The longer we’ve been line-drying the more I love it. Sure, there are virtually no shortcuts for getting stuff dry really fast. That said, if you can get in a semi-regular routine of washing clothes in the early morning (or even late at night) and hanging them up as part of the morning routine, it gets to be normal pretty fast.
Here are my favorite things about line-drying, two months in:
- A quiet house. I didn’t realize how noisy it was to have a dryer running all morning or all afternoon while we were going about the house. This may not be a concern if you go to a laundromat, or have a separate laundry room, but in our small house, it’s a killer.
- Fewer creases in your clothes. So, it turns out that if you hang clothes properly, they dry so straight as to barely need any ironing. Maybe not so important if you’re good about getting the laundry from the dryer as soon as it’s done, but with working parents and kids around, that rarely happens in our house.
- Less wear on your clothes. I haven’t entirely reaped the benefits of this one yet, but I imagine I’ll notice in a few months. Maybe even more once we upgrade our top-loading washer for a front-loader.
- Better stain management. I don’t know how many baby/toddler clothes were ruined and tossed from an unnoticed stain that went through the washer and ended up heat-set in the dryer. I’m not a fan of bleach in general, though I do sometimes use oxygen bleach. By line-drying, I notice it (at the latest) as I’m hanging it up to dry: still in time to soak it and give it another wash.
- Better handling of “delicates”. Yeah, yeah, I know you’re supposed to handwash bras and such, but I’ve always been too lazy busy to do that, so into the washer and the dryer they’ve gone. Of course, the dryer absolutely destroys elastics, so my bras have worn out or stretched much faster than they would have if I’d actually handwashed and line-dried them. Now, since everything goes through the same process, it doesn’t seem such a hassle.
- Knit wool items again. I really stopped knitting with regular wool for a while, including socks, in the fear that an item would accidentally end up in the washer and if not felted there, then surely wrecked in the dryer. And as anyone that knits socks know, that is a chocolate-martini-inducing tragedy. Now, without a dryer, I really only have to make sure they end up in the delicates’ wash pile, something that’s much more realistic to manage. (Or as my husband would call it, the “better err on putting there to avoid the dog house this weekend” pile.)
There’s something simple about line-drying that I love, something just a little slower paced and almost zen. You can’t rush it, you can’t save a minute of time just by hurrying. You know in your mind that it will take you exactly 7 minutes to hang a load and so you might as well relax while doing it. Try it sometime. You might find it’s a new favorite ritual. ;-)