Line-Drying: The Eco-Friendly Laundry Habit We All Need To Practice

Eco-Up Your Laundry Routine
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I was chatting with my friend Sarah yesterday about line-drying clothes. We were both raised in England where, despite the bad weather, it is the norm to line-dry your laundry. Living in sunny California, we can’t believe how few women have washing lines or drying racks in their yards. She said all her friends here only use their dyers. I wonder why? Is it because people think a washing-line looks ugly or “low-rent” or is it because we just can’t be bothered?

Line-drying FINALLY getting the credit it deserves. Many celebrities are leading the new movement away from energy-guzzling dryers to wind- and solar-power for our clothes! In the warmer months, I encourage you to think about where you can put up a line! Celebrities like Rachel Bilson, Olivia Newton-John and Danii Minogue are thrilled to be getting their whites white with the sun instead of chlorine bleach (it really works!), however, many of us don’t have celebrity-sized backyards – so what’s a regular Gorgeously Green girl to do? Actually, there is no excuse because there’s a line for every eventuality. Whether you have a tiny backyard, a communal area, or even if you live in an apartment, you can still give it a go. Just search Amazon for tons of line-drying solutions.

There are other fantastic advantages to line-drying too. First and foremost, you get to save a ton of energy on what is the second biggest energy guzzler in the home (your fridge is the first). Secondly,  you get to preserve your clothes because the dryer strips off layers of fabric (did you ever think about what the lint is made of?). And thirdly, the hot sun acts as a great bleaching and antibacterial agent. The biggest plus for me is perhaps the fact that I get extra exercise on a day when I might not have got any. Whipping up a load of heavy, damp laundry at the other end of my yard, raised my heart rate and makes me feel a whole lot better  – mentally and physically. Are you joining the line-drying movement too?

Granted, it takes a little more work: you’ve got to hang everything out, rather than just stuff it in a machine and some of your clothes may require ironing. Big deal! Special little cotton shirts, dresses or skirts need ironing anyway. In the heat that we have here, clothes dry in less than 2 hours and try burying your head in a pile of air-dried laundry – it smells quite wonderful. A little tip is to take in your laundry before its bone dry as it’s easier to fold and you can avoid having to iron sheets etc.

Come on gals, time to get Gorgeously Green, stop using all that fossil fuel and save a wad of cash too.

Have more laundry questions? Check out my other laundry posts here!

37 thoughts on “Line-Drying: The Eco-Friendly Laundry Habit We All Need To Practice”

  1. Hi!!

    Great blog and nice to see someone trying to do something about our watesful use of energy and climate change!

    I used to live in Australia and really missed my Hills Hoist rotary clothesline which all my friends here in the US seem to know little about.

    I found this great webste over here call Urban Clothes Lines which stocks them(so I got one!!) and I just wanted to let you and your readers know there are places where we can easily by these types of energy saving products.

    There website is

    Keep up the great work!!

  2. Well said. In Australia where the rotary clothesline was invented, we have no such problems with people using electric dryers simply because they appear “low rent” or such. But we have government talking all about saving energy and being green but omit the fact that using a clothesline is one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Getting the word out about clothesline use for green reasons is what we all need to do. One website that believes in getting the word out is . Going green? Use a clothesline.

  3. In England we only hang out the washing on Mondays so as to save our neighbours having to look at outsized lingerie and husbands pants.

  4. I always loved the smell of my grandma’s sheets after she line dried them. I have wanted to line dry my clothes but no one around me does. I didn’t know if they would think it was low class. I save my grandmother’s old clothes pin bag and am really considering adding a line to my back yard. Thanks for the links.

  5. I love airdrying my clothes on the line. The sun feels good on my face and my kitty follows me around while I hang my clothes. Hello to my Australian and European Gorgeously Green sisters!!! Even when the weather is not so good, I still hang my clothes. It’s sometimes the only part of the day where I’m not in front of a computer, answering the phone, or dealing with other everyday duties. How great is that that I’m also helping the environment and saving my family money at the same time.

