One Green Thing: Hanging Laundry to Dry

One Green Thing Strocel.comIt’s the first Thursday of the month, so today I’m tackling my One Green Thing for June. This month it’s all about laundry. But first, I’ll talk about my home improvement adventures last month.

At the beginning of the month I set a goal of learning about green home renovations. How did I do? Honestly, not all that well. We’ve signed on the dotted line for some work on our house. We’re going to be re-doing our ensuite, both for esthetic reasons and because with 30-year-old fixtures and moisture issues it’s necessary. We’re also going to be re-doing our sunroom, for greater energy efficiency. After we do these things, our house should be greener, both from an energy perspective and from a health perspective. I chose a company with a commitment to being eco-friendly. As we start choosing materials I’m planning to look for greener options. But I didn’t do any reading or research, unfortunately.

As I type this post, it’s a beautiful day out. Last night, I fired up our barbecue for the first time this season. It occurred to me that I should start hanging my laundry out to dry. So, that’s my goal for this month. Here in Raincouver even June can be wet and cold, so I’m trying not be too cocky. But on a day like today, I could easily give the dryer a pass and hang some laundry outside.


According to the US government, the clothes dryer is one of the largest energy drains in any home. I’m guessing this is especially true for families with young children. Let’s face it, kids mean laundry. Lots and lots (and lots and lots and lots) of laundry.

I’ve hung clothes out to dry in the past, but I’ve gotten lazy in the past year or so. My husband took over doing the kids’ laundry, and he’s long been doing our laundry too, so making the time to hang it out has fallen down my list of priorities. This month I’d like to bump it back up. My goal is to hang at least six loads of laundry to dry during the next four weeks. Now I’m just crossing my fingers that the weather cooperates.

Do you hang laundry to dry? I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you’d like to get in on the act and take on One Green Thing of your own, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to grab the button from this post if you’re blogging about it, and spread the enviro-love.

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  1. I have been drying my clothes on the line since I left my moms house. Started out with a 4 ft line when I lived in a concrete jungle home. Over the years its changed and evolved. I now have a 12 foot section with 2 lines. If thats not enough I have a metal and wood drying rack. Any chance I get clothes are on the line. Since I do laundry for 6 people you can imagine how much I save on energy cost. My dryer is old and not efficient but it works so it stays.
    Surviving and Thriving on Pennies’s last post … My naughty and nice listMy Profile

  2. I hang about 90% of our laundry and all of Elliot’s goes in the dryer. Then again, we have shared dryers in our co-op. I got used to hanging laundry to dry in the UK, because most flats we rented only had a washing machine, not a dryer. I really noticed how much longer our clothes lasted, and now I’m a bit paranoid about shrinkage, so I would rather hang most of my things anyway.
    Erin’s last post … Whistler Children’s Festival 13-14 July + GIVEAWAYMy Profile

  3. Great post! the more people who don’t use their dryers the better! You save so much $ and the planet thanks you:)

  4. melissa says:

    Hooray! That’s a great green thing – we have been in the rainy UK for almost 7 years now and have had no clothes drier. I honestly don’t miss it at all. Sometimes, in the winter it takes a LONG time for stuff to dry, but we get used to it. And in the summer – clothes dry so fast and smell so nice! Your renovated sun-room might be just the place on those iffy-cloudy-rainy-days….Good luck!

  5. I always hang my laundry to dry: outdoors in summer, indoors in winter. Here on Canada’s East Coast we get a LOT of wind so an added bonus to hanging outdoors is that I never have to iron. Clothes blow wrinkle free. We heat with a woodstove in the winter and the air can get very dry so hanging indoors (I have a drying rack in the spare room) adds needed moisture to the dry air.

    • We pretty much never have dry air here on the West Coast, but I’m intrigued by everyone who hangs their clothes indoors. I’ll start with outside on nice days, and maybe I’ll work my way up.

  6. Kathryn says:

    I hang stuff to dry all year long! I built a drying rack out of my son’s crib (it had lost a part so it wasn’t safe to be a crib anymore). I keep it in my laundry room on bad days, but put it out on the patio when it’s sunny. It’s great, and relatively portable so I can chase the sun around the yard!

  7. Aw, see, now look what you did! You wrote about line drying & made it rain today! 😉

  8. We don’t use our dryer at all from april to october. As for air drying indoors, I had bad experience with that. Jeans and other thick clothes take so much time to dry that they start to smell bad. Mold I guess, I don’t really know. Also how do you dry big towels or sheets indoors? I’m really curious to know because I could not live without my dryer in the winter.

    • Big sheets are still a challenge for me. I think if I had a big clothesline like my mom did, I could do it. But they don’t fit on my drying rack. Towels do, though. But I usually give them a quick cool-air fluff in the dryer after they’re done just to take out the stiffness.

  9. We dry a LOT indoors! Not towels or jeans, but all my fancy schmancy lulu workout clothing, the many tutus my kids wear, lots of my work clothing, and Brad’s bike-to-work gear. We have a large master bedroom so we set up a drying rack there and it’s absolutely awesome and effective! In the summer we move it outside to the balcony or just leave it in and leave the balcony doors open.

    • My fancy clothes are all hung to dry inside. We have a lot of railings, so that works well. But I hadn’t considered doing other clothes this way – maybe I should!

  10. Great reminder! I had my hubby buy the supplies to actually set up a clothesline but he balked last year until it was too late. Now that it’s the “dry” season (lol, Raincouver!) I will have to hassle him to get it up =) In the meantime I guess I could start with the deck railing…

  11. I have line-dried almost all my laundry since 1990! It saves lots of money (especially when I lived in places with coin-operated machines!) and makes my clothes last longer. I nearly always dry indoors because I live in a relatively rainy climate and I work outside the home–so not only am I unable to run out and gather laundry from outdoors if the weather changes, but I’m often doing laundry after dark. Here is my advice on line-drying, including instructions for a great way to hang clotheslines in a basement or porch with exposed ceiling beams.
    ‘Becca’s last post … Cloth Wipes for Bedroom, Bathroom, and More!My Profile

  12. I am looking to replace our backyard clothes line. It is a retractable one and it broke last fall. But I do have a drying rack that I use all year round inside the house. In fact, it is currently set up by my kitchen table and it’s holding some of my clothes. I hang dry most of my clothes as I find that they will last a lot longer if they stay out of the dryer.

  13. Oh thanks for the reminder! I need to get on this bandwagon too!

    I hang all my own clothes to dry (so they don’t shrink) inside all year (it is the wet coast after all) and most of my husband’s clothes but I still regularly dry towels, napkins, kids’ clothes, etc in the dryer (just too much laundry and not enough space inside to dry everything on a regular basis). I do remember to dry stained clothes outside in the summer for the natural sun bleaching, but I think I’m going to do this more often over the summer!
    christy’s last post … Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. RealMy Profile

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