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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Go "Green" and just hang it up!

Wall Rack Drying Tree
Folding Drying Rack
Portable Clothes Line
Laundry Drying Ring
Aluminum Laundry Basket Cart
Did you know that the average clothes dryer is one of the most expensive home appliances to operate, consuming about 6% of a typical homes electrical usage?  On average it cost between 32 to 41 cents per load of laundry in an electric dryer and 15 to 30 cents in a gas dryer depending on the size of the load and the types of fabrics (source

Clothes dryers do not seem to vary from the different models in regard to energy usage and are not required to display energy guideline labels.  If the dryer is not properly vented or maintained expect those numbers to increase sharply, especially if you are drying heavy loads of jeans or other thick materials.  If you are running a dryer through a couple of cycles to dry heavy loads, inspect the dryer vent for trapped lint or kinks in the tubing, just cleaning the front filter is not adequate.  Trapped lint is also a serious highly combustible fire hazard and needs to be routinely vacuumed out of the vent.  Depending on the length of your vent tubing this may be needed once a year or as frequently as quarterly or even once a month if your venting system goes up and out a roof vent.  A short venting system going directly out through a wall is the best option.

We try to air dry as much laundry as we can to save on our utility cost.  When the weather is nasty and we are not able to hang clothes outside, we can see the difference in the utility bills. The home owner or even apartment dwellers have many options to dry clothes and save energy cost.  (See our related post on building a substantial clothes line), if you are able and want to install post permanently.  For us there is nothing that beats the fresh smell of sheets that have hung outside to dry.

There are some companies reproducing the umbrella single pole clothes lines and selling them on line, we have not seen one up close but they seem to be well constructed and take up very little space.  They can be cemented into the ground or the best option would be to cement a sleeve that the post can slide in and out of.

The lightweight folding umbrella lines sold in hardware stores and home centers are not really worthy of wasting your money on.  They are cheaply made and just don’t hold up.  If you are a single person with a limited amount of clothes, they may work fine.  Clothes lines and poles with a load of wet clothes just take a lot of wind abuse.  The thin metals being used in these lines is just not substantial enough to hold up.

Some people just string a line from the house to a nearby tree and dry clothes that way.  While a tree makes a good solid post, it also is an attractive cool place for birds to roost, which means, well sometimes having to rewash some items.

If you are fortunate to have two facing walls out of the way, then some eye hooks and lines maybe the ticket. Just make sure you are into solid wood such as the wall stud or post, your husband might not be to happy to find your clothes line on the ground with a strip of siding pulled off the house with it.   Where ever you decide to hang it up at, consider the wind patterns that you will need to quickly dry your clothes.

Portable folding racks are another good option; we actually use both the in ground pole mounted lines and a portable folding wooden rack.  We also have a clothes pin rack that has become one of our most popular drying places.  It is an aluminum Amish made round ring rack with 32 mounted plastic clothes pins.  It was designed to dry socks and other small items, but we routinely use ours for other items such as towels, pillow cases, and so forth.  It is very handy hanging from the soffit just out the back door, and it takes up very little space.

If you are renting, don’t want to, or can’t install permanent clothes lines consider a new completely portable and moveable self supporting clothes line that provides 72’ of drying lines in only a 12’ x 94” wide space.  The portable drying unit can become even more portable with an optional wheel kit and lifting handle to easily roll the unit around the yard.  Hang the clothes in the garage and roll out to dry, no more frozen fingers, caught by a surprise rain burst, roll it back in the garage until the storm passes. It easily assembles and disassembles in minutes to take to the hunting cabin, campground, or the summer home.   It comes shipped in a 6” x 10” x 96” box weighing 65lbs.

There are also nicely finished folding wall racks for indoors that pull out for drying clothes, these really work well in the laundry room next to the washing machine for delicate clothes that can’t be dried in the dryer regardless.  Other clothes line devices are available in retractable wall mounted spools. These work well in a garage or basement area that can be pulled out during inclement weather.

If you have back issues or just don’t like to haul a load of wet clothes outside and bring them back in consider an aluminum laundry cart.  It is designed to hold a plastic laundry basket; it is narrow enough to fit through doorways making it very useful indoors to transport clothes from the hamper to the washing machine as well as outside.  We’ve had ours for nearly 20 years and it looks just like it did the day we brought it home.  Best of all you just don’t have to keep bending over to scoop up clothes either indoors at the washing machine or out at the clothes lines.

We carry these on our site at  To our knowledge no one else has the portable clothes line described above available on the Internet.  We just stumbled on to this new item during our spring 2011 new product tour. 

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