Benefits of Line Drying

Line drying not only saves you energy and money – there's about a dozen other great benefits! This post covers the top benefits of line drying, more than enough to get you to string up a line and get started :)

By Contributing Writer, Stacy Myers

When we moved into this house, we were tickled pink to find that it came with a clothesline. Having lived in a townhouse in town for 8 years, I was eager to have yard space where I could do things like line-dry and raise chickens. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, livin’ the country life once again.

I grew up on a farm, and I fondly remember my mom and my grandmother putting laundry out to dry every day. There is nothing on this earth that smells better than sleeping on clean sheets that have been line-dried. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Now, I’m following in their footsteps – and isn’t that where most of us find ourselves? Doing the things that we thought our parents were nutso for doing? 😉 The older I get, the smarter my mom is.

Benefits of Line Drying

So, today I’m going to give you a list of the awesome benefits of line drying. These are things I’ve figured out myself for the most part. They aren’t something I just read in a book – although, I do read a lot of books. I make sure to put them into practice…but in the spirit of keepin’ it real, like I always do, I will tell you that some days I use the dryer because I just don’t feel like going outside to hang laundry. I have no shame.

Now, first let me say that I realize not everyone can line dry outside. Some of you live in areas where the lady in charge of your HOA would fall down and foam at the mouth if you rigged a line outside. In the interest of ladies in charge, please don’t do that to the poor woman. For those of you who can’t dry outside, I recommend a drying rack for indoors…and I use one of these in the winter to dry diapers – and even in the summer to dry diapers on the porch.

Also, there are those of you who say that you live in a townhouse and can’t have a line. Hogwash. I lived in a townhouse for 8 years and Barry rigged a lovely, hide-able clothesline for me. Booya.

Benefits of Line Drying

Ten Benefits of Line Drying:

It’s cheaper.

For real. Not running your dryer and instead using the FREE sunlight to dry laundry. Yeah…that is a HUGE benefit for us. Some people say they don’t like the “crunch” of line-dried clothes. When your clothing is dry, simply throw it into the dryer for about 5 minutes with wool dryer balls and your problem is solved.

It whitens your whites.

Some of your stuff getting dingy? The sun will brighten those things right up!
It gets stains out. It might take a few sunning days, but the sun does a great job of getting stains out–especially poop stains on your cloth diapers! No bleach required.

It’s good exercise.

I bet you didn’t see this one coming. Up and down my stairs. Arms up. Arms down. Arms up. Arms down. Yep…who needs a workout video? Laundry to the rescue!

Your clothing lasts longer.

This is true…see all the lint in the dryer vent? Do you have that on the clothes line? Line drying is more gentle on your clothing, making it last longer. Another frugal laundry benefit. Hooray!
Benefits of Line Drying

They smell divine!

I’ve had some people tell me they cannot hang laundry outside because they have allergies. Both Barry and I have allergies but I hang clothing outside without a problem. Maybe it’s just a problem for those with extreme allergies.

It gets you outside with your kids.

Annie LOVES when I go outside to hang laundry. She runs between the clothes – she matches clothes pins by color – she hands me socks. Yeah – that’s good therapy for any doldrums.

It reduces wrinkles.

I have this thing…I like to iron. Yeah, yeah – I know I’m weird. But hanging clothes outside (after you “snap” them) really helps reduce wrinkles! And that’s great for those of you who don’t iron (weirdos).

It eliminates static cling.

I hate static cling. HATE IT. I hate being in church and having my skirt stick to the back of my legs. Not cool…and I’ve tried every home remedy in the book. Line dry and bye bye cling.

It’s environmentally friendly.

Yeah…who doesn’t want to go down this route? Less electricity is better for the environment AND your pocketbook. That makes me giddy.

So, those are my top 10 line drying benefits. What do you have to add?

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  1. Yes! As a person with health issues, I really agree that hanging laundry is great exercise. Bending, reaching, lifting, pulling–it’s all just right for gentle flexibility and toning. And when I don’t feel like exercising I do it to save money or for the environment or to listen to the birds sing…and I get the exercise anyhow. 🙂

    The only time line drying is a problem is when we’re having a rainy week. After line drying all the time, using the dryer is so much less satisfying.

