Drying Clothes In The Open Air

One of the TV stations over here have been running a series of programmes where people from different parts of the world swap houses for a few weeks for a cheap vacation. It is interesting to see how people react to such things as different domestic appliances as well as the obvious things such as different food. Amongst the people from the USA I was struck by their reaction to drying clothes. Although we do have dryers over here, many people still hang out their clothes to dry in the garden. (When the weather is fine). This seems an alien concept to many Americans whom, it seems, all have dryers and never hang laundry outside. Is this true or was this just an unrepresentative sample? To me there are many advantages to drying clothes out-doors. It saves on energy, you get a much fresher feel to the clothes and the UV in sunlight has sterilization qualities. What is the true picture in the USA? . Do you dry clothes outside?

I live in the US, and I dry my laundry outside – and I’m regarded as a wee bit eccentric for doing so. As you say, it’s cheaper and the clothes smell better – what’s not to like? I do own a dryer and use it a couple of times a year: when I’m in a hurry for something in particular I want to wear; for pillows; and for the fleece jacket I wear around the house all winter, since the dryer removes cat hair that air-drying doesn’t.

I’ve always equated hanging clothes out to dry as something done in rural areas or in areas where people can’t afford dryers.

Do you live in an urban environment, Rayne Man? I don’t see clothes drying outdoors that much in Baltimore.

I think that most people in the Uk with any sort of garden , or outdoor space ,will try hang their laundry outside. But I must add that things might be changing. There was a letter in the paper the other day about a woman who used to hang her laundry outside and had done so for many years. Then an apartment block was built overlookng her garden. One day she found a note pushed through her door ,from one of the tenents of this block, asking her not to hang her clothes outside as it spoilt the view from his window. He added that he did not expect to see washing hanging out in that type of neighbourhood !

Many houses in the US now are located in subdivisions that have restrictive covenants that prohibit clothes lines. Sad but true. Nothing like putting clothes on the line on a nice day and letting them dry - plus, the sun light helps bleach out stains.

A lot of people’s lawns are too small or, like plnnr said, live in a subdivision that doesn’t allow it (under the idea that it’s “unsightly”). Others live in a big city with no lawn at all. Add that to the fact that most Americans aren’t too concerned with saving energy, and the typically hectic lifestyle a lot of people have, and you end up with most people using their dryers. I don’t know a single person who hangs their laundry out to dry.

That’s my neighborhood. You can’t have clotheslines that are visible from the street. Well, the only part of my yard that isn’t visible from the street is shaded all day. And where we’ll build in Maryland, while there are no such restrictions, we’re leaving all the trees that don’t have to be removed for the house, so I doubt that we’ll have a sunny patch for clotheslines. But if we’ve got one, I’ll put out lines.

My mom has a dryer, but she still brings the clothes up from the basement and hangs them on the lines. If it’s wet out, she hangs them on the lines in the basement. She hardly ever uses the dryer. She’s very frugal.

I have a retractable clothesline that I sometimes use.

I haven’t used it as much lately since my cousin made an offhand comment about air pollution. :frowning:

For the past 6 years I’ve hung the clothes out to air dry. Here (Italy) most people do. Depending on the zone or street for that matter some hang them off the front balcony, some on the back or internal courtyards. Dryers here seem to be massive energy hogs. The only people I know here who actually have clothes dryers in their homes/apartments are the Americans stationed here. The landlords install them to make the apt. meet pre-reqs to be listed with the base housing office. After a few months the Americans start hanging their laundry on the lines too, save a lot and IMO the clothes smell better, no static cling and well I just like to spend time outside in the sun. Of course it’s a PITA during our rainy time (thankfully doesn’t last long) but it’s managable.

My dad was stationed in Daggett for a while when he was in the FAA. His house was one of the old officer’s quarters from when DAG was an army air field back in the '40s. There was a clothesline in the back yard, and that’s where he dried his clothes. Easy job, since it’s in the middle of the Mojave Desert!

I wish I was able to air dry my clothes. There are two dryers in my building. For some reason, one costs 50 cents and the other costs 75 cents. And they work only marginally well.

I air dry my shirts by putting them on hangers and hanging them on the closet door. I’ve found that putting them in the dryer tends to accellerate fading for some reason. My shirts are all 100% cotton, and putting them in the dryer causes the front part where the buttons go to pucker up, and the collars get misshapen. Hanging them alleviates these problems.

When I (eventually) move north, I’ll have a yard and room to put up a clothesline. But it rains a lot in the PNW. When the weather is good, the area abounds with garden orb spiders that quickly find any new place to spin their webs. I guess I’ll just have to use the dryer. (But I’ll still air dry my shirts indoors.)

I live in a pretty small town. You still see people hanging out clothes, but it’s mostly older folks - like my 70-something landlady.
In my last appartment, I had a back porch, and I strung lines and hung out clothes all summer.

A lot of it has to do with privacy, I would think. Even my gramma hangs her undies on the inside of the lines…and she lives way out in the country. In my town, there is usually just room for straight lines, and not for multiple ones, so people would see your unmentionables.

One solution we have in the UK for a small drying area is to use a rotary clothes line. This is like a very large umberalla and , when not in use, folds down to almost nothing. They contain about 100 foot of line and , in even a light wind , will turn round . So all the clothes get the benefit of the sun and wind.

Here are some pictures. :-


" I air dry my shirts by putting them on hangers and hanging them on the closet door. I’ve found that putting them in the dryer tends to accellerate fading for some reason. My shirts are all 100% cotton, and putting them in the dryer causes the front part where the buttons go to pucker up, and the collars get misshapen. Hanging them alleviates these problems."

But it does make ironing those suckers a bear. All my shirts go to the laundry, which is just as bad, but at least I don’t have to iron them.

Even in the most crowded parts of Tokyo, hanging clothes outside is the norm in Japan. There are dryers in the stores, and most everybody can afford them, they just haven’t really caught on.

I don’t have anywhere to put a dryer or even the hookups for it. Also my wetsuit isn’t dryerable. It would melt. Laundromat next door charges 25 cents for 7 (seven) minutes of drying time. I think the sun is a bit cheaper.

I just got into the habit of using the dryer because for 5 months out of the year, if I hung my clothes out they’d freeze solid. I used to have a clothesline here, but after the one time I brought a wasp in with the laundry, that was it. A former co-worker actually put a pair of shorts on with a wasp still in them, that story has given me nightmares ever since.

Laundry is one of my most-hated household chores, so the less time I spend doing it, the better.

So it’s a dryer for me.

I use a dryer. I am much too lazy to hang clothing.

I use a clothesline for most of the year. Some things like towels and underwear I dry all year around in the dryer. I am dedicated to the fine art of keeping as much of my money out of Questar’s hands as earthly possible. If the internet went to gas power I’d be gone in a shot! Also I like how my clothes smell and feel after being line dried.

Growing up in Australia we always had outdoor clothelines. I don’t care how many of those little “freshening” sheets you put in the dryer, it can’t compare to the feel and smell of clothes dried in the sun and the breeze.

I now live in an apartment and do my laundry at the local laundromat. I miss the smell of clothes dried outdoors.

There are no regulations that prohibit hanging clothes out in our area yet we use a dryer. We have 2 kids and with a dryer you can clean clothes at night. My experience in the past with hanging them out to dry was that the clothes were always stiff when dry. When they come out of the dryer they are softer and less wrinkled.