Line Drying: Saving Money the Old Fashioned Way

Posted 06-30-2010 at 06:26 PM by MyFrugalFunLife

Most of us have houses full of nifty appliances that make life easier. However, they are not cheap to run and cutting back on using them can save quite a bit of money! The summer months are the perfect time to go back in time and learn the simple but cost effective way of line drying clothes.

To get started first check your local city ordinance or HOA guidelines to make sure hanging clothes outside is allowed. Then decide which clothes line system will work best for your yard.

If you have a big space to work with the traditional long lines and two poles on each end will give you lots of space to hang clothes. If you don’t have access to polls try utilizing trees or deck railing-get creative :)
If yard space is an issue look into an umbrella style system. Retail they start at around $50 but many times you can find them used on Craigs List for a fraction of the cost. The nice thing about the umbrella style is most of them are removable for when you need to mow the yard, or during winter months.

Once you’ve got your line system set up its time to hang clothes! Instead of fabric softener I use vinegar in my wash rinse cycle-it help keep the clothes soft. I prefer hanging my clothes out first thing in the morning so they’re dry by early afternoon. I’ve also become a pro at making them all fit (socks and dishtowels get pinned on top of jeans and big towels etc).

Some clothing items, like jeans, tend to get crunchy after being out in the sun so some people prefer to throw those items in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up. Even though you may opt to do this-a few minutes of dryer time is still going to save you a lot of money over using your dryer exclusively!

Now if you don’t have a back yard or are not allowed to hang clothes outside there’s still line drying options for you. You can get an indoor drying rack for a reasonable price at most hardware stores. Having two or three of these racks will be able to handle most regular sized loads of laundry. If you have a basement you can also set up a line drying system down there and just hang your line from nails or other basement fixtures. You’ll have to be a bit more creative without an outside option but most people will be able to make it work-just think outside the box a bit :)

Not only does line drying save you money-there’s also nothing better than the smell of clothes dried in the sun. The sun is also a natural stain remover so that’s an extra benefit of line drying! If you’ve never line dried before I challenge you to try it this summer, you might never go back to using your dryer!

Filed Under: General, Savings Talk


28 Responses to “Line Drying: Saving Money the Old Fashioned Way”

  1. whitneywalters on June 30th, 2010 7:46 pm

    This was a great post! I love my clothes line and I am getting ready to go hang a load right now!

  2. MomdeIsla on June 30th, 2010 8:54 pm

    Love line drying….I intend to continue when my kids r no longer in diapers. In the south….line drying also keeps your house from getting hot from the dryer running! It lowers your utility bill more than you would think!

  3. Pamela O. on June 30th, 2010 10:34 pm

    I found a portable/collapsable drying rack at Target for 12 bucks that works fabulous. I can set it up next to my washer and as I remove my diapers I can hang them directly on the rack. I usually bring it outside to sun out the stains. Before I had this I was drying all of my covers in the dryer but being that it’s so convenient I feel good that I am extending the life of my diapers by letting them air dry.

  4. swingkid1975 on June 30th, 2010 11:19 pm

    Just don’t forget to bring the clothes in when there’s a chance of rain.

    My diapers got stuck out in the rain yesterday. At least I know they’re really absorbant!!

  5. keonli on July 1st, 2010 2:19 pm

    Awesome post! We only line dry here and have been doing so for over a year now.

  6. krispy79 on July 1st, 2010 6:35 pm

    I have taken on my HOA by using a retractable clothes line. It comes down and goes up as needed. Additionally, I can make sure not to have it up when they do a walk through. None of my direct neighbors have a problem with it, and I would bet a few more go up soon.
    I love line drying, the smell is so nice and a little crunchy on the towels doesn’t hurt…that bad :-) TY

  7. emillly on July 1st, 2010 7:43 pm

    i love this in theory, but I like my diapers (and towels and shirts….) soft and fluffy (nothing better than a quilty prefold!) Off the line, they are so stiff and crunchy! Can vinegar really make that big of a difference?

  8. Rebecca on July 1st, 2010 9:26 pm

    I’ve been line drying since I was a kid. Hubby thought I was crazy until he saw the electric bill go down! It’s so easy too!

  9. CottonTot on July 2nd, 2010 12:12 am

    I would love to line dry, but we have stinky air! The clothes smell the same way the kids do when they come in from playing outside…like a stinky dog!!

  10. nkdmkmom on July 2nd, 2010 2:47 am

    I love line drying! As far as crunchy towels go, once they’ve been used a couple of times (we use and hang our towels for a week at a time before we wash them) they aren’t so crunchy anymore, and I’ve noticed that they absorb the water much better after being line dried, and without softener.

  11. CallysMommy on July 2nd, 2010 2:44 pm

    Yeah! I line dry all my dipes. It preserves the dipes! And if in the sun it’s a natural disinfectant :-)

  12. CallysMommy on July 2nd, 2010 2:46 pm

    As for fluffiness. We fluff our dies in the dryer for 5 mins after line drying. No crunchiness.

