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Out to dry - the benefits of line drying
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We all love our electric and gas clothes dryers, but when the weather is pleasant and bright it's a great time to take advantage of the most natural way to dry our clothes — outside. Not only does it give your clothes a refreshing feeling, it saves tons of energy. And if you love the way your clothes feel after drying them on the clothesline, you can even find some remarkable places to hang them inside!

Where to start

Begin with a good quality clothes line, and have the lines very tight so that your clothes won't make the line sag when you hang them. Every month or so, take a rag with a pine oil solution and warm water and wipe off the clothesline. Decide the frequency of cleaning by where you live and how much exposure to bugs and birds you will experience. Make sure that your clothespins are snag-free and clean, also. To clean your clothespins, place them in a mesh bag and swish thru warm sudsy water, rinse, then hang on the line to dry.

Where to hang your laundry

  • Outside in the warm, dry air
  • A covered porch or balcony
  • In the basement
  • Indoors (any place but the bathroom, as this room tends to be too damp)

Some benefits of line drying

Air-drying is easier on your clothes. Laundry machines toss clothes around, causing wear on the seams and sometimes snagging things with zippers. If you use a washer and dryer, you subject your clothes to twice as much tumbling as you would if you used only a washer.

Air-drying can reduce wrinkles. If you remove clothing from a dryer immediately and hang or fold it, most items are relatively unwrinkled; however, this requires careful timing. Clothes that have been properly hung for air-drying will dry in the right shape, virtually wrinkle-free, and will be waiting when you're ready to get them. To even further evade wrinkles, add Downy® in the wash.

Air-drying eliminates static cling. Electric dryers produce static electricity by rubbing clothes over each other repeatedly. Avoid this process, and you'll avoid the static! You'll notice that air-dried clothes feel a bit stiff at first. All you need to do is add your favorite Downy liquid fabric softener in the wash for not only great softness, but for your chosen scent preference.

It's free! If you use coin-operated laundry machines, you know that dryers account for at least half the expense. If you own a dryer, you're paying for extra electricity and repairs.

Tips for clothesline use

  • Make double levels for small items. If you hang a second clothesline about a foot below the main one, you've got twice the space for socks and underwear.
  • Shake out wrinkles. Snap an item briskly through the air and most of the wrinkles will disappear. Remove any remaining by pulling the item smooth after hanging it.
  • If an item will be stored on a hanger, put it on one while it's damp, pulling collars and pockets into the proper position. Hang the hanger between items on the line or on a hook nearby. Outdoors, wire hangers can be bent around the line to prevent them from blowing away.
  • Put hosiery and lingerie in a nylon-net bag in the washer and then hang them on the line.
  • Hang T-shirts by the tails and socks by the toes so clothespin marks won't be visible.
  • Hang jeans and towels folded over the line. Halfway through drying, turn them so they're folded the other way, and they'll dry all the way through.
  • Put heavy items near the ends of the line to reduce sagging, which can cause the supports to come loose.
  • When hanging clothes outdoors, don't let them touch walls or posts, which may be dirty.
  • Hang fitted sheets folded over the line with the pockets on the inside, so they don't catch leaves or other debris.
  • Sunlight can cause colors to fade so dry bright / deep-dyed colors in the shade or when possible, turn them inside out.

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Out to dry - the benefits of line drying

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