Clothes on the line, blowing in the breeze and bright in the sun. It’s a picture of days passed, or of driving through Amish country not too far from where I live. Although it seems like fewer and fewer people hang their clothes out to dry these days, I also think that hanging clothes out is making a comeback.
It’s natural laundry month here at Live Renewed, and I wanted to start with taking the Simple Step of hanging your clothes out to dry. Hanging out your clothes is any important part of any natural laundry routine for a few reasons:
- Dryers are one of the biggest energy users in our homes, and giving the dryer a break will save energy and save money.
- The action of drying clothes in the dryer actually breaks down the clothes (that’s where the lint comes from) meaning that they will wear out faster. Drying clothes on the line helps to extend the life of a clothing item.
- Conventional fabric softeners used in dryers are loaded with all different kinds of chemicals which can be absorbed into our bodies through our skin. Some of those chemicals are even trying make clothes smell like they were hung outside on the line!
- The sun is the best brightener/whitener that there is. Instead of using harsh products like bleach or stain removers, let the sun do the work for you instead.
We put up our first clothesline last spring, and I loved using it all summer long to dry my clothes outside, there is nothing like going to sleep on sheets that have been hung out on the line!
So, I challenge you to take the Simple Step of hanging your laundry out to dry this summer!
Here’s a few tips for getting started with hanging your clothes out.
Set up a simple clothesline
I was blessed that my parents passed along a retractable clothesline to us, and my hubs set it up to run between two trees in our back yard. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Sometimes setting up a clothesline can be the hardest part, there are lots of different types to choose from, and some of them require putting up posts, and pouring cement to secure them.
I recommend just starting as simple as possible with your line. Look around your yard and see what you already have that you can use instead of setting up posts – trees, a corner of the house or garage, or a railing from your deck – all of these can be made into supports for your clothes line. Choose a retractable clothes line that works for you and your space, set it up, and get started hanging your clothes out to dry!
Plan ahead for hanging your laundry out
One thing to remember when hanging your clothes out to dry is that you have to plan ahead a bit. Checking the weather, and thinking about how much time the clothes will need to dry are important things to consider.
Check the weather the day before, and in the morning, so you know not to hang your clothes outside before a thunderstorm rolls through. You’ll also need to plan ahead to have clothes ready to be hung up while there is still enough time for them to dry outside.
I like to start a load of laundry at night, using my delay start so they aren’t sitting wet in the washer all night, and then they are ready to hang out first thing in the morning. This way, it’s not too hot when I’m hanging them out, and because of where my clothesline is located, they get the benefit of the morning sun to help whiten and brighten them. They’re usually dry by the afternoon, so I can hang out another load to be dry before nighttime, if I need to. I don’t like to leave my clothes hanging out overnight.
Tips for Hanging Your Clothes Out
- I like to overlap my clothes and use one clothespin for the edges of two items. My clothesline is not that long (I’m hoping for a longer one before the summer is over), so I need to maximize the space that I have. This also helps if you don’t have an abundance of clothespins, because it cuts the number of clothespins that you need in half.
- When hanging up clothes, they often get little marks from the clothespins, so you need to think about where you are hanging your clothes from.
- For shirts, instead of hanging them by the top or shoulders, I hang them from the bottom so they don’t get the stretched out, pinched look on the top.
- For pants, the marks don’t really show whether you hang them by the waste or by the cuffs. I often hang them by the cuffs because I think that helps to release the wrinkles and get them nice and straight.
- When hanging out baby clothes, you can save on clothespins by hanging onesies upside down by their snaps.
- Hanging out wipes and rags and kitchen towels helps to air them out, and keeps them smelling and looking fresh.
Some people think hanging their clothes out makes them feel stiff or crunchy. We’ll be talking more about natural fabric softeners and ways to keep your clothes soft and static free later this month, but one tip that I have if you are really concerned about this is, after your clothes are dry outside, you can bring them in and throw them in the dryer for a quick tumble, either on air dry or low heat.
Now, this obviously partially takes away from the point about not using your dryer when hanging clothes on the line, but if this is something that concerns you, using your dryer a little bit is better than not hanging your clothes out at all.
Do you hang your clothes on the line? If not, what’s keeping you from it? Will you take the Simple Step to hang your clothes out to dry this summer?
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