Line-drying Clothes

another_amanda
Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 12 Aug 2009
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Can anyone here who regularly line-dries clothing give me some advice?

Every once in a while, I gear up to make my life more eco-friendly. I tried line-drying one time, but my clothes turned out smelling bad. People have told me "Ah, that's just the smell of the great outdoors!" but no. I mean they smelled BAAAAAAAD! As in carry them to another room and they leave odor trails. As in forget the Febreeze and wash the things a second time. That bad.
Since I can't do much about the pollution in my area, here's some of my other thoughts:

1. Drying in the bathroom.
However, I live in an apartment with a roommate, and her fiancee is over here most of the day. My roomie won't mind me hanging clothes in the shower, but I don't want my pants on display for the fiancee.

2. Drying in my own room.
Nobody can see the pants on display here. However, my floor is carpeted. Would drips from laundry be enough to damage my carpet? Would a towel spread out underneath be sufficient to compensate?

3. Drying my workout clothes outside anyway. I regularly go jogging outside, so if the clothes reek a little, nobody will notice on a sparsely-populated outdoor track. I'd rather let people think I stink when I jog than let them think I don't know how to do laundry. Wouldn't you?

My climate is hot hot hot and usually humid. It's slowly making its way to warmish and still humid.

Since this post is still getting longer, let me add one more thought. Many of my clothes tend to stretch out, so they get pretty baggy if they don't have a trip through the dryer. Anyone else have that problem or know how to counter it?

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another_amanda
Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 12 Aug 2009
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

bronwyncarlisle: Thanks for the advice! I'll try drying inside with the ceiling fan on. As for the smell, I think it's more of a sour smell...it's literally the same smell my dad has after jogging eight miles. Unfortunately, they get that smell even if they come straight out of the wash. But now I don't have to be paranoid about dripping on the carpet.

Maki: I wish my dryer had an eco cycle! It's only got 3 buttons: high, low, off (apartment complex property). I don't mind visible clothes outside, but I think my apartment complex has rules about that kind of thing. Silly people.
I'll keep in mind what you said about sagging clothes. Usually the clothes are just fine after washing, but after wearing them, they start stretching. It seems that the dryer makes them shrink up again. I only notice it with the waistbands of pants (I don't mind wearing a belt for that) and with form-fitting shirts. I'll have to try laying flat so my high-collared shirts stop developing plunging necklines. ^^;

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

Well, I'll have a go a t this. Your clothes will smell bad if you don't take them out of the washing machine and hang them up as soon as it's finished washing. Do they smell of pollution, or sour? The sour smell is usually from leaving them in the machine too long, especially in hot weather. You get the same smell if you don't let them dry completely before you fold them up and put them away, and it is a bad bad smell that follows you around, just as you describe.
Your clothes shouldn't drip at all if they've gone through the spin dryer in your washing machine. I hang mine on a rack inside in the winter in a carpeted room. If you are washing them by hand (does anyone still do that?) you can roll them up in a towel and squeeze them to get rid of most moisture. Drip dry clothes (do they still make them?) you could hang in the shower overnight then put on your drying rack in the morning when the drips have stopped dripping.
Can't help with the baggy clothes though - buy natural fibres maybe?

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maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

Interesting topic. ^_^ Well, I personally prefer to line dry my clothes. I think the dryer damages clothes (I mean...that lint fluff has to come from somewhere), and there is the environmental issue. However, I live in a fairly dry climate. And in winter (in Switzerland anyway) when it's cold and damp outside, clothes can take a long time to dry properly.

You live in a humid climate you say. Most of Japan is also very humid, and not many people have clothes dryers. But then it's considered normal to hang clothes out to try outside, even if it's just on a balcony or just outside a window. I know in the U.S. a lot of people have a problem with visible laundry.

The key really is to keep the air circulating around your clothes as much as possible. Try to find a breezy area in your house. The bathroom is probably the worst place, besides the panties hitting your roomie's BF in the eye problem. Also, if you have access to a dryer anyway, don't be too ambitious and just dry some of your clothes. (Airdrying hand wash items is a good idea anyway.) If the dryer has an Eco cycle, use that - or, use a cooler setting, etc. If the clothes come out still a bit damp, finish drying them by hanging them up. Never put away clothes that are not bone dry.

