Hanging Laundry On The Line

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hanging laundry on the line

Easy Tips For Hanging Laundry On The Line

In our All About Laundry e-book,  I tried to cover everything about hanging laundry and doing the wash from beginning to end. I recently happened to think about one thing I forgot to mention about hanging laundry on the line. When you see how big the book is you will find it hard to believe I could have left anything out. Often I don’t think our readers realize what a nice sized “little” book it is at 111 pages. It includes everything about how to deal with laundry and how to get those mounds of clothes under control! It covers everything including clothes hampers, sorting, stains, washing, homemade laundry supplies of all sorts (starch, detergent, etc.), ironing, folding and hanging laundry on a line or on racks.

I thought I had left no stone unturned but here are a couple of tips I did forget:

    • Start with something simple. If you are just beginning to hang laundry on the line start with something simple, like a load of towels. It will get you used to using the clothespins and they are easy to hang with out having to worry about wrinkles or getting seams straight.

      I fluff my towels in the dryer for about 3-5 minutes and then hang them out. For those of you who just can’t give up your dryers, you might consider hanging just one load a week.  Even if you only hang your towels for the first week or two you will be saving time and money because they take so much longer to dry than anything else.

    • Don’t bunch and watch for wads. I saw a video of a woman who had hung her laundry on the line for the first time and she made the comment that it must have been extra humid because it took so long to dry. In reality, most of her problem was that she had not used clothes pins and had just thrown them over the line doubled. In some cases, they were all wadded.

      Make sure you have nothing wadded up. For example if you don’t watch it, corners at the bottoms of sheets can be slightly bunched or the corners up by where you pin them. This may not seem too important but there is nothing more frustrating than to bring your laundry in from the line, ready to fold, and find that you can’t because of one or two corners that are still damp.

    • Don’t fold the laundry when it’s damp. Whatever you do, don’t fold your clothes if they’re even slightly  damp. Often people can’t figure out why their laundry smells sour and this is one reason. That smell is very hard to get rid of. It is essentially mold growing on your laundry.


You might also want to read our post about Hanging Laundry On The Line.

For lots more easy tips and ideas for hanging laundry, cleaning and homemaking, including our All About Laundry e-book, check out our Keeping It Clean e-books.



  1. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Thank you for teaching us to conserve God’s resources of clean hot water, soap, electricity, clothing and time. Because I’m a professional, I don’t really get dirty. Daily I hang all the clothing I’ve worn inside out on the shower rail so they dehumidify and I can reserve them for another wear. Also, when hanging wet laundry, I hold one end of it and give it one good snappy shaking out to reduce wriknkles. It helps me to avoid ironing, which is against my religion (giggle!). After all ironing wastes time and electricty if done needlessly.

  2. Gisele Dumais says

    Good day Jill,

    Yesterday, I bought 3 new rugs for $5 (cdn) each. About 2 hours after I laid the rugs down in my bathroom, my dear husband spilled iodine on one of them. Now, I have a brown stain about the size of the bottom of a can of AirWick. Is there any way I can take the stain out ?

    Thank you and have a great day !


  3. jill says

    You can try each one of these steps. If one doesn’t work then try the next.

    Soak over night or for 24 hours in cold water.

    Moisten with water then using steam from your steam iron or steam from a tea kettle, hold the rug over the steam for a few moments. If that doesn’t work;

    Try rubbing alcohol on it.

    Last but may not be worth it because the stuff you have to buy may cost more then the rug. I have never used this and don’t even know where to get it but it is the recommended thing to remove iodine and that is sodium thiosulfate.

    Hope this helps. Just to let you all know the new laundry book has a whole chapter on stain removal. It sometimes is handy to have something like it on hand because usually the faster you take care of a stain the better the chances are that you can remove it.


  4. says

    Came over from the news letter link. I have been doing a “frugal fashionista” series on my blog about clothing and dressing with a designer wardrobe at yard sale prices. It’s been fun to introduce people who would never think of buying second hand to this concept and hoping to demystify it for them. :)

    I bought a clothes line..now I just need to hand it outside when it’s a bit nicer out.

  5. says

    I have only actually onwed a dryer for about 9 months of my married life (almost 18 years), and we also used it as a way to heat the house. I have an indoor and outdoor line and love hanging things to dry. Inside I hang things on hangers, outside where I have more room I hang them “normally”.

