image by Susy Morris chiot's run

When it comes to saving energy, simple changes in your lifestyle make a big difference.  Clothes dryers use up to 6% of total electricity and are powerful emitters of carbon dioxide (up to a ton of CO2 per household every year). The average electric dryer costs only about $80 per year to run, but the cumulative effect is significant. Eighty percent of American households dry between 2 and 9 loads per week, excluding laundromats or multi-housing laundry facilities.  If all Americans currently not using a clothesline started to use one for ten months of the year, we could avoid 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere annually.

There are several other reasons for line drying your clothes. Clothes last longer.  The lint from the dryer is actually a sign that your clothes are wearing out.   Sunlight also bleaches and disinfects your clothes.  I find that my clothes wrinkle less when I line dry them, so I save energy (and time) by not having to iron!  On these hot summer days, a dryer only makes the house hotter causing your air conditioner to work harder and use more energy.  In dry winter weather, drying clothes on a drying rack actually helps humidify.

Surprisingly, clothes lines are banned or restricted in some communities and homeowner’s associations for aesthetic reasons and because they feel they hurt property values.  A Right to Dry Movement has developed around this controversy and is pushing for this simple, feel good, nostalgic, eco-conscious step that also save money.  Who doesn’t love the fresh clean scent of line-dried clothes?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mary on July 5, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I dry every thing on clothes drying racks even though my neighborhood does not have any rules against hanging a clothesline. I choose to use racks over a line because I can air dry year round and I do not have to worry about the pop up thunderstorms popping up and getting my laundry wet again. Also I like that I can move my laundry around the house depending upon other activities going on and the time of the day. I just find it really easy and flexible.


  2. Thanks for responding. I use a drying rack a lot too. It’s easier in many ways, though I love the smell of line drying clothes outside. Have you noticed a reduction in your electric bill?


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