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Let It All Hang Out: A Clothesline Buying Guide

Posted By Ginny Figlar Colón On May 20, 2010 @ 4:58 pm In Green Living, Healthy Home | 7 Comments

Hanging Laundry on a Closeline [1]I don’t know about you, but I love doing the laundry [2] when it involves line drying the load outside instead of using the dryer. It’s part pure eco-satisfaction [3], and I love how fresh the clothes seem [4] as a result. It also appeals to my frugal side, since line drying can save [5] $135 annually.

Other reasons why I love line drying clothes:

  • It’s gentle on fabric.
  • Direct sunlight kills bacteria (good for cloth diapers) and dust mites (good for bedding).
  • Not running the dryer keeps the house [6] cooler in the summer.
  • There’s no shrinking.

I just have one big problem: Our umbrella clothesline was destroyed by a big tree limb. So I’m shopping around for a replacement.

4 line-drying options

Here is my list of pros and cons as I ponder my options:

Umbrella clothesline — highest price tag, but most efficient

If I had the budget for it, this would be the no-brainer choice. Our old umbrella line [7] could easily handle a big load, including sheets, quilts, etc [8]. Maintenance-wise, I just had to wipe dirt and pollen off the lines at the start of spring. Since I don’t know how long we will stay in this house, and money is tight right now, I’m probably not going to go this route.

Retractable clothesline — discreet, but watch out for sag

This is probably the front-runner for me because I could attach one end to the house and the other end to the garage. And even though its placement could be in the way, that’s only when I have clothes drying. But I’ve been reading about a lot of sag issues with these, and I also wonder how long it takes before the retracting mechanism breaks. If it’s like our vacuum cord retractor, not long. On the plus side, the line stays clean since it’s not exposed to the elements all year.

Portable drying rack — perfect for small spaces and strict HOAs

I think a portable rack [9] is always a good investment. It can be used inside in the winter and on rainy days. I’ve been lugging mine outside now, as well, until we get a more permanent solution. I have to be careful on windy days that it doesn’t blow over. And while it can handle a whole load, it can’t really handle sheets.

While not an issue for me, this might be the best option for people in restrictive HOAs, where clotheslines in public view are prohibited [10].

Nylon cord strung between two trees — cheap and simple if you have the space and the trees

This is the method that worked for my mom when I was growing up. We had a big yard with a few big trees at one end of it, so the clothesline wasn’t in the way of backyard Wiffle ball and Frisbee games. In my current home, we have a decent-sized yard, but (sigh) I can’t think of a good spot to hang a permanent line.

What’s your line-drying solution of choice? I would love any tips that could help with my dilemma.

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URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/let-it-all-hang-out-a-clothesline-buying-guide/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Laundry.jpg

[2] laundry: http://www.gaiam.com/category/eco-home-outdoor/household/laundry.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[3] eco-satisfaction: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/id/CAT00004

[4] fresh the clothes seem: http://www.gaiam.com/product/nellies+laundry+soap.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[5] save: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Home-Energy.html

[6] house: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Healthy-Home.html

[7] umbrella line: http://www.gaiam.com/product/umbrella+clothes+dryer.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[8] sheets, quilts, etc: http://www.gaiam.com/category/eco-home-outdoor/bedroom/sheets-bedding.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[9] portable rack: http://www.gaiam.com/product/large+wooden+drying+rack.do?SID=WG107SPRTAPEMACS

[10] clotheslines in public view are prohibited: http://right2dry.org/

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