Friday, July 20, 2007

Line Drying

Around the time we moved into this house, in my continuing quest for simplicity and frugalness (is that a word?) and war against the dust mites, I began a commitment to line drying our laundry. In reading several housekeeping books and blogs, I'd learned that to kill dust mites you must wash your linens in water over 140 degrees. In a house with a young child, it's just not a wise to have such hot water, so I began to look for other alternatives (such as washing in pure soap products to kill them. I read about the sun's germ-killing ability, though, and because I'm always looking for ways to cut down our expenses, I jumped on the idea of completely air drying linens, clothes, and diapers. This isn't too tough in the summer; who can complain about the amazing and unique fresh-air smell of clothes dried outside? It became clear, though, that in wet and cold Upstate NY, I would need a good system to be able to air dry all year-round.
It's been rainy all week, so you can really get an idea of my system in action:

This drying rack is as tall as I am and is Amish-made. It was an anniversary gift from my parents. I LOVE it! On nice days, I put in out on the deck in the sun.

These "hanging dryers" used to be very easy to find. I remember my mom having several that she used to dry socks and underwear when I was a kid. We had a terrible time finding them today, though. My dad picked these up on clearance at Ikea while traveling. He bought them out!

My secret weapon. About a month ago, my amazing husband created an inside clothesline for me in our laundry room/pantry. It's wonderful!

My outside clothesline. You can see my bag of clothespins there too! We need to move this. We "installed" it before the leaves were on the tress in what we thought was a sunny spot. Turns out, however, it's shady except for about two hours in late afternoon. Oops!

I recently upgraded by $10 small drying rack to a metal one that I hope will last a little longer! I didn't get a picture of it "at work" this week. I keep this one in the bedroom.

Now it does take a little longer for things to dry, especially on days when I have to keep everything inside, but never more than 24 hours, in my experience. I do plan to hang outdoors even in the cold weather, since my big rack can be moved in and out so easily. Our front porch is very sheltered from the weather, so I'll be able to "air" items all winter too! One trick for damp days, is to give items a head start in the dryer for ten minutes or so. My mom does this, and I'll do it on rainy days (like today!) with things like the diaper inserts since they take FOREVER to dry.

Air drying is great for the summer, especially for those who run air conditioners. It will help to "balance out" your use a little bit.

When I used my dryer, I always dried on low heat to reduce my energy consumption. If you must use the dryer, try a lower setting to lower your electric bill and reduce your "carbon footprint."

In one month of nearly zero dryer use...drumroll...our electric bill was reduced $30! In places where electricity is more expensive, I've heard of reductions of $100. Even if you reduce your dryer use by half, think of what you'll save!

For more Frugal Friday ideas, visit Biblical Womanhood.


  1. I LOVE line drying outdoors, but have yet to try it indoors. Your post is inspiring me to give it a try :o)

  2. I keep thinking about this, but have yet to set it so that I can. We have a lot of trees, which is fantastic in the summer, but it's hard to find a spot that won't get "tree stuff" dropped on it!

  3. We used to have one way long ago, the dryer is beautiful.

  4. I love to line dry our clothes. Going out side to hang the clothes out was such a peaceful break in my day. We haven't put a line up at our new house yet. I think I'll have to get on that. I love the idea of an indoor line too!

  5. I thought this was my house for a moment. Are those Fuzzi Bunz and hemp inserts hanging?

    I have recently become obsessed with line drying our clothing. We line dry everything now and I welcome the warm weather to put everything outside.

    I am going to try and do more inside drying this year!

    Thanks for the tips!

  6. You've inspired me! Hubby is going to check out the hardware store and see if he can install a retractable one in the screened in porch (no trees:( )!

  7. I use a drying rack as well. It is located in the upstairs bathroom. I use it all year round. This is how we do it: During Spring-Fall clothes line dry outside. (weather permitting) During Winter & bad weather they line dry in the basement & the drying rack. In Winter the only items I put in the dryer EVER are: beddings & bath towels.

  8. Courtney -

    I wish I had the space for line drying. Your new place is really really looking good!

    By the way, come check out my new blog...


  9. I love that indoor clothesline that your hubby made for you!! I'm going to show it to my DH to see if he can make something similar for me. Our electric bill is through the roof thanks to the new electric rates. Anything that I can do to reduce the bill would help.

  10. It should be "frugality", shouldn't it?