Singing the Praises of a Laundry Line

Whenever I tell people I have a laundry line I swear they roll their eyes at me as if to say “what a freaking treehugger.” But I promise you, it’s so much easier than you imagine. I’m not kidding, I think it literally adds no time to doing my laundry but cuts serious dollars off my utility bills and serious pounds of CO2 emission off our carbon footprint.

Plus, as you’ve probably heard me mention, I’m a big believer that if you make efforts in the right direction the universe has a funny way of throwing you a bone. For instance, since hanging my laundry out to dry my whites have NEVER been whiter. I rarely if ever have used bleach in my life, I just think that anything that smells that bad can’t be good for you. But hanging my whites out to dry makes them SO white…they were literally factory white within 2 hangings in the hot summer sun. Why you ask? Because the water in the wet cloth interacts with the sun to form hydrogen peroxide (who’s atomic composition is H2O2…only one more oxygen atom than plain old water) and naturally bleaches the whites. Not only does the sunlight whiten, but it also gets rid of any lingering odors. I learned this when living in Spain and found that the only way to get the horrible cigarette smells out of my clothes after a night of clubbing was to hang them in the sun. The clothes smelled 10 times better when hung there then when hung on the balcony that faced an inner courtyard but got no sun.

But I digress…back to my laundry line. So I was very happy that when I took the initiatve to hang out my clothes, the universe threw me the bone of whiter whites. But that’s not all the universe through me. I actually found that my laundry got put away faster because you automatically fold every item as you take it down and you don’t have to “sort” anything. I also found that hanging my laundry out, with those beautiful wooden clothespins, served as a sort of meditation and was a welcome opportunity for me to slow down my usually busybody self. So I got all of these fantastic things AND I cut my gas bill by 75%. That’s right…75%!!!! Unfortunately, because of the super hot summer, I couldn’t tell if my electric bill went down much because we had to run the A/C. But my most recent post-heat-wave electric bill was a good 30% less even though we’ve had to resort to using the dryer for about 5-10 minutes per load depending on how dry they get on the line.

Okay okay, I know what you want to ask next. But aren’t your clothes all crunchy? Actually, they are not. I find that the only thing that gets crunchy are the cotton terry towels. My solution for that is to take them down when they are about 90% dry (or even 100% dry since I usually forget) and then I throw them into my dryer with no heat on (so it’s tumbling but there is no heat.) I have two of those nubby rubber dryer balls in my dryer and between the tumbling and the balls the stiffness gets beaten right out of those towels in about 5 minutes.

My brilliant friend Is reminded me to mention that you need to be careful when hanging your colors,particularly dark colors, out to dry to make sure they don’t fade. This is an especially important note for those of you who live in places with intense sun. Turn your colors INSIDE OUT and hang them up that way to avoid fading. I also do two other things: I don’t have my super-saturated colors out during the hottest part of the day (11-2) and I take colors down as soon as they are dry (whereas with whites I might leave them up to get them super white.)

So there you have it. My praise of laundry lines. So how do you get one of your own? Read my post about how my husband and I built our own laundry line.

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