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Life Without A Clothes Dryer

Last week we had a guest post from a couple who has ditched their washer and dryer in favor of using the laundry mat. Today, I wanted to follow up with this great post on a family who has ditched their dryer and chosen to hang-dry all their clothes. What works for them might not work for you, but I hope this post will challenge you to think outside the box!

Guest post from Kendra of New Life Homestead

Over the past few years, I have been on a money-saving quest that has taken me beyond the coupon game and into a whole new arena — homesteading. We homestead for many reasons, but one of the biggest factors that got us on this journey was the realization that we could save a lot of money by learning to produce the things we need, and to be content to do without those things which we don’t truly need.

In an effort to keep our hard earned money in our own pockets, we’ve steadily worked toward a goal of self-sufficiency (or more appropriately, God-sufficiency, for in all things we depend on Him).

Although my husband and I are city kids and have no idea what we are doing trying to live off the land, we’ve continued to fumble our way through learning to garden, keeping chickens, milking goats, canning food, making soap, sewing, and everything else that comes with this homesteading, back-to-basics lifestyle!

The ultimate goal is to live off-grid. But we still depend on electricity for so many things! As I’ve thought about what it would take to attain this dream of ours there have been many times I’ve looked around our home and made a mental checklist of things that we can either use less often, replace with something non-electric, or even do completely without.

One of the power suckers I just knew I had to get rid of was our clothes dryer. I just couldn’t justify continuing to pay to have my clothes tumble dried when the sunshine and a gentle breeze are free for the asking!

I did have a clothesline, but it wasn’t nearly big enough for all of the laundry that comes with being a mom to four small children, including a newborn and a toddler. As I worked my way toward hang-drying all of our clothing, my husband was kind enough to build a new clothesline for me, with five lines about 25 ft. long each. And I loved it.

There is something so peaceful and satisfactory in hanging your clothes out to dry in the warm sun. Maybe it’s the fresh air, or the rejuvenation that comes from those glorious rays working their magic, or perhaps it’s just the simple joy of knowing that what I am doing is saving my family money?

Whatever it is that makes line-drying so enjoyable, it made it much easier for me to make the ultimate plunge and get rid of the clothes dryer for good. And when I re-modeled our laundry room (a $0.00 makeover), I jumped on the opportunity to make a little money by selling the dryer once and for all.

It has been a year now since I’ve been hang-drying every single article of clothing we own. And if I could go back and do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Is it always easy? No. Especially when it rains for a week straight!

Is it convenient? Nope. Not having a dryer right there to toss your wet laundry into really forces you to do some planning ahead in the wardrobe department.

But there is something so freeing about not depending on this appliance anymore! And it forces me to slow down and enjoy the task at hand, instead of a constant rush, rush, rush.

Another benefit I have enjoyed with being dryer-free is smaller piles of clean clothing to tackle. Before, I would wait to do all of my laundry in one day, and by the end of the night I’d have a massive pile of clean clothes taking over my couch, and no energy to put it all away!

But now, since my clothesline is only large enough to hold two to three loads of laundry, I am limited in how much I can do in a day. Instead of trying to get it all done at once, I now wash a couple of loads daily, and only have a couple of laundry baskets of clothing to put away when I’m done. This system has worked out quite nicely for me, and keeps me from becoming overwhelmed.

I do have a backup plan for bad weather. In the kids’ bathroom, hanging over the tub, is a five-line retractable clothesline. This handy helper has been a real lifesaver during the rainy season, and when temperatures dip below freezing. It’s enough to hold a large load of laundry, it’s easily hidden behind a pretty shower curtain, and can be retracted for overnight guests.

I also have an accordion style floor rack for heavier items, such as jeans and thick towels, (or a bunch of cloth diapers!) that can also hold a full load of clothing. The great thing about an indoor drying system such as this is that it’s something that anybody, anywhere can do!

Hang drying not only saves money on electricity, but your clothing will last longer as well. Have you ever wondered where all of that dryer lint comes from? Yep, that would be your favorite pair of jeans, slowly disintegrating with each round of high heat.

My point in sharing all of this is simply to encourage every one of you to consider taking a step back in time and at least give line drying a shot. I’m willing to bet you might be surprised at how therapeutic it can be! And your wallet will surely thank you.

Here are some tips to get you on your way!

  • If you only have room for one short clothesline, make the most of it by hanging your shirts and pants on clothes hangers before putting them on the line. You can also pin smaller things, such as socks and washcloths, to the bottom of your hanging shirts or towels.
  • Do a washer-full of laundry the night before so that you’ll have a load all ready to go out first thing in the morning. Doing this takes full advantage of the daylight and helps you to get as many loads out-and-in as possible before the sun begins to fade.
  • Hang shirts upside down to avoid the pucker that can be left behind by clothespins.
  • If you are worried about delicate clothing fading, either hang them indoors, or turn them inside out to dry.
  • A half-cup of white vinegar added to the rinse cycle will soften your clothing just as nicely as any chemical fabric softener, for less money, less pollution, and no worries of what might get on your loved ones’ skin. (I promise, your clothes won’t smell like a pickle.)
  • Did you know that the sun actually brightens whites naturally? It’s true! It even kills bacteria which can cause foul smelling odors in your laundry. Using less bleach and odor-eaters in your wash means money in your pocket and less chemicals on your clothing.
  • Hang a pint-sized line and let your kids help with the chore by hanging their own laundry out alongside you. You might be surprised at how much they enjoy the pride that comes with this responsibility, and you’ll have the added benefit of spending quality time chatting together as you work.

So, what about you? Do you already line-dry your clothing? If not, what’s holding you back?!

Kendra is a 20-something year old, Southern California girl trying to learn her way around in the country. She is married to a wonderful Christian man, and has four beautiful children. She blogs about her homesteading journey over at New Life Homestead.

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212 Comments

  • Lindsay Jones says:

    Could you tell me how to prevent clothes from being stiff and wrinkled when they’re air-dryed? Any time I hang something in my laundry room to dry, it ends up looking “crunchy” and that never happens in my dryer. Or is that something that does always happen, and you then just need to iron everything? Pardon my ignorance, but any advice would be greatly appreciated! =)

    • shelly says:

      I hang dry almost all of our clothes (except for sheets and towels) and have the exact same problem. Just a 5 minute round in the dryer always does the trick 🙂 I know I can’t fully live without my dryer, I just use it as little as possible!!

      • You may be using too much detergent. Any lingering residue will make your laundry dry stiff. I’d suggest using half the recommended amount of detergent, and a second rinse if needed 🙂

        • shelly says:

          Good recommendations. However, at most I’ve always used half the recommended amount of detergent….sometimes less than that. I never do a second rinse, water is such a precious commodity (and is very expensive!) It’s definitely less expensive and better for the environment for me to toss them in the dryer for about 5 minutes versus using a second rinse. Good thoughts though 🙂

    • Julie says:

      I found hanging them outside makes them less stiff. I believe the breeze (okay, sometimes WIND!) helps break down the stiffness.

    • Robin says:

      I find that giving items a good firm shake (smaller towels should “snap”, for example) takes out a lot of that crunchy-stiff look and feeling. I line-dry everything I can. The only time we use our hand-me-down (Free), 30/40+ year old dryer, is if bedsheets don’t get dry in time. which only seems to happen if I get a late start on a grey winter day. And really, we could use sleeping bags, comforters or throws, instead of drying the sheets. When this dryer goes, I have no intention of replacing it. 🙂
      Towels actually lose absorbency if they have too much fabric softener in them!
      hope this helps.

    • SMS says:

      Give them a very good shake. Think “Snap” especially for heavy jeans. Usually that helps alot.

      • VictoriaF says:

        I agree with SMS – “Give them a very good shake” and then use both hands to straighten them. I hang dry absolutely everything all my life and my cloths look like new for a much longer period of time.

