How to Save Energy and Save Money by Line Drying Your Clothing

If hearing the word retractable clothesline makes you have visions of June Cleaver dashing outside with a wicker basket full of Beaver’s jeans to hang out to dry, think again. Clotheslines may seem outdated, but they are really environmentally friendly and a great means for saving money.

A clothes drier is one of the highest cost to use appliances in your home, but the sun and wind are free. Whether you choose to dry all your clothing or just dry the sheets, every time you chose not to use a clothes drier, you are pocketing savings.

You save money on energy, but you also save money on the wear and tear on your clothing. Clothes last longer line dried than exposed to the high heat and friction of the drier. You will no longer need to purchase fabric softener either, as the sun and wind naturally soften clothes, give them a fresh clean scent and leaves them static free. Leaving whites in the sun for a day will naturally whiten them and help lighten set in stains.

Types of Clotheslines

There are three basic clothesline designs: the t-post, the umbrella and the retractable clothesline:

T-Post Clotheslines – T-posts are traditional two t-post secured permanently into the ground with two lines strung between them.

Umbrella Clothslines – The umbrella looks like its name, a single pole holds up a frame with a square rack that contains several compact lines for drying clothes. The umbrella turns and folds down for compact storage.

Retractable Clotheslines – Retractable lines attach to a post or a wall and pull out to hook on a post. Like the umbrella, the retractable is designed to be removed and stored out of sight.

The retractable line automatically rolls back into a long cylinder shaped unit. The poles used can be removed from the ground for storage. This works with the use of a sleeve that is permanently placed into the ground that holds the post but allows the homeowner to easily lift the poles out of the ground, covering the sleeve with a cap.

I did a quick search online and a nice retractable indoor/outdoor clothesline can be had for about $25.

Retractable Clothesline Price: Buy Now from Amazon Retractable Clothesline We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated:

You will want to select a clothesline that fits the space you have and be in the sun at least part of the day. You will need a supply of clothespins, look for wooden spring styled, and a clothespin holding bag to store them in.

Know Your Community Rules

Before you invest in an outdoor clothesline, make sure you can place a clothesline on your property. Some homeowner associations may have restrictions regarding what can and cannot be in your area. A removable clothesline may be allowed, while a permanent line is not. Make sure you know the rules, if any, before you make a purchase. If outdoor dying is not allowed, the second option would be drying inside. Wouldn’t want to tick off Mr. Wilson.

Using Folding Racks for Inside Drying

You can dry clothing inside on folding racks, which come in a variety of sizes and styles. Folding racks are usually wooden dowel rods that hold one to two loads of clothing. There are also retractable clotheslines designed to fit in bathrooms and hallways. Shirts and dresses can be placed on hangers and hung on shower curtain rods for easy inside drying.

Regardless of how you choose to line dry your clothing, or the amount of clothing you dry, not using the drier will save you money in more ways than one. Factor in the savings and you will soon see line drying isn’t old-fashioned; it’s a modern means for stretching your budgets dollars.

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  1. Nancy Schimmel says

    We had an umbrella line when I was a kid and a neighbor taught me to put the undies in the center and hide them with other clothes around them. Now I just let it all hang out.
    Yes, check if clotheslines are allowed, but if not, change the regulation!

  2. I hang my clothes on a rotary (umbrella type) clothes line outside but we also invested in a retractable one for our enclosed patio. Clothes dry wonderfully in the sun, heat and breeze. One way to avoid wrinkles is togive a good shake before they are hung out and another before you fold. I often simply pop mine in the dryer for about 5 minutes to take out any remaining wrinkles or finishing the drying. I find that even jeans and heavy bath sheets dry in very little time. No it isn’t a 2 day affair getting several loads dry. First ones go out seperated over the entire space. By the time the second load is done I can remove some of the lightest and redistribute the rest. Just requires a bit of thinking. Long live the right to dry!

  3. We dry our clothes on a large wire rack from Ikea, indoors in the winter (adding much needed moisture to our dry air) and outside on our enclosed porch in the summer. Guests coming over? Rack goes out on the porch in winter (still works but takes longer to dry) or into our bedroom, out of sight, in the summer. I also have a removable line kitty-corner across the porch for larger items. Wrinkles? Throw them into the dryer at low heat for maybe 5 minutes. DONE!

  4. I live in the city and use retractable lines and the clothes smell just fine. If you snap them before hanging they end up with fewer wrinkles then if they were in the dryer. You can hang clothes out in the winter as long as it’s over 20*. They may take a bit longer but it’s not like you have watch them dry. Hang them and forget them.

  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone. All good tips and opinions. Mrs. PT and I line dry a few things inside using a drying rack. It would be nice to have one of those retractable clotheslines for a larger room in the house though.

  6. Funny, this morning I heard the exact same thing on the radio and I thought… are they crazy? Isn’t that why we have dryers! LOL. I agree that it’s not practical, though if I lived out in the country or anywhere with less smog it’d probably make the clothes smell good! I did have to do it in Spain, but the lady I was living with didn’t tell me that when she first did laundry, I woke up to find all my unmentionables hanging out the window! Can you say embarassed 🙂

  7. We line dry in the summer, but right now … our clothes would freeze! When we started, we found that our electrical bills were a fair bit lower (we have 5 people in th family and the dryer runs constantly).

  8. It may save money but is not practical. If you are doing multiple loads of wash, it usually takes a good 2 days to have them dry, then you need to iron. If you don’t have that time or space it’s not worth it.

  9. I have a deck with a railing around the edge and a few Adirondeck chairs. I just throw my laundry across the railing and chairs. It’s the easiest thing, and then you don’t have to worry about buying clothespins or a line, or about picking up and taking down something unsightly.