Using a washing line to get your clothes dry is becoming increasingly popular, and it is easy to see why. It has so many environmental and financial benefits, and it can be done throughout the year.
You might be reading this and thinking that you cannot line dry your clothes in winter, but you actually can.
It’s all about watching the weather and ensuring your clothes get enough time to drain all the excess moisture. Here are some of our top tricks and tips for drying your clothes outside on a line.
How to Hang Your Laundry on the Line
You should always hang your shirts by the hemline and not the shoulders. This is because if you hang them by the shoulders, you often end up with bunching, which can be really difficult to get out.
Hem hanging is the best way to avoid this and keep things smooth.
If you have suit trousers or other smart pairs, you should hang them by the cuff at the end of the leg (essentially, upside down) so that they dry with no crease in the leg and completely straight.
For jeans and shorts, however, you can hang them by the waistband as it won’t have any effect. Never turn the pockets out either, or they won’t go back in smoothly.
You should always hang skirts from the hem, and ensure that they have the freedom to blow around in the breeze so that they dry evenly and without losing their natural bounce.
It will also stop them from wrinkling – another little tip to save you from using the best ironing board.
For leggings, tights, and underwear, just hang them by the waistband on the line. They won’t crease or anything.
Socks should be hung from the toes for the most effective results. For clothes and towels, hang them by the short edge for an even dry, and do the same for bedsheets.
The Best Way to Line Dry Your Clothes
Even when using pegs, don’t fold your laundry over the line as it will take a lot longer to dry. Instead, clip it straight to the line with the clothes peg to get it dry faster while also keeping it secure.
Folding it over the retractable clothesline can also result in some weird fold lines in the clothes afterwards.
Shake your clothes before you hang them, as this will remove any debris or lint that has been caught in the wash. It also tends to mean that there are fewer creases and lines left once it is dry, so your ironing pile ends up being reduced.
Keep your line nice and spacious as this will help the clothes to dry faster. Make sure your line is not overcrowded also means that you won’t weigh your washing line down, lessening the risk of collapse while drying your clothes (and getting your laundry dirty again).
If someone in your home has allergies, however, you should strongly consider throwing the load in the dryer for no more than five minutes after to ensure that all pollen is removed.
What Not to Line Dry
Everything can be dried on a great clothesline, but there are some items that you should be warier of.
The sunlight is great for disinfecting white clothing and keeping it a good colour, but if dark clothes are left out too long, they can get sun bleached, fading the colour and leaving them looking less than ideal.
No matter the season, always keep an eye on your dark clothes and don’t leave them out too long. Sometimes, clothes can be left stiff and hard when they are on the line, and this is not great for things like scarves and delicate items.
You can opt to leave them off the line to prevent this, or add half a cup of white vinegar to the load before its last cycle.
This helps to soften the fabric when drying, and all without leaving a nasty vinegar odour.
Killing Germs By Hanging your Washing Outside
Contrary to popular belief, the dryer is not always the best way to kill germs on your laundry. What if we told you that sunlight was actually a highly effective method of achieving this?
It’s true, and utilising an outdoor washing line in the summer months will also save you a fair amount on your energy bill.
But how does sunlight kill germs? The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays constantly, and these rays are powerful enough to kill germs and bacteria on your clothing. However, it is only effective if your clothes are left to dry completely in the sun.
This is partly because you need a higher concentration of UV to kill germs, but also because damp clothes can harbour their own set of mould and bacteria that can multiply and cause illness.
Making sure that your clothes are fully dry helps you to maintain your health and promises effective germ elimination.
Make sure that each article of clothing is spread nicely on the line as opposed to thrown or clumped.
This helps it to receive even coverage from the sun, drying it more thoroughly as well as allowing the UV rays a better chance of removing as much bacteria as possible.
However, there is a downside to the process of drying your clothes outside. If you suffer from allergies or hayfever, you are risking pollen attaching itself to your clothes while they dry.
This can cause reactions while you are wearing them as well as general discomfort and irritation.
Additionally, you must make sure you do not leave your clothes for too long in the sun. This is because the light from the sun will bleach your clothes, leaving them streaked and discoloured - a particularly bad look on any black items of clothing.
UV has been shown to be quite effective against several viruses, but it should also be noted that there are several different types of UV out there. More powerful and potent forms are used to tackle viruses.
There is no evidence to show that UV in any form can combat coronavirus, so hanging your clothes outside to dry will not protect you against it, but it will aid you in fighting off other germs and bacteria that can make you sick.
Why Should You Line Dry Clothes?
There are a number of reasons why you should be considering using a washing line to dry your clothes, and we have gathered the top ones here for you to go through:
Taking the time each day to line dry your clothes can be such a peaceful activity, and it makes a difference in so many different areas that it is worth trying a few times.
Hopefully, this has given you a good idea about the different ways you can dry your clothes on the line, and the right way to hang each type of clothing so that it dries effectively and without creases.
There is so much you can learn about hanging clothes, and it can seem quite incredible to find so many different techniques, but you should definitely take the time to try them out and see which ones work best for you.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.