  • When some people from China my husband works with came to live here for a few months, they didn’t even know what the dryer in their apartment was for! Guess it’s not a necessity. 🙂

    • My husband and I experienced the same thing. We lived in China from 2007-2009, and when we asked about clothes dryers, we were met with looks of bewilderment. We learned very quickly how to use the three wire clotheslines on our little porch. We hung our clothes on hangers with clips so that we could fit as much clothing as possible on one line. 🙂

      • Charlotte says:

        I’ve lived in China for 7 years and have gotten used to line dried clothes. Luckily, at least when it comes to drying clothes, I’m near Beijing (where we’ve gotten about an inch of precipitation since September) and our clothes dry in a day or two but in the south where they get rain all winter, their clothes will take 3-4 days and they get lots of mildew.

        You can find very expinsive, very tiny dryers in the big cities (think 10 million + people) but where I live most people still handwash. My in-laws insisted I hand wash all my son’s clothes for the first 3 years of his life…they say it’s cleaner. Since we can only use cold water in the washers, I still do hand wash his socks and outdoor clothes as they get so dirty and the washer won’t get it out.

        • We live in China too and you do get used to using tiny clothes lines with clothes on hangers and clip hangers pretty fast. Dryers even when you can find them are ridiculously expensive, tiny, don’t work well, and can single-handedly triple your electric bill (according to our neighbors).

          We’re in the south but where we are the rainy season is in the summer so things dry quite well year round. It does make me keep up with laundry because I can only dry 1-2 small loads at a time, so I try to get a load done almost every day. We also just wash less often, as most people will wear the same outer clothes at least 2-3 days here and it isn’t weird at all. My three year old is able to help me hang a bunch of little things on our circular clip hangers (and even my two year old can help a little). This has been a big help to me recently as he can hang up our cloth diapers and napkins for us.

  • Kerri says:

    I don’t hang my clothes to dry nearly as often as I used to…but I can totally relate to the feeling of pure happiness it brought me. I do hang all our sheets and blankets still.

  • In the past I have hung our laundry to dry with the lines crisscrossing our apartment living room! I did it because I didn’t want to pay $2.00 for a dryer at the laundry mat. We have our own washer and dryer now that we own our house, but I still have a great clothes line in the backyard! I always hang out stuff in the summer, and heavier things year round. I *love* having laundry fresh off the line in the summer 🙂

  • laurie says:

    i do have a clothes line and i use it some, but when it was over 100 degrees for months this summer i gave it up. opening the backdoor in the hot and letting all the cool air out of the house did not save us any money i found.

  • Hi Kendra!

    I’m a California girl too! We began hanging our laundry when we moved to China in 2007. In China most people hang their laundry to dry, and so did we. After 2 years of hanging our laundry, when we moved back to the states in 2009 we continued to do it, even after the birth of our first child (and we cloth diaper!) We moved to California this September, (now with two kids in cloth diapers) and finally decided to buy a dryer. Boy was I surprised when our utilities bill skyrocketed! Now we are reconsidering our decision. It’s nice to spend less time hanging our clothes and taking them down each day, but I don’t think it’s worth the price we’re paying.

    Thanks for the great article!
    Jessica

  • Sarah says:

    I actually miss having a clothes line! I just don’t have one in my apartment complex. Yes, the indoor rack is great for drying bras and such. But my favorite thing to line dry are sheets and towels and such. These things take forever in the dryer, partly due to their size, but they’re perfect for line drying. Yes, those king sized sheets and comforter can take up the whole line, but they feel and smell great afterwards!

    Can’t give up my dryer just yet, even if I had an awesome clothes line nearby, but there are definitely benefits to line dry.

    • Ann says:

      I live in the Chicago area, and we obviously can’t hang clothes outside for the winter months. During that time, I drape the sheets over the standing clothes racks, and it works just fine. For larger ones, I fold the sheet in half and then drape it. You can even put smaller things underneath the sheets. I usually do 1 load a day, and hang things to dry in the evening. By mid-morning even the heaviest items are dry. Plus, it definitely humidifies the house. You can really tell the difference on a day I don’t do laundry.

      I usually dry shirts on plastic hangers and put them on the doorknobs around the house. In the morning I go through, take them down and fold them. If you use the rounded plastic hangers from retail store purchases to hang t-shirts, it eliminates any bumps in the shoulders.

      • rkessler says:

        Instead of hanging clothes on hangers on door knobs I hang the plastic hangers on the wooden frame across the top of the door. That way I can line up quite a bit of clothes to dry at a time.

      • Lynda says:

        As a child in Wisconsin, I remember our clothes being hung in the basement. And my mom used a wringer washing machine in the mid 50’s too.

  • Ashley says:

    I’m glad the author’s byline mentions that she lives in Southern Cali! That explains a lot. I live in Wisconsin, and there’s no WAY hanging our clothes outside during the winter would work.

    • My husband and I lived in Minnesota (1 hour North of the Twin Cities) for a year and we hung our clothes to dry the entire time. We had a second-floor apartment, and hung them in front of the heater in our bedroom and in front of the window in our kitchen. During the warmer months we sat our clothes rack out on the porch roof. (Our landlords didn’t mind, and we lived next to a trailer park whose tenants never complained.) Our apartment didn’t come with a dryer, and we just couldn’t imagine walking or driving to the laundromat regularly and spending all the money for that. Our daughter was in cloth diapers at the time and we were doing a lot of laundry. Anyhow, it can work no matter where you live! 🙂

      • blessed-with-3 says:

        The Abundant Wife–Where in MN do you live? I grew up about an hour and 15 minutes north of the Twin Cities in a little town called Mora. Ever since seeing a comment you made a few months ago on Money Saving Mom, I have been following your blog for a few months.

        • I lived in Lindstrom, Minnesota from 2009-2010. My husband was laid off from his job there though, and his new job is in Northern California. So we traded long winters, for no winter at all! I’m still trying to figure out what to do with all of the winter clothing I no longer need. Thanks for following me, by the way! 🙂

          • autumn says:

            thats too crazy ? I live in lindstrom

          • SMS says:

            I lived in Chisago City and Forest Lake when my dad was on construction 40+ years ago. I know where you ladies are 🙂 It truely is a small world.

          • Funny, I am doing the same thing in reverse! We lived in Southern California and after a short detour to Oregon, we now live in France, where it is COLD. Especially without a decent winter coat, and walking everywhere.

            I should’ve kept all my winter coats from my high school days — in Duluth, Minnesota. Now that’s some winter!

          • Lynda says:

            You will use those winter clothes again to a. visit folks back east and b. when you acclimate. When we moved to the Bay Area from WI, Jan 1st, as a child we could not, for the life of us, figure out why the store had all these ‘winter’ coats. While we were in shirtsleeves, natives were bundled up.

    • Kate says:

      I live in Wisconsin and I hang my clothes outside during the winter. They “freeze dry”. The clothes actually freeze solid. They look really funny since they can’t “blow” in the wind. However, once they are frozen for a while, you bring them in and let them thaw and they are dry once they unfreeze, maybe about 1/2 an hour after being brought inside.

      • Charity says:

        Im confused at how they could be dry after the ice melts on them?

        • Kate says:

          The trick is it needs to be cold and low humidity. Obviously this doesn’t work if it is snowing outside. The water in the clothing evaporates in the cold, dry air. The clothes get stiff from being frozen, but as soon as they thaw they are dry. It’s nice because you can hang clothes out morning, noon or even overnight.

      • Teresa says:

        I live in Michigan, and my husband’s family (of 11 kids) didn’t have a clothes dryer for years. They hung their clothes outside in the winter. My husband always claimed that the clothes freeze dried.

    • Lisa says:

      You just can’t put things with elastic outside. It does take longer in the winter but it does work. I’ve done it and I have 4 kids (age 8 to 2). We go through a lot of laundry. And, we only have a wringer washer right now too. I hang my sheets over a drying rack – they dry really fast. I find that depending on the heat source, overnight is plenty long for things to dry. All I have for the 6 of us is 3 drying racks. You can definitely live without a dryer.