In addition, see if you can give your clothes an extra spin cycle in the washing machine. Properly spun clothes won't drip. The stretching problem sounds like you are not spinning the clothes enough - the moisture may be making them sag. (Try drying some things horizontally on a rack or a clothes hanger that can lay flat.)

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Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

Make sure that the clothes are not overlapping. When my husband first started hanging up our clothes he would overlap them and they would not dry all the way and end up with that sour smell. Putting your clothes in the sun would also help the process along, maybe near a sunny window.

オタク
Bento-ing from: › North Carolina › USA
Joined: 21 Sep 2009
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

I just put up a laundry line and I'm glad I put it behind the house because I just heard about people being sued because they hung their laundry where their neighbors could see it.

C-r-a-z-y...

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Zero Aggression Principle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-aggression_principle

Veerle
Re: Line-drying Clothes

About the sour smell; I had a problem with my clothes smelling bad. The problem was that I always closed the washing machine door after use. The left-over water in the machine doesn't evaporate and makes everything stink. Now I always leave the door open and problem solved.
Also be careful with the use of a lot of fabric softener. This will make your clothes take longer to line dry. The longer your clothes take to dry, the more chance of that smell.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

That is crazy, but people will sue for just about anything. I would love to see that pleading, I wonder what possible cause of action they could have.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 5 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

Yeah that's stupid. I can't linedry my clothes OUTSIDE my window because of the building rules. It sucks!! >_<

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Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

I linedry my clothes inside the house because the biulding rules forbid to hang the clothes outside. Which is strange but when I come to think of it... there are lots of doves and birds around the building every day! xD

I just bought a hanging thing whatever-it's-called and put it in my bedroom. My floor is made out of wood but it never got wet or humid since i put the hanging thing near a heat source... I can't do it in the shower because it (the shower) has a crystal pannel that can't be moved. So the hanging thing won't fit and the bathroom is too small for leaving it there.
It's true that madrid's weather is very dry, and that in my house you can get really hot, even in winter (central heating system + old people living in the building...), so the clothes get dried like in a couple of hours (or even less in summer...).

I'd tell you to leave your washing machine open until it gets dry and to take your clothes out as soon as possible when the machine finishes the washing. Just check if your washing machine smells. If it does, maybe you should program the shortest cycle with the machine empty (just detergent) to wash it a bit (I usually do it with my dishwasher). I think there are specific products to clean washing machines so just try to look for them.

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

It's very similar to some friends of mine's old new house. By which I mean it was their new house, but they've since moved. There was a covenant on it that said they weren't allowed tradesmen's vehicles to be parked outside the house! It "lowers the tone of the neighbourhood". I mean people might think that you ARE a tradesman - which my friend actually is, hence the moving out. The laundry thing is not so much that the neighbours can see it, but that their visitors can see it and will think they live in a neighbourhood of people too poor to have dryers. Screw the environment.

Luckily this sort of thing is extremely rare here (you could only sue for breaching a covenant, not for having the washing/cars there per se), and I wouldn't want to live anywhere near some jumped up twit who thought like that anyway. It's kind of trashy to my way of thinking.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

I can understand some regulation, my house is part of a home owners association (HOA in the US). But really all that is prohibited is raising live stock and/or farm animals or park your car/boat on your lawn, but it has gotten fairly lax in the 60 years since it was built so a lot of the more restrictive rules no longer exist. But where my parents live people can get fined for not keeping up their yards (and yes I know of several instances where this has happened).

But unless you buy a house with an HOA, where you are agreeing to abide by their rules (and when one breaks those rules they must go through the HOA), there is no law against doing what you want on your property. Because surly laundry does not endanger anyone, nor be considered profane, nor could there be any monetary value... so this just seems ridiculous and on par with the federal judge that sued his dry cleaners for "losing" his pants.

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 40 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

Agreed. Stupid. Especially in these days of global warming (and tight economy) when we should all be using as little electricity as we can.

You might get the odd fundamentalist who's offended by knickers (panties, undies) hanging on the line maybe? You never can tell what's going to upset some people.

