8 Truths About Line Drying Clothing

Earlier this summer, my dryer stopped working, it was unfixable. The timing was terrible, as finances made replacing it right away impossible. A well meaning relative reminded us that when she was a kid, they simply didn't have such luxury, and she turned out okay. While I might have thought... that was over 50 years ago lady, get a grip... I grinned and bared it. I knew she was right. Dryers are a luxury item. A clothesline went up and I got a taste of what it really feels like to give greener living a shot.  Let's explore the truth about line drying your clothes that no one seems to talk about.

The first day, I was pretty pleased. I could do laundry and I didn't need to go to a laundromat. Within 5 hours or so I had a load of sun dried clothes.

The second day, life took a brutal turn and we had rain... rain that lasted for about 3 days time. My laundry pile grew to monumental proportions. This is the first truth of line drying. Perfect weather is needed. 

By the third week without a dryer, I was growing bitter. Berries from our mulberry trees were falling and with perfect precision, they were falling at angles unexplainable to my mind, to stain many shirts and skirts.
The second truth of line drying is nature will throw plenty of curve balls your way, via berries, leaves and other fun which we will get into later.

I learned over the first four weeks that timing is everything. My life took on a new pace, and that pace was timing the laundry. If you catch it just as it is dry, things will be soft and smell almost nice. If you wait 10 minutes too ling, everything will be stiff, hard to fold and unpleasant to wear. The third truth is that when you line dry, your life belongs to your laundry.

One afternoon as I dashed like a sprinter to get the laundry off the line before it got as stiff as a board, I noticed some 13 or 14 year old boys standing at the foot of my driveway staring. As I followed their gaze, I realized they were checking out my unmentionables. The fourth truth of line drying is that your neighbors will get intimately acquainted with your panty collection.

By week five, every article of clothing we owned was covered with lint. Like, lint on top of lint, mixed in with some random hairs. There is a good reason we use dryers. That reason is called a lint trap. The fifth truth of line drying is that your clothes will look like garbage, or worse. They will collect lint and hair and look worse coming out of the wash than they looked going in.

By week 6 I was crunching numbers, trying to determine if I could afford a skin transplant after my epidermis was painfully removed by one of my over dried towels. The sixth truth of line drying is that your towels become weapons of mass destruction. Entire towns can be eliminated with the wrath of one towel dried in the sun for too long.

Halfway through week six, I found myself in a heap of lint covered clothes that were so stiff and scratchy that I debated becoming a nudist. For the greater good of humanity, I decided against it, but I did go out and buy 2 new outfits, just so I could feel soft clothes against my skin for a day.

Week seven was a hot one. The clothes dried faster than I could rotate them on and off the clothesline. Everything smelled like dust, dirt, and crud. The seventh truth of line drying laundry is a vulgar one, and I am sorry, but guys, I tell it like it is. Line drying your laundry stinks. Seriously, your clothes are going to smell like dusty shit.

Week 7 also brought back an earlier line drying truth and added a spin to it. Actually, two truths were revisited. Recall those mulberry trees I mentioned earlier? Birds love to eat mulberries. Birds also happen to be laundry pooping ninjas. The eight truth of line drying is that nature is beautiful and nature will poop on your sheets, drying in the sun. Thanks, birds....

Week 7 was the last week for me. I could line dry no more. I crunched the numbers and decided, it is time. I do not care if a dryer is a luxury, I work hard and I like to look like I am not a homeless person. I am buying the dryer, and then I am telling the world the truth about line drying your clothes.

Tonight I folded a load of laundry from my dryer and I sighed with happiness to touch clothes that were clean, soft and lint free.

Have you ever line dried your clothes? Can you relate to any of these truths?


  1. I give you a lot of credit for lasting that long without a dryer! I could never do it. My dryer broke last year and I panicked and went to a laundry mat for a few days. I ordered another dryer very quickly.
    twinkle at optonline dot net


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