    • Charlotte says:

      She’s from CA but I don’t think she lives there anymore, according to her blog, though it is somewhere far south of WI! I’m from WI too and, indoor line drying is the only option for the cold, wet winters up there.

    • Robin says:

      I live in MI, and use folding drying racks in the winter…indoors. And items that will end up on hangers anyway, I hang damp, and hang on the shower-curtain rod. Jeans will take 24 hours to be completely dry–in the pockets, for example–some wintery days, but the racks are in the cold end of our place. On really cold days, I simply move the racks over the heat vents on the warm end of the house. (which happen to be in my son’s room, so they’re not in the way during the day while he’s in school) So, all that to say, it can be done, even in areas where there is winter, if you want to badly enough. But yes, outside in the winter isn’t much of an option, up north. 🙂

    • Andrea says:

      My mother lives in northern New England and has not had a dryer in at least a decade. She’s been to the laundromat a handful of times over the years (usually due to wanting to get all the bedding cleaned quickly after an illness). Other than that, she line-dries everything year round.

    • Nicole says:

      We used to hang ours out all winter, but now we live overlooking the ocean in Nova Scotia. Sometimes even in summer it is just TOOOO windy! Picture clothes strewn all over the lawn, haha! Our line is one on a pulley system that hangs high over the lawn…we can only reach it from the porch. Especially in the winter, when it is super windy, the clothes get wrapped around and around the line, and then freeze that way! Slight difficulty! So, we can only use our line on warm days when the winds slow down to manageable.

      What Crystal said is true – what works for one person isn’t going to work for everyone – but it sure is interesting to read through these comments and see all the varying opinions!

  • Nancy says:

    I estimate we save at least 60 dollars per month in utility bills. We put the clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes to make them less stiff, then we hang them on the line. One great advantage is how much longer underwear lasts since the high heat doesn’t ruin the underwear’s elastic.

  • Sandra L. says:

    I’m afraid that with my son’s allergies, any money I saved not running a dryer would be spent on Dr. visits to counteract the allergens blown onto his clothing!

    • Lori says:

      I’m afraid you are very right. Unfortunately, those of us with family members with seasonal or outdoor allergies just can’t hang clothes. I did it once; sheets on the line, and my poor son spent the entire night coughing, sneezing, and having an asthma attack. Great in theory, but just not something we can do!

    • karen b says:

      we have severe allergies here also, I can hang out skirts, jeans, my husbands & daughters tops. I never hang out towels, sheets, my dresses, or depending my sons shirts. we can tell a difference w/ just a small amount hung outside:) maybe those that have allergies in there family could try that.

    • SMS says:

      You can still hang just need to keep it in the house. I use my basement lines or upstairs door jams.

    • Andrea says:

      Hang them inside on drying racks, hangers or indoor clotheslines.

  • Chrissy Ovenden says:

    I just wanted to ask if anyone has any problems with mold in their homes due to the damp washing? When I lived in England my Dad would discourage us from hanging too much washing around the house (we didn’t have an efficient heating system – just a log burner that heated the water that was then pushed around radiators with a pump) so it made our house feel damp and cold, does anyone have any tricks to help with this problem?

    Thanks!

    • Crystal L. says:

      I’ve wondered about this too. We’re still in apartment living and many of the places we’ve lived have mold issues. 🙁 I’m afraid that hanging my laundry inside would make things worse.

      • Marsha says:

        Do the best you can, where you are, with the tools you have!

        I can hang laundry inside during the hard winter months (say, December through March) and that actually helps keep our home feeling comfortable at a lower temperature, but once spring starts poking around the humidity gets just too high. It’s kind of a bummer to go from feeling virtuous about hanging clothes to realizing that they have to be washed all over again because they smell moldy and musty. Hang outside and my husband and daughter just increase their use of allergy meds, anyway.

        So I just got over it. I hang when I can, don’t when I can’t and let the rest go. When hanging clothes to dry isn’t an option for me, I happily (and gratefully) throw the laundry into the dryer and remind myself that winter will come again before too long.

    • SMS says:

      No mold problems here. I hang in the basement all winter. So with the furnace running (Upper Penninsula of Michigan) everything dries overnight. In rainy summer weather if I have to dry, I have the dehumidifer running and the AC so no mold then either. I’m sure hanging in the basement in the summer defeats the AC and dehuminifier so I try to work around the weather as much as possible so I can hang outside.

      • I have fond memories of playing with Grandma’s wringer-washer in her basement in Escanaba! And her basement was criss-crossed with clotheslines. Where are you from? I was born in Ishpeming, but have moved around a lot.

    • I can’t imagine it being too much of a problem. Remember, when you take your clothes out of the washer, they shouldn’t be soaked, or dripping wet, just lightly damp. You might want to run them through another spin cycle to dry them a bit more. We heat our home with wood, and it actually helps the clothes dry much faster 🙂

  • Deanne says:

    I love the smell of my clothes when they dry outside! I usually put the load in the dryer for just a few minutes and then hang them to dry the rest of the way outside. This seems to help with not having the wrinkles. If the weather is bad I put them on hangers and hang them in the bathroom.

  • LMG says:

    Nice post. I’m going to show it to my sister who out of necessity (no 220 in rental house) had to get rid of her dryer. I think it will be a great encouragement to her. BTW, I tried to go to the author’s blog to read about the $0.00 laundry room makeover. My computer detected malware at the site. I didn’t visit it, but did want to mention it.

  • Kristy says:

    I was wondering about winter, too! (Pittsburgh here) Can you really hang that much to dry inside of the house?

    • I just responded above, but my husband lived in frigid Minnesota for a year, and hung our clothing to dry all year long, even with a baby in cloth diapers. 🙂

    • Suzy says:

      I remember reading a blog one time where the person talked about hanging the clothes in the garage to dry.

      Just an idea.

    • Andrea says:

      I can hang almost two XL loads of clothing in my house (which is about four regular loads–I have a giant washer). I have a bunch of extra hangers, hangers with clips and three drying racks. I put a spring-tension rod in my laundry closet for more drying space.

  • Sarah M. says:

    I had to do with only a clothesline for a few months a couple of years ago, and it was awful. The weather in NH is so variable that I had to plan to do my laundry around which days in the forecast looked promising for clothes drying. And then I would have so much that it wouldn’t all fit on the line. Then there’s the pollen and bug problem, the time factor, and working it around taking care of all the little kiddos. I know before electricity people didn’t have a choice about this…but I am totally okay with paying more money to use my dryer!!

    • Leighann says:

      The idea of hanging clothes out at my place is just laughable.

      We live in the middle of a wildlife preserve. Lots of trees, lots of animals, lots of pollen, lots of birds, lots of insects. When our dryer broke down a few years ago, before we could get it fixed or replaced we tried hanging our stuff out. No amount of “good planning” takes into account your clothes coming back in yellow from pollen (down here from about March until around November you have yellow powder on everything; the car washes literally run with yellow, you can wipe your fingers on your porch rail and they’ll come away yellow) or having to be shaken out and re-washed/taken to the laundromat to dry because of the amount of insects inside them.

      Cheaper, faster, easier to dry them inside. I love my dryer.

    • Amber says:

      I love the idea of hanging my clothes out to dry, but one time some stinging insect hid out inside my pants and I got a big ole sting on the rear! Ayiii! And this was after I had shaken them out very well! I don’t know if I can work up the courage to hang something outside again. 🙂

      • I had a horrible experience when I was a kid- my mom used to hang our clothing out on the clotheline to dry and one day I put on a tee shirt and hornet walked out from the sleeve. It proceeded to sting my arm and then it bit me.

        I was traumatized to the point where my mom couldn’t hang any of my clothes out and I will never, ever hang clothes out to dry no matter what the cost. : )

    • I agree with you! I think it’s great that people can make this work to save money. And it’s nice to know that it is something that CAN be done if it is absolutely necessary, BUT, I am very thankful for my washer/dryer! (I actually just blogged about that the other day) I hang dry certain things that can’t go in the dryer but I wouldn’t want to hang dry everything, especially outside. I would be afraid of stuff blowing away or falling into the dirt or getting bugs on it or something. I would rather just use my dryer and pay a little more.

