Make It Work For You

Written in 2008, this article is still relevant and informative…

I recently challenged myself to increase the amount I air dry. I already hang dry dedicates – lingerie lasts longer that way, and my few synthetics – since they come out of the washer almost dry. I occasionally line dry sheets and blankets but frankly resisted doing more. To motivate myself – and you, I asked friends and neighbors what works for them: I found that some folks prefer lines across the yard, some prefer racks inside the garage or on the back porch, while others favor coat hangers on shower rods. On-line I found a wide variety of products including high tech ceiling racks that fold up and away when not in use.

Here are some tips to help get you going. Feel free to suggest more tips or resources.


In General

Fabrics last longer when air-dried. Man-made fabrics, silk and fine fabrics are best dried indoors or in the shade.

Hot sun works well for linen – fewer wrinkles.

Clean outdoor racks in the Spring and then again in the Fall.

Plant wonderful smelling plants near your lines – lavender, lemon verbena and thyme.

Wash and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes.

Are items coming out of the washer quite wet? Consider spinning twice.



Place a bench or chair near at hand to hold your laundry basket and prevent spills.

If you share the line or rack with neighbors, keep your items to one section.

Items do not have to be hung in the full sun. It is air and wind as much as sun that dries your wash.

Turn clothing inside out to prevent fading and faster drying of pockets and seams.

Hang T-shirts upside-down.

Use hangers for dressy clothes; try hanging dress shirts from their collar points.

Give items a good snap when hanging, which will help prevent stiffness, especially towels, and again when removing. This softens the fabric and removes any creatures or tree bits – also cuts down on wrinkles.

Do not overdry. Take clothes down while they are still slightly damp to reduce the need for ironing.

If clothes or towels are too stiff or slightly damp, throw ‘em in the dryer for a few minutes.

When hanging fitted sheets, fold elastic in around edges and hang with pins at folded edges.

When hanging on racks, try to create as much air circulation as possible, especially in the winter. In other words, flatten, pull layers apart and leave space between items.

In winter, set racks near or over the heat vents.

Clothes Pins And Pin Bags

Do not leave pins on the line permanently, and use caution, as some varieties have been known to weaken with age and sun, and can break causing sharp fragments to go into the eye!

Wood lasts longer then plastic and, with a bit of patience, can sometimes be repaired.

Have a bag that slides along on the line or pocket apron to keep pins handy. Bring it in when it starts raining.

Don’t leave your pin bag outdoors. Besides weather-damage to the pins and bag, you might get a surprise when you reach in the bag. Karin’s grandmother’s told a story of a king snake who was curled up in her pin bag! Spiders love them too.

Collected by Portia Sinnott, with help from Laura Shafer of LineDry.Com and Karin Lease, June 08