10 Great Reasons to Line Dry Your Laundry

Benefits of a Clothesline

January 29, 2019
Brandy Taylor/Getty Images

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Why would people line dry their laundry when dryers have been invented?  I’ll give you ten great reasons why you should hang out your clothes to dry!

I started out with an outdoor clothesline held up by wooden posts. When that collapsed, I found a new clothesline online featuring steel posts and crossbeams—and a lifetime guarantee. (An old-fashioned carousel type is available at TractorSupply.com.)

Because it was a gift for the man of the house, I had the product delivered to my office so I could keep it as a surprise. It arrived one day when I was out of the office, appearing to be nothing but a couple of long, beefy steel poles taped together (the cross pieces were tucked inside the support poles, and customers provide their own clothes lines). 

Because of my reputation as the office exercise fanatic, my colleagues assumed I’d ordered a stripping pole, since “pole dancing” was one of the hot new exercise trends that year. We all had quite a laugh when I let them in on the true purpose of the poles. I hauled them home in our ancient pickup, and the gift was well received. We set the support poles into 18 inches of cement, and years later our laundry still swings brightly on sunny days year ‘round.

Are you planning to hang out this summer? If not, why not?

Line drying simply fits my Down Home way of life: being self-sufficient, frugal, and natural.  Let me give you some of my top reasons for hanging the family laundry outside:

  1. Line-drying prolongs the life of your clothing. The roiling and tumbling of damp laundry takes its toll on the fibers in clothing and bedding. High dry heat often shrinks and ruins some fabrics and cause irreversible damage. Line drying is more gentle to fibers. 
  2. You’ll lower your gas or electric bill. Project Laundry List estimates the average household could save 10 to 20 percent percent on utility bills by hanging the wash! 
  3. Line drying laundry also protects the environment, conserving energy for your fellow man. Air-drying clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by 2,400 pounds a year!
  4. You’ll lower your risk of a home fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, clothes dryers or washing machines cause about 4 percent of house fires. In 2006, these appliances caused 15 civilian deaths, 360 injuries, and $194 in direct property damage.*
  5. Hanging laundry gets you outside. Being outside in bright light can alleviate depression, improve immunity, increase social relationships, and more. There’s also just something surprisingly peaceful about hanging the laundry outside. It’s even a physical activity that gets you moving and burning calories!
  6. Sunlight is a good bleach and disinfectant. This is especially great for white sheets and linens. The downside: Fading. To prevent bright colors from fading, turn the items inside out, or hang them on bars in the shade.
  7. You can’t beat the smell of laundry dried outside. Ah! Plunging my nose into a pile of sun-dried clothes releases a cascade of feel-good endorphins. (Yankee Candle tries to replicate the scent in their Clean Cotton line.)
  8. Rough, air-dried towels make the best exfoliants. (Did you know you can actually buy “exfoliating towels”?) Saves time and money, since you can multi-task—exfoliate all over while you dry off—and forget about buying exfoliating scrubs and scrubbers.
  9. Line-drying helps remove stains without adding chemical agents to your wash. Getting ride of chemical laundry fresheners like dryer sheets and fabric softener is good for your skin, especially if you are sensitive to perfumes, dyes, and chemicals.
  10. Have you ever felt your bed sheets after they were dried in the Sun and breeze? Fantastic! 

Note: If your neighborhood has banned clotheslines in your yard, there are still many types of indoor clotheslines and collapsible drying racks.


If my reasons aren’t enough to change your mind, check out this moving slideshow of Clotheslines Across America. Poetry in motion! Add your own image if you can.

Ready to hang? See our article on how to choose a clotheslines.

About This Blog

"Living Naturally" is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that's good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it's relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

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Heh. I too have always

Heh. I too have always line-dried our laundry - in the winter, I hang it on racks in the kitchen, which helps to moisturize the air in the house - but thought you might appreciate an anecdote from a friend in Maine. Whenever a boat docks at the Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard for overhaul, the sailors are billeted with families in the surrounding area, and one year, my friend had a young sailor from California staying with her for about six months. On his last evening with them, my friend and her husband took him out for a traditional lobster dinner. He commented on how much he had enjoyed his stay, then asked, "There's just one thing I still don't understand. What is the cultural significance of hanging out clothes on a line?" Being from New Hampshire, I still relish this example of how different life on the Other Coast is!

Ah, our Yankee cultural

Ah, our Yankee cultural rituals.... Good one, Meg.

How do you keep the smell of

How do you keep the smell of animals off your clothes? I'm ready to attempt this but we have a small backyard that has goats & a donkey on the other side of the fence. I don't wanna smell like them when I'm subbing at school.

Brandy, I live in a rural

Brandy, I live in a rural area (manure/fertilizer spreading in the spring) and keep chickens whose coop is located a few feet from my laundry lines. I used unscented laundry products, and I've never had my clothes smell like anything but sunshine.

Try it out and see for youself!

I started hanging our clothes

I started hanging our clothes out to help cut the cost on the electric bill. That was 3 years ago and I still hang the laundry out. I agree with every word you said. There are so many reasons to do it. People here in the north think I'm crazy to still do it in the snow. But heck I don't even know if my dryer still works. lol

I have never owned a dryer

I have never owned a dryer and for the short time I did use one I shrunk everything.....I love hanging clothes outside and do so every weekend almost all year - otherwise I have laundry lines in the boiler room.....I love it..

Great memories. Love the

Great memories. Love the picture with the prop pole. Mother had an old Maytag wringer washer when I was little. Monday was always wash day.

Takes me back to summers at

Takes me back to summers at my grandmother's farm. She washed her laundry in an old ringer-style washing machine and dried all of her laundry on the outdoor clothesline. My job was to hand her the wooden clothespins...Wonderful memories!

You are "preaching to the

You are "preaching to the choir". Here in MS in the summer especially. I air dry all year long. Thought that was the only way to do it!

I, too, hang my clothes

I, too, hang my clothes outside, inside by the woodstove in inclement weather. I agree with all of the above. The 2 biggest users of propane at my house were the dryer and the heater!

The "clothesline" photos

The "clothesline" photos brought back many memories of hanging clothes to dry when I was growing up in Rhode Island. Of course, my mom made sure that our clotheslines were works of art (all shirts together, etc.). I once saw an exhibition of Joel Meyerowitz photos which included some photos taken of some towels drying in a strong Cape Cod breeze -- so real you could hear those towels flapping!

I have severe seasonal

I have severe seasonal allergies and I find that if I dry my clothes, towels and bed sheets outside, they can aggravate my lungs and sinuses. :(

It would be useful if you

It would be useful if you told us where you got the poles that lasted so long, because I haven't found anything like that ready-made. Thanks

Here's a link to the

Here's a link to the clothesline we ordered, Kamia: http://bit.ly/LeYzZ2.

I like that the manufacturer is a small, family-owned business in a small, rural Maine town.


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