Troubleshooting Tips for Drying Laundry on the Line

How To Do Laundry Line Drying

A few years ago, I made it my mission to lower my family’s expenses as much as possible. Armed with helpful books and blog posts, I scrutinized every area of our budget, determined to slash it as much as possible.

How to do Laundry, Old School Style

One area I quickly honed in on was our laundry routine. I knew I had to learn how to do laundry all over again, and start doing it the way it used to be done. At the time, I was buying laundry detergent at the store (the expensive stuff for my sensitive skin), washing everything in warm water, and using the dryer for every load. There were so many changes to be made.

First, I began making my own laundry detergent, which didn’t irritate my skin. Next, I began using cold water to wash our clothes whenever possible.

The final move was to start line drying our clothes.

But, even though it’s a pretty simple thing to do, I hit some snags. Weather didn’t always cooperate and I didn’t even have a laundry line outside. I didn’t let that stop me though, and found some creative ways to troubleshoot my line drying problems.

Troubleshooting Your Line Drying Problems

If you’ve run into similar problems, here are some helpful tips to overcome common line drying obstacles:

No line

We didn’t have a laundry line for a few years. And when we finally got one, we moved and had nowhere to hang it outside. Instead, I hung my clothes inside.

To start, I put all the clothes on extra hangers and hung them on the shower rod in the bathroom. I was able to hang a lot of clothes in there thanks to the space-saving hangers. Cloth diapers were hung from a rod that ran under our laundry room shelf.

In another home, we put this laundry line in a sunroom and hung the clothes in there using clothes pins.

Others choose to use drying racks in the garage, or other spare room in the house. I know one family that uses a drying rack in the same room their wood stove is in.

No time

Each load of laundry takes me approximately 10 -15 minutes to hang up, depending on what’s in that particular load. Taking each load down takes just a few minutes (a bit longer if I fold as I take it down, which saves me time later). But that’s just 15 minutes.

If you don’t have time to hang the laundry, it’s best to plan ahead and do the laundry at a time when you’ll be able to take 15 minutes to hang it out to dry.

If you can, get help. Some of my kids love hanging up the laundry and gladly help me do it, cutting the time it takes. Teaching them to do it takes a while, but once they learn, you’ve got helpers who just need a little supervision to make sure they don’t pinch their siblings with clothes pins.

Bad weather

When weather isn’t exactly ideal for hanging clothes to dry, employ the same tricks you’d use when you have no line. Clothes can be creatively hung up or laid out inside to air dry.

If available space inside is at a minimum, you can also hang clothes outside if you can put some sort of cover over your laundry line or move it to a covered porch or other sheltered area.

Stiff clothes

One complaint people have (including myself) is that some clothes are just too stiff to wear if you line dry them (think towels and jeans). Usually, shaking the clothes out a few times when you take them off the line will soften them up a bit.

But if your clothes are still too stiff for your (or your spouse’s) liking, throw them in the dryer for just a few minutes with some dryer balls (learn how to make dryer balls here or purchase them here).

Funny marks

Sometimes, when you use clothes pins, it can be pretty obvious where you pinned them when you look at your dry clothing, especially shirts. To prevent that, hang clothes upside down, as close to the outside edge as you can.

Shaking clothes out a couple times and making sure they’re fairly straight before you hang them also helps.

Not dry enough

When it’s warm and slightly breezy outside, it’s amazing how quickly clothes can dry on the line – even faster than if they were in the dryer. However, when it’s a bit chillier, you might go out to pull your clothes down and find they’re still not completely dry.

For this, I have two suggestions:

  1. Make sure the clothes are upside down. I find that jeans are often what’s not dried all the way and if I hang them by the waistband it takes longer.
  2. Make sure your line is in the ideal spot for taking advantage of sunlight. If you can, position it on a south-facing side of your property to catch every bit of sun, winter or summer.

If you’ve done both and you need clothes dry now, stick them in the dryer for a little bit with those dryer balls. They’ll be ready in no time.

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