You Are Not Allowed To Line Dry Your Clothes.

Emily Wilson

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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 despite owning washing machines. 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?

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.

36 thoughts on “You Are Not Allowed To Line Dry Your Clothes.”

  1. 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:)

    • Me too, I dry everything in my Fenced in Backyard. Put Tops and
      Blouses on hangers , Capris and Shorts . Hang Sheets out etc.
      Have a wooden drying Rack in the Basement Laundry Room.
      Saves me a lot of money , plus I like the Natural Dry.
      Smells nice too. Only in Winter I can’t , but have a line in the
      Basement for stuff I don’t put in the Dryer 👍

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

    • I am not against drying clothes on the outside, the only thing is taking the clothes and drying them on the front fence or side of a fence wI thin a neighborhood; It takes away from the neighborhood. I have a couple that has poles in the back and don’t use it, I guess there lazy to put up wires are rope to connect to the poles. It just looks very tacky to hang clothes in the front. I would like to know this as well is it legal to put them in the front. Is it a designated place to hang front or back. Now I’m ok with solar hanging, but really in the front. When I walk out of my house and clothes are just hanging on a wired fence it makes my stomach turn. It really is a nuisance when you try to have a pleasant neighborhood in appearance, it takes away from the property appearance. Help !!! Back or front. So much better if they hang clothes in the back

      • Audrey Jones your opinion is nuts. Isn’t this the kind of backwards thinking this article is designed to unpick? But sure, go ahead and enjoy your aesthetically pleasing suburban house under three metres of flood waters.


        The rest of the world

      • Appearance!!!???? what is the matter with you!! Drying clothes by the heat of the sun is the best way to dry clothes!! Also you are helping the environment by not using machines to dry your clothes!! There are so many benefits!! Is appearance more important than helping the environment???

  6. I live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. New Zealand. Over here, almost everyone hangs their washing up outside on a line and its not a problem. It;s practical, it saves electricity, money, the environment and reduces dampness it your house.

  7. Am originally from a suburb of Montreal, Quebec and we all hung clothes out for years….no one complained.
    Have lived in Ontario now for 25 years and hang out on a rack as much as we can. We all worry about the environment – well, when are we all going to take responsibility and help out. Good for New Zealand, they are smart. (See post by Peter Haw from Feb. 14, 2019)

  8. That is a crock of doo doo. I live in an apartment in Indiana. No lines allowed. However, I just purchased a small portable washer, which I had to have a doctor’s note to have if you can believe that, indoor sheet drying is hella difficult! I’m gonna sneak a line on my patio. Ooooo, come arrest me! I have a clothesline! For goodness sake, I’ll take it down when I’m finished!

  9. What a strange thing to make illegal! I live in Scotland and it’s very much the norm here to have washing hanging in the back garden – even if we don’t often have the weather for it!
    In fact, my favourite photo from a friend of mine is of her daughters princess dresses hanging on the line with a beautiful backdrop of a loch and mountains ????

  10. In the UK we hang washing throughout the year. It takes two days to dry in the winter! There is nothing better than sun dried clothes. Towels are nice in a dryer or if it is raining a dryer is useful. I find it crazy that in a sunny place like Florida we waste electricity on drying clothes that would dry in the sun in less than an hour. A perfect resource just ignored. It’s crazy and snobbish. Time the law was revoked because it’s anti environment.

  11. This “law” is stupid! Why on earth would anyone think wasting money on electricity is better than using the wind and sun to dry clothes? There are bigger problems in the world to deal with rather than worrying about hanging laundry outside to dry. Typical America, it’s perfectly fine to own a gun but it’s illegal to hang laundry outside! Ha. Absolutely stupid.

  12. I hand wash and rack dry (inside) most of my clothes. I pay too much to let my clothes get ruined in a washer/dryer. If you splurge on clothing from sustainable brands, and want your clothes to last, hand washing/drying is the way to go. Also, it’s environmentally friendly. I do my sheets and towels in a washer/dryer, however. I can understand not wanting your neighbors to dry their clothes on a shared fence, but backyard drying on a clothesline should be permissible.

    • It’s so hard to find clothes well-made with non-synthetic fibers, and which I like, so when I do get my hands on them, naturally, I like to hold onto them a while! So I avoid using a clothes dryer also, to save my quality clothes rather than run back and forth to buy cheap garbage every few months that eventually gets destroyed by the dryer… I think we’d spend more on clothes that way –and electric!

