5 Tips for Line Drying Your Laundry

Levi Strauss & Co.
February 8, 2015

Sewn inside every pair of Levi’s is a care tag containing simple instructions — wash less, wash cold, line dry, donate or recycle. Wash less and wash cold are often easy, minimally disruptive shifts to make. For many of us, however, line drying seems a bit more … daunting.

Sure, we’ve all had to hang an item to dry at one time or another — a wool sweater that would shrink under the dryer’s high heat, or a delicate scarf that would disintegrate from all the tumbling.

But ditch the dryer on the regular? We’re here to tell you it’s definitely worth considering.

First of all, it makes financial sense — as in money saved on your electricity bill every month. Plus, you’ll use less energy, which is good for the planet. Did you know the clothes dryer accounts for 12% of energy use in a typical household?

Line drying also will extend the life of your wardrobe. There’s an overwhelming body of scientific evidence that reveals tumble-drying irreparably damages jeans and other clothing. In addition to shrinking and fading clothes, it actually causes microscopic tears in the clothing’s fibers, which causes wear over time.

If you’re a line drying newb, here are a few tips to make the transition a little easier.

  1. Hang your bottoms from the top.

How you hang is a matter of personal preference, of course, but clothespin lines on your shirt aren’t much of a fashion statement. A good rule of thumb is if you wear it on top, hang it from the bottom. If you wear it on bottom, hang it from the top. That means shirts should be hung from the hemline, while jeans and skirts are hung by the waistband.

  1. Shake it off.

Give your clothes a good shake before you hang them — this helps remove big wrinkles and lint and loosens fibers a bit to help soften your fabric. Smoothing clothes as you hang them can also help avoid wrinkles. Turn out your pockets to speed the drying process.

  1. Throw some shade.

Sunlight is like natural bleach, so stick whites in the light to brighten. To prevent fading, especially for dark-colored garments, you’ll want to find a shady spot. Preferably not under a tree, because, bird poop. Gross.

  1. Make it an inside job.

Line drying isn’t just for those blessed with green space. Invest in an indoor drying rack or two and you too can enjoy the benefits of line drying. Or get creative. Hanging clothes in a sunny and/or breezy spot inside will speed drying … and help you avoid smelling like a dank, musty basement.

  1. Show your soft side.

Line drying sometimes gets a bad wrap because it can leave clothes stiff and scratchy. Add a ½ cup of white vinegar to your wash to keep clothes soft and wearable.


Feature photo: Andy McLemore via Flickr CC