  6. Grandma Bea says

    I an amazed to read that people in USA do not hang their clothes out on dry. Nearly very house here in New Zealand has a clothes line. I peg my clothes carefully and bring them in and fold them or hang them up immediately and never need to iron! The only time I use a dryer is when the clothes have not fully dried.

    There is nothing like the smell of clothes dried in the sunshine and fresh air. Its great to see them flapping in the wind.

    Here in New Zealand people are going back to using cloth diapers too.

    Drying your clothes on the line saves on electricty. Try using half the recommended washing detergent and a cold cycle too. Only badly soiled clothes need the full scoop and hot water.

  7. Debbie Bowen says

    Will the laundry book be available as a regular book.
    nothing beats a good “old fashion” book to thumb through.

    I love your site and enjoy twice a week e-mails better.


  8. jill says

    Debbie I am like you I prefer a good old fashion hard cover book myself but when we poll people, most want an e book and sells on our e books are usually better so I’m not sure what we will do.

    We are tossing around the idea of doing some in hard cover too although we have to charge just a little extra of course for printing etc so that is another reason for the e book is to keep costs as low as possible for everyone.

    If enough people holler we might do a regular book we are still debating. Thanks for letting us know what you need. We really do try to listen to our readers.


  9. jill says

    Grandma Bea, I live in the US and I still can’t believe that most people don’t hang out their clothes. There is nothing like it and I agree with everything you say.

    What I find even more amazing is we have tons of housing areas that say you aren’t allowed to hang your clothes out I find it funny that so many people who holler about being green buy homes in these places but yet that is an expectable practice here.

    I’m like K.Korner too. I haven’t had a drying much in my life and when I have I don’t use it except once in a while to fluff things. I haven’t had a dryer now for about 12 or 13 years.

    What happens is once you get use to hanging clothes it isn’t as difficult and time consuming as most people think and the benefits are so great. Besides saving on electricity and wear and tear on clothes there is the smell, the clothes are brighter, there are less stains and there is nothing like hanging clothes on a spring morning, smelling the air, listening to the birds and soaking in the sun (and some vitamin D).


  10. Lori says

    My DH helped me put up a clothesline at our house about three years ago and I love using it(although I like the way towels come out better from the dryer still) but the one thing I haven’t found the best way to hang is my fitted sheets – they always come out so wrinkled from where it sits on the line. Is there a better way to hang them? Thanks for all the great ideas and encouragement.

  11. jill says

    First a lot of people don’t like the feel of the towels when hung on the line but if you just fluff them for about 5 mins. in the dryer before hanging they feel the same.

    Fold your fitted sheet in half and pin the center to the line with the corners hanging down. I don’t know if that explains it very well but we do show pictures of how to hang a fitted sheet and everything else in the new laundry e book to get the least amount and in most cases no wrinkles.

    For those of you who have trouble folding a fitted sheet we have a new video on you tube on how to fold a fitted sheet and another one on making laundry detergent.


  12. says

    I fold my fitted sheets in half (across) and in half again, kind of like the folding a fitted sheet video shows with the “pockets” together, and hang them with the pocket side down. Mine hardly ever have a wrinkle, if it does no one notices, including me. :) We prefer line dried towels. We think we get drier than with dryer dried ones. Especially ones that have had fabric softener or dryer sheets used on them. They, for us are the worst.

  13. jill says

    The main thing with hanging a fitted sheet on the line is with the pockets hanging down. If you think about it most of the weight on the sheet(especially when wet)is in the corners and with them hanging down that weight helps pull the wrinkles out. That’s why I hang my jeans and pants by the bottom of the legs instead of the waist. The same principle applies.

    If you seem to have problems with wrinkles in anything you might look at it and think, What is the heaviest part and then try to hang them with that part down.


  14. Lori says

    Thank you so much – I think my problem was trying to spead the sheets out in a single layer but not getting them flat. I’ll try folding them like you suggest this morning since Friday is my sheet washing day. I bet it will make folding them faster off the line too since the first step is done. I love the videos, the website and blog.

