Discover line-drying clothes outdoors in the winter. The benefits include winter bleaching, saving money, and enjoying fresh laundry.
It may surprise you to learn that you can line dry your clothes all year round. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, there is an extra benefit that I like to call “snow bleaching for your whites.” So why is it that clothes can be dried on a line without using heat?
Line drying in the winter would have been a given for generations past. Doing so was quite normal. Actually, it was the only choice available other than using the fire to dry clothes, which would require a lot of racks and make a difficult obstacle course for a large family.
So why does the concept seem so foreign to so many modern homesteaders? Why do we think that drying requires heat? Perhaps as a result of our lack of knowledge on the subject of freeze-dried clothing.
What are freeze-dried clothes?
Freeze drying is just a simple phrase we use to describe the term sublimation. Sublimation is the process of going straight from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid phase. In other words, the moisture in your clothes turns into a gas and is just whisked away without needing to evaporate. How cool is that?
Winter Bleaches Your Whites
An added bonus for those of us cursed/blessed with snow: You know that great UV radiation that whitens our whites and reduces stains? They become even more powerful when reflected off the snow, bouncing off the material to reach every side of the clothing without requiring the items to be turned.
Save Money Line Drying
So why line dry in the winter? According to the Project Laundry List, line drying saves an average of $25 a month off your electricity bill. Why save $150 a year when you could save $300?
Now, I’m not going to lie, there are benefits to line drying indoors during the winter months.
Staying inside where it is warm and avoiding cold and wet fingers might be the biggest advantage. Increased moisture in the house is an additional advantage, which is beneficial because wintertime tends to make homes drier. So maybe consider line-drying just a few items outdoors. Perhaps just the bulky items that take up room in your kitchen, like your bedding.
Tips for Hanging Clothes in the Cold
When hanging clothes on a clothesline in winter, consider the following tips:
- Choose a Sunny Day: Take advantage of sunny winter days to hang your clothes. The sunlight not only dries them but also helps disinfect and freshen them.
- Time it Right: Hang your clothes early in the day to ensure they have ample time to dry before the sun sets and temperatures drop even more.
- Shake Them Out: Before hanging, give your clothes a good shake to remove excess water. This aids in faster drying.
- Space Items Out: Allow enough space between items to promote air circulation. This helps prevent freezing and ensures thorough drying.
These winter-specific tips will help make the most of line-drying during the colder months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some FAQs my readers have asked me about drying their clothes outdoors during the winter months.
Nifty Indoor Line Drying Options
If you aren’t sold on trudging through the snow to hang your clothes, here are some really neat ideas for hanging clothes indoors, especially when space is limited.
- Make a $100 Pottery Barn inspired hanging drying rack for less than $20 with help from Sawdust Girl.
- Drying racks that fold up conserve energy, are gentler on your clothes, and tuck out of the way when not in use. Apartment Therapy shares ten of the best DIY and store-bought ideas they’ve found.
- Farming My Backyard offers her insider tips and methods for line-drying clothing during inclement weather (she lives in Oregon) and when the dryer acts up.
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In addition to reducing electricity costs, line drying during the winter provides a special chance to take advantage of the snowy weather and use sunlight as a natural and sustainable way to dry clothing. So whether you use indoor racks or line dry outside on sunny winter days, this age-old method is environmentally friendly and frugal at the same time.
Have you tried line drying in the winter? Let me know about your experiences.