  • Maureen says:

    I wanted to check out Kendra’s webpage but it is listed by google as being a bad/hacked site. Did her site get hacked?

    • Hi Maureen,

      Yes, unfortunately my site was recently hacked. I do believe Google has removed the warning as of today, and everything is good again. The images are missing from most of my posts, but I’ll be working on getting those restored. Please come by and say hello, when you get a chance!

  • Leighann says:

    Love my dryer. Tempted to divorce the husband and marry the dryer.

  • Ashlee says:

    We live in a small townhouse and have no clothes line, or really room for one. We don’t use fabric softner and hang dry all our cloth diapers. I’d love to hang dry more someday.

  • Tami says:

    I tried going to the blog and it said that this site has been listed as an “attack page”. The details say that the site is suspicious and may cause harm to my computer. I really wanted to check out her blog but I won’t go through to her site with the risk of getting attacked. Has this happened to anyone else? Not sure if this will work but here is the page it is showing me. http://safebrowsing.clients.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?client=Firefox&hl=en-US&site=http://newlifeonahomestead.com/

    • Amy Rose says:

      I was also wondering about this. Good ol’ Firefox and Google. I didn’t even know how detailed they get investigating sites for malware. I hope they, and the other affected bloggers, can get their site back free of viruses etc. soon!

  • Rachel says:

    We do not use our dryer either. It came with our house and is old, inefficient and shrinks clothing beyond recognition. So, we hang dry everything. It does limit you in how much laundry you can do at once, but I find this a blessing. It helps prevent me from becoming too overwhelmed! I use the clothesline in the summer and in the winter I use 2 dryer racks. I will occasionally use the dryer for things like sheets or towels, but otherwise, it’s all natural for us! Our clothing lasts MUCH longer too!

  • Kamila Straker says:

    I line dry and it’s a joy. Most of the time. In the winter I hang my clothes on a “x” rack in our living room which humidifies the room. They are dry in the morning. I use a rack that holds one ultra load and two “octopus” hangers from IKEA that hold all the socks and panties. Works well for us. One load per day on a rainy day in totally manageable task. When it’s beautiful outside, I do like 2-3 loads b/c of the very dry climate we live in (central CO). Line drying is very therapeutic. 🙂 I grew up in Europe where we didn’t have and still don’t own a dryer. It is truly not a necessity. It’s a luxury.

  • Melissa says:

    I really like this idea I wish she would have include pictures of her retractable line too.. I recently just bought my first home and am looking on way to save for electricity this might be my first one as well as hand washing all my dishes and not running my dish washer! Thank you so much!

  • Jennifer Renner says:

    This is great although not for everyone especially winters up here in Alaska, but I think I am willing to try hang drying clothes in the summer. Our family is slowly inching our way towards self-sufficiency as well. I switched to cloth diapering , we use mostly wood heat, gardening in the summer,fishing as well as hunting in the fall for a whole years worth of meat! I would like to add when our dishwasher went out , I was doing dishes for a whole month and was thinking to myself as to how our society felt the need to” HAVE” these things metalilty, I actually kept up on all the dishes more than I did with the dishwasher , oh! The irony LOL.

  • Samantha says:

    I adore hanging my clothes up! My king size handmade quilt is special so I refuse to dry it in the dryer. Hanging it in my tiny bathroom doesn’t work either so It goes right outside of my giant close line =]

    • Lynda says:

      you do not want to wash those special hand made quilts too often either as the threads break dow faster

      • Samantha says:

        Oh yeah we don’t wash it often either. I have a sheet we have under it, but for the most part ts folded all pretty down at the foot of our bed =]

  • Showna says:

    Loved the guest post but got this message when attempting to visit their site:
    Warning: Something’s Not Right Here!
    http://newlifeonahomestead.com/ contains malware. Your computer might catch a virus if you visit this site.

  • I love hanging clothes up, but did an experiment one month to see how much it saved me! It saved me $10 a month to not use the dryer. That actually made me feel better! I hang all of my clothes year round inside, and blankets to dry, but other things I just use the dryer unless it is summer.

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks for the amount info. I was wondering what the breakdown would be. $120 a year is a nice savings. Thanks for posting.

    • Sarah says:

      While stationed in Savannah, Ga we started hanging our laundry. We averaged at least $80 and that was with still drying 2 loads of under garments and socks.

      • I think it depends on the cost of electric in your area!! You can call your electric company and they can usually tell you too! I know when I lived in MN, it was so humid out, it could take 3 days to dry clothes and they would mold before they were dry in one part of the county, but just up the road about 20 miles, up on a hill, they dried wonderfully!!! So, you have to know your area too!

        • Brooke says:

          I think it depends a lot also on if your dryer is gas or electric. I think gas is much cheaper to run. My SIL went for about 6 months without a dryer, her towels were all so scratchy we started bringing our own when we went down there to visit. It seemed like the biggest pain and it seemed like everything was wrinkled and had to be ironed. I can find a way to make $10 a month that would take less time than hang drying my clothes. But more power to the people who want to!

          • Doreen says:

            My dryer only averages 10 dollars a month too and I finally decided it’s not worth it. But we are moving to Romania this week and there we will not have a dryer. There it would not be worth it to have one. Way too cost prohibitive and we don’t want to put ourselves on a different level than others around us. It definitely depends on your circumstances. I like what the apostle Paul said: I have learned in whatever state I am to be content!

          • Suzy says:

            Good luck with your move! I have never been to Romania but I am sure it will be a fantastic experience! I love traveling to foreign countries and jumping into the local culture. My dream is to one day live in another country for a few years!

          • Suzy says:

            Just because I love math, I did a simple saving calculation on saving $10 a month. If you were to save $10 a month for 30 years you at 6.5% interest (think investing) you would have

            Final Savings Balance: $11,502.66

            That does not include the price of buying or replacing existing washers. That is just the saving of the electricity of $10 a month.

            Hummm, just something to think about!

          • Trisha says:

            Hey Suzy,

            Great thoughts about saving $10/month…it does add up.
            One thought I had as I read that is how much extra time does it take to save that $10 a month? If it takes you an extra 30 minutes a day to deal with laundry because you hang dry it, it may not really be saving money. At $10/month savings, you’re saving .33/day. If you spend 30 extra minutes a day to do laundry, you’re “paying” yourself .01/minute. Not a very good wage, if you ask me. I’d rather spend my .33 a day and spend my time doing something that can net me a much greater savings in the long haul. However, if you like hanging your laundry out and you also save money, then great, but if you’re doing it soley for money saving benefits, your time might be better invested saving somewhere else.

    • Andrea says:

      We have a propane dryer. It would cost about $600 year to dry all of our laundry for a family of six. I aim to dry less than half of it, so I’m saving closer to $25 per month.

      If we had a natural gas instead of propane, the savings would be a lot less.

      • Suzy says:

        At $25 a month after 30 years at 6.5% interest you will have saved

        Final Savings Balance: $28,745.52

        Makes you kind of excited doesn’t it!

      • Lynda says:

        We have propane too and it is expensive overall. I know Nov/Dec we used the heater more than usual as my DH was colder than usual post surgery. We used 100 gallons in 1 month to the tune of $366 (include stove top, dryer, water heater too). Too much. When he saw that, he suddenly felt warmer. We are still on our next 100 gallons delivered just before Christmas, hoping to make it last 3 mos at least. I wonder what portion of our use is actually the dryer? Then of course it still uses some electricity.

        • Andrea says:

          There are calculators online that you can use to estimate how much it costs to use your dryer. If you look at the sticker (usually inside the door), it will tell you how many BTUs the appliance uses.

          Propane is about $2.89 per gallon here. It costs me around 65 cents to run the dryer for 45 minutes.

          • Lynda says:

            Our propane is commensurate with gasoline (which has gone up 10 cents this weeks), so would be closer to 4.00+/gal. I will check for that sticker. We bought this used 2 years ago.

