One of the most energy-hungry appliances in your home, a tumble dryer can rack up that energy bill. So it’s no surprise that our thoughts turn to line drying.
The idea of linen billowing on a washing line on a sunny day is a seductive one, but the truth is line-dried washing all too often drops back into the laundry basket either oddly misshapen, covered in unsightly peg marks, or scratchy and stiff as a board.
But there are ways to line dry your clothes to perfection and save yourself a fortune in the process.
A common complaint about line drying is that it tends to leave some items — towels and jeans in particular — feeling as stiff as cardboard and as scratchy as sandpaper, even if they’ve been rinsed with fabric softener.
To stop this, stick rigidly to the recommended amount of detergent when you wash these items. Overdosing can leave a residue of detergent that creates a fine, crusty surface on heavy fabrics such as towelling and denim when they are line-dried.
You may also want to skip on conventional fabric softener when you’re washing towels, as the conditioning agents in it tend to cling to towelling fibres, affecting their absorbency and giving off musty smells. We recommend adding a half a cup of white vinegar to your final rinse. The acid in the vinegar will soften the fabric by stripping away detergent and softener residue and won’t cause an odor on the fabric.
If you have enough space on your washing line, hang towels horizontally, using several pegs along their lengths to stop sagging. They’ll dry much more quickly pegged this way.
Finally, for extra softness, remove your towels and denim from the line when they’re almost dry and give them a quick five minutes on a low heat in the tumble dryer.
Keep pairs of socks together when you throw them in the hamper, along with when you wash and line-dry them. We recommend using one peg for two pairs. Easy as!
Unsightly peg marks and fabric distortions — where clothes have stretched on the line as they’ve dried — often put people off line-drying, but you can easily stop this from happening.
Always hang tops from their bottoms and bottoms from their tops. The key is to peg your clothing in areas where a mark (if any) won’t be noticed.
Using ‘the right pegs’ can make a difference and that’s why we highly recommend our bamboo pegs – they won’t stain clothing because of their low tannin content.
Many are committed to their tumble dryers because they cut down on ironing. But crease-free line-drying is possible too.
Don’t stuff your washing machine to capacity – they need room to move around, which will prevent creasing after the spin cycle. When it is time to line dry the garment, give them a good shake and maybe hang them on a hanger on the line rather than a peg so they retain their shape. Finally, take clothes off the line just before they turn bone dry. Leaving a little moisture in the fabrics will help creases drop out and make them much easier to iron if you need to.
Ditch the bleach and go natural with sunlight! The sun is proven to be an efficient fabric bleach and works great when drying whites & stained items like tea towels.
UV rays will quickly brighten greying whites and even fade hard-to-remove stains, but be cautious when drying coloureds (including denim) outside. Alway turn these items inside out and hang them in a shady area.
To avoid running out of line space — and pegs — invest in a drying rack for small items like socks, flannels, tea towels and underwear. A classic Pulleymaid will do the job perfectly!
A sunny day doesn’t guarantee dry laundry. When it comes to drying clothes outside, humidity is a much more important factor than temperature or sun strength, say meteorologists. If it’s been raining overnight, your clothes won’t dry even if it’s a fine, sunny day.
Light breezes are great for speeding up drying but strong winds are less helpful — clothes can blow off the line, tangle or billow and catch on plants and fences. If you have a rotary line, be aware that hanging large items like duvet covers and towels on the outside can block air flow and slow the drying time of items on the inner lines.
Pollen can cling to fabric, so if you or a family member suffers from hayfever, avoid hanging clothes and bed linen out in the early morning or late afternoon when pollen levels are high.