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Best Tips On How To Line Dry Clothes Outside

Line drying your clothes can save you a nice little bit of money on your electric bill.  It also reduces the wear and tear on your clothes, which saves you money in replacement costs and helps your favorite shirt stay nice longer. 

I don’t always line dry year round, but after a long break it’s so nice to get back to line drying the clothes outside.  

There are times when it’s nice to have an electric dryer (usually being overwhelmed with pregnancy or a baby in my case!) but line drying is so much nicer and cheaper.  It’s like an excuse to go stand in the sun AND be productive AND frugal all at the same time.  Yay for multitasking!

Here are some of the best tips on how to line dry clothes outside to save you money, and reduce wear and tear on your clothes.

Best Tips for Line Drying Your Clothes

There are a few tricks to line drying that can help reduce wrinkles, speed drying time, and even avoid that crunchy feeling that can sometimes happen.

  • Put your clothespins on the shoulder seams of dress shirts to avoid creating wrinkles.
  • Hang t-shirts upside down to avoid a funny bump on the shoulder.
  • Always use clothespins to speed drying and avoid a fold down the middle of your clothes
  • The faster clothes dry, the stiffer they will be.  Try hanging items in the shade during a very hot day, or pin two items back to back to slow down the drying process
  • When you pull the clothes off the line, give them a good sharp snap to soften them and encourage and stray lady bugs to fly away
  • Fold your clothes as you pull them off the line and then set them into the basket already folded
  • Hang your clothesline over an aromatic herb garden to lightly scent your clothes
  • A gentle breeze will help your laundry dry quickly without stiffness
  • Hang dark clothes inside out to prevent fading
  • Hide a retractable clothesline or drying rack in a concealed corner for privacy
  • Leave a little space between items on the line to help them dry faster
  • Space out heavy items like towels to avoid making your line sag
  • Tighten your clothesline regularly to prevent sagging
  • Use an apron to keep your clothespins easily accessible
  • Bring your clothespins inside when not in use to help them last longer
  • Disinfect by hanging items in direct sunlight
  • Match pant legs together at the inner seams and hang them by the hem
  • Hang your line high enough that your sheets and towels won’t drag, but still within easy reach
  • Check the weather report daily to avoid any surprise rain storms
  • Remove lint or pet hair with a damp hand or soft cloth
  • Keep your hands warm on cooler days by wearing rubber dishwashing gloves

And if you really enjoy the savings of line drying your clothes, you can even do it year round!  Check out my post How To Line Dry Clothes Indoors When Your Dryer Is Being Stupid for tips on line drying your clothes in less than ideal weather. 

Make Laundry Enjoyable

I love it that in the book #Laundry by Angi Schneider that when the AC comes on, the dryer goes off.  It’s such a good way to remember to incorporate line drying into the routine.  (I got a free copy of the book to review, which was cool ’cause I like laundry)!  Sometimes I get so excited about something that I keep trying to do it even when it’s not practical.  

It’s nice to give myself permission to slack off for a while, but then also be happy when I pick back up again.  Line drying clothes is really pleasant when the kids are running around playing on the grass in the sun.  It’s not so fun when it might rain any second and you really need some dry socks.  Balance, balance, balance.

Do you have a clothesline outdoors?  Do you ever dry on it when the weather is nice?  Are you a fan of crunchy towels or dryer soft?  Share in the comments! 😀

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Susan Cranford

Thursday 6th of July 2023

I have two lines off my back patio. My great great Aunt Mabel taught me how to hang clothes when I was 13. 59 years later I still think fondly of the gift she gave me.I love how the patio smells with a fresh load hung while I have my morning coffee. The one thing I have learned with hanging t-shirts and stretchy shirts is to hang the shirt over the line at the arm pits and put the clothes pins on the pits. This keeps the shirt from being stretched or mis-shaped and the pin indentations can’t be seen when worn. My husband doesn’t like crunchy towels so a few minutes on fluff in the dryer with several dryer balls helps to soften them up without using a lot of electricity.s


Monday 17th of July 2023

Thanks for the tip for stretchy shirts!


Sunday 9th of April 2023

I grew up only drying all clothes from a family of 5 on a line outside in the backyard and in the winter in the bathroom on the lines over the tub. We have radiators all over the house for thick clothing like jeans we would place them over the radiators and wait a day or two. Our houses in Europe are built with brick and mortar so there always was a problem with all that moisture creating moldy corners in the house. We also dry on the lines in the huge walk in attics that our homes have as a standard feature. Grandma also "bleached" all the white items with stains by laying them on the grass and then making them wet with a watering can several times a day. The sun usually took out all the stains. Blood, urine, food, like magic.


Monday 10th of April 2023

My impression is that it's much more common to line dry in Europe than in the U.S. That's impressive!


Thursday 23rd of March 2023

I do both, but growing up I remember taking frozen laundry off the line, was always amazed that they were dry. My mother taught me how to grab opposite corners of w Washcloth or towel and stretch them every way to make them soft. Still do that, but try to take advantage of windy days.


Friday 24th of March 2023

Oh yeah, twisting does help!


Wednesday 9th of November 2022

Hello. I am like the other commenters here. Have always had a clothesline; I also have a dryer (but why?). Have been hanging laundry out for 50+ years. I don't have a lot of room in my house to hang dry them inside, so I am a "Weather Channel" watcher to see what the weather will be when I am doing laundry. Sometimes I am caught in a surprise sun shower, racing to get all the clothes indoors. I have a line strung in our garage--not the best place, I know, but I am on limited space. I also have one of those folding clothes racks. Comes in handy! I hang out the laundry right up until December in my area; by then, it's too chilly out for clothes to dry, so I only put the bed linens out--LOVE the smell of sunshine and fresh air. Thank you for your posts. I don't own any farm animals (residential area restrictions), but am happy to see others' raising them.


Wednesday 16th of November 2022

Thanks for sharing!


Sunday 5th of September 2021

Yes I have a clothes line outside, use it everyday when not raining..live in Texas. Love my clothes line and have had it for more than 35 yrs. love the crunchy stiff towels they dry you quicker. Love the smell of the clothes from outside. I also have an electric dryer.. just bought a new after my last one died after 15 yrs. wouldn’t trade my clothes line for anything. Use the line more than the dryer.


Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Thanks for sharing!

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