View Full Version : Need Tips on Line Drying Clothes

09-10-2008, 06:29 PM
Hi all! I just started hanging my clothes on a retractable clothes line installed in my garage. I've done a bit of research and am in the process of learning tips and tricks.

The first thing I've noticed is that my towels are hard, not soft. What to do???

Anyone have experience with line drying and can offer tips?

Thanks a bunch!


09-10-2008, 06:41 PM
Towels won't be as fluffy as if they had been dried in a machine, but hanging them out where the breeze can blow them a bit does help that some.

09-10-2008, 06:47 PM
I remember from past experience that you need the wind blowing thru to clothes to make them soft. You might try tossing the towels in the dryer on heat off setting and see if that will do the trick. I remember hanging diapers out on a snowy day. Those were the softest, nicest smelling and whitest diapers I ever had.

09-10-2008, 06:53 PM
Hang shirts and tops with the tails pinned at the side seams, prevents "humps" at shoulder seams.

Pin the side of one piece to the side of another, uses less pins.

Knits are better hung on a hanger, then the hanger onto the line.

Undies can be hung with one pin.....

Oh yeah, check the daily weather report... You may have to run to the store when an unexpected shower comes along!

Hmmm, been awhile since I did this but it's coming back! :muah:

09-10-2008, 07:28 PM
Watch what you dry in the garage, my stuff came out smelling like gasoline. Between the lawn mower, the generator, two motorcycles, a jet ski and my husband's Chevelle the place is too full of fumes to have nice smelling laundry. I didn't notice the smell until I brought the clothes in and then it was like I had been working at Bubba's Garage all day. The garage doesn't stink but for whatever reason the clothes sucked up the smell.

09-10-2008, 08:07 PM
When you take the dry towels off the line, hold them by two of the corners and give them a couple of good hard snaps (hold on tight so they don't go flying). This really helps soften them up. It also helps get the creases out of sheets. When I was a kid, my mother and I would each take one end of the sheet and snap it half a dozen times. At that time it seemed like fun, not work.

"Soft" and "hard" may be a matter of what you are used to. I like the slightly stiff feel of line-dried towels; they seem to absorb better and do a little exfoliating at the same time.

09-10-2008, 08:15 PM
I line-dry spring through fall and I have done this for years with no success at getting the towels soft. Ever. So I dry them. I'd rather have fluffy soft towels then stiff hard ones.

As for what MWhite said about where to pin them (tail or shoulders) I just do it at the shoulders and when I take them in to hang them in the closet I spray each spot where the clothespin was holding them with water and it takes out the lumps everytime. I actually have a spray bottle of water in our closet for this exact reason. If you ever have the hanger bumps or any wrinkles anywhere just spray them once with water and put it on and they dry in no time. You don't need to douse them either, just one spray of water'll do the trick.

I'm curious why you're hanging them in the garage and not the backyard?? I've never heard of anyone doing this, I'm intrigued. :teehee:

Happy Hangings!! :)

09-10-2008, 08:35 PM
Good luck with clothes coming out soft as they would out of the dryer. I grew up with a clothes line and hated it b/c of the stiff towels and mishapen shirts.
I have a few tops that I don't put through the dryer and for those I bought the cloth hangers that are bulkier than a standard hanger so that as the tops dry the shoulders are well shaped. In my experience hanging from the bottoms just makes the side seams of the shirt longer than the middle. I think now my mom flips the shirt bottoms over the line and pins them...not sure if that helps them keep their shape any better.

Best of Luck

09-10-2008, 09:38 PM
I'm curious why you're hanging them in the garage and not the backyard?? I've never heard of anyone doing this, I'm intrigued. :teehee:

Happy Hangings!! :)

Here's three reasons why...



And Aubie

Here's what my garage looks like with the line...


Unfortunately, I won't get a breeze blowing through, unless I leave the garage door open along with the door on the side (barely visible on the left side of the photo). The clothes are drying fairly quickly, but the towels...yikes! Talk about exfoliating! I'm going to retrieve the skin of my youth at this rate!

Hygiene Mama
09-10-2008, 09:41 PM
I love, love, love drying clothes on the line! We love having our towels, especially, dried on the line because when we dry ourselves off, it feels like we're exfoliating our body too! However, I don't dry socks or jeans on the line. Jeans are too stiff and it's just too much work to hang up socks for a family of 5!

09-10-2008, 10:14 PM
This afternoon, I got overly ambitious and did two large loads of knitting. Whatever was I thinking?

Of course, I ran out of room on the line, but I couldn't leave the wet stuff in the washing machine.

So, I set up our two sawhorses, put a broom across them, and hung the short stuff on hangers and on the broom handle. I used clothespins to hang socks on the hangers and hung the hangers on the handle, freeing up space from the first load so I could hang longer stuff on the line.

What a goof I am! But hey, it's working.

The family isn't too sure about this.


09-11-2008, 09:40 AM
This afternoon, I got overly ambitious and did two large loads of knitting. Whatever was I thinking?

