Top Ten Reasons to Line Dry
We think there are dozens of reasons to hang out, but these are a few of the most compelling reasons.
10) Save money
9) Clothes last longer
8) Pleasant Scent
Clothes and linens smell better without adding possibly toxic chemicals to your body and the environment. Yankee Candle thinks so, too...
7) Saves Energy, Preserves Environment, Reduces Pollution
Conserve energy and the environment, while reducing climate change. Learn how!
6) Healthy Work
It is moderate physical activity which you can do in or outside. You can even lose weight!
5) Get the Sunshine Treatment
Sunlight bleaches and disinfects.
4) Replace another appliance
Indoor racks can humidify in dry winter weather.
3) Avoid a Fire
Clothes dryer and washing machine fires account for about 17,700 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 360 injuries annually. The yearly national fire loss for clothes dryer fires in structures is estimated at $194 million. See a diagram of the critical danger zones of the dryer.
2) It is fun!
And can be an outdoor experience that is meditative and community-building. It may also help you avoid depression.
1) It is truly patriotic
Demonstrates that small steps can make a difference. You don't have to wait for the government to take action!
Other People's Reasons
"My #1 reason for hanging clothes: time management. When I dry clothes in the dryer (which I must do in Illinois in the winter) I need to be there when the dryer stops or everything comes out wrinkled, so I can't walk away except for short periods. When I line dry, I can walk away - go shopping, have fun, garden, whatever - and the clothes will be fine no matter how long they hang on the line after they're dry."
-Marti Jernberg, Elgin, IL
"People here operate AC in their houses almost year round, because it's so friggin' hot. A clothes dryer just heats the house up more, so the AC has to work harder to cool the house down, thus wasting even more energy than your estimates for colder parts of the country."
-Linda DuPriest, Friggin' Texas
"I can remember with great clarity some of the daily chores that made up life in the Village. If you were lucky, you had a washing machine. Mine was in the kitchen. This was before the days of driers, and clothes had to be hung on the line. Diapers and all those tiny little baby clothes, almost every day. When the weather was cold, and it seems like it was always cold, when the clothes were hung on the line, they froze stiff as a board. They would hang like that all day and were brought in frozen. When they thawed they were dry. I can still remember how they smelled. Such a wonderful, clean, and wholesome smell. Was it the freezing that did it? I don't know. But it was a happy thing to bring in the baby's wash and have it smell so nice."
-Gene Mary Joiner, 91 years old
Why the dryer accounts for way more than 6% of most people's electric bill...
These readings will help you get a better understanding of what we stand for and why.
Fostering Sustainable Behavior (on-line book)
The Property Cops, AlterNet (April 26, 2007)
Why We Don't Vacation Like the French, The American Prospect (July 19, 2007)
The Power of Voluntary Actions, Grist (Sept. 11, 2007)
The Contribution of the Social Sciences to the Energy Challenge, US Congress (September 25, 2007)
Altar Call for True Believer, Orion (Sept./Oct. 2007)
California Feuding, New York Times (Apr. 8, 2008)
The Gospel of Consumption, Orion (May/June 2008)
What’s Wrong with a 30-Hour Work Week?, Climate & Capitalism (May 31, 2009)
Household actions can provide a behavioral wedge to rapidly reduce U.S. carbon emissions, PNAS (October 26, 2009)
- About 62% of Americans washing clothes at home use warm or hot water during the wash cycle.
- In the United States, 92% of single family homes had a dryer in 2005.
- Eighty percent of American households use a dryer for between 2 and 9 loads per week. Millions more use a multi-housing laundry or coin-operated laundry facility to wash and/or dry their clothes.
- Less than 4% of Italian households own a dryer.
- About 77% of dryers used in the home are electric; the others are gas and propane.
- Approximately one quarter of Americans use an ENERGY STAR washer. There are no ENERGY STAR dryers on the market.
- Laundry was the primary household responsibility of 76% of women and 24% of men in a Whirlpool survey of 2,500 consumers; some 78% of those surveyed do approximately nine loads of laundry each week.
- You don't even need soap to wash most loads. The agitation of washing machines often does the job on its own.
- We estimate that 8% of households line-dry their laundry during 5 months of the year. If all Americans who currently do not use 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.
- Stimulating the “effort-driven reward circuit” with hands-on physical activities that yield tangible rewards, like line-drying and cooking your own meals, may build resilience against depression.
- Sunlight bleaches and disinfects.
- 60 million Americans live in approximately 300,000 community associations (mobile home parks, retirement communities, gated communities, condominiums, etc.). The majority of these restrict or ban the clothesline.
- Apartment communities can save 330 percent more water, equating to a savings of 8,216 gallons of water per year per unit, by utilizing a common-area laundry room instead of an in-unit washing machine.
- Common-area laundry rooms use 500 percent less energy than in-unit machines.
- More than 80 percent of residents will utilize on-site laundry if owners and managers provide a common-area laundry room in their properties.
- An estimated 17,700 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines result in 15 civilian deaths, 360 civilian injuries and $194 million in direct property damage annually. Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires.
- Approximately 23.8 billion pounds of clothing and textiles end up in U.S. landfills each year.
- Cotton production accounts for 2.4% of total arable land yet accounts for 11% of global pesticide use and 25% of global insecticide use.
- You can reduce the full lifecycle climate change impact of your jeans by up to 50 percent by line drying and washing them in cold water.