G'Bye, Dryer Sheets & Hello, Clothesline!

Isn't this a great picture? It's by Operators Are Standing By, and it's the view from her kitchen sink.
If you looked through the window over my kitchen sink, you'd see pretty much the same thing... trees, fence, and yes, a laundry line.

We've been in our house just shy of 6 years now, and I've never used it. It just seemed like a ton of work for such little good. And of course, it's too cold to hang clothes outside eight months of the year over here.

The dryer is so much more convenient, and until recently, we didn't think our clothes could feel as soft and cuddly without the use of dryer sheets.

But after learning that these things are actually cancer-causing stinkers that also release their chemical poisons into the air when used, we stopped using them and found that we really didn't need them so desperately after all. And over the months, we've saved money not buying these lethal things.

We occasionally use the reusable Static Eliminator dryer cloths... although the first time we used it, the clothes ended up covered in blue wax thanks to a crayon we'd overlooked in Lam's jeans. Yuck, and yes, totally unrelated.
Anyway, you really don't need to use anything in the dryer, if you don't want to. Your stuff will be plenty soft on its own.

So, this summer, I'll make an effort to use our clothes line. We'll be saving money, saving our health, saving the earth, and getting ourselves some fresh, clean, sun-kissed duds. :)


  1. I've never hung my clothes out because I just feel like my clothes would get dirty from the wind blowing.

  2. @the hunter's wife -
    yeah, I have to admit that I'm afraid of birds doing their deed on my clothes, and end up with dirtier clothes than I started with :)

  3. Too cold to use the clothesline?

    You so crazy! The clothes dry just fine (even better) when it's cold and dry outside. Of course, Winnipeg doesn't have a dry cold... :-)

    And they smell so fresh coming in off the line (well, unless you're downwind of something nasty like a mushroom farm... or in Beijing or some other smoggy city)

    What do you think our Manitoban ancestors did before the electric clothes dryer came along? Wear wet clothes all winter?

    To be honest, we rarely dry clothes outside but we frequently use the clothesline in the basement. And by "we", I mean She Who Must Be Obeyed. It was her idea and she does all the work.

    And yes, I've long believed dryer sheets to be evil and unnecessary.
    They're an excellent example of advertising creating a need.

  4. @albert -
    our dryer is old and showing signs of an impending breakdown... so we may have to use a clothesline in our damp, postage-stamp-sized basement in the winter... or buy another dryer. :)

    yeah, I had no idea that they were as evil as they were. I knew they were a little harsh for babies and those with sensitive skin, and when I started mixing the kids' laundry with mine a few years back, I considered not using them anymore, but I didn't feel the urgency to ditch them until late last year.

  5. ...when you're at the point - or even if you're not - replace your washer with a front load. Not only does it use a thimble-full of water; not only does it judge for itself by the size of the load how much water it *needs* (less panic about smaller loads - sometimes required with a family!); not only is it *gentler* on you clothes while cleaning them more thoughroughly (save $$ on clothes AND drycleaning!), BUT ALSO it spins the *crap* out of them, making them almost dry coming out! We did that for the water savings (don't talk to me about the toilet, that's supposed to be coming soon!) and have been quite happy.

    Growing up with prolific use of clothes lines, I have to say that the only thing it was kind of lacking for was towels. It may not have helped that we had a crappy washer that perhaps didn't rinse soap out as well as it should have, but crusty, crusty! As for winter - I think freeze drying may actually be faster! I imagine it's the hanging in -25 you're reticent about. Get yourself some of those mitten/fingerless gloves! ;-)

  6. @harmzie -
    Oh yeah, I've been lusting after a front load washer for some time! Less water, less soap, and easier on clothes... it's only a matter of time... and money :)

    Um, yeah, island-girl here won't be hanging clothes out in -25C temps and 3-4 ft high snowdrifts any time soon!... although chances of bird poop would be lower. Anyway, one step at a time... gotta tackle hanging them up in +25C temps first!

  7. Anonymous06 June, 2008

    We have a front load washer/dryer and Harmzie is correct-items are a lot dryer. I hang up a fair amount of items on a rack beside the dryer. It takes a day or so but it is better than using the dryer to that capacity.

    My family always had a clothes line(althought I do not) and to be honest I love blankets that have the fresh air smell and often hang our own blanket out -30 or not!

  8. @lrm -
    you know, I grew up with a clothesline, and my grandmother used it all the time (mother never did; mind you, I don't remember her doing much laundry when my grandma lived with us).
    yeah, the fresh air smell is nice. :)