There is a big movement afoot to “legalize” the line drying of your laundry. Shamefully, it is actually illegal in many places around the U.S. to hang your clothes out to dry. Some people complain that it lowers their property value or it makes them feel as though they live in a ghetto because they occasionally see a few t-shirts blowing in the wind. To those people I say – you need to reassess your priorities or take up a new hobby.
The clothes dryer has become the biggest energy hog in the majority of homes, which in 2001 accounted for about 6% of our total energy use. And I am betting it is a higher percentage now, as other appliances have become more energy-efficient while dryers really haven’t changed that much. In fact, they don’t even participate in the Energy Star program because the DOE says none of them are any more efficient than any other one on the market.
While I don’t (and can’t really outside, as it is illegal here too in my complex, but I do it anyway in small batches) line dry my clothes nearly as often as I should (or like I did in New Mexico, which was almost every time I did laundry), there are many important reasons to try to do it as much as you can, such as:
1. It saves me money. Running a dryer costs a lot compared to all other appliances in your house.
2. My clothes last much longer. Clothes dried in a dryer each week tend to tear and break apart faster than those dried by hanging in normal air temperature.
3. The sun whitens my whites – for free and without toxic bleach.
4. Conserves a ton of energy. How can I write on being “green” every day and not try to save a little energy where I can?
5. Sunlight kills bed bugs just like a dryer does.
6. Not much smells better than clothes that were hung outside all day to dry.
7. In the summer, line drying helps to keep the house cool. Running a dryer tends to warm the place up!
8. A breeze makes a hell of a fabric softener. I don’t know when people were convinced that they needed chemical fabric softener, but my clothes are always soft without it – whether they get hung outside or come out of the dryer.
9. Clothing doesn’t shrink when hung outside versus forced to dry in a heated tumbler.
10. And lastly, I think hanging laundry looks pretty cool. When I used to travel to Europe and see that everyone had laundry hanging on their balconies, I really thought that it added something to the feeling in the city, made it feel more “lived-in”. I would like to see more of it here in the U.S.
It’s hard to believe that in these crazy times of war, recessions, hunger, spiraling debt, uncontrolled gang violence, and any other number of important subjects, that some people actually have the interest (or time) to try to stop people from hanging up clean laundry outside their own homes in order to conserve our natural resources. So go on – line dry your clothes if you can. And if you can’t, then work to get it legalized in your community. If you need help with how to get started, check out Project Laundry List. Yes, it’s ridiculous that any of us would even have to go that far, but like I said earlier, there are many people who need a new hobby.
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