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Product Of The Month: Drying Racks And Clothes Lines To Save Energy

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Lifestyle | 1 comment

Product Of The Month: Drying Racks And Clothes Lines To Save Energy

One summer when I was in college I worked on a family farm and their clothes line ran just a few yards behind the farm stand. One day, the farmers’ whites, dancing in the breeze, became the backdrop for the farm stand. A customer commented: “You just don’t see that anymore.” She then went home and returned with her camera to capture a photo of white sheets against a background of green pasture and blue sky. It was probably a very homey, comfortable photo that would remind viewers of a simpler time.

More than a decade later, when researching this blog post, I learned some of the reasons why the farmers’ clothes line seemed like such a rare site to their customer. There are negative perceptions about clothes lines and laws against them! Many private communities ban clothes lines because they are considered an eyesore and a sign of poverty. Luckily, according to the New York Times, some states are citing environmental concerns and fighting back by creating laws that prevent home owners associations from banning clothes lines. What a strange world we live in when there has to be a law that gives people the right to hang a clothes line.

Air Drying Clothes Could Reduce Energy Use 6%

It’s estimated that clothes dryers account for about 6% residential energy use, according to Project Laundry List. So the environmental advantages of air drying clothes are clear. As for the negative perceptions, well, clearly not everyone feels the same way. The photographer at the farm loved the clothes line so much she took a photo of it and I like to think she was inspired to string one up herself when she got home.

Whether you have a yard and can hang a clothes line outside (without breaking any silly home owners association rules) or you need to dry your clothes indoors, it doesn’t take much to get into air drying. Not only will you save money on electricity, but your favorite pair of jeans will probably last a little bit longer too.

Indoor Drying Rack

After going through many wood drying racks, I’ve been using a sturdy tripod drying rack for a few years. I like this style of drying rack because, once folded, it can be easily stored in a closet. Also, the clothes are on hangers so when they’re dry all you need to do is move them from the drying rack to the closet. The down side is that it’s not great for towels or small items. So I often wash two loads of laundry, hang some items from each to dry and use the dryer to dry everything else.

While we usually like to link to the exact product we own in our product of the month posts, the drying rack I have doesn’t have a brand name on it. The drying rack we’re linking to this month is very similar – and has great reviews on Amazon – but I’m not positive it’s the same brand.

Outdoor Clothes Line

If you can hang your clothes in the fresh air, all you need is a piece of rope, clothespins and a clothespin bag. You’ll want you’re rope to be sturdy and made of material that resists mold and dries quickly after a rain, which means it will most likely be synthetic or a synthetic blend. While the clothespin bag is designed to be left outdoors, that can lead to the clothespins getting wet and dirty so we recommend keeping them inside and bringing them outside when you need to hang clothes. This way your clothespins stay clean and so do your clothes.

If you want a more sophisticated clothes line, you can get a retractable line.

Nicole’s 2¢

One of the first things I did when I moved into my house was grab a brand new package of rope the previous owner left in the basement and string a clothes line the length of the yard, from the deck to the fence.

At least twice every summer my mailman tells me how nice it is that I hang my clothes out. His wife refuses to do it because she’s worried what the neighbors will think, but he draws the line at his Steelers jersey because the dryer fades the colors. Keep your blacks black and your golds gold, by going green!

Kim is an eco enthusiast who tries to make small changes that will add up and make a difference.

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One Comment

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  1. George

    I have the same indoor rack and it works great. Considering my dryer takes nearly 2 cycles to dry anything (read: time for a new one?), I like having the rack in tandem.

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