10 Tips for Drying Laundry Outdoors


The last post was all about how I felt about hanging the laundry out to dry, and not so much about how to do it if you never have before.  This blog is supposed to have lots of information, so here are some tips:

  1. You can string up a rope just about anywhere and use it to hang up clothes.  Two trees, a tree and a porch rail, a hook on the side of the house . . . I had a small clothesline on an upper story balcony once.  In Italy, everyone still hangs their laundry on a line just below the window (and, their downstairs neighbors return the socks they accidentally drop)!
  2. My trees are about 20 feet apart, a rope looped around them so I can hang clothes on both sides holds a large load of laundry.
  3. You don’t need special “clothesline”, any rope or cord thin enough to get a clothespin over will work.
  4. A really handy knot to use to tie your clothesline is the taut line hitch, you can cinch it up after it (inevitably) sags after you tie it the first time.  There are clear and concise directions at netknots.com.  If those don’t work for you there are a lot more to be found by searching for “taut line hitch” – if you are a sailor or otherwise knot-preoccupied, look out – good thing I have this post to write so I won’t get too distracted by learning new knots.  Hopefully.
  5. If your clothesline has been out of use for a while (maybe it was abandoned by a previous resident?), run a damp rag along it before you hang anything up, to keep from getting any dirt on it onto your clothes.
  6. You can take your clothesline down during the time of year you’re not using it, it will last longer, and won’t rub bark off your trees in the same place all the time.
  7. I highly recommend keeping your clothespins inside and bringing them out with the laundry each time.  You can store them in a bag, or a jar or whatever.  It keeps them from rotting and/or being new homes for tiny spiders who build their webs in the “tunnels” made by the spring.
  8. Hang shirts and tanks from the bottom (see pic), that way the clothespins won’t leave a visible mark or make a crease in the top.
  9. If your laundry is in the sun, hang things you don’t want to fade inside-out, and/or with the back facing the sun.  Hang things you want to bleach in as much sun as possible (more about that in another post soon).
  10. If you, or possibly other members of your household, prefer laundry as soft as it comes from the dryer, you can always throw clothes in for just a couple of minutes when they come off the line.  You still get your mid-day laundry hanging meditation, and save money and gas for the dryer!

Do you have more tips?  Please share them!



7 thoughts on “10 Tips for Drying Laundry Outdoors

  1. You can also hang clothing inside to avoid fading (not your whole entire laundry for the rest of your life, but if you live in the dessert southwest hanging delicate laundry inside has the twin benefits of adding humidity to your home and saving the fabric from fading and other indignities that yonder glowing yellow orb can visit upon cloth).

  2. Yes, your shower rod is an awesome place to hang a few things, especially in winter and/or if you don’t have a drying rack (and/or you don’t like hanging your underwear outside)!

    Radiators also make great clothes dryers, even in climates where you don’t need to add humidity to your house. When we were visiting my cousin during Italian winter, we put everything on the radiators when it was too cold/rainy to hang things outside the window. This worked like a charm. Actually I wish we had at least one here, mostly so that I could stick the toes of my boots under it, they were so nice and warm to put on in the morning!

  3. Pingback: Sun Bleaching – Yup, It Still Works « Stale Bread into French Toast

  4. I have always loved my clothesline, but our new-old place has so many trees and shrubs that the birds make it hard to do. I have to wash it all again due to droppings…any ideas?

    • Hmm, I haven’t had a big problem with this. I do try to get the laundry off the line once it’s dry … I wonder if you have a covered porch or similar area where you might be able to put a line or a drying rack?

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