21 answers

Line Drying Clothes

Hello mommas! Recently I've begun line drying our clothes mainly because our dryer is on the fritz. Are there any line drying secrets that I should know? I've been trying to hang the clothes during nicer days and pulling them off before darkness. And I use fabric softner, but the clothes don't have that dryer fresh scent or feel. I heard some say they prefer line drying but I don't understand why. I can put the clothes in the dryer but I'm trying to make the dryer last until after the holidays. Also, it feels good trying to conserve energy & be a little more eco friendly. Any tips, suggestions, advice is greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You should only leave the clothes out long enought to get dry. If towels, sheets etc are hung out to long they will be hard. It does not take very long to dry if it is a nice day. It will get better.

I worked in Japan for 2 yrs. A great friend who I consider my 'Japanese mother' taught me something about line drying- You should pat it and it is like ironing it. It really makes a difference. I hope this makes sense. You can take a shirt and pat it with one hand while having the other hand on the other side. Try it.

More Answers

we line dry too and during the cooler months, i hang just about all our clothes inside. we got 3 wooden clothes drying racks from walmart and i try to do laundry at night so the clothes can dry overnight. then when it starts to get warmer (around march/april), we hang them back outside.
you're going to miss that dryer feel for a while....sorry! btw, vinegar in the downy ball makes a good natural fabric softener and if you shake the clothes out before you hang them, they'll usually end up a little softer still.
hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I worked in Japan for 2 yrs. A great friend who I consider my 'Japanese mother' taught me something about line drying- You should pat it and it is like ironing it. It really makes a difference. I hope this makes sense. You can take a shirt and pat it with one hand while having the other hand on the other side. Try it.

Hi S.
I have been line drying for years. You are never going to get your towels to feel like they do when they come out of the dryer, but they will absorb the water a whole lot better from line drying and smell fresher too. My husband PREFERS line drying for ALL his clothes (except socks), we both feel it extends the life of our clothes...dryers can really wear out clothes. I enjoy my jeans better after air drying...they keep their shape better. One tip is that the colder the water the harder the clothes. Also, a windy day makes them softer.

I primarily dry clothes inside and dry in the dryer only when absolutely necessary. I do it outside when weather permits. Your clothes aren't going to be soft and they're not going to smell "fresh". But to me, fresh doesn't smell like Bounce or Downy. I have strong scent aversions (and my husband has extremely sensitive skin), so this works for us. He really likes "crunchy" towels. When I wash the towels, I put vinegar in the wash too. That's supposed to restore some of the fluffiness of the towels. On the plus side, your clothing will last a LOT longer. My kids clothing holds up so much better because it's not being destroyed by the heat in the dryer. That makes the hand me downs not look so beat.

Honestly, I've wondered the same thing! I'm only responding so I can read what others have told you!

I had my dryer element go out recently and I would hang my clothes out to dry. Since the weather is getting colder the latest you can let them hang outside is 4:00 or 4:30. Put the clothes on hangers and bring them in and hang them on your shower curtain rod if you have one. If your dryer still works dry partially outside and then bring in and finish drying. Hope this helps.
R. D.

i used to hang my clothes out and loved the smell...especially sheets and cloth diapers. i found that you need to get them as soon as they are dry and they won't get as stiff. i tried to do laundry on warm sunny days for more efficient drying.
also the shaking is important.

I air dry everything, but zip up pjs, undies, socks and undershirts, all other clothes I air dry then toss in the dryer for 10min to get the wrinkles. I air dry shirts on a hanger and use both bathroom shower rods. I use a drying rack for the girls pants and my husbands hoodie sweatshirts. It takes about half a day for them to dry. I then toss in the dryer for 10min to get out wrinkles and any dampness.

Hi S.,
I live in HOnduras and have no option but to hand wash and dry clothes. I never can get my clothes as soft or smelling good...maybe someone else has a secret. The advice I would offer and maybe you know already is to shake out the shirts well before you hang them. I do that and almost never have to iron. Also, hang clothes inside out...that way if wind blows up dirt or something then it won't get on the outside of the clothes. I would also recommend hanging shirts upside down with the bottom folded over the line. If you hang them upside down and just clip the corners then the weight of the clothes since they are wet will stretch the corners and ruin the shape of the clothes. That's all I can think of right now. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask!

Line-dried clothes just feel different and smell different than dryer-dried clothes. I, personally, do like the "smell" of line-dried clothes. I've never tried line drying my clothes here in GA -- it's so humid here -- of course, less so now that it's Fall... Also, they'll feel stiffer -- the tumbling in the dryer keeps them shaken and softer. Now that it's so cold, I guess your only concern is bringing in the clothes they freeze. Hopefully, having them outside and moving in the breeze will soften them a bit.