  • Kristen says:

    My New Year’s Resolution this year was to stop using my dryer as much, and so far, so good! I loved reading that it frees you up a little during the day, as I have noticed that, too. While a load is in the washer, I fluff (yes, 10 minutes in the dryer) the load that has been hanging all night. I hang the wet load, fold the dry load, and then I’m off and running. Sometimes I’ll hang two loads to get ahead of the game a little. I have an indoor line in my basement, and look forward to installing something outside in the Spring. But alas, we suffer from allergies, so I probably will not hang things outside much unless I find that the 10-minute dryer cycle will remove pollen from the dry clothes.

  • Kadee says:

    I line dry everything except sheets, bath towels, and my hubby’s white t-shirts. I live in the midwest, but have a basement, so that’s where everything gets hung. Our neighborhood doesn’t permit hanging laundry outside, but with my son’s allergies, I couldn’t do in the spring or fall anyway. Yes, some of our clothes can be crunchy sometimes, but it’s usually due to using too much detergent. We’ve gotten used to clothes that aren’t super soft when we put them on, but after wearing them for an hour or so, they feel just fine!

  • Marlana says:

    I’m trying to access the Newlifehomestead, but when I do, it says that is a ‘reported attack page’. Is anyone else having this issue?

  • Amber in Maine says:

    Kendra,

    I tried to go to your website, but my browser and virus both say that there it is infected with malware. We’re starting our own similar journey and I’d love to see what you’ve done.

  • Cris says:

    Funny I was just talking about this with a friend a few days ago. In my country it’s not that common for people to have a dryer (mostly just a washer if so – my grandma NEVER had one in her farm) so I grew up entirely without one and used one for the first time at a laundromat at a hostel I stayed here in the USA 11 years ago. So yes it’s possible to live without one. We didn’t even have a backyard (lived in a tall bldg) so all my mom had was a big retractable line that you would lower when needed to hang clothes coming off the wall and sometimes would use hangers for some items. On the upside temperatures are mostly mild to hot year round so they end up drying fast. Most people that I tell that here say they don’t like how the clothes are not soft that way etc. My mom does iron most clothes though, so you are using energy that way too. This article made me think we REALLY need to get a clothes line outside, at least to use some in the summer – we live in TX and have talked about this ever since we moved to our house!

  • Beth says:

    I’d love to hear brand recommendations for the shower accordion style dry rack and heavy duty floor rack. I had a great floor style rack for about 10 years. Once it died, I have since been stuck with replacing racks about yearly since that original one.

    • Becky says:

      I bought a nice floor rack at Costco maybe a year ago. It didn’t look terribly sturdy, but I thought I’d give it a try since they have such a good return policy. Turned out it holds a ton–never has tipped over or anything even when it’s loaded up with folded clothes. I think it cost about $15.

    • Nancy says:

      Ikea has the best floor rack I’ve ever used. It is all metal, holds lots of laundry, and folds flat and compact when not in use.

    • Andrea says:

      I have an Amish-made maple drying rack that is awesome. It was $60. I also have one metal ones from Bed Bath & Beyond (as mentioned below) that was $20 (I’ve had it for least 10 years). I have another metal one from Target that isn’t as sturdy, but it okay for lightweight things.

      I put a spring-tension rod in my laundry closet (above the dryer). I hang things on hangers (some with clips) on that to give me more drying space. In our previous homes, I hung spring-tension rods in doorways and across hallways (depending on the traffic flow of the house).

      I have an entire board on Pinterest with ideas for laundry rooms and drying laundry: http://pinterest.com/ms_q/laundry-love/

  • Kim says:

    My question if you are able to share, how much did that save you a month? We have 3 younger children, just one toddler and no babies. I was curious how much savings it was. Thank you!

    My husband would love it if I hung the clothes to dry, but I don’t and question hanging them outside only because my kids and I have allergies to pollen, would hanging their clothes outside when pollen is around cause them to have more allergies reacting? Those were my thoughts. Thank you for sharing!!

  • sheri says:

    I live in an apartment and no clothes lines here. But I had a drying rack and got it out and used it for a month. My bill went down 30 dollars. The hard part is that I still use the dry to soften up the clothes. As far as my shirts and jeans I quit using a dryer on them 4 or 5 years ago.

  • Cotton says:

    The site is infected.

  • Diana Campbell says:

    I tried to go the website and received the same message. I used to visit her other site under a different name. I will say that if she gets the situation fixed, her site was a great resource. I missed it when I couldn’t find it anymore.

  • nellbe says:

    I am in Australia and having a clothesline in the backyard is a given. Even in apartment buildings have shared ones. Not many homes I know have clothes dryers, I’ve never had one. I just love that the sun fades the stains and the way my washing smells after being air dried. We do have a decent winter and since I have central heating, I hang the washing on air dryers inside and it dries no problems.

    • Tane says:

      Hi nellbe
      Did you ever get in trouble for swinging on the Hills hoist?
      I use to when we rented in Wagga when I was in Primary School.
      I remember my mother forgeting to bring in the washing one night in winter, the next morning she had to go out the back yard for something and walked through the washing but my baby brother’s cloth nappies had frozen solid and cracked when she walked into it.

      We now have ducted heating vents in the floor that I put clothes airers/racks over, last winter I found some calico covers for them, now all we have do is hang the cloths on the racks pop on a cover and they dry much quicker while still keeping the house warm. No dryer needed.

  • I really want to check out Kendra’s blog – but it’s coming up with a malware warning! Anyone else have that problem?

  • Anne says:

    I grew up hanging out laundry to dry, even in the winter (in Canada)! It is quite comical to bring in those frozen jeans at the end of the day, to finish drying inside! Now we own both outdoor and indoor clotheslines. Unfortunately, we find that the very humid weather of Missouri leaves a strong odor (like a wet dog!) on our clothes, so we like to fluff them up a bit in the dryer.

    We hang towels, sheets, and tablecloths up in the basement instead of automatically throwing them in the dryer.

    To cut down on drying time (whether line or machine), we purchased a small ELECTRIC SPINNER from Real Goods. It is WONDERFUL! Even after spinning in the regular machine, the clothes benefit from this extra “wringing,” and, when we were without a washer for months (using only a little portable camping washer from Real Goods), the spinner was essential.

    When I was in Japan, I learned how to PREPARE the clothes for line-drying. Pants are the easiest to do this with, but over there, we prepared all clothing this way. Lay out the garment on a table or counter. Smooth out with your hand. For pants, fold one leg on top of the other; smooth out again. Then, beginning at the hems, roll the pants up very tightly. Set aside and roll the next piece of clothing. For shirts, fold in the sleeves and smooth out. Fold the shirt in half or in thirds; smooth out. Beginning at the lower edge, roll up tightly. Leave the rolls to sit for about 20 minutes or more, depending on the fabric thickness,(less time for thinner items) then unroll and hang. This works wonderfully to give you clothes that are a lot less wrinkled!

  • Kristina says:

    We rent and have no where outside to hang clothes. I just can’t risk mold issues with indoor drying, as I am a severe asthmatic. I think line drying is great but don’t think it is possible or practical in all situations.

  • Rachel says:

    My husband and I recently moved to England and it is pretty common for people to line dry their laundry here. Our flat is only 466 square feet and I manage to get our laundry dried on racks inside without using too much space. I get a lot of use out of our shower curtain rod. I use it to hang clothes off hangers and to hang our sheets off of. The only thing I hate is that our towels are crunchy after drying…I’ve tried using vinegar as a softener, but it didn’t seem to help. Any suggestions?

    • Robin says:

      try using a little less detergent? detergent residue can make towels crunchy. also I find, giving them a good firm shake helps cut down the crunchiness too, if you aren’t doing this already. And, a bit of stiffness is okay…if they’re too soft, they’re probably too full of fabric softener, which makes them less absorbent! (learned that from my Mom, who’s been line drying clothes all my life)

  • Sheila says:

    I tried to read the guest author’s makeover page via the link and got this message:
    Reported Attack Page!
    This web page at newlifeonahomestead.com has been reported as an attack page and has been blocked based on your security preferences.