  13. I note that in three states, Maine, Arizona and Vermont, it is illegal to hang clothes out on a line to dry. but do not require a permit to carry a concealed handgun within their borders. How come the NRA and the libertarian neo-cons do not bang on about this ‘inalienable human right’ to help save the planet from the unnecessary use of dryers?
    Eight children a day are killed by accident by guns in the home in the USA. I couldn’t find any data on the number that are strangled by clothes lines. Here in the UK we have very strict restrictions on guns, but we do allow clothes lines – and the accidental death rate amongst children from either is zero.

  14. It smells so strongly of either high level corruption within the lawmakers, or downright stupidity that a law like this exists in supposedly the most developed country in the world! And even more laughable is the justification given about property prices!! Is this serious? Why don’t the citizens protest against this? Except for the manufacturers and the lawmakers, who gains from this?

  15. I absolutely agree with this article and replies because I too love to hang dry my clothes even if it’s overcast but the humidity is low enough to dry them. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh air on clothes!
    Where I live there are rules to keep the clothesline “out of sight” so I’ve managed to do that but notice neighbors may be disturbed by even that so they’ve been trying to “tell me something” by running their dryers day and night heavily perfuming the air as they must be overloading them with scented dryer sheets just to ” let me know” I should be using a dryer myself, and I end up gagging with what feels like a head and chest cold! Wondering what I can do about a neighbor (or the whole gang) who it seems quite apparent, is intentionally running their clothes dryers 24/7 and creating such a thick cloud of toxic smelling laundering chemicals all around my home forcing it to seep right through walls despite my windows and doors being shut? Is this even legal to create such an airborne nuisance –and downright carcinogenic too? They are very well aware of my desperate struggles to avoid inhaling synthetically scented carcinogens since I am a natural lifestyle enjoyer, very health conscious, and fighting a major health issue as well.
    Yes, there are really mean monsters living around me so what are my rights if anyone may know, to the air I breathe being free of this nuisance at least during the “peace hours” because I certainly enjoy a good night’s sleep only an open window with fresh clean air can provide?

  16. Anyone know if there is any and I mean ANY movement in Ohio to make it a Right to Dry state? Who do you contact to start with? I did email the Governor of Ohio. Any help would be appreciated.

    • I wish I knew! I’m in Ohio, too, & we’re not permitted to have anything in our yards except plastic chairs. None of my neighbors even have swings for their kids! This is so horrible. There are no laundromats around either. (And my dryer just went out!)

  17. I cannot understand why states in the US do not allow line drying, I live inUK and always line dry weather permitting, my laundry smells really fresh when its line dried also and my bedding feels crisp, smells really good and feels silky smooth also, it is also good for whitening whites also as the sun will bleach them if they are slightly off white also

  18. I would definitely be the scofflaw in this situation and flagrantly flout any type of ordinance such as this! No way anybody is going to have the authority or audacity to tell me what I may or may not do where my family and household’s hygiene is concerned. People need to grow their spines back. 1st of all, get off my property if you weren’t invited. Secondly, you’re going to “turn me in”? I’ll kick a hole through your ass. And I won’t pay the fine. What are they going to do, put a lien against the property over something so trivial, silly, and stupid? Guess I’d make a lot of enemies because at that point I indeed *would* intentionally do other things to lower property values, just as a lesson to show what kinds of things are unsightly and lower property values. Maybe I’ll start hosting my outlaw biker gang friends and have several keggers per year… GTFOH and get off my a**! Nope, I don’t belong in close proximity to other people, especially those who are severely lacking in common sense!

  19. Wow I actually thought this was a joke illegal to line dry washing, dryers get on people’s chests and can make them ill, drying washing in the house can cause mould and damp, I absolutely love hanging my washing out daily and love my bedding dryed outside the freshness is so different to dryer or heater drying I’m so glad I live in UK as I would have to break the law

  20. After living in my apartment for 9 years I was told they are not renewing my lease unless I stop using my drying rack on my patio. Besides that I was told that I don’t need to do so…pay for the dryer ..

  21. haha, stupid Americans. So you can legally own a fully automatic AK-47 (pre built 1986), that is seen as one of the deadliest guns on the planet but you can’t own or operate a clothes line. Thank God for the Hills Hoist

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