  15. Rebecca says

    I agree about the line dried towels….when I first started hanging things out regularly (probably 10 years ago), everyone here hated the feeling of line dried towels..now everyone thinks they feel drier when they use the line dried ones! I rarely use my drier, sometimes to fluff after coming off the line. I watch the weather report and do my laundry accordingly (avoiding rain, etc.) This week has been rainy so but will be nice starting tomorrow and I have around 4 loads to get washed and hung out, starting tomorrow. My husband strung my lines years ago, I have 3 good long lines. My 15 year old daughter also helps with putting them out and the 11 year old helps bring them in. This nation is all about GO GREEN and yet prohibits people from hanging out laundry, I agree that’s idiotic! I personally LOVE seeing my laundry flying in the wind with the sun beating on it on a spring or summer day and I have been known to hang my laundry on a mild winter day too. ;0)

  16. Anna says


    As another person from the Southern Hemisphere I must say, finding out that people *don’t* hang their clothes out in the lovely sunshine to dry is certainly an eye-opener!

    As for HOA’s that ban washing lines – what idiocy! Surely they can appreciate how much better for the environment (and the clothes!) it is to simply hang it out in the yard and let the wind and sun do all the work, rather than using up valuable non-renewable resources!

    I know that if any ‘homeowners’ association’ in Australia tried to ban outdoor washing lines there would be a riot! I personally love nothing more than the sight of my line filled with towels and sheets, flapping in the breeze.

    I’d urge anyone in the ‘States whose HOA disallows washing lines to approach them and ask why – surely preserving our Earth is more important than aesthetics? (and who drives around peeping into people’s backyards, anyway?)

    • says

      Anne what is even crazier about it all is the states who first started putting a ban on these things and even have HOA’s are the ones who make the most noise about saving the environment. This is why I keep telling everyone before you jump on a “great sounding” band wagon make sure to follow through and see what the end consequences will be.

  17. gertrud says

    I have a dryer only as backup for winter weather, wet only.Otherwise, clothes get hung out during the winter, too.With wind always blowing in OK they dry fast.
    But, has anyone a tip for hanging out t-shirts??
    They either stretch at the bottom or have marks from the cloths pins on the top shoulder seams. Anybody with any suggestions??? Thanks, love your website. Gertrud

    • says

      Gertrud, don’t hang T shirts by the shoulder seams because it does leave a mark. It is hard to explain but I gather the t shirt hem at the bottom and hold it under the sleeve seam and give it a little tug. This stretches the hem line out evenly and then I hang by the bottom.
      It is almost impossible to explain what I mean but we have lots of pictures on how to hang clothes in our laundry e book which shows this and how to do many other things. There really is an “art” to hanging clothes to prevent this and a reason to hang things a certain way.

      We are this week going to try and make a video in the next week or two to show exactly how to hang clothes to prevent puckers, wrinkles and to dry the quickest. Hope everyone will like something like that.

  18. luna says

    There is a group called Project Laundry List that is into line drying. I work at a laundry but dry my clothes on a line except in rainy for several days weather

  19. tuxgirl says

    I recently got an indoor drying rack, since we live in a small townhome in the pacific northwest. So far, I’ve only used it for diapers. It doesn’t seem to be big enough to use with regular loads of laundry… Am I missing something? It is barely big enough for 3 days of diapers, and that’s when I hang my flats folded in half so they take less space.

    • says

      Tuxgirl it’s not you because all drying racks are not created equal. :) :) They come in many different sizes from little ones that will only hold a few undies to giant ones which can hold a whole load of laundry.

      Another thing is all washers are not created equal and can do huge loads of laundry now. What I do is some of my things like shirts, dresses, pj’s I will hang on hangers and hang to dry someplace else. You could get two racks, do smaller loads if your washer is the kind which you can adjust the water on, or dry your heavier things on the rack and the lighter things (like diapers) in the dryer because they take less time.

      When I had 2 in diapers I would hang mine on my old fashioned radiators. They would dry almost instantly. Also if you put your things in front of a fan or furnace then put the light weight things on first and they could be dry in a couple of hours for you to then put the rest of the clothes on to dry.

  20. Linda Cabler says

    I often hang out my clothes BUT I hang them on a hanger first and take my hand and smooth out the wrinkles before I hang them up. ( Tee shirts and tops) I hang my skirts up on hangers too. My jeans i just hang on the regular line by the waist and open them so the air can go down through them. They dry much faster.
    It is easier if you hang bed clothing and towels and wash clothes together. Takes less time to organize them when you bring them inside.

