The disappearing art of hanging laundry

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
466
California redwood coast
Last weekend I hung my last load of laundry outside after 6 months of using nature to dry my laundry. The pole is collapsed and in the rafters until spring when the shadows back off and the winter rains fade away. Using the gas drier this weekend....

All this high-end expensive technology emphasis these days to save the planet and I don't hear much about drying clothes outside. A bit like walking a mile instead of driving your car a mile - 100% efficient, albeit a bit more time consuming and perhaps less convenient. (Even if you drive a Tesla that mile ) Better than wood burning as there's no gas for the chainsaw or truck, unless you handsaw and foot haul. And I think the clothes last longer.

There is some mental planning cost. Will it rain or be too foggy today needs to be considered before hanging laundry. How many loads do I have space for on the line? Will I be home before the evening dampness gets to the clothes?

There's some basic joy to it as well, besides the simple economical and environmental virtues. I like listening to the birds and watching the deer or whatever other activity is going on. Sometimes I do slip in a blue tooth ear piece and listen to a podcast or call a friend. Just like stacking and splitting wood, there's strategy to how to order the clothes when hanging, as well as folding and sorting clothes when taking them down.

Just like with wood heat, it used to be the only option and perfectly ordinary to do.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,597
Northern NH
My wood boiler is in the basement so I have a laundry lines hanging from the ceiling so I dry in the basement in the winter. I the summer I have lines in an unfinished bedroom. I have owned a Staber washer for 30 plus years and it really gets the clothes dry right out of the washer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mt Bob

Gearhead660

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2018
716
Southern WI
Grew up hanging clothes outside on the line. Still do it. Enjoy doing anything outside.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mt Bob

Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
1,168
SW Missoura
Still do it here too. Nothing better than air dried shirts. You can smell the fresh air when you first put them on and pants have that starched feel.. Can't leave the clothespins on the line though. My pyrenees has a unique fondness for snatching them and leaving them strewn about the yard. Then the mower gets em.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
890
Northwest Lower Michigan
My old house in the HOA had a rule against clotheslines. I wonder if other HOAs or towns do too.

I grew up with my mom using a clothesline in the summer. I didn’t like how the clothes turned all crusty, but they did smell good.

Here I have a clothes post from the previous owners. I haven’t used it for anything but hanging parts to paint them. For the reasons already posted, like planning. I do laundry when it’s dark or crappy out, I do other things when it’s nice out. And I don’t like crusty clothes. Or birds crapping on them or bugs getting in them. My stove and water heater and dryer are gas and I only fill the tank once every 2 years so that’s not too bad.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle

Brian26

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2013
616
Branford, CT
I use a wooden drying rack which is in front of the fan outlet on my heat pump water heater. The rack gets a direct blast of cool dry air from the heat pump. I usually hang my clothes in the evening and wake up with them completely dry. The hpwh sees most of its runtime in the evening into the night due to higher hot water usage with cooking and an evening shower.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mt Bob and woodgeek

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,531
South Puget Sound, WA
We hang the laundry outdoors in the summer but right now it would be pretty soggy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mt Bob

gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
529
Central MA
We tried hanging our laundry a few times this summer but it got moldy before it was dry.
In the winter, we use an indoor drying rack near the stove. It's pretty effective.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
466
California redwood coast
We tried hanging our laundry a few times this summer but it got moldy before it was dry.
In the winter, we use an indoor drying rack near the stove. It's pretty effective.
Along our coast, the winters are cool (not cold) and damp, so it's all about trying to keep the inside humidity from getting too high to prevent mold. I'd probably do more inside drying with the wood stove, but then it'd just increase the indoor humidity. I suppose for much of the country, more indoor humidity is desired during the winter.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,924
Long Island NY
My experience is to not hang (large, bright) pieces it outside the first time it gets above 55 F. (Honey-) bees start flying then in spring. And they poop. And somehow prefer white t-shirts...
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,465
SE North Carolina
I have a a pulley line from my 2nd story deck to a tree about 80-100 ft away. I’m still hanging loads out. Even in the winter I can get 1 load a day dry if it doesn’t rain. I found clothespins are to slow so I only use a couple every load. Basket goes on railing so I don’t bend over. Every load but may 10 since March no sock or underwear.

