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A Guide to Clothes Lines: Dry Laundry Sustainably

Home & Garden

A Guide to Clothes Lines: Dry Laundry Sustainably

Even though the washer-dryer combo is an extremely convenient way to clean and dry clothes, many people are turning away from this energy-sapping method in favour of a more natural and efficient way to dry clothes — using a clothes line.

This age-old technique of air-drying clothes is not only more energy efficient than tumble dryers, but it also helps keep the fabric in better condition and is a green alternative to using electricity. In the past, clothes lines were just simple structures made from rope and metal poles. But today, they’ve evolved into many different forms that accommodate the modern lifestyle.

Which Type of Clothes Line Is Best?

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a full-on sustainable switch to bamboo workout clothes or just want to save some money on your energy bill — your search for sturdy and reliable clothes lines online or in-store starts with deciding which type you should get. This is mostly reflected in their form and function, with some offering more perks than others.


Retractable cloth line

This type of cloth line is perfect for small spaces as it fully retracts into the wall or ceiling when not in use. It consists of two parallel lines made from galvanised steel mounted on a plastic housing that allows for easy retraction.

The way it works is that you pull one line out until it clicks into place, and the other will follow suit. This creates the tension and stability needed for a proper line. Then you can hang your clothes on the metal lines with relative ease. One of the main benefits of a retractable clothesline is that you can mount it in any part of your home without worrying about it taking up too much space.


Rotary cloth line

The rotary-style clothes line is one of the most widespread types available. It normally consists of steel and composed of a central pole with metal arms radiating from it. The central pole is set in the ground and then secured with a locking pin.

The lines are long, so you can hang up many items at once. They’re relatively easy to install, with just a few screws and washers needed. They are also quite affordable and user-friendly, particularly if you have kids who want to help with the laundry.


Foldable cloth line

Next up we have a model that’s also known as a telescopic design because it can adjust its length depending on how much room you need. Their galvanised steel or aluminium frame is open at one end, typically with two arms that can be adjusted for length.

When you don’t need the frame anymore, the arms can be collapsed and stored away. It normally involves a hook mechanism that allows for easy and quick assembly, even for people with limited DIY skills. They tend to be more affordable than rotary-style models and much easier to maintain.


Wall-mounted cloth line

Wall-mounted clothes lines are pretty self-explanatory. As the name suggests, they’re mounted onto a wall and take up minimal space, which is certainly a plus for apartments or balconies. Their main upside is that they are incredibly easy to install and operate — they’re screwed into the wall and remain in place until you take them down.

They can range from single-line designs to multiple lines depending on your needs and the size of your space. The wall-mounted models also come in a variety of materials, from steel and aluminium to plastic and even bamboo.

Tips for Using Drying Lines Effectively

No matter what model you pick from the assortment of clothes lines online or in-store, it pays to know how to use them effectively. Sometimes even the most mundane of tasks requires a bit of skill and finesse.

Shake Clothes Before Hanging

We all know how crumpled-up clothes can look after being tossed and turned in the washer or even staying in the laundry basket for too long. You can avoid this problem by shaking them out before hanging them up, which will help get rid of wrinkles and creases.

Properly Space Each Item

While putting up your clothes on the line, make sure that each piece has enough room to dry properly. If you don’t leave some breathing space between them, they won’t get enough air circulation. You should also avoid putting anything heavy on the line because it can cause stretching or damage the fabric.

Use Hangers and Clips

Where possible, use hangers with clips for your clothes as this will help them keep their shape and prevent them from getting tangled on the line. If you don’t have any hangers, use clips instead — regular clothespins with a wooden or plastic body should do the trick.

Take Advantage of Sunny and Windy Days

Not all days provide optimal conditions for drying clothes. While you can dry them on a somewhat cloudy day, having direct sunlight and windy conditions will speed up the process. By having warm air circulating around the clothes, they’ll dry much faster and be ready to take down sooner.

Regularly Clean and Maintain Your Line

Even though you’re using it to dry clean clothes, it’s still important to regularly clean and maintain your drying line. This will ensure that it lasts longer and doesn’t become a breeding ground for mould or mildew. Once a month, you should clean the line with warm soapy water and make sure that it’s still in good working condition.

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