  2. Don’t forget that the sun’s UV rays KILL germs and e-coli on your underwear, dishrags and washcloths. AND just 15-20 minutes a day in the sunshine provide you with your daily vitamin D requirement. The stuff in a bottle is RARELY absorbed into your body…Thank you, Lord, for the sunshine!

      1. I love the smell of line dried clothes. And the money am savng on electricity.. I don’t have a Dyer so when it is raining I use a clothes airer. When winter is here am killer to birds with one stone as they say with having heater on to warm my home and drying clothes on airer at the same time

  3. For me when I hang out clothes, it gives me time to do some soul searching, praying, Just relaxing with my own thoughts. No distractions, cell phone!! My hands are wonderfully busy.

  4. how do you soften your bath towels when hanging them out on the line? Should I put fabric softener in the wash?

    1. Nope! Don’t ever use standard fabric softener on towels or cloth diapers. It actually coats the items and makes them nearly waterproof and they won’t absorb/soak up liquids, which is what they’re supposed to do! Either you get used to crunchy towels (hey, the scratchy feels nice when you dry your back, lol) or you can do as some of the other ladies suggest and use vinegar. The vinegar helps rinse out the detergent and make your clothes softer.

    2. Hey Jen! I think my point about that got missed up there. 🙂 Under the first reason to line dry I said: “Some people say they don’t like the “crunch” of line-dried clothes. When your clothing is dry, simply throw it into the dryer for about 5 minutes with wool dryer balls and your problem is solved.”
      Hope that helps! Vinegar all the way here. 🙂

  5. I love it for my tan and vitamin D – without a reason I just don’t go outside and for all the reasons you listed plus mine I love to hang clothes on the line. Oh, and on a hot windy day the clothes get dryer faster.

  6. I’ve gotten in trouble with the HOA lady–twice. Maybe it will be a perk of moving. 😀

  7. I find it so relaxing!! I don’t like to do laundry, but I love to hang it out. I also find I put it away quicker!!

  8. Can’t wait to put this into practice! We live in the country now, but we have WAY too much dust in the air here in west Texas. Maybe once we move…

  9. This was great! I just bought a bigger portable outside clothes dryer-but it is still wrapped in our garage! Time to get it out-start small. I love the smell of sunshine! I use to hang all our cloth diapers!:)

  10. Line drying also gives you good thinking time. Usually you are alone so you can think about all kinds of things.

    1. Good point. Most of my thinking is done in the shower…but I do think a lot hanging clothes too. And I talk a lot too “Annie! Don’t step in the chicken poop!”

  11. About that static cling! Toss a salt pellet, the kind you get for water softeners, into the washer compartment most people put Downey into. A bag of pellets is under $5 and has thousands of pellets in it. I put 1or 2 into the wash cycle to boost my detergent and another with some water into the softener compartment. No static and oh so soft!

  12. I LOVE hanging my laundry out! I also tend to be lazy and use the dryer too :P. So right now my dryer is broken and I am having so much fun timing my laundry days with the weather. My kids love it too, they’re guaranteed time outside every sunny day now! 🙂 My hubby is working to fix the dryer, but I am taking advantage of this time to get into a real habit of hanging my laundry out. Oh, and I LOVE your colored clothes pins! I might have to hunt some down after my wooden ones break :D.

  13. When I started making my own laundry soap clothes were so soft that I didn’t need a fabric softener. Now that we have added line-drying clothes inside to our laundry routine, things can get a bit crunchy. We have been remedying this by throwing things in the dryer for 10 minutes once they had dried on the line to fluff the crunch out of them. If you are able to line-dry outside in the sun then this is probably not an issue for you, but right now we don’t have that luxury (yes, I just called using a clothesline a luxury!). I am trying a new method…making my own fabric softener.

    1. 🙂 Yep, that’s what I do too. I put that under the “It’s Cheaper” section.

  14. My youngest son and I have terrible allergies in pollen season, so for a week or two, I have to dry things indoors (dryer or hanging), but the rest of the year we are fine. It helps to know when you are likely to have a problem so you can avoid it.

    There is nothing in the world as lovely as quilts and bedding hung on the line to dry and air out!