We don't sue people here very much at all, and the only recourse would be the covenant breaking thing which you have to have signed up to when you bought the property in the first place, unless the lawyer who did your conveyancing was extremely lax and didn't tell you about it. Covenants like that are really very rare though.

I wish I could do something about one of my neighbours; his pesky gorse and convolvulus keep spreading through the fence into my garden.

オタク
Bento-ing from: › North Carolina › USA
Joined: 21 Sep 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 40 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

I had to mow the field adjoining the road on my small farm, because I'm within city-limits and they were going to fine me over $200 and mow it themselves. (A bad idea considering my "Trespassers will be shot, Survivors will be shot again." sign, Which I made after we caught thieves casing our house and some A-hole stole the mower.) We don't have an HOA in my area, but the local gov seems to have decided to take on that role. They didn't have a problem with the fallow field across the street, but my grazing land they have a problem with. It's just ludicrous. I had planned to get more livestock this year, but our supporting crops failed along with our food crops. So the grass got taller than usual.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

You could possibly petition the local government to allow you to keep you land for grazing, you know to support local business. Since local governments are generally fairly interested in promoting local business, I would say it is worth a try.

オタク
Bento-ing from: › North Carolina › USA
Joined: 21 Sep 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 40 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

The city gov doesn't really care about small business here, just the Army base and the service industry that caters to them.They don't even have sidewalks except in the fancy part of town, no bike lanes, no berm, rude cops, incorrect road signs... This place just sucks. Besides all that, I'm a subsistence farmer, I don't sell my crops or meat. It all goes to my family unless we get more than we can eat, which is when we give it away. I make so little money that I don't have to pay taxes. So because I don't pay taxes, and I didn't vote for them, and I'm not in the army, they won't listen. My uncle tried to go to a Town Hall meeting and was turned down for being a Conservative. That's how things work around here.

Laura
Re: Line-drying Clothes

Some suggestions from someone living in a very humid place (Louisiana, US) where nothing dries easily:
- Add one cup of vinegar to the wash to get the sour smell out. I do this with towels and use hot water every couple of washes. Your clothes will not smell like vinegar, I promise (it rinses out completely).
- Dry your clothes with lots and lots of air movement. We dry about half of our clothes inside and turn on a ceiling fan and box fan. Even with that, it takes a full 24 hours to dry things.
- Some clothes are just too thick for air drying in humid climates. For instance, jeans will have that bad smell before they ever dry. In my opinion, it's worth it to use the dryer for things like that.
- Use a drying rack to allow enough air circulation on all sides of your clothes.

Hope that helps!

another_amanda
Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 12 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 13 weeks ago.
Success!

Operation Clean Pants: Phase 1 completed with success! Pants, socks, and shirts all clean. No smell in my room or laundry apart from fresh fabric softener.
I realized that some wire shelving in my room will make a great clothes rack (plastic-coated wire, won't rust ^^). Once I get some more clothespins, I'm never using the dryer again! Thank you to everyone for your advice!

Now my next question: to hand-wash, or to use the washing machine? I've read several dozen articles, and it appears that as long as a full load is washed with cold water, shortest cycle, in an energy-efficient washer, then the machine is more eco-friendly than hand-washing (uses electricity, but takes less water than hand-washing).

Veerle: Thanks for the fabric softener warning. I'm definitely guilty of that one.
Jiza: Doves! You've reminded me that we have loads of pigeons living in the area. Do pigeons like clean laundry as much as they like clean cars? >.<

オタク
Bento-ing from: › North Carolina › USA
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Re: Success!
bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Success!

Hand wash woolens and panti-hose and other delicate things that need it.

Don't even try to hand wash sheets - I've had to and it is a royal pain in the butt. and it's impossible to squeeze them out properly so they will drip and take forever to dry.

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

Another source of the smell could be soap build-up in the washer and clothes. When I began using a brand of detergent called Charlie's Soap, the first instruction was to run a load of old rags with a 3 tablespoons of Charlie's to clean the washer drum. Charlie's is a low-sudsing product so I knew that all the suds I saw were coming from the washer and rags. Now I use only 1 tsp of Charlie's for a regular wash (1 full tbs in a top loader). My clothes are clean, soft, and have no smell. However, I have noticed that when I've laundered things for other people there is again a lot of sudsing and sometimes an unfresh smell.

