One of the best ways to lower your utility bills is to dry your clothes the old-fashioned way: on a clothesline. And there are advantages to line drying besides just saving energy. Clothes dryers are now responsible for around 6% of residential energy consumption.
Your electric clothes dryer uses power to both produce heat and turn the drum. Most electric dryers draw between four and six kilowatts of electrical when they are running. This can total forty to fifty cents per load at today’s rates, or one to two hundred dollars a year. Line drying can eliminate a lot of this expense.
If you are fortunate enough to have an outdoor clothesline, you already know that clothes dried outdoors smell fresher, and they carry less residual odor from detergents and bleach. And you can often do without bleach when line drying since the sun will tend to lighten most fabrics. Sunlight has a natural sanitizing effect, too.
Line-dried clothes tend to be a little stiffer than clothes that come out of the dryer. If you’d like some articles such as your towels to be softer, send them through the dryer after you take them off the line. Just five minutes on the air-only cycle will do the job.
You can also use an indoor drying rack instead of a clothesline. This will save you the trouble of carrying your clothes outside, and you can still dry your laundry during rainy weather. But it may take longer than outside drying, and you won’t receive the sanitizing benefits of drying in the sun.
You may find it hard to believe, but you can line dry clothes up North in the dead of winter, too. Your wet clothes will freeze when you hang them out at temperatures below freezing. But in dry northern weather, that ice will turn into vapor and the clothes will dry nevertheless.