out to dry? Maybe it’s time to dig out those old clothespins and carry that laundry basket out to the line. Don’t have clotheslines? I’ve got some options for you further along.
Right now, let’s talk about 5 reasons to hang your laundry outside to dry.
5 Reasons to Hang Laundry Outside to Dry
- Saves Energy – use the sun and wind instead of electricity (or gas or propane) to dry your clothes. I read somewhere that the dryer uses about 4% of your home’s energy.
- The dryer beats up your clothes a little at a time, wearing down the fibers with each tumble. Make your clothes last longer by carefully hanging them on the line.
- You get some exercise and sunshine! Carrying a basket of wet laundry out to the line and hanging each item used muscles in your arms, core, and legs. And you get a little Vitamin D via sunshine in the bargain. A win win!
- Sunshine sanitizes your clothes. It also makes your whites brighter. My Mother swore by this back when she had diapers and dirty socks for 8 kids to dry. She prided herself on clean laundry. While I don’t do a happy dance when I bring my socks in from the line, I do appreciate the clean. And the fresh smell…it’s like a fresh air deodorant.
- A task as simple and low tech as hanging clothes brings us in the moment, slows down our thoughts, and makes us realize how blue the sky is, how comforting a small breeze is on a hot day. It connect us to our Mothers (including Mother Nature) and Grandmothers, and makes us think about how much labor went into keeping house in their day…and how lucky we are to have automatic clothes washers and dryers. Gratefulness is always a good thing.
So there’s my 5 reasons to hang your laundry to dry.
Now let’s look at some tips to make sure you get the most out of the experience.
Laundry Hanging Tips
- Don’t hang your clothes under a canopy of trees. I’ll just say 2 words…bird poop. Yuck! So much for sanitized!
- Hang jeans, pants, and skirts from the waistbands, and tees and blouses from the bottom hem. Highly stretchy knits do better when draped over the line, rather than hung by one end or the other. They tend to get out of shape.
- Don’t line dry sweaters – lay those flat to dry. Again, they get out of shape if hung.
- Do hang sheets and towels, either drape over the line (like in halves) or hang from one end, as your space allows.
- Try hanging blankets and quilts out on the line even without washing for a freshening up. I do this. You can also do this with your winter wool coats. One of our neighbors hung hers out on hangers each fall to freshen them.
- Shake clothes when you take them out of the basket to hang, it helps eliminate wrinkles.
- If you have neighbors, remember not to hang anything you don’t want the neighborhood seeing…like unmentionables. Just saying.
- Hang dark things inside out to prevent color fading.
- Check for dryness often. On a hot breezy day they’ll dry in a matter of minutes.
- On a particularly windy day, put enough clothespins on to hold them. You don’t want to chase your towels as they fly thru the field. Or into your neighbors pool.
- Hang socks by the opening, not the toe.
So there’s some tips on hanging your laundry out to dry.
If you don’t currently have clotheslines, but you’d like to try hanging laundry, or get back into it, here’s some ideas.
- Ask a hubby or friend or brother to install some clothes poles and lines for you. You may have to bribe them. Just a thought.
- If you don’t want clunky posts in your yard, or don’t have room, check out one of those instant outdoor laundry hangers. It’s a metal pole with 2 or 3 layers of clothesline circling around the top. Look in Walmart or Amazon.
- Try hanging a line between your house and garage, or between porch posts, or trees if you have to. Get creative.
So, give hanging your laundry out to dry a chance. Get some exercise, save a few bucks and some energy, and just get outside and breathe a little. Watch the clouds roll by. Sometimes simple acts leave us feeling more productive.