You Are Not Allowed To Line Dry Your Clothes.

February 9, 2012

Has anyone ever told you that it was illegal to be line drying your clothes outside? If you live in the United States, you may be one of the millions of citizens living in communities which have made it against the law to do so. Outside of the U.S., line drying your clothes is the norm; most people don’t even own dryers. But here in the States, towns, cities, and HOA’s have set up laws making the act of line drying your own clothing illegal. So what gives?

Turns out, lawmakers and those snobby neighbors of ours don’t like the idea of residents being allowed to hang out their clothes to dry in the sun. Never mind the fact that doing so is better for the health of the planet, the health of the neighbor, and it reduces wear and tear on clothing – they think that clothing hanging on a clothesline brings down property values and is a blight on the community. But want to know what a true blight on a community is? Climate change, and all the destruction that comes with it.

See, line drying clothes saves energy, saves fossil fuels, reduces pollution, reduces need for bleaches, and makes clothing last longer so it doesn’t need to be replaced so often. In fact, there are 10 reasons to line dry your clothes if you aren’t doing so already. But what if you live in one of these communities or housing developments that says it’s against the law to do so?

line drying clothes

You can fight the laws with the help of Project Laundry List. By encouraging your state legislators to introduce a “Right to Dry”, registering your prohibitive community on the site, and talking to your friends and neighbors about the hows and whys of line drying, you can make sure that your right to dry your clothes using the sun is preserved.

While line drying was the way everyone dried their clothes in the past (See Bring Back the Past to Save the Future) and continues to be the way in most countries, some people in this country are fighting any progress in stemming the climate change brought on by our own actions. This is one very simple step we can take to reduce the burden on our environment, so let’s work to make sure we can all freely dry our clothing outside should we choose to do so.

Photo from BigStock

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Comments (6)

  1. Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable says:

    We live in one of those communities that do not allow clothes lines (time to move)! But that doesn’t stop me:) I have a couple retractable lines in the garage and several foldable drying racks in the laundry room in place of the dryer. I LOVE line drying my clothes! Thank you for such a great post:)

  2. gweipo says:

    weird. weird. I’ve never lived in the USA and here in Asia we have BEAUTIFUL hanging washing out of every little apartment and flat and house. It’s extremely photogenic. It’s great for the environment.
    Too much “progress” is never a great thing.
    Simplify.

  3. I line dry my clothes but inside my house. That way no one can get upset. Such a silly rule if you ask me. Maybe the government is in with the companies that make clothes dryers.

  4. I’ve had this problem in my last three apartments. I dry about 1/3 of my clothes on a rack inside, but dry the rest. At one of my places I got away with drying on the patio. When they yelled at me, I just moved the lines slightly lower so the clothes weren’t as visible. Now my fence is too low to hide anything.

  5. vicki smith says:

    yep I live in “one of those”. it was fine for 13 years, behind my house,behind a 6 foot privacy fence until one of my neighbors turned me in. The fines got up to 900 bucks before we caved and took the lines down.Still have the posts up-plant hangers! Now I hang in the garage and leave the doors open for all to see..I don’t think they can tell me I can’t hang inside the garage! Takes longer without the sun. But o well.Doesn’t everyone have sheets and jeans..Are they scary?

  6. kellly says:

    Our African neighbors use our front yard fence to dry their laundry. They have poles in their back yard but are too lazy to put up lines. I can’t find out whether it’s legal or not to dry your laundry on the front fence.