  13. parkers_mom on July 3rd, 2010 8:53 pm

    I love line drying and have been drying everything (other than towels, must admit I like my fluffy towels) for about a year now. I use vinegar in the wash to soften the clothes, which makes a huge difference, plus I also normally fluff them in the dryer about 5 minutes for extra softness and to get them wrinkle free. I can’t imagine ever going back to using my dryer exclusively and we have noticed a huge difference in our utility bill!

  14. lorio on July 4th, 2010 7:01 pm

    How do you train a man to give up the dryer and hang up his clothes?

  15. uphillskiing on July 5th, 2010 1:35 am

    I’ve always loved line-drying. And I happen to love the crunchiness of the towels afterwards but that’s an acquired taste!

    Unfortunately I’ve recently seen two independent reports of how much money you actually save when line drying – one pegged it at $75/year and another one gave it $85/year. That seems so low – are the new high efficiency dryers THAT good? Because that’s not very much money for all the extra effort of dragging it upstairs, hanging it out, retrieving it and then folding…

  16. kej on July 6th, 2010 12:52 am

    I line dry so often when I have to use the dryer, I forget about the clothes for days/weeks on end.

    It’s also removed most of the stains on our prefolds, better than any detergent or stain fighter.

  17. Casie629 on July 6th, 2010 3:01 pm

    My dryer sucks so I end up running it at least twice to get stuff dry, so I am sure I would see a nice savings on my bill. Any suggestions for a rack?

  18. curlygirl717 on July 7th, 2010 10:35 pm

    I finally got my clothes line after living here and asking for one for 2.5 years. I haven’t had one since I was a kid and have missed it ever since. We have a tiny tiny yard but have managed to hang up 3 lines. I LOVE it. My boyfriend is amazed at how fast the sun dries things.

  19. breaha1027 on July 8th, 2010 2:51 am

    We began cloth diapering with our first child. As I read the laundering instructions and how I could extend the life of my diapers I quickly brought out the collapsible drying rack and proudly displayed it on the back porch! Now if I can only get her to realize its not a jungle gym in the winter!

  20. Julie Kieras on July 8th, 2010 2:59 am

    Line drying saves TONS of money – my mom cut over $100 off her electric bill by doing this! (We have natural gas, so machine drying costs us next to nothing but I still line dry often). One word of caution – be careful about the dampness this creates – my mom line dried almost everything in the basement of her raised ranch for several months, and then they discovered this led to SERIOUS mold problems in their attic as all the moisture evaporated and condensed further up in the house… this cost them quite a bit to remove the mold… so – ventilate well if drying indoors! :)

  21. Noymira on July 9th, 2010 12:22 am

    We always grew up hanging our clothes during the summer, and I have a folding rack for use inside when it rains and in the winter. It’s part of my childhood memories of what summer smells like!

    “lorio on July 4th, 2010 7:01 pm
    How do you train a man to give up the dryer and hang up his clothes?”

    I had to laugh at that! I also want to know!

  22. Cotton Training Pants on July 9th, 2010 10:59 am

    Here in my country people rarely use a dryer. The sun is out all year long in Malaysia. There is no summer or winter here, only sunny and rainy. I too love the smell of clothes dried in the sun. Blanket especially, the smell makes me feel comfy at sleep.

  23. vsavo on July 9th, 2010 6:44 pm

    We just started CDing a few days ago and I am already persuading my DH to set up a clothesline for me! Can’t wait to start!

  24. preguino on July 10th, 2010 1:09 am

    Love my new octopus hangers from IKEA… 16 clips in under a foot of space is soooo perfect for diapers and inserts. On rainy days they can even dry in the bathroom with the octopus hung from the shower curtain rod.

  25. lhsis1 on July 10th, 2010 1:58 am

    I love drying my clothes — diapers especially — outside as I like to sun out the stains. My only problem is living near Seattle, we don’t have that many sunny days! I have been loving our current heat wave. Yesterday I put out some diapers, and by the time I went inside, put a load of clothes in the wash and came out to add a few things to dry, many of the things I’d just put out a few minutes earlier were already dry!

  26. truenorth_88 on July 11th, 2010 6:59 pm

    We’ve been line drying a couple of years now, and nothing beats the fresh scent of clothes dried in the sun. So glad summer is back. It rained yesterday and I was really bummed to have to use the dryer.

  27. vqjohnston on August 11th, 2010 12:23 am

    I sure could use the money saving for that =)

  28. Earl Nunes on January 7th, 2011 5:44 am

    Turns out there are some easy ways you can make quick fixes to your abode … laundry, line dry, clothes line, clothes pin line dry laundry to save money … Gardening is as old as dirt (almost) — and it can save you money, … When a lot of people think green fashion they think fancy runway shows or hemp sacks.

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