Saturday, February 7, 2009

5 Tips from a Line-Drying Expert

I am lucky to have a Line-Drying Expert right here in my own home: my husband, who hails from Stroud in England. When we were first married, he was somewhat shocked at my lack of air-drying skills. 

Drying clothes, growing herbs 
on our tiny beach-house landing

With my husband's help, I've gradually figured out to dry clothes without a dryer and without anxiety. He's offered lots of washing and drying help and advice over the years.

Here are his five top line-drying tips:

1. Check the weather: You can line-dry your laundry in any climate, but it helps to be in tune with the environment. In years past the BBC radio announced which days of the week would offer "perfect drying weather" and admonished the ladies of the house to get their washing on. Today you can check for weather updates on the or on your iPhone. Wash sheets and towels the night before you expect sunny weather - hang your things out in the morning.  

Folding sheets in half widthwise

2. Towels: You might feel that towels dry too slowly on the line, however you'll significantly reduce your energy usage if you avoid resorting to the dryer. Run your towels through the spin cycle twice to squeeze out moisture. Wrung-out towels dry quickly in the sunshine but may take overnight to dry indoors. Once dry, you can fluff them up on the air-only cycle in your dryer if you like them nice and soft.

Hold the two corners together and pin to the line

3. Sheets: Get a friend to help if possible. For indoors: fold the sheets in half lengthwise and lay them over the drying rack. For outdoors: fold the sheets widthwise. Hold two corners together and use a clothes pin to attach to the line. Then hold the other two corners together and pin to the line. You end up with a tunnel - the wind can blow through and dry the sheet faster. What's more, the sheet doesn't drag along the ground.

A look through the drying tunnel

4. Use the dryer...judiciously: If your laundry isn't quite dry when you need it, pop it in the dryer for five or ten minutes to get your things bone dry.

5. Shake it, baby: Shake your clothes out before you hang them up - they'll need less ironing. And as much as we like drying, nobody likes to iron.

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