Home: Well Hung

Clotheslines—a.k.a. “solar dryers”—are making a comeback

By Jennifer Acosta Scott

Go ahead, hang ’em out—line-dried clothing lasts longer and smells sweeter.

Yet for all its benefits, a clothesline is still a rarity in the laundry world. So what’s standing in the way? It may be the need for immediacy, says Tor Allen, director of the Rahus Institute, a nonprofit group dedicated to resource efficiency. “We’re in this age of ‘I need everything done now,’” Allen says. “We have microwaves and everything is cooked in a minute. Line drying is sort of the slow-cook approach. It takes maybe a little extra effort, as opposed to just popping clothes in the dryer.”

Madden has a more blunt outlook. “I think people are lazy,” she says. “It’s so much easier for someone to stand at the washing machine, which is right next to the dryer, put stuff in the dryer, push the button, and that’s it.”

Ready to kiss your dryer (mostly) goodbye? Check out these clothesline options.

Traditional: The oldie-but-goodie—two posts connected by pieces of rope or wire—is ideal if your wash loads are large and you don’t mind a permanent fixture in your yard. Components are readily available at most home-improvement stores; or check out clotheslineshop.com for an everything-included kit.

Drying Rack: They won’t hold a full load of laundry, but these folding metal or wood racks can provide effective drying in inclement weather or yardless apartments. See models at abundantearth.com.

Umbrella: Made of folding aluminum parts, these upright units can be set up and taken down with a minimum of fuss. Perfect for small yards. Visit eclothesdryers.com to order.

Pulley: No yard or floor space? This simple rack-and-pulley device allows you to hang your laundry from the ceiling for out-of-the-way drying. Available at the1898house.com.

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Issue 25

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