Five reasons to air-dry laundry
photo by Alexfayle
Air-drying clothes has made a big comeback. For years, it seemed most of the clotheslines were used during the summer months and found in the country. You might enjoy the modern convenience of your dryer, but you can save a considerable amount of money by air-drying your clothes, even if it’s only once in a while or partially air-dried. Try it out for a month, and check your savings. If you can’t afford an outdoor clothesline, have neighborhood restrictions (visit www.laundrylist.org for information on what you can do to help change this) or allergies, you can install a retractable line indoors, use a drying rack, or simply use hangers. Most of my online community members air-dry their clothes. Considering how busy our lives can be, I asked them to tell me their favorite reasons why they take the time do it.
Here are the top reasons they shared, excluding saving money on electricity.
FEWER CHEMICALS: Dryers create static. If you air-dry your clothes, you don’t need to use fabric softeners. If you find air-dried clothes too stiff, you can either add vinegar to the rinse cycle or toss them into the dryer for just a few minutes. Most clothing softens if there’s a good breeze, if you give them a good snap when they come off the line or after an hour of wear. And there’s no need to use bleach. The sun is a natural whitener.
One reader, Karen in Kansas, shares: “Use the slowest spin on your washer to help prevent wrinkles setting in your clothes from high-speed spins. The clothes come out of the washer less wrinkled and also much wetter, which is a good thing when hanging clothes to dry. Take clothes out of the washer and hand-smooth them. That helps relax wrinkles. I occasionally will spritz a few things with a fine mist spray of water and smooth out wrinkles with my hands. You can also use wrinkle release to get wrinkles out before you hang them. Stiffness is generally caused by detergent buildup. I use Charlie’s Soap (www.charliesoap.com) to eliminate detergent buildup. Low-grade cotton will always remain somewhat ‘stiff’ when line-dried. Better-quality cotton (Egyptian or Pima) will dry soft.”
You can make your own wrinkle release by combining a tablespoon of liquid fabric softener and a cup of distilled water in a spray bottle. And let’s not forget that your laundry will have that fresh outdoor scent.
CLOTHES LAST LONGER: There’s far less wear and tear on your clothing when you air-dry them. Think about all the lint in your dryer’s lint trap. You won’t accidentally shrink any clothing from the wrong dryer setting or from over-drying.
TIMESAVING: There are sunny, breezy days your clothes can dry faster on the line. You can use plastic hangers outdoors on the line, too. From line to closet, it doesn’t get much easier than that. Plus, with the clothes hanging outside, you can leave your home to do other tasks and not be concerned with a possible fire.
COOLER HOME: Your dryer heats up your home (and the planet) while it dries your clothes.
JOY: There’s something peaceful, soothing and almost therapeutic about hanging clothes and watching them blow in the breeze and removing clothespins when they’re dry. Air-drying is quiet. You won’t hear any of the clanging or buzzer noise from a dryer. You’ll benefit from the time spent outdoors enjoying the sun, fresh air, nature, quiet time with your own thoughts and a little added exercise, too. Plus, it’s better for the environment.
Another reader, Denise in Illinois, adds: “I love the feeling I get when I take down a load of clothes from the lines — plus I feel a connection to the women of our family in generations past. I always think of my grandmother hanging clothes.”