The Culture War Over Drying Clothes

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Even if you did want to hang out washing most back yards in the US don’t have a clothes line. It’s very frustrating.
Interesting fact. Anything with elastic in it last about half as long if dried in a clothes dryer. So if you don’t want the elastic to fail in your knickers, use a clothes line.


This is one close to my heart. I avoid dryers as much as possible (but do succumb when available in wintery UK months). I much prefer to dry clothes naturally and agree with your interesting fact Elsie… everything lasts longer if it doesn’t see the inside of a drier :slight_smile: No shrinkage either and in times of rising electric costs… good for the budget too!

In France, because of camping / motorhomes / outdoor culture (I think) you find big washers and dryers outside at many fuel stops, even in the countryside. These are great when you need them, but I have already decided we won’t be having one in our new tiny home.

I always chuckle when people find it odd that us Brits often use the radiators to dry clothes in the winter months!! Do other countries not do this?


We have a wooden pulley clothes airer above the Aga, all our clothes get dried on that……don’t even own a tumble drier! :rofl:


Best way if you can’t get them outside

Interestingly enough, we truly enjoy hanging our clothes outside. We’ve embraced this European lifestyle, and even though two of the homes had dryers, we chose to hang them up. Conservation is part of it, and the fresh smell is another. We’ve also acclimated to no screens in windows, handles (rather than doorknobs) that turn up to lock, ovens with cooking fans, 4 different bins for trash (picked up on alternate days), walking to the grocery store/pub/cafe, outdoor cats, back gardens and lots of stairs for living on multiple levels. We love ALL of it and it reminds us so much of our time living overseas back in the 70s.


Many HOAs and the like forbid people from hanging out their laundry.

Agas are wonderful for drying!!

We have one at our sit now, but HO says even in winter, it just heats up the house too much :woman_shrugging:

We have forced air heat here so we don’t have a radiator to hang clothes on.

However, after spending a lot of time in the UK and Europe, we bought a “rotary” dryer (umbrella style) for our back yard and have been drying our clothes outside all summer. We are probably the only house in our entire neighbourhood with clothes outside, but that’s fine. It costs approx $ .75 to dry a load of clothes in our tumble dryer, so I will have to dry about 350 loads of laundry outdoors before I start seeing a financial savings. :rofl: However, we didn’t buy it to save money, we just like the idea of helping to protect the environment.

That being said, I’ve since learned that if you hang clothes outside, you have to do some ironing once in awhile (the tumble dryer had eliminated 99% of my ironing). I’m not sure how much it costs to turn on my iron but that negates a bit of the electricity saved. I supposed that is evened out because I’m not using Bounce dryer sheets any more.

The biggest downside to hanging clothes outside is that the towels are awful - rough and stiff. But I guess I will just put up with that.

When winter comes, we will be back to using the tumble dryer - we have subzero temps most of the winter here so we can’t dry clothes outside. I’ve tried hanging clothes on a rack indoors but to be effective, I’d need to buy a much bigger one that would allow me to hang an entire load of laundry and I’d still have to do big things like sheets in the dryer anyway.

I liked one housesit we had that had an old pulley system in the kitchen where you could hang things but we don’t have anything like that here, nor room to put it.

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What’s your reasoning for no screens? Is there an advantage? I prefer screens to keep out the flies and mosquitoes.

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I usually put my clothes in the dryer for a few minutes, grab them out while they’re still hot and hang them up to dry the rest of the way. This makes for many fewer wrinkles and I can usually avoid having to iron them. We have a clothes rod with hangers and a folding clothes rack in our laundry (utility) room. I hang all lingerie up to dry right out of the washer-they last longer this way as they have elastic, but I always dry the sheets, towels and socks in the dryer.

I have a sit coming up in a one-bedroom flat in the UK. They hang their sheets over the door to dry, which is what I’ll be doing.

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Thanks for the tips!

I never use dryers and dishwashers, even if they are there, because I think that it’s an awful waste of energy. Even in winter, it is so much nicer to have the flat or garden filled with the lovely smell of freshly washed clothes! But if you follow my example and hang up your clothes outside, be careful - NEVER DO IT ON A SUNDAY in any religious country such as Italy, Austria or Southern Germany! This will get you really bad looks from the neighbours!

@Kelownagurl Isn’t so much of all this what you are brought up with, get used to, and have available. I’m sure my generation will be among one of the last to hang washing on a line :smiling_face: You must be the talk of your neighborhood … maybe you’ll start a trend :laughing:

Totally get the towel thing, but I’ve learned a trick, and that’s to bring them in and put them on a clothes airer indoors before they get over dry. Sheets I agree… the tumble dryer makes short work of drying them… especially on handback days!!

On a slightly different topic about helping to protect the environment, we’ve been using the Tru Earth washing soap sheets. They are fab and perfect for travelling (made in Canada!!)

I can’t use scented washing detergent anymore… the overpowering synthetic perfumes block my sinuses badly - so these are perfect in so many ways, eco-friendly and hypoallergenic.

I’m old enough to have grown up with clothes on the line but once dryers were invented, it was an easy switch. Maybe also because electricity isn’t super expensive here and it’s hydro electric power so it’s fairly “green” anyway.

I’m definitely going to try the towel trick though.

I’ve tried Tru Earth and they were ok but lately I’ve been buying my laundry detergent, dish liquid, and hand soap from a local refill store. I’m trying to minimize plastic. I also started using shampoo and conditioner bars.

Little by little, we will save our planet. :slight_smile:


@Vanessa-ForumCMgr My condominium complex will not allow any clothes to be dried outside. However, I have navy blue patio chairs and so I can sneakily hang my bluejeans over the back of the chairs and no one will notice - and I do that.

For almost everything else, I use the dryer but am careful on the settings. As for clothes not lasting as long, I’ll happily absorb that cost. The reason is that my iron is hidden away at the back of a shelf, never to see daylight except for weddings and funerals. All my outer clothing goes from washer to dryer to hangers. I have one closet, so you know I choose not to have a lot of clothes. I don’t own a dresser (chest of drawers). That’s my lifestyle and I’m willing to pay the electricity costs of my dryer, which is minimal.

I’m with @Kelownagurl about hard towels and our cold and damp Canadian climate. Many months are not conducive to hanging clothes outdoors.

We are all different, which makes life interesting, most of the time. :slightly_smiling_face:


@Kelownagurl I’m not quite sure why they don’t have screens where we’ve sat. Back in the states, we wouldn’t even consider opening a window without a screen for fear of inviting bugs inside.


My Ian’s favorite saying is… “an iron… what’s that then?” - used to be a benefit of our full time travel lifestyle along with, like you, a very minimal wardrobe - we still always travel carryon. But that’s changed a bit of late and our homeowner’s iron has surfaced for the benefit of meetings and I’ve even been seen out shopping for clothes more often :joy:)

In all seriousness, I’ve heard that quite often about some residential areas not allowing clothes to be hung outside, even in the UK. Like you say… we are all different and different cultures and climates dictate different routines.


I only run the dishwasher when it is full. This is more energy efficient than hand-washing: Built-In Dishwashers Versus Hand-Washing: Which Is Greener?.

As for using a clothes dryer - I’m with others who say that using the dryer results in less ironing, so the energy use probably balances out. I do dry clothes on a low heat setting, and don’t dry for long. I tried line drying recently, but the cardboard towels and extra ironing ended that experiment!

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