  6. Love line drying laundry! Am from Canada and don’t understand why it isn’t done everywhere. Was in UK last summer and was pleased to see many people hanging out their laundry. In the winter I use wooden clothes racks to dry the laundry… adds moisture to our very dry winter air.

  7. I always hang my wash but not all my neighbours like it! Personally I quite enjoy the sight of clothes flapping in the breeze, and they smell wonderful. I live in Canada now, but grew up in Australia where everyone I knew hung their washing out. The first sunny day in Spring, I am outside with my clothespegs!

  8. i live in an apartment complex. we have a lovely, large balcony. we are not allowed to put anything on it though. they want them all to look the same. no furniture taller than the half wall, nothing hanging off. any ideas on how to get arroung this. i do miss moms line dried laundry.

  9. I grew up in a Chicago suburg and my mom always air dryed laundry. Every Saturday, laundry was done and hung outside or in the basement. We never even owned a dryer!! I love the smell of line dried laundry and thankfully, it is “allowed” in my neighborhood. There are many suburban neighborhoods that forbid hanging clotheslines. How sad is that!! There is NOTHING low class about hanging laundry outside. Truly high class folks realize that doing so is helping to save our planet. It’s a bit cloudy today but not raining so I think I’ll go do some laundry and hang it outside.

  10. Stephanie – you might look into clothes drying racks – they are fairly low to the ground and will at least allow you to dry some of your clothes that way. Also – when I lived in an apartment I hung a tension rod in front of my window and hung my clothes on hangers in front of the window… with the breeze coming in the window things got dry pretty quickly. Also – it added humidity to the air in my apartment!
    I now have my clothesline – which I love. It takes me back in time to helping my Grandmother with her laundry. Line drying your clothes allows you to slow down a bit and enjoy life.

  11. they sell everything for an outside clothes line at HomeDepot. I was amazed at the choices. The prices were really inexpensive.

  12. My mom line dried the wash until we moved from our old house to a newer more modern one in 1982. Of course I helped her, and we had this rolling laundry cart with a bunch of wooden clothespins in it. I thought the clothes smelled like sunshine.

    I use a dryer about half the time now, but a LOT of my clothes get dried on a rolling garment rack (everyone should own one of these). I recapture the ‘sunshine’ scent nowadays with Method products.

  13. I live in a northern climate and use my line to dry clothes from April (weather permitting) through until it gets too cold and the sun isn’t high enough in the sky again (usually late September). One thing I found that helps with some of the stiffness and wrinkles is a cup of white household vinegar in the rinse cycle. Even if you are not line-drying, the vinegar helps to reduce static and makes clothes that come out of the electric dryer smell as fresh as they would coming from outside.

  14. I live in a community where we are not allowed to hang our wash out to dry but I have a line in my garage. If you put clothes in the dryer for about 5 minutes and then hang them up they rarely need ironing.

  15. Last month our small town in Canterbury, NH had Alexander Lee come and speak about his approach to change. His main effort is to have pass “The Right to Dry” act, an effort on local, state and national levels to promote and protect the right of citizens to have and use clothes lines. Please visit his site “The Laundry List”
    Oh, he did mention that in Florida many people move to communities that tell them they are not allowed to hang out their laundry. Well, FL has passed the Right to Dry Act in their state. Doesn’t matter what anyone tells you FL, you can hang out your wash!

  16. I do think people here in America think it is “low rent” to line dry. I live in sunny LA and I really need to hang dry. Thanks for inspiring me. My European neighbors hand dry their clothes.

  17. I live in a northern climate and only during the summer months I can hang my laundry out on the line. I love the smell of my sheets when I put them on the bed. I live by a busy hiway and It doesn’t bother me if the neighors see my underware. My girls hate it when I dry their jeans because they get stiff, is there something that can take the stiffness out?

    hello to all my Canadian GG sisters.