Don't forget to check out scratch and dent places. You might be able to find yourself a very affordable and completely wonderful dryer -- before the weather just gets too cold!

Kudos to you for being an eco-momma!!!

Hi S.,
the difference in line dry and dryer is you'll enjoy the smell
of outdoors especially on your bed linen without the chemical
of fabric softner and direct heat. Remember to take them in after the sun set it is the sunshine that gives it that fresh
smell. I was raised with line dry clothes and linen, of cause
the air quailty was different.

I love line-dried clothes. They smell so good!
They do dry "stiff" and there's not much you can do about it.
I've taken the clothes and given them a good shake a few times in the drying process and that really helps but its a lot of trouble. I dry shirts on hangers so there's no clothespin marks on them. Clothes that you really want to be soft can be taken down from the line when they are still slightly damp and put in the dryer for the last few minutes of drying. That will save the life of your dryer!

Line drying can be a wonderful experience as you enjoy the outdoors. Another alternative is if you have a basement or an extra room somewhere, to put up a clothes rack and hang everything you can on hangers and let dry overnight. What worked best was just 10 minutes in the dryer to relax wrinkles and then I hung them on hangers to finish drying overnight.
When you don't use a dryer at all it's imperative to make sure you shake each piece really well to help with wrinkles and to watch how you pin it to the line, because everything will dry exactly how you hang it. Without using the dryer things will be stiffer and you will have wrinkles, there's no way around it. Everything smells so good and fresh though.
Just try and get in touch with the outdoors while you are there. You will feel really great contributing to your own release from higher electric bills.
The other thing is that if you hate to iron as I do, then buy a steamer and it will take a lot of the wrinkles out, but just won't give the flat smoothed look of an iron.
Just a comment, I remember hanging clothes out in the winter out west and they would freeze dry and when you brought them in they would stand up by themselves until they thawed. Hanging them in the cold was an experience, but taught me they really will dry out there if I ever have to do it again, heaven forbid.

Good luck

You should only leave the clothes out long enought to get dry. If towels, sheets etc are hung out to long they will be hard. It does not take very long to dry if it is a nice day. It will get better.

I only thought that this was a good deal out west. When I grew up (in Colorado) and in New Mexico (college) it was a fantastic deal to dry clothes outside, they would dry faster than the dryer could do it, even the jeans and towels. I just cannot get real excited about it here. It does help to double the fabric softner. It also helps, with towels and washcloths to mainly dry them out, but to fluff them for about 10 minutes in the dryer. I will follow your tips, I could get back into it to save electricity, but I too prefer clothes dried with a dryer!

I use the line to dry all summer long. And in the winter, I go to the laundrymat because for about $15 a month I can dry them. If I use my dryer my electric bill jumps about $50. And I just do all my running while they dry.

Oh, S. line drying so cool. My grandmother taght me to do it when I was younger. I do not do it now as much, because the air outside doesn't have that spring time smell anymore. It leaves some type of resedo on my clothes so I stopped. If the environment as not as messed up as it is, your clothes would have this soft, spring like smell to it. Its all changed now. But if you can handle that part of the problem then you are doing a good deed to the environment!

I agree with everyone. I love line drying. I just wish my neighborhood would allow it. I like watching the clothes move in the wind. I like the natural fresh smell. In the dryer, towels can smell like mildew. I like being outdoors putting the clothes and sheets on the line.

Winter, line dry them inside. It brings some humidity back into the house that the furnace takes away. But, if it is the basement, make sure that there is a dehumidifier available in case your basement gets a musty smell.

I had to line dry my clothes too. I never had any luck with anything I tried. During really cold days, my clothes would freeze. Try a used dryer. That's what I did until I could get one. I still have it and use it when something goes wrong with my new one.


Be sure the line itself and the clothes pins are clean.

Be sure when you hang things up, that they hang neatly. As they hang, that's how they'll dry. I hang my t-shirts and shirts up right side up, lining up the shoulder seams with the clothes pin, so they'll hang neatly. Others hang them up upside down.

Sometimes, towels dry better sideways. Don't stretch them too much, or they will have one side too long and they won't fold nicely.

I hang up socks with the clothes pin holding only one side of the sock cuff so that they dry faster.

I prefer it when I can, 'cause I like the extra sunshine and fresh air; I like the way they smell and I like saving money. :D

Hope this helps,
D. S

Hi S.,

I line dry my clothes during the summer because they dry sooo quickly and it saves a lot of electricity. The fresh smell from outside is so much better to me than the "fake" fresh smell that is in the dryer sheet....One thing I learned early is that if you hang the clothes correctly then you can dodge ironing anything. Hang from the bottom hem and make sure it falls straight. Pull the wrinkles out and smooth the fabric. Then wait! My husband is a 2XLT and not having to iron that massive amount of cloth truly helps with my time management!



Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.