10 Reasons to Ditch Your Clothes Dryer

I grew up helping my mom and grandma hang their clothes on the line. When I grew tall enough to hang clothes myself one of my Saturday morning chores was to hang the freshly washed laundry on the line before heading to the barn to feed our farm animals. It was just part of life for our family.

I’ve continued the tradition, so to speak, by hanging clothes in the Summer months, but I never considered completely ditching my clothes dryer…until I had no choice. 5 months ago my dryer finally bit the dust. Ben has repaired it many times over the years, but there was no saving it one last time.  We were a week away from our daughter’s 6th birthday, the holidays were approaching fast, and our budget was already really tight.

So, after some discussion, we decided we should ditch the dryer for good instead of buying a replacement. Our finances are better now, but I still have no desire to purchase a new dryer. It seems like such an unnecessary expense now, and here’s why!

10 reasons to ditch your clothes dryer

10 Reasons to Ditch Your Clothes Dryer:

1. A clothes dryer is a luxury item, not a necessity.

It takes a little more effort to hang clothes on the line, but you do not need a dryer to dry clothing. It may take longer to dry clothes on a line, but they will still get dry. In our case, I find my clothes actually dry faster on the line than in the dryer in the Summer months, but this will vary based on your local climate.

2. It can be relaxing.

Now that line drying is my only option it forces me to slow down and take the time to relax. Often times I throw on my headset and listen to one of my favorite playlists, a podcast, or audio book while hanging out the clothes by myself. When hanging clothes indoors I often use the time to gather my thoughts. I keep a notebook nearby and use the time to brainstorm blog posts, etc.

3. Line dried clothing lasts longer.

There is a reason women have been air drying their delicates for years. Our clothes take a beating in the dryer. All that lint we clean from our dryers is actually our clothing breaking down over time. Not only do our lined dried clothes last longer, but the color stays brighter.

4. The sunshine works as a disinfectant and bleach. Dew is also a natural bleach!

I always hang my whites in the sunshine because the sun really does help disinfect and bleach clothing. Just make sure to hang darker colored items in the shade or under shelter on sunny days. If you have white sheets or towels that have turn yellow, leave them out overnight in the dew. Allow them time to dry in the morning before bringing inside, and the dew will have worked as bleach. Yes, it really does work, and is particularly handy for dingy cloth diapers!

5. It’s cost effective!

The cost of installing a clothesline or buying drying racks is so much cheaper than buying a clothes dryer. Air drying is free which will definitely save you some dough on your power bill. With 2 very active kids who like to get a dirty and a husband who gets very dirty at work most days, I can easily wash 3-4 loads of laundry every day. Line drying has reduced our daily power usage by an average of 16kwh/day! We’re saving a little over $2 per day (at $.014/kwh) by line drying.

6. Drying indoors in Winter months boosts indoor humidity.

The winter months can be plagued with dry air. Hanging our clothing indoors allows moisture to return to the indoor air boosting the humidity level.

7. Drying outdoors prevents wrinkles.

despise ironing. Not only does line drying prevent wrinkles better than a dryer (in my opinion), it’s cheaper than tossing clothes back into the dryer for another run to get the wrinkles out. Shaking out wet clothing and hanging them upside down pulls the wrinkles out while air drying. A breeze keeps the clothing moving and also helps prevent wrinkles.

I actually prefer using an umbrella style clothesline that will spin in the breeze. If you have one that doesn’t spin, put a metal pole with a slightly larger diameter in the ground, and place your umbrella clothesline inside it to spin.

8. Clothes dried outdoors smell great!

I think there is nothing better than the smell of fresh warm laundry off the clothesline since clothing dried outdoors will take on the smell of flowers and other fragrant environmental smells. So many companies try to replicate that “outdoorsy” smell, but I’ve never found a detergent that gets it quite right.

9. You don’t have to settle for stiff clothes.

It’s very easy to prevent stiff towels and jeans by adding 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to your rinse load. The vinegar naturally softens clothing by removing detergent residue and has the added bonus of whitening, brightening, and removing smells caused by mildew or sweat.

10. Make it a family affair.

My kids and I will use any excuse to get outdoors, and I’ll take any excuse to spend extra time with my girls. Plus, line drying provides a lesson in working together as a family. My 6 year old used to hate it when I would ask her to help with laundry. Now that it’s a fun task she’s usually the first one out the door ready to help! Even my 2 year old gets in on the action by being the “keeper of the clothes pins”.

I have also noticed line drying has taught my 6 year old to pay more attention to the “dirtiness” of her clothing. Now that she sees how much time I put into doing laundry each week she takes the time to really make sure something is dirty before putting in the dirty laundry instead of tossing everything in whether it’s been worn 10 hours or 10 minutes!

Line drying may not be for everyone, but our family has finally ditched the dryer for good. Do you think you could ever ditch your clothes dryer? Do you have any tips for line drying clothes to share with us? Let us know in the comments!

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Jenn is from Upstate, SC, and loves that she gets to work from home to be with her two little girls. Jenn has been happily married to her very own Superman, Ben, for over a decade, and spends her time reading, writing short stories, doing freelance work and blogging, crafting, riding motorcycles, watching Clemson football, and enjoying life with her family.

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Comments

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    I’m with you all the way – why do we need a clothes dryer. You hit the nail on the head when you say it’s a luxury item. I love all your reasons and especially the overlooked #6. Hanging the laundry is HOW I add humidity to a dry house in the winter and since they hand by the wood stove they dry very fast!
    I didn’t realize the sun acted as a disinfectant and bleach! Thanks for that, and for the tip of adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. I hate the stiff towels. Will this soften them?
    Loir

    • We also use a wood stove as our primary heat source, so it doubles as my free laundry drying heat in the winter as well. Even though we use a kettle for steam, too, I can tell a huge difference in humidity on laundry days!

      My towels are never as soft as they would be straight from the dryer, but the vinegar helps a lot. Our towels don’t feel like sandpaper against the skin anymore, but we still have a little stiffness when drying indoors.

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  1. […] the line. I have been dryer free for 7 months, and I’m still very happy with my decision to ditch my dryer. However, I have changed my washing routine up a bit with the addition of Downy fabric […]