    1. We live in Augusta, GA and the pollen here is one of the highest levels in the country, so for those with allergies, hanging out to dry is a big no-no! Thank God for dryers when you need them, cuz sometimes you do! I do love line drying though!

  15. I use a clothesline, but the dryer for tshirts and socks. I love everything about it. As I was growing up, we didn’t own a dryer. Now, living in West Texas, we have more drying friendly days then many places. I really really appreciate hanging out dress shirts. They get a crispness about them and when I iron them, it just irons super fast and easy.
    I’m standing with ya. And your clothesline. LOL

    1. Really? In all the years I’ve hung laundry I’ve only gotten bird poop one time…and the birds built nests in the ends of my poles. 🙂

  16. I can’t have a clothesline where I live but I use a drying rack for a few things. However I can’t do all my laundry on it because its in the shade (my deck is north facing) and it takes a long time, plus it has to be fairly hidden. In the “rules” we are not supposed to have laundry there but it hasn’t been updated since the government here over rode the HOA rules for drying clothes…according to them I can use a drying rack on the deck. I use it for the diapers mostly as they take the most wear and tear in the dryer and too long in there too.

    1. I love using the drying rack for my dipes! But you can probably tell that from my photos. 🙂

  17. I tell people line drying is like meditation for me. I can hear the birds singing, it’s so peaceful and methodical and I feel good about what I’m doing. I only do it when my youngest is sleeping, though. He runs off too quick for me to do anything other than look right at him when we’re outside!

    1. I usually hang when Andy is taking his morning nap and take them down during his afternoon nap. 🙂

  18. I live in Alaska, and a former coworker shared her cure for static cling: lotion on your legs.
    It works!

  19. My old apt had two porches which would’ve been perfect for drying but was on the coast. I solved that by moving drying racks directly in front of sliding glass doors when sunny and kept door closed. The clothes dried this way and I think helped keep moisture out of home.

  20. Before you assume you can’t dry outside because your HOA won’t permit outdoor clotheslines, check the law in your state! Many states have passed solar energy laws that expressly PROHIBIT HOA’s from disallowing clotheslines. Yes, you might get in trouble. Yes, you might need a lawyer. But the LAW is on YOUR side!

  21. I’m hesistant to line dry outside because when I do, little yellow specks sometimes fall on the clothes. I haven’t figured out what the stuff is. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles.

    1. Hmmmm, I live in the country so I can’t help you with that one. Maybe sometime else will chime in. 🙂

  22. this a great post babe, I need to get back to line drying and stop relying on my clothes dryer all the time.

  23. Just may have to try the sun to get some stubborn stains out. Line drying? Nah. Takes too long. Dryer is about 45 mins per load, the few things I have that can’t go in the dryer take 1-2 DAYS to dry on a rack in the house. Hanging 10-12 loads per week in my house sounds like a nightmare… plus it would all end up in the dryer anyway for air fluff with a fabric softener sheet. Outside? No thanks. Our mostly wooded backyard has bugs, obnoxious squirrels, birds and bird poop, ticks, pollen, and that “suburban dust” that gets all over everything… I’d have to wash them again!

  24. I line dried all the years I was raising a house full of 5 kids and we had a pool so tons of towels too. It has been one of my favorite things, it’s peaceful, it’s good exercise, it’s eco friendly. I put vinegar with lavender and lemon EO in my fabric softener compartment to soften and I never get that crunchy feel to my clothes (I used to toss the clothes in the dryer for 5 mins before I line dried but this works even better) and while I hang I can’t smell the vinegar, just lavender lemon (my personal faves but you can use any scent you like)hmmm so delightful! I’m fortunate to have a basement so we hang all winter and on rainy days, I only keep my dryer for emergencies (like opps, no work clothes) and for some reason every year at Christmas.

    1. Pam, I love this tip! My mom has been telling me about vinegar for fabric softener. I haven’t been able to try it yet because we’ve been without a washer and will be until this Saturday. But, I’ll tell you what, I’ve never been more excited to do laundry in my whole life as I am to do it this weekend! And since we don’t have a dryer I am really excited to see how the vinegar fabric softener works (especially for crunchy towels and jeans). She said a half cup per rinse cycle of vinegar or to try this recipe:
      2 c. baking soda
      2 c. vinegar
      4 c. water
      Mix and store in labeled container. Shake before each use. Add to
      final rinse, use 1/3 cup for hard water.

