You Are Not Allowed To Line Dry Your Clothes.


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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. 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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  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:)

  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.

    1. 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

      1. 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

  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.

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