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Have you considered hang drying your laundry? There are many benefits for the earth and your family. There are cons to consider!
We have a washing machine, but no clothes dryer, in our apartment. So, we hang dry all of our laundry on clotheslines on our back balcony. There are some reasons that I love hang drying our clothes, and there are others that make me hate it some days.
When it’s raining, I can’t do laundry. Well, I guess I can since the back balcony is covered so the clothes just get extra damp rather than soaked, but it takes an extra day for the clothes to dry. And who wants to go outside to hang clothes when it’s raining?
Even when it’s sunny, I can only do two loads of laundry per day because the balcony is shaded. This is especially frustrating when I’m behind on laundry for whatever reason and I have a sudden burst of motivation to get it done.
However, there are some really great benefits to hang drying all of your laundry. The sun is a wonderful stain remover. Much better than toxic bleach. Sometimes I have to leave things hanging for a few days in the sun, but I’ve gotten some tough stains out this way. Some of Zoë’s clothes that I thought for sure were going in the trash came out looking close to new.
We have 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. And they’re white. They’re wonderful, but they show dirt so easy and with Zoë crawling in and out of the bed constantly, they get dirty fast. And because they’re so thick, they really hold in the dirt and discoloration. I could never get them looking completely white with bleach, but as soon as I started hanging them to dry in the sun, that wasn’t a problem.
The sun also has antibacterial properties, so your laundry is sanitized when you hang it to dry. That’s something your clothes dryer definitely can’t do for you. And clothes that have been hang dried smell fresh when they’re dry.
Another great benefit to hanging your clothes to dry is the energy savings. According the California Energy Commission, clothes dryers use the second most energy of any appliance in your house, next to the refrigerator.
I’ve read other places that dryers actually use the most energy now since so many other appliances have become more energy efficient (dryers aren’t required to show Energy Star labels because they all use similar amounts of energy).
So how much energy can be saved by hang drying your laundry? Project Laundry List says that if all Americans would use clotheslines or wooden drying racks, the savings would be enough to close several power plants. Wow.
So, hang drying your clothes is another way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and save some money at the same time. When we move, I do plan to have a clothes dryer in our house. However, I’ll probably continue to hang dry some of my laundry. That is, if it’s allowed where we live.
A lot of communities and developments in the US have banned hang-drying clothes. Apparently it brings down property values and just looks tacky. Somehow I don’t think that’s a good reason to prevent people from reducing their environmental impact.