      1. Erika, I think science says dont mix vinegar and Baking soda …something about ph and that they cross each other out, not sure but I’m pretty sure. I don’t mean that they are dangerous but that they are opposites and just end up making a neutral. Try using just the vinegar and EO first and see if that takes care of any crunchiness. I just fill my fabric softener compartment each time I throw in a load, good luck with your new washer!

        1. I clean my toilet every week with baking soda and vinegar. 🙂 It foams up great and works like a charm.

    1. Jamie,

      I live in AZ but in a part where we have actual winter with snow and cold temps. I can’t have a line due to HOA but I do two laundry racks in my backyard. When it’s raining/snowing/close to freezing I put the clothes racks inside. it takes a little longer to dry (and I don’t do sheets or towels during the winter) but having it inside helps with moisture too!

    2. In the winter, I still hang my diapers to dry by the wood-stove…but for my other stuff, I use the dryer. 🙂

  25. When I hang the clothes outside. That is my little quiet “zen” moment. I love the smell of the laundry, the sun on my back, and my bare feet in the grass. Ahhh, makes me calm just thinking about it.

    1. I enjoy that except the feet in the grass. Too hard to dodge chicken poop around here. LOL

  26. I live in the Seattle area where it rains all the time (like all this week we’ve been having downpours). Is it possible to line dry in a rainy environment? Maybe this is a dumb question. You know you’re a city slicker when…

    1. Sure! You can dry inside! I gave a link above about drying racks – they are awesome!!

  27. As an Oregonian, we have quite a few days with moisture, but there are also many days when we can (the next week is all 90+!). I am hoping to try the makeshift clothesline my hubby is putting up for me with parachute cord, along with our clothes rack!

    Quick confession: I have never owned an iron in the last eleven years since leaving my childhood home!

  28. LOVE hanging my clothes out! My husband put in the clothesline first thing after we moved to our new house. Forget unpacking boxes–just get me a clothes line! Right now it’s a bit of an adventure hanging clothes here in Maine, because we’re in a showery weather pattern, and we never know when there will be a thunderstorm and I’ll have to drop everything and run outside to grab the laundry before it gets wet!!

    1. Just to add, I think that “crunchy” feeling depends on the wind outside? When it’s still and quiet (like it often can be in Maine) the clothes dry,but they are stiff. When I lived in Oklahoma “where the wind comes sweeping down the plains”, it was often hot and windy outside, and everything was less stiff and softer.

      1. Ha, ha! That’s one of the very first things Barry fixed when we moved here too! 🙂

  29. To put it simply, hanging up laundry is a decent but not world-beating saver. It’s worth doing particularly if you have environmental concerns for doing so, but other factors can easily trump it (like air conditioning, for instance). I, for one, like the smell of air-dried clothes quite a lot and it’s a good, repetitive activity that lets my mind wander in creative directions while doing it, so I think I’ll continue to hang laundry on a fairly regular basis.

  30. I have always dried my laundry outside in the summer. On Christmas eve my dryer broke and I have managed to dry everything inside all winter in Ottawa, Canada. The trickiest time is when it is too cold/wet outside but not cold enough to have the furnace on – takes longer to dry the clothes indoors. I did purchase extra drying racks. I now have 4, plus an unfinished basement so I have hangers hanging from the ceiling for my husband’s shirts. I also have 2 teenage duaghters who are good at making laundry! I did farm out the winter coats to a friend’s dryer at the end of the season. I also farmed out the afghans on the couch that were covered in dog hair (the dryer does a better job at getting rid of that hair). Another added benefit – nothing shrinks when line drying.

  31. Where I live (in a suburb of Tokyo), there just aren’t very many people with dryers. Almost no one has them. All year long, even in the winter and rainy season, we line dry everything — on snowy or rainy days, we break out the indoor drying rack. I hated it at first, but I’ve grown to enjoy it. Plus, it makes my visits back home more of a treat because I get to use the dryer 😉

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