Why does linedrying our clothes seem so quaint, so old-fashioned, somehow backward? Some communities even ban line-drying saying it’s an eyesore or some other benign hazard. My unofficial survey of friends across the globe tells me that 98% of the world line-drys their clothes, at least in good weather. Basically the whole world except North America. When I lived in Japan, everyone dried their clothes outside no matter the weather. When I lived in Australia ditto. And two summers spent in Europe tell me they do the same there as well. And during my family’s trip to Turkey last month we found ourselves, you guesed it, hanging up our clothes to dry.
And why wouldn’t we? Dryers use up vast amounts of energy, even the Energy Star ones. According to a 2001 Department of Energy Report, dryers account for 6% of US household electricity. Why would I put my clothes in a machine to dry when today it’s 75 and sunny on my back deck? After returning from Turkey I was inspired to unwrap the drying rack I had bought last summer at Ikea that has been since hiding out in the garage. I put it out on the back porch and hung a full load of clothes to dry in the yummy spring sunshine. Within a matter of hours they were dry and smelled so fresh. They were even soft thanks to some ancient liquid fabric softener I’d found shoved in the back of my laundry room cupboard.
My husband thinks line-dried clothes feel too crispy, even with fabric softener, so we don’t line-dry his clothes. The rack from Ikea only holds one load and we usually do 3-4 loads at a time in our house. I can’t have mountains of wet laundry sitting around so, so far, I’m drying about 1/4 of our laundry outside and the rest in the dryer. I guess it’s all about baby steps but maybe the next baby step I need to take is to invest in another $6.99 drying rack from Ikea.
Do you linedry your clothes? Year round or just in the summer? Have you noticed a cost savings?