I hang dry delicates indoors, and put bulky items in a dryer. They all smell fresh without any additional rinse aid or fabric softener.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 5 weeks ago.
Re: Success!

They just poop whenever they are and once did it on a clean t-shirt i hung outside before the neighbours told me that i couldn't hang my clothes outside!! the tee was completely ruined so i just threw it away :_(

On the hand washing i just hand-wash when my delicate clothes need a washing. Or when i have like 2 or 3 pieces dirty and desperately need them or just can't wait to have enough clothes to fill the washing machine.
I don't really think that hand washing is worth the effort, specially on towels and blankets, even if it's more eco-friendly.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 27 weeks ago.
Re: Success!

I would not suggest hand washing, I had to hand wash a number of things when I was in Russia (my host was a little bit protective of her washing machine) and somethings just did not come out right. I ended up throwing away quite a few pairs of socks and underwear, they just got too crunchy after a few hand washes. And even stockings I wash in a mesh bag in the washing machine and they come out far better than hand washing.

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Success!

I suspect that may have had something to do with the water or soap there. Hand-washing clothes should in no way result in them becoming "crunchy". The worst that should happen is they're not quite as clean as they could be, which is easily remedied by either washing them more thoroughly or biffing them in the machine every now and then..

clarissa
Bento-ing from: Berlin › Germany
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Re: Success!

I only handwash clothes asking for it. The few things made out off so delicate materials like silk or cashmere. We never had a dryer and therefor are drying everthing outside, in summer, or in the cellar, in winter. We never had a problem, but our climat here is not exactly humid.

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Sassia
Bento-ing from: Colchester › UK
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

I had a drier for 3 years and only ever used it once. That was when I had left my jeans over a dining chair to dry overnight and the waistband was still wet in the morning. I've lived in a flat with nowhere outside to dry clothes so bought clothes racks and airers for inside. I now live in a house with a garden so between April and October can dry clothes outside and indoors the rest of the time. Most clothes don't seem to be drier safe so I'd much rather air dry them and keep them looking nice. I do however, machine wash bras and delicates, hence why one of my 3 week old bras has the underwiring coming out. Learnt my lesson there!

Pat
Re: Line-drying Clothes

I line-dry all my colored clothes, except towels. Save a buck and save energy. If you're in polluted area, hopefully it's also hot enough so that the clothes dry within a few hours. Take them in as soon as they're dry. I dry on mine on a rack on my balcony (strategically placed so it's not visible to HOA!). My balcony has a big overhang, and it takes a full 24 hours for my clothes to dry. I don't have the smell problem unless I leave them out for more than a day (oops!). I always use OxiClean and Method "Fresh Air" softener. Not sure if they contribute to anything. The softener has a really strong fragrance...a little overwhelming when you sniff it from the bottle...but mellows out nicely when I line-dry.

Mrs_A
Bento-ing from: Indianapolis › Indiana › USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 51 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

I use an indoor drying rack like these: http://www.google.com/products?q=drying+rack+clothes&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mo...
I find that if I wring them out and then shake them they won't become wrinkled and won't drip.

SewingDiva
Bento-ing from: Westwood › Massachusetts › USA
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

When I was young it was my job to hang laundry outside all year round; we didn't a have dryer until I was in high school. Trust me it's no fun to hang laundry in the winter! The clothes freeze on the clothes line like cardboard.

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Phyllis

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

I had to do that for a while after my stepmother had her gall bladder operation when I was about 10. Hanging out cold clothes (washed the day before) at 8am before school is horrible.

BarbJ
Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

How in the world will they get dry if they freeze?

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bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Line-drying Clothes

Wind. The same way things dessicate in your frost-free freezer. Not that there's wind in the freezer, but the cold moist air is continually being sucked out, which is what stops it icing up.