    If the weather is bad i hang my clothes on an extension rod INSIDE the shower. They dry quickly and do not take up time in your shower.

  21. Linda Cabler says

    I dry my clothes on the line first and then if they need any fluffing up I put them in the dryer on touch up for about 10 to 15 min.

    I also was all my clothes in COLD water to save on the utility bill.

  22. kim says

    For people who are shy about hanging clothes out (wondering what the neighbors might think). My DH put up my line and connected one end to the backside of our privacy fence. Now only a quarter of it can be seen.
    Also I would like it if you did have your books in book form again. I realize that many like e-books, but you can’t really give that as a gift.

  23. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I’ve been hanging clothes on the line since I had to use woolite when beating my fine washables against a rock.

  24. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Thanks for telling me to hang my jeans by the leg openings so their weight would pull the wrinkles out.

    Also, why worry if your sheets or towels get wrinkled? No one sees them.

  25. Sandi P says

    After doing without a dryer for a while (how spoiled I am LOL) I’ve learned which items dry better on a rack and which items dry better on hangars (NOT metal hangers). I hang jeans with each leg on a separate hanger, and turn them often. I hang the hangars on the doorway ledges for best airflow, and I was amazed how fast most items dry. Many, many years ago I had to do my laundry by hand (living in Germany) and learned the hard way NOT to use a scrub brush to clean birdseye diapers. (Does anyone remember birdseye diapers?)

  26. Mary E.S. says

    I also would like to have your books in real book form.With 4 people and 1 computer,I don’t have time to read a book on the computer.I also can’t mark my favorite pages in a e book.

  27. beth062363 says

    I too love hanging my clothes out.I even do laundry early,as the sun comes up,so I can hang them out before work. Mu only problem is I live in the northeast and it gets very humid. the temp may say 80 but when the humidity is high the don’t dry. When it comes to my jeans or towels I’ll let them hang for a day and evening comes I’ll take them down and fluff them in my drier for about 20 minutes. They are dry and not too stiff or scratchy.

  28. rose says

    i hang my clothes out on the fence around the yard .. the lady next door to me thought it was odd bc she hasnt seen anyone hang out their clothes to dry since she was a little girl …
    i told her she is more than welcome to use the fence too ..
    and she said she preferred her dryer ..
    we live in fl .. and the electric has gone up again . .
    i thought she would have said yes but she declined again ..
    i like to use the dryer for our socks/undies and towels but if i cant get to the laundromat then they get hung out too .. (which is most of the time anyway) …
    thought i would share too 😀 ..

  29. Frank says

    Hanging laundry outside is great until the neighboring dairy farm spreads manure on the adjoining fields or sprays the crops. I see or smell that going on its to the electric dryer or drying rack inside!

  30. Melissa says

    I live in the Pacific Northwest too, and in my apartment I have not only a drying rack, but I found a wonderful old portable umbrella-type clothesline (it folds up to be put away when not in use) and I use it on my small deck on sunny days ,which are few and far between! I also do my laundry in my apartment (no washer or dryer) in a bucket with a nonelectric Breathing Mobile Washer, so named because when it is used it makes a “whooshing” sound that sounds like panting, and/or a Wonder Washer, a small portable hand-powered washing machine. It depends on how much laundry there is to do on which method I use. No more lining up to use the complex washer and dryer, which are almost always in use. I save money and energy doing it all myself and drying it with a centrifugal spin dryer, which spins the water out of the clothes, leaving them slightly damp and ready to be hung inside or out to dry completely, with no dripping. I so love to do my laundry at home in peace and comfort, day or night, and laundry does not pile up anymore. I love sun-dried clothes, and on that wonderful day when I buy my own home, I shall certainly put up a clothesline, homeowners’ association or not!

  31. rose says

    we have found a place .. and its an apt .. so there is no line or fence for me to hang out clothes .. i found at the dollar store a clothing rack (it has to be assembled) .. so this is how i will hang out my laundry on the back porch .. 😀 ..

  32. Jess says

    I saw you mention Youtube in one of the above comments. What is your Youtube channel? I love getting your tips in my email and would like to subscribe there as well.

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