4F7F9FDA-41BF-46CD-BD55-AAB2D7C52225.jpeg
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,465
SE North Carolina
I lit the stove for the first time today. Hung out a load a laundry after the secondaries fully engaged on the reload. We’ll se how dry it gets. It’s up to 55 with a good wind.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mt Bob

Gearhead660

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2018
716
Southern WI
Hung some clothes out the other day, windy with high near 40. Dried in a couple hours.
 

Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
1,168
SW Missoura
The only thing I don't really like about laundry dried on a line this time of year is the asian lady beetles that invade this time of year. I occasionally will feel one crawling on me/inside my shirt after I have put one on. They are everywhere right now....it's tough keeping them out of the house even.

You also really gotta pay attention when your mowing and the clothes are on the line. The wife isn't too fond of grass and leaves being blown all over the clothing;)
 

Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
3,326
park county montana
Hardly ever use dryer, usually just to soften towels. Hang inside and out year round. Don't care if they freeze, does not last long,humidity here drops after a snow.Sunshine is THE best disinfectant for laundry. Too many people use too many dryer sheets, and the perfume and chemicals clog up material.
Another lost art- stripping laundry, especially towels,wash cloths and sheets.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EbS-P

georgepds

Minister of Fire
Nov 25, 2012
878
Don't have a dryer

In the winter, I hang the clothes on the beam near the stove

In the summer I hang them in the sun under the shed PV.

Those are solar thermal panels below the PV for warm summer showers. That's a V2 chevy volt charging on the right, an covered wood racks on the left.

Once you start down an energy aware path, it's hard to stop

Summer1.jpg Winter.jpg
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
466
California redwood coast
Hardly ever use dryer, usually just to soften towels. Hang inside and out year round. Don't care if they freeze, does not last long,humidity here drops after a snow.Sunshine is THE best disinfectant for laundry. Too many people use too many dryer sheets, and the perfume and chemicals clog up material.
Another lost art- stripping laundry, especially towels,wash cloths and sheets.
I had to look up "stripping laundry" . ( https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/a33588329/laundry-stripping/ ) I can't keep up with my current chores, so I'll just adhere to the "smart laundry practices" to avoid the need.

The coastal Pacific Northwest is not friendly to outdoor drying during the winters - too darn gray and damp, especially if surrounded by tall trees.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mt Bob

Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
3,326
park county montana
I had to look up "stripping laundry" . ( https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/a33588329/laundry-stripping/ ) I can't keep up with my current chores, so I'll just adhere to the "smart laundry practices" to avoid the need.

The coastal Pacific Northwest is not friendly to outdoor drying during the winters - too darn gray and damp, especially if surrounded by tall trees.
Yep,I feel for you.I swear when I was visiting Portland I could SEE the moss growing on cars and houses!!!!
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
466
California redwood coast
  • Haha
Reactions: EbS-P

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,730
Colorado
lol lol... Those educational video's are a little too much for me to think about doing to my laundry but I get the drift..I rather just throw them in the washer, then the dryer and on a nice day maybe hang some sheets outside...Just tooooo much for my brain to handle and I rather relax with a cold beverage soaking in a hot tub with epson salts to help my tired muscles after a day of hard work..That's what I call stripping laundry...lol lol old mrs clancey
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grizzerbear

MongoMongoson

Member
Feb 6, 2021
213
Wisconsin
We hang our clothes outside all spring/summer/fall and inside in the winter. We need moisture in the house in the winter, anyway.

Sometimes if we have days of rain we'll hang them inside in the summer, as well. I run a dehumidifier. I don't know, but it seems likely that the dehumidifier probably uses less energy to pull the water out of the air than the dryer does to pump steam out the side of the house.

It is very rare that the dryer runs in our house.

I can't remember the last time I ever washed a car or had one washed. That, to me, does seem like a waste. Maybe my Focus would have lasted me more than 16 years if I had washed off some of the salt in the winter, though. It rusted to death.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,036
Woolwich nj
We run the dryer for thicker or bigger stuff like towels bed sheets. We hang outside occasionally spring, summer, fall. We have wooden clothes racks we use a lot in the basement for pants,shirt, sweatshirts its all kept in the laundry room which is pretty big like 16x24. I went solar and my dryer is electric, we still try to keep the usage down so the solar covers 100% of the electric
 
  • Like
Reactions: begreen