You were ambitious!!!!:roflhard: Nice typo! You crazy thing!:roflhard:

09-11-2008, 10:48 AM
I dry all my clothes and towels outside on the line. I do use fabric softener in the wash, then throw the towels in the dryer, after they dry on the line, on fluff for 10 minutes. They are very soft and lint free afterwards. We save lots on the electric bill too.

sue in canada
09-11-2008, 11:14 AM
This afternoon, I got overly ambitious and did two large loads of knitting. Whatever was I thinking?

Thats a lot of knitting :cheering:

Good luck with the line drying

09-11-2008, 03:45 PM
Is it just me, or are clothes lines "outlawed" in anyone else's neighborhood? I thought it was ridiculous, but then again, I don't have the time or the patience to be running in and out to line-dry anyway! Forget about watching the forecast here- they are all awful! I do hang a bunch of stuff in the laundry room or hallway, but outside is against the rules here! (Along with trampolines, above-ground pools and pink slides!)


09-11-2008, 03:54 PM
Becareful of rain...(though you don't have that problem in the garage)

We had a load out one day in the rain, and would never guess how dirty that rain water is til you realize you have to rewash everything...

Our dog loves to lie under the clothes line....a little shady and probably cool on hot days!

09-11-2008, 04:54 PM
We have always line dried, we only got a tumble dryer a few months ago! We always hang tops and shirts upside down to avoid pulls on the shoulders. We have a clothes prop so that the line doesn't hang down in the middle so pets can't reach. Also if it's a moist day and they don't get completely dry we put them in the hotpress (cupboard with the hot water tank in it) and the heat in there usually finishes them off.

09-11-2008, 07:22 PM
is good to learn there are others who dry clothes outdoors on lines. have been doing this since childhood (i.e., a LONG time!)our neighborhood association frowns on it, but i have 4 lines on a screened porch, pretty much surrounded by trees, so the lines aren't visible to others. also, have 2 folding wooden racks that can be used indoors when weather is too humid to dry things outside; south Texas summers can be sauna-esque! like the 'exfoliating' effect of line-dried towels. also, the racks are good for socks and undies. keep up the 'green' tips! linknit41(linda)

09-11-2008, 07:28 PM
You were ambitious!!!!:roflhard: Nice typo! You crazy thing!:roflhard:

You know...I read what I wrote several times and didn't get it. I even looked up the word ambitious and couldn't figure out how I misspelled it!


THEN I saw what you were talking about!!!

:roflhard::roflhard::roflhard::roflhard::roflhard: :roflhard::roflhard::roflhard::roflhard::roflhard: :roflhard:

I guess you know what was on my mind when I typed it, eh? The problem is that I was so busy yesterday that it was 9pm when I finally got to sit down to knit!

I'm glad y'all are actually reading what I'm writing!


09-11-2008, 08:08 PM
I bought myself a umbrella type clothesline from http://www.clotheslineshop.com/ a while ago and I just love it! My husband has said that it has helped our bill some. I have heard something (I will check it out) about adding vinegar to the wash to soften things up some, also something about tossing the wet towels in the dryer for about 5 or 10 minutes first might help them feel a little softer.

Auburn, if you look on that site, they have a bunch of lines for indoor drying, that might give you some other options.

09-11-2008, 11:25 PM

That is a TERRIFIC site! Thanks so much!!! :muah:

09-12-2008, 01:53 AM
This afternoon, I got overly ambitious and did two large loads of knitting. Whatever was I thinking?
You can dry knitted sweaters on a Sweater Dryer. They stack on top of each other to save space.
Here's one I found online:
I got mine at Walmart for a good price.

I hang my knitted socks to dry inside the laundry room. I just hang them on wire hangers, folding them in half to hang on the bottom of the hanger. They dry very quickly.

I do the same thing with my bras and other lingerie.

09-12-2008, 09:14 AM
no problem Auburn! If I can't enable you with yarn, then I will have to settle for clotheslines!

09-12-2008, 09:32 AM
Figaro--thanks for the link. :shrug:Who knew there were so many different clotheslines. Gosh.

09-12-2008, 10:16 AM
I mentioned vinegar to help soften the clothes, I read that if you add a 1/4 cup to the rinse cycle, it should help to soften up the load.

I also had my DH hang up a line the outlines the laundry area in the basement when we first moved in, it helps on the bad weather days. Well we recently had to buy a dehumidifier for the basement and when I hang up clothes down there now they dry so much faster!

09-12-2008, 12:41 PM
no problem Auburn! If I can't enable you with yarn, then I will have to settle for clotheslines!


09-13-2008, 12:10 PM
It was mentioned that you can add softener to the wash. This is great for your clothes, but if you add it to towels, they will not absorb water very well at all. We are putting up an umbrella like clothes line, and I was complaining to my mom about the towels being stiff and she said to finish them off in the dryer for about 5 to 10 minutes. It won't use hardly any energy and they should soften up.

09-13-2008, 10:14 PM
I would hate to live where they tell you what you can have in your backyard and oppose clothes lines. That is stepping over the line, if you ask me. My mother bought me a little umbrella line for my laundry room. I hang all the unmentionables on it. For my knit shirts, I have a wooden rack and this can be moved outside on my back porch. I don't like to put my clothes in the dryer, but I do put my pants and jeans in there on very low heat. I love sheets off the line, but we took our clothesline down when we shifted the fence over.