    Attack pages try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system.Some attack pages intentionally distribute harmful software, but many are compromised without the knowledge or permission of their owners.

  • Jen says:

    We don’t have an outside clothes line, but I’ve always hung the kids (5) clothes up inside the garage on a drying rack. I dry the towels and whites in the dryer, as well as the jeans in the winter as it’s really damp where we live. I find it’s easier in a lot of ways as I don’t need to worry as much about shrinking clothes, or stains setting. The clothes really last longer too, which helps me pass it on to the younger sibling. Saving money on our electric bill is also a nice side benefit.

  • Lynn says:

    I hang towels and bedding out in the summer months but hate the crunchy feel of jeans, socks, and underwear so those go in the dryer. There are many other conveniences I would do without before my dryer. But I give credit to those who do without.

  • Marianne says:

    The idea of living off the grid is something that excites my husband and myself. We’re sort of working towards some kind of version of that.. This year I hung our cloth diapers outside all summer and it worked great. I knew that the sun was a great whitener but I had no idea how quickly it would take stains out- even on cloudy days!!!

  • Janice says:

    The New Life on a Homestead Facebook page says the website is down.

  • Nancy says:

    I think it’s great you do that, but the one thing I keep remembering about growing up was my mom sending me out to take the clothes off the line and I’d reach up to take down a towel and it would stay standing straight up – stiff as a board! LOL

    I like the soft feel when they come out of a dryer!

  • Deborah Jennings says:

    The only reason I don’t hang all my clothes outside is I have no clothes line and can’t find a place to put one.

    I do hang a lot of our wearing clothes on an extra adjustable shower curtain rod over the bath tub. I have used this for years. Right now, I have a stackable washer and dryer and love it! We got them in 2008. They are both full sized, just not the X-tra large size. It works great for just the 2 of us. One other thing that we do is to wear our clothes (if not dirty) for more than one day. And I do make my own laundry soap that gets them cleaner than anything I have found to date!

    • karen b says:

      could you share your recipe for laundry detergent. I used homemade for awile & our clothes started looking dingy.

      • Denise says:

        Try using white vinegar in place of fabric softener … the vinegar will remove soap residue which is what causes the dingyness … clothes will still be soft and I promise they will smell fresh and not like vinegar.

      • Deborah Jennings says:

        Karen and all who are interested here it is.

        Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

        2 Bars Fels Naptha Soap (can use Zote if you can’t find Fels Naptha)
        3 cups Arm & Hammer WASHING soda (NOT baking soda)
        3 cups Borax

        I use my food processor and finely grate the Fels Naptha (or Zote). You should have approx. 6 cups of the shredded soap. (looks like grated parm cheese) Mix with the 3 cups of WASHING soda and the 3 cups of Borax. It’s that easy.

        I store it in an old plastic screw top jug. You only need 2-3 TABLESPOONS per washload. No kidding here. I’ve been doing this for well over a year now and this stuff works. Matter of fact, got stains out of DH’s tee shirts that were there for many, many washes with the store bought expensive chemical laden detergents. Don’t look for suds – – you won’t see them. This is a good amount of laundry soap here and the overall cost is MUCH, MUCH cheaper (and better).

        I also use plain old white vinegar instead of liquid softener in the washer. The longer you use the vinegar the more you will like it. The fabric softener leaves a residue on bath towels and they don’t dry your body (and hair) the way they did when new. After 3-4 washes with the homemade laundry soap and vinegar softener you will be very happily surprised.

        Oh – and don’t forget the aluminum foil balls in the dryer.

        (We are all brainwashed by TV ads that only expensive, brand name products will work – – WRONG!!!)

        • karen b says:

          thanks so much, its close to the one I have used, but don’t use quite as much maybe I need to try & use alittle more. def going to try the vinegar trick. was wondering if you were the Deborah Jennings I might know from va.:)

    • Denise says:

      I use a 5 line retractable clothesline … we attached it to the back of house … right at our patio … with a post across from it to attach it to … the patio makes it nice because I don’t have to get my feet muddy after a rain and when I am finished it retracts away … is not unsightly. I installed a large flower pot at the base of the pole and have grown ivy up the pole (like you would with a lamp post) which makes it very attactive … I add geraniums in the spring as well as allysum … this clothesline can be purchased thru Ace Hardware …

    • Patti says:

      We have a retractable clothesline on our screen porch ( we are not supposed to have clotheslines in our neighborhood). We just pull it out when we want to hang clothes and draw it in when we don’t. We love it!

  • angela says:

    I have always hung my clothes out to dry in good weather which in GA is most of the time. We are fortunate to have a ”grandmother’ type attic and my husband has hung 2 lines for me up there. It is great for sheets. I use a wooden rack for smalls and of course hang hang-up clothes on hangers to dry. Angela

  • Ana says:

    I hang dry 2 loads of my laundry. my delicate clothes and my dark clothes because they fade

  • Lucy says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has had this issue, but when I try to visit Kendra’s main website I get a message that says it may be downloading harmful software onto my computer.

    In regard to the post though, I have always wanted to do this. I’m currently a college student, but it’s my goal to get a biology degree and live as simply as possible once I get my own place.

  • Very much enjoyed this post. I’ve been looking for the perfect drying rack because the doorway over my laundry room is the collection area. It’s not so attractive. I love the encouragement and extra bits of information from Kendra. Thanks!

  • Lynda says:

    I worry about a couple things (outside of my laziness to take the laundry outside). 1. Colors fading as our sun is very strong and hot. 2. The wrinkliness. 3. blowing dirt. We live on property with nary a blade of grass and while the nice breeze (sometimes wind) would help dry stuff, it also carries a lot of dirt if horses run around or our cars coming and going.

  • Elizabeth says:

    This system would work great in a drier climate…we live in extreme humidity and struggle with molds, etc. all the time!! I miss living in a nicer climate!!

    • Sarah Z says:

      We just moved to a country with no driers and is very humid. We bought a small dehumidifier and close off our tiny laundry room that we use to dry our clothes. Family of 6, I do one load of laundry a night, hang them up, turn on the dehumidifier and they are dry by morning and I can unplug it during the day. It uses very little energy and I get nice dry clothes! Crazy, when I first turn it on it says the humidity is anywhere from 70-87% in the house and it drops it to 45-55% in that room overnight and our clothes are still dry! I also think it helps I’ve never used drier sheets so our clothes don’t get stiff or crunchy. Our towels are soft, just not fluffy.

  • Katie says:

    I live in New Hampshire and line-dry almost exclusively!

    One benefit to heating with wood is that it makes the air really dry, so line-drying is (A) faster and (B) helpful to the humidity issues! 🙂 I do like having my dryer as a back-up (for my lack of planning or when hubby needs something quick-like), but it does sit idle most months of the year.

  • I looked up a couple of our past bills and figured out that we’re paying 75 cents a therm for natural gas. According to michaelbluejay.com, when you run a gas dryer for 45 minutes at this rate, it costs roughly 20 cents per load to dry your clothes. We do about 7-8 loads per week, including cloth diapers, so our monthly costs would only go down by about $6 per month if we line-dried everything. I think for us it doesn’t save that much money to line-dry, and I like the softness of a dryer, but I’m sure that some people have much higher rates. But I will probably line-dry my pre-folds this summer every now and then to sun bleach them.

  • Sickbay Mom says:

    I think it’s worth it to have a dryer if for no other reason than the middle of the night loads (and loads and loads) when your kids are sick. I have said many 3 AM prayers of thanksgiving for my washer and dryer when all the bedding/toweling in the house is in need of a turn in the “sanitize” wash cycle, followed by a run through it’s trusty companion dryer.

  • Leandra says:

    Crystal could you let us know when Kendra’s blog is safe to access? I would love to read more about her experiences homesteading but don’t want to get a computer virus! Thanks!!!