BarbJ
Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 33 weeks ago.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

Ah ha! Of course, makes perfect sense. Not as cuddly on cold winter mornings though, as those nice warm-fresh-from-the-dryer clothes! But more earth friendly, if not skin friendly! lol!

anon.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

I'm 3 years late on this but I've discovered the air in some places will make your clothes stink. I am originally from Houston where line drying never produced any bad odors. When I moved to Oakland, California, I'd put my clothes out in the morning and take them in at the end of the day. They always had this horrible sour smell. So I bought a dryer. Problem solved. One of the locals clued me in a few years later that the secret was to get your clothes in before 3:00 in the afternoon! If you let the fog or the late afternoon/evening air hit your clothes, you might as well just toss them back in the washer and do it again.

Kylie
Re: Line-drying Clothes

It sounds to mee like your washing machine needs cleaning. Yes! Washing machines need cleaning too!

You can find cleaner at your local supermarket for a couple of £, prob around the 4 Euro mark. I found this out because our machine broke down, the machine didn't drain water and washing was stuck inside for days with water halfwae up the door for days before the engineer came out! We assumed due to our vast number of pets that animal hair had blocked it. It turns out that the cause was our detergent. We used compressed powder tablets. These, and a combination of washing at 40C meant that the tablet was not properly dessolved and formed a gluey deposit which blocked up the drain and had also collected around the nooks and crannies of the machine. (You can prevent this by either washing at a higher temperature, or using liquid detergents) I ran my finger around the door frame seal and this gloope STANK like something rotten fished out of the bottom of a pond! Repulsive!!!

Of course, follow the instructions on the bottle of the cleaner, but i shall tell you the instrucitons of ours. After removing the detergent draw, we had to soak it in hot water with a small measure of cleaner for 30mins, and clean away the scummy deposits. You then need a cloth with a small amount of cleaner on to make it dampened, and to carefully and thoroughly wipe around the rubber door frame seal, gently pealing it back to reach all the hard to get to places. Then, we emptied the rest of the liquid into the machine, and set it to wash at the temperature instructed on the bottle. The machine smelt unbelievably wonderful after this, and therefore as did our clothes. This was to happen roughly every 3 months, which is a small cost compared to a new machine each year!

Another piece of advice given by the engineer, was to put the machine on the highest setting (90C for ours) with no clothing inside, and let it run on this cycle. This high temperature helps to break down any built up powder deposits, and clear away the bacteria which are causing the smell and also preventing any future blockages you might get.

I hope this helps you, and please say if this works! I appreciate just as much as the next woman, just how lovely clean washing dried out doors smells!!!

Ilonka
Re: Line-drying Clothes

We line dried our clothes in Vancouver when I was growing up, but since moving to the DC area, I have to use a dryer for everything due to allergies--the dust and pollen here are terrible. I have a rack in the basement for sweaters and delicates, but everything else goes in the dryer. I always do full loads to save energy and never let things run too long.

Katy K
Re: Line-drying Clothes

We have to use an indoor rack next to our balcony door thanks to apartment regulations (no clothes drying on balconies because it's unsightly, but storage under giant blue plastic tarps is fine!) Even in winter when it's cold out, we leave the door open a bit for the fresh air, so what we do is put our stand fan in the corner by the rack and we get double duty- the breeze dries the laundry pretty quickly, and we get to keep the air moving in our apartment so it doesn't smell like stale paint from the previous tenants.

Not quite as super eco friendly as using the wind, but beter than the dryer + the AC in the summer.

anon.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

Oh man, I cannot put jeans in the dryer! They come out 2 sizes too small, but great ideas! I am working on getting my husband to put up a line outside right now. Bye bye high electric bill!

vera
Re: Line-drying Clothes

I use 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster, it's a powdered natural product that deodorizes and removes stains. Very inexpensive too. And another bonus is that you use less soap for each load. Although, you should first let it dissolve in the water, then throw your clothes in.
I don't like to use fabric softeners because they tend to build up on clothes, and I can't stand the synthetic fragrance. If I need a softener I'll use 1/2 cup white vinegar in the rinse cycle.

anon.
Re: Line-drying Clothes

Another thing to keep in mind is that different types of clothes can take different amounts of time to dry. In America, I usually used a dryer but now that I live in Japan I line-dry them like everyone else here. I have noticed that the clothes I have bought in Japan dry much faster than the ones I brought from America.

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