Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Frugal Bonus to Line Drying and Ironing Clothes

After I took this picture, I was stricken by the statement it made. Something about a die-hard frugalista? :)

It's a given that we can save utility dollars by drying clothes on a clothesline, but when we line dry clothes, we're not only saving on the electricity or gas it takes to run the automatic dryer, we're saving on wear and tear of fabric.

Dryers pummel clothes - they beat them against each other and against the dryer drum under heat. Why do they turn out so soft? Ever put on a pair of worn jeans and enjoy how much softer they feel than a new pair? The dryer is wearing out the fibers of your clothes.

Drying clothes in an automatic dryer also sets stains which usually become permanent.

If you pull clothes from a washer, put them in a dryer, then on a hanger or in a drawer, the chances of seeing minor problems are small. Not until they're large problems do you notice them, and then it takes a lot more trouble to repair - and sometimes it's too late anyway.

When you iron clothing, you get a chance to notice worn areas, loose threads and stains. You can deal with these right away, saving a bigger problem in the future and often, saving the item itself.

Moral for the day: An ounce of prevention is worth more than the cure! Or... maybe it has something to do with shoveling snow from under the clothesline.


  1. That is such a great picture! That was me before I had clotheslines running across part of my basement. We have a wood/oil boiler and it dries clothes in the winter faster than my dryer ever could. Frugalistas unite!

  2. I have clotheslines in the basement, too, but I like the way they smell when I hang them outside. Yes, frugalistas unite! That should be our motto... ;)

  3. Hello Pat, Missed you on your old website and glad I found you again! How long does it take for clothes to dry when there is snow on the ground? We have been hanging them on inside racks and hangers. We're a family of 9. It would be great to dry the comforters outside. I have my potatoes in the dryer now, it's nice and cold in there! Happy Homemaker in NH

  4. You know, I intended to answer this and forgot about it! I'm so sorry.... anyway, it takes a little longer to dry when snow is on the ground, depending on how cold it is. If the sun shines on them, they dry in a few hours. I live where I can leave them out overnight if they're not dry, but I usually bring them in anyway, and finish drying them on hangers or the line downstairs.

  5. I struggle with this one. Here in Australia, we get plenty of hot sun to dry - but my clothes turn out like stiff boards! And I hate using hard, scratchy towels. Irons suck a LOT of power too...but then, writing this I just looked up power consumption: a 1000W iron used for 10 hours is 75c, a clothes dryer for 28 hours (reasonable as it takes more than an hour to dry clothes) $10.50.

    My current compromise is to drip-dry on a rack in the laundry then tumble when they are mostly dry. I really, really hate ironing!

    Its a great photo.... that is serious commitment, isn't it!

  6. I've done that, too, Helen, but not with towels. I don't mind stiff towels, I guess. :) To avoid ironing some clothes, you can put them in the dryer for 5 to 10 minutes, then take them out and hang them while they're still warm and wrinkle free. You get the best of both worlds that way.

    One thing to remember when comparing costs is that the rate of electricity or gas varies a lot. It costs anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar a *load* (about 30 minutes, if I remember right) in the US. When most households go through several loads a week, that can really add up.

    When you said it took more than an hour to dry a load of clothes... well, thats variable, too. It depends on the fabric as well as how well the clothes have been wrung or spun dry.