  • Kassi says:

    I dry everything. I would love to get to the point of hanging everything. Really I would. So to start small. I am going to start hanging my whites out. Our whites don’t look white for very long and it really annoys my husband.

    I cloth diaper and I knew that the sun took out stains on diapers. I should have made the connection to whites as well but I didn’t. So sincerely thank you for this post!

  • Paula CornNoell says:

    Love this post! When my husband and I moved into our home 6 years ago, I began hanging up/line dryer all of our clothing. And its true – its not easy, not particularly fun, and its time consuming. Finding a good fit for your family is key. As much as I loved saving money, when I gave birth to our fourth child, I decided (as a full-time work out side of the home mome), that, for my sanity, and for me to be able to spend the necessary time with my family, a dryer was worth the cost for us. As we are now expecting our fifth child, and (God Willing) preparing for me to be a SAHM, I will be reconsidering the dryer more. Gotta love all those baby socks! Thanks for the great read!

  • Chrissy says:

    The link in this post gives a warning that says “Warning: Reported Attack Site”. I did not click on the link…

  • Kate says:

    Not to be gross, but are birds flying overhead an issue to outdoor line drying?

    • Amy says:

      I only had it happen one time.

    • Wendi says:

      I tell the birds if they poop on my clothes I won’t feed them in the winter!! Haha! But I really do say it out load. neighbors probably think I’m nuts! 7 years strong and not one poop yet. (Knock on wood). We have 3 birdhouse a right by my clothesline too. And I really do feed them in the winter, I’m afraid not to! The next summer they might bomb me and my clothes!! That would just be so GRoss!!

  • jennifer says:

    Thank you for the hint about using vinegar as an alternative fabric softener. I have extremely sensetive skin and even the fabric softener for sensitive skin turs me into a mess. So I will have to try vinegar the next time do laundry.

  • Nancy says:

    We started indoor drying the bulk of laundry this winter. My husband is not sold on the ides of an outdoor clothes line, but I can get about two loads of laundry on my folding rack and another small load on accordion rack. Another thing I do is put shirts that go on a hanger on the hanger straight out of the dryer. I live in the desert so the extra moisture in the air is nice. 😀

    I can’t wait to see how not using the dryer in the summer affects our electric use since we won’t be heating up the house with the dryer.

    • Amy says:

      I started using racks, or letting things dry in the doorways on hangers, inside. I had a problem with mold when I tried to dry in the basement, so I moved the racks upstairs into the bedrooms. It makes the house smell so good, like clean laundry! I will move the racks outside on a nice day. The only thing I use the dryer for now are heavy things, like towels or blankets, but only during yucky weather. I save at least $30 a month on my electric bill. I will always keep a dryer for emergencies and for times when I hang hang the big stuff outside on yucky days.

  • Denise says:

    Having moved to Florida over 20 years ago, the “Sunshine State” … I was amazed to find that no one used clotheslines! … Most of the ladies that know that I use a clothesline look at me as if I am living in the dark ages … In most subdivisions here they are not allowed … however, in mine I have broken the rules without a complaint … I have a 5-line retractable clothesline which attaches to the back of the house and is pulled out to a post when needed. We created a patio in this area out of concrete stones that we made so that no matter how wet the grass is I can hang clothes comfortably. All is hidden behind our 6 ft. privacy fence. I have not gotten rid of my dryer completely but it is used very little. We have saved alot on electricity … Our closed in back porch has support posts on it in which we have installed single retractable clotheslines between each post … I painted them to match the house and they are hardly noticable but this allows me the opportunity to dry clothes out there when the weather is bad and I simply store the line away when not needed. I also have installed an additional tension shower rod in both of my bathrooms … T-shirts, etc. can be put on hangers and hung from these rods … I also use the accordian style wooden dryer racks for socks, underwear, etc. When we lived up north we had clothes lines installed in the unfinished part of our basement and dried our clothing there in inclemet weather … yes, it isn’t as convenient as using a clothes dryer but sometimes you have to give up convenience to keep your ahead above water financially … the benefits? sheets that are soft and smell fresh … so comforting to sleep on fresh air-dried sheets … and I, too, have stopped using fabric softener … I use white vinegar in my rinse water … clothes still come out soft, smell good (not at all like vinegar) and my towels are more absorbant now … fabric softener keeps towels from absorbing like they should … I have been married for 40 years and hav lived using a dryer and also with a clothesline … I so much prefer the clothesline … hoping more young wives will give it a try …

  • Toni says:

    Just wanted to let everyone know who tried to visit the guest writers website and got a malware warning.. that I visited her website and had no problems at all. She’s got alot of great ideas!

  • How are folks getting air-drying to work for cloth diapers? I have 2 babies in diapers and about 6 months ago moved to the country, to a house without a clothes dryer. When I tried to line-dry the diapers (only 1 baby in them at that point; the 2nd is a new addition!), they ended up feeling like shingles. Not something I’d want to have nestled up against my bum.

    So I ended up giving up and accepting our handyman’s offer of his spare dryer. This house is utilities-included, so it’s not an extra cost to us (and the landlords, who are also parents, did not increase our rent, which was nice). But if we move again before finishing potty-training, I’d love to know the secret to making it work!

  • Meredith says:

    What I find fascinating is how everyone’s situation is different to save money. With our tiny house and an hoa that would never allow a clothesline, I prefer my dryer. I have a folding rack I use for some things but not everything. I just don’t have the room. Yet, I don’t use a cell phone (keep a tracfone in my car for emergencies) because most conversations can be talked about at home or over Skype. I don’t get the cell phone craze at all and how people need them….then I read these how people are doing without dryers (I’m not poking at the writer, in fact I wish I could do it). I just think its interesting.

  • Pat says:

    I have used a clothesline my entire life, except when I lived in an apartment. Right now I’m waiting for hubby to build me another clothesline pole as our house only had one pole when we moved in, the other end fastened to the brick garage wall, which it pulled out of and he didn’t want to make any more holes in the brick. But, they did leave an umbrella clothesline which I found out that I love!

    I do put heavy clothing like jeans and towels in the dryer for 10 minutes before I hang them out to dry. That way they don’t dry stiff! It really works.

    I also started buying the quick dry towels. I never liked the huge, heavy towels (I dry myself with a hand towel anyway, use the large towel for my hair). I cannot stand heavy towels anymore and they take forever to dry.
    I don’t have room for drying racks or lines in my basement, wish I did!

  • Lori B says:

    We didn’t replace our dryer two years ago when it died, and have *loved* hanging our clothes! I live in Ontario (very cold winters) but with some indoor folding racks I am still able to keep up with the laundry just fine.

    A note about crunchy clothes- it’s usually the damage done to fabric by the dryer that causes clothing to be ‘crunchy’ after line drying. All of our old towels are stiff when dried on the rack, all new towels are beautifully soft.

  • I actually asked for a clothesline for my birthday two years ago. My Dad thought it was the strangest thing to ask for EVER, but not only did he get it for me, he installed it. That’s love. 😉

  • Carrie says:

    I’m getting a “malware” warning today when I try to visit her site, so it looks like the issue isn’t fixed (based on the comments that were posted yesterday about the same thing).

  • Michelle says:

    Last spring I did an experiment. I usually used the dryer 15 times per week, so I cut back to 2xs per week (towels and sheets) and the rest I hung dry around the house (I do have a front load washer). Our bill was $30 less for the month. That was a nice savings! I hang our clothes on regular hangers and then hang them from doorways we don’t walk through often. I’ll wash 1 load at night and they are dry by the morning (unless it is super cold in the house). I found this made laundry more manageable as well.

  • Tracy K in Illinois says:

    Many have mentioned crunchy clothes. Use white vinegar instead of fabric softener. Your clothes will not be “crunchy” no matter what the season. I hang clothes indoors and out all year round. The vinegar will keeps the clothes from freezing on cold days.

  • Abigail says:

    I hang my close out in the summer and on the warmer days in the winter. But we have been trying to go as self sufficient as possible and I have been pondering better ways to manage our damp dreary winters. I’ll I have to try some of your ideas. And I love love love having a short close line for the kiddos to help! This one will be happening this spring!