  18. I also live in a northern climate so I haven’t tried line drying outside but I do hang a lot of my clothes to dry in the bathroom instead of using the dryer (shower curtain rod) in whatever way I can that doesn’t stretch the fabric. I am looking forward to trying some of these suggestions too! so many changes, so little time!

  19. I’m a student at Pomona College in Claremont, California and recently spent a good amount of time looking into the various clothesline and drying rack options since Pomona is going to purchase some for student use and I wanted to make sure we purchased the best available option.

    In my research, I was shocked to find that there is NO good website explaining all the different clotheslines and drying rack options, so I made my own! It’s a wiki page on the Tip the Planet sustainable living wiki that ANYONE CAN EDIT. You can check it out here:

    I’m trying to spread the word so that the site becomes a clearing house for drying rack information, and people have to spend less time scouring the web for the best products. Have a look, share it with your friends, and by all means add your wisdom!

    Take care,

  20. i live in a apartment in reno nevada. i have been using my moms clothesline for years. a few years ago it was starting to sag. her boyfriend fixed it. i was elated, my clothesline was back. he was so funny, my mom said that “he could not believe we could get so excited about a clothesline.” i tell my coworkers and they just shake their head. why would someone want to hang their clothes out on a line. i tell them they do not know what they are missing!! the smell is better than a dryer. even my boyfriend has turned from dryer to clothesline. when i start looking for a house, the first thing on the list is how to fit a clothesline, compost, & garden in the back yard. if they don’t fit i will not buy.

  21. I don’t know if anyone has said this yet but sunlight can actually remove many food stains! I had a white shirt that I love and I got tomato sauce on it, I was so bummed. Of course I asked my mom what to do, becaue I didn’t want to use bleach. She told me to put it over a lawn chair in the back yard. I went out to retrieve my shirt in the evening and found to my astonishment the stain was commpletly gone! Not only that but it smelled amazing and was as white as the day I bought it! Isn’t nature wonderful!

  22. I’m new to this website and going green. I justed moved into an apartment about a month ago. I have been doing my laundry at a friends house and it’s getting really old, even after a month. I’ve been doing a lot of research about going green and I found a website that I ordered a pressure handwasher. This uses no electricity, very little water and saves on laundry detergent. I thought I would give it a try. I should be getting it next week. I also have a drying rack that I will be using that I got at Kmart. It’s a little flimsy so I don’t know how long it will last. People think I’m crazy about buying the hand washer, oh well if it works I can say, “see I told you so”. Thanks for all the information about all the drying racks. I’m going to look into buying a better one. I live in Maine and here we have no problems about people hanging their clothes out. I’ve never heard of places where people can’t hang there clothes out….how weird!

  23. I live in SC and even though my subdivision prohibits clotheslines, I have found a way around it. I purchased 2 expandable drying racks from Target, and they are working great. I hang up my blouses and things that need to be hung up anyway, and then I put my drying racks outside and my clothes are normally dry w/in an hour. I put my towels and sheets over my deck and they are done w/in 2 hours. My washer died today, and I purchased a new front loader and it was so nice not to feel the pressure of purchasing the matching dryer – since I dont need it anyway!!

  24. I love to hang my laundry also. When I think I do not have the time I hang heavy things out like throw carpets, towels, sheets, blankets. About having a clothes line in communities that restrict them you might speak with them in regards to saving energy!!! Many of the old rules do not apply today because of the energy crisis. Try it. The vinegar is a good one, my grandmother used it also. Vinegar is good for so many things as it is antibacterial and does not streak!

  25. I find line drying very peaceful! Actually, as I write this, I’m looking out at my backyard and there is a beautiful blue sky, green trees and my lovely clothes gently blowing in the breeze on the clothes line. Plus, it is quiet…no hummmm of the dryer going! Love it. Ahhhh…back to basics.

  26. I desperatley want to continue hanging clothes over my deck but I hate chasing the wind blown laundry all over the yard. Does anyone sell a clothes pin that would work on a deck railing?