  • Do you have an ancient dryer? You mentioned not replacing this one when it goes. So, I wonder what the difference is with using an HE dryer, such as the one we have. Over the summer, I hung our clothes to dry in the laundry room and on hangers on the shower rods….we aren’t allowed to have clotheslines in our neighborhood yards….and I didn’t notice any difference in our electric bill during that time. I wish we could have clotheslines, because I would for sure use it in summer/spring.

  • Kelly says:

    Well I have to start off saying I am going with the minority here..not giving up my dryer. My husband and I both work full time and with commuting we are gone 50+ hours a week and while I have plenty of room in my house for drying racks, lines in the basement etc. To me the money that I save is not worth the extra time. Not to mention I do not want to look at laundry hanging all over my house to dry! I do hang most of our work clothes, mainly because we don’t want them to shrink. We have been blessed with an extra large walk-in closet that I reserve a space for our drying area for those.
    As for the rest of our laundry and the kids clothes, its mostly done on the weekend. Every Saturday I usually do at least 3 loads and 1 or 2 on Sunday. Without the convienence of of a dryer these 5 loads a week would literally take me all week!

  • Jerilyn says:

    One year I primarily hung laundry (inside in our apartment) and did all dishes by hand (no dishwasher) and didn’t notice much of a change in our electric bill. Right now we keep laundry to a minimum anyways and it’s worth the cost of the dryer. We stay in our gas and electric budget and that’s alright with me 🙂 My time is worth something too!

  • Hi everyone,

    Yes, unfortunately my site was recently hacked. I have worked on getting the malware all cleaned up, and as of today it looks like Google has removed the warnings. Some of my images are still missing, but I’ll be working to get them restored asap. I’d love to have you come say hello to me when you get a chance! Lots of fun stuff going on at the homestead 🙂 Thanks for your patience, and I truly apologize for the inconvenience. Gotta love those hackers.

  • Amie says:

    I grew up in the N. East without a dryer. We just didn’t have the money for it. I always enjoyed the fresh smell from the outside, but I hated it in the winter and I hated having my clothes outside for all the neighbors to see. In the winter, we’d put the racks over the forced air register and it was a real pain. I would never choose to go without a dryer again. I now live in the S. East and did cloth diapering and line drying over the summer. It was okay, but my problem is that my kids are allergic to so much of the pollen that was brought in on the clothes. I finally gave up on it. I wish it worked for us because it is a great way to save money and I do love that fresh smell, but a dryer is nothing I’d ever want to do without.

  • Diane Davis says:

    to make line-dried clothes smell good , plant lavender or jasmine under your clotheslines.

  • Rose L says:

    We moved to the South in 1982…we were living on one minimum wage job…and sometimes less due to weather (he was only guaranteed 20 hrs pay if it rained!). The house we rented ($200 mo.!) had a dryer but I chose to hang laundry. When we moved out to another house there was only a washer…and I hung laundry on 1 long line…in the woods! Scorpions in my skirts! Darling hubby bought a microwave oven before a dryer…and I used to say…wait the socks are in the mic…we can’t eat yet.
    Now I also choose to hang most of the clothes outdoors…sans the undies and permanent press…do not want to iron! But due to allergies I run every load for a couple minutes through the dryer to get the dust/pollen off. Will not hang out at beginning of spring.
    Definitely a $saver for us. I also use the little umbrella type hangers indoors for socks and wash cloths,etc.

  • Susan F. says:

    We live in a second floor apartment without laundry hook ups. We purchased a Haier apartment washer that attaches to the kitchen sink. For the last 6 years we have washed all our laundry using this small washer, except for very heavy items. We have four tension rods placed in our hallway and three in our doorways and two drying racks. We hang all our laundry to dry using these racks, even our jeans. I’m convinced our clothes have lasted longer using these methods.

  • Kristin Wisnewski says:

    Our dryer broke 6 months ago and I’ve been drying my clothes on a line since then. One problem I’ve been running into is having lines of lint on my clothes. The lint rests in the creases of some of my heavier clothes, and is difficult to scratch off. I never had the problem when I put the clothes in the dryer. I’m wondering if this might actually be a washer problem. Any suggestions?

  • Sandra says:

    I don’t line dry… I live in the city and don’t have space… however, with my kids growing so fast, I often do throw a lot of clothes in the dryer with a fabric sheet for about 5 mins or so just to knock out the wrinkles and then hang things on hangers to dry. I keep all the clip hangers from stores which are great for jeans and shorts as well as dress slacks. This avoids the issue of cotton shrinking. I also don’t use really hot heat… I turn it more to the cool down cycle of the medium setting – the dryer/setting is just warm enough to get rid of the wrinkles and the setting isn’t too hot to cause shrinkage. If I ever get to move back to the country I would love to line dry my clothes… just a note with the vinegar – it also helps get rid of odors on your towels!

  • Diana says:

    I hang all my kids shirts on hangers right out of the washer then hang them on the shower curtain rod in bathroom to dry. This keeps the shirts from shrinking and fading and actually saves me a step since I would have hung them up anyways. I normally do this right before bed then they are dry by the time we wake up in the morning.

  • Rebecca says:

    This really inspires me to hang more clothes outside to dry! I love her drying tips!!

  • jen says:

    This is a great idea if you live in a drier climate area or at least get a decent amount of sunshine in the winter. This wouldn’t be practical in the Pacific Northwest where we get mostly rain and fog all winter. Also I don’t recommend washing the clothes the night before. Often they start to have a smell if sitting wet for that many hours overnight. Now I do hang dresses and dress shirts on my shower rod in the bathroom.

  • Angie says:

    I live in Indiana right smack dab in the middle of farm country. We have fields on all sides of our property. My husband also has a lot of allergies. Both of these things, obviously, make it difficult to hang things outside on the line. While I do have a line outside, I also have a retractable line in my laundry and 6 accordion racks. I hang all of my clothes inside, mostly on the racks. It’s a challenge if you have space issues, which we don’t, but it’s totally worth it!! We purchased our racks one at a time from Menards for $20 each. I had 3 of them pay for themselves within the first month!! I was amazed at the savings. I only use my dryer if I’m desperate for a particular item or sometimes to fluff the laundry if it’s crunchy from hanging. The indoor racks make it possible to do this year round in any climate!!

  • Lisa B says:

    I found this article interesting. I am one of five children. Growing up, my mom never had a dryer. I live in Maine where winters typically come early & it’s cold! She would (well, we would…) hang laundry outside until it was so cold that it would freeze. Then she had a large drying rack she used in the winter. We only had wood heat so everything dried quickly. I still remember putting on stiff jeans fresh off the line or rack and using scratchy towels. 🙂 My parents didn’t get a dryer until all of us kids were long out of the house. 🙂

  • Kim says:

    We haven’t used a dryer in years and we live in the cold north east. We have drying racks inside for at least half of the year, clothesline outside during nice weather. Since we sleep with the fans on for noise, we just aim them at the racks. Everyone pitches in and folds. Hanging inside provides humidity for the air and our clothes, towels and sheets last so much longer.

  • maureen says:

    If you have an asthmatic or allergy prone people in your your house hanging the sheets outs outside doesn’t work well. I caused the pollen to collect on the sheets and my kids would sneeze or wheeze from it. I had to use the dryer for them.

  • Ilga says:

    Great article! It’s just I’m surprised it is such a huge deal! ? I never have had a tumble dryer in my life! Always have hanged my laundry, outside in summer, inside in winter! Never considered buying one even! I guess you don’t miss something you never had! ? For me it’s completely normal to hang my laundry to dry, as I’ve never been presented with a different option! ?

  • Lexie says:

    I love this post. I too am always looking for ways to save, so I’ve been thinking about getting an indoor line (I think I’d be too embarrassed for all my neighbors to see my clothesline in the backyard, and I got yelled at by neighbors in a previous home because of it!). Thanks for the inspo!

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