  27. Hi Gorgeously Green Gals!

    I am so inspired to know how many people still line dry and strive to keep the clothesline alive. Lets continue this movement!

    Hills is such an iconic part of Aussie culture and its great that their lines are available in the US now.

    Another great thing about the Hills clothesline is that their retractable can be put inside the house! So no matter if its raining you can always line dry your clothes.

    You can check out their cool US website at

  28. I hang out my clothes, even in winter.
    I also work as a volunteer at the local library. Yesterday I had to laminate your book. There were flaps that caused problems and are very wasteful. Paperback books with flaps are a chore as well as killing trees.

  29. “The right to dry” was featured on the nightly news tonight. I’m in MA and we have the right to dry law.
    I love line drying and would find it hard to be in a community where it was restricted.
    I’ve seen some actually enclose the line with lattice fencing or lilac bushes to hide it from view.
    That way it is out of sight and wandering eyes do not see your unmentionables.
    I hope more states & communities get on board.
    Not only does it save electricity-but it also lengthens the life of the washables.Another way to save money.

  30. I’ve resently hung my clothesline up, and am glad to have done so. I love knowing that I’m not only helping the enviroment I’m also lowering my electric bill. My two year old loves to help…unfortunitly this is where my only embaressment has come from while useing my clothes line.
    My son was removing our clothes from the line, my neighbor came out of his house. Before i relisedf my son went running to say “Hi” with my bra wrapped around his head. My neighbor just laughed, as I turnned red. ah, the joys of having children.

  31. I live in Kentucky and I have been hanging my clothes out for about 10 years now. My Mom always hung her laundry out, but I was hesitant because I thought it would take so much more time. But it doesn’t and I love the smell. I can definately tell a difference in our electric bill for Summer and Winter months when I can no longer hang out the laundry to dry.

  32. Something I just learned…. This is a little scary and quite disturbing. I mentioned to several girl friends that I’ve been hanging out the laundry to save energy. Most of them live in nice subdivisions and not an older neighborhood as I do. They all said that they have home owners associations that have strict rules against clotheslines because they are ” unsightly”. This is a real concern if people are more concerned about the looks of their yards than the planet they live on.

  33. Hi. Many years ago we could not afford a dryer in our home so my mother hung up a line and we line dried them for several years. I would love to do it by choice this time and am wondering if there is some easily assembled or preassembled pole and line system that is cheap and easy to set up since i have arthritis. My mother hung the line from the eaves of our house but now we have siding there ($5,000 worth) and they can no longer be hung that way. Am I being to un-eco-friendly by asking for this?

  34. I had to dry clothes out a line when I was a kid and didn’t like it much then, but I do it with all my loads except for the whites because of ALL the socks that my family goes through. I love it know. We live in IL. in the counrty and all around me to complain are pigs. haha!!!
    My question is on stain remover for clothes. Does anyone have a home remedy or mix that they make to put on stains before you wash yuor clothes. With four kids I have a alot of stains to tackle. Thanks to any and everyone that can help.

  35. I’m beginning my eco-friendly journey and have implemented “green” inside our home by using natural cleaners, mostly inspired by having two children. But my hang-dry dilemma is that I have a husband that is allergic to everything outside…so how do I hang-dry under these circumstances?? Suggestions welcome.

  36. if you are looking for solutions to drying clothes indoors, check out your local ikea, I have 2 different racks from them and they both fold up against the wall when not in use. one looks like a giant comb, the tines sticking out, great for drying trousers and tshirts. the other one is like a half umbrella shape (without the fabric), great for drying shirts (hung on a hanger), even when I use my dryer, all trousers and shirts are airdried – shortens ironing time as well. I also use for drying the cloth diapers as the ones I have take for ever to dry.

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Sophie Uliano is New York Times best-selling author and leading expert in the field of natural health and beauty, who takes a down-to-earth approach to beauty focusing on what's truly healthy. Join my masterclass to get started.