Saturday, August 3, 2013

Laundry continued

It occurred to me that some people may need a tutorial on hanging laundry to dry.

There are more than a thousand ways to do it.  Most are pretty good.  A few are not.

This is what works for me.

Start by reviewing the weather.  A large spread between the dew point and the predicted temperature is good (low relative humidity). A low probability of precipitation is also good.  Sun is great.  A breeze is good.  Gale force winds are not good.  There is not much drying power in the first two or three hours of daylight in Michigan.  That may not be true in Arizona or Western Oklahoma.

Your success rate will vary.  Get used to the idea.  Day length varies by time of year.  I was able to get 6 loads washed, hung, dried and back into the house today.  But today was an exceptional day.

Start by washing the items that are large, heavy and/or cotton.  Things like towels, sweat shirts, and jeans.  Hang these closest to the poles.  Hanging them close to the supports will minimize the chance of them dragging on the ground.  Washing them first gives them the longest time to dry.


Large, heavy items close to the support.  I can pack more per foot of line by hanging long-way down.  I can hang short-way down in the middle of the span where the line sags.

Minimize overlap.  The clothes pin is pinching four layers of cloth together and this will be the last part of the item to dry.

Undies merit special consideration.  Do not hang them like this.
You don't want to be like this guy.

Turn those rascals inside out to most fully expose the discolored portions.  And then hang them up-side down.  This is one time when being azzbackwards is an advantage.
People brag about "We don't air our dirty laundry."  That tells me worlds about their priorities.
Sunlight is great at sanitizing.  Ultraviolet light (which gives you a suntan) shreds viruses like hepatitis, influenza and others.  The goal of "airing dirty laundry" is to expose discoloration to UV light.  So hang your undies like this.  Note, shade of discoloration changed to avoid offending those sensitive souls who cruise the internet.

This is one place where you do not try to minimize the amount of fabric pinched by the clothes pin.  You want to fully expose the 'discolored" area to the sun as possible.  Note that pin is not centered on the article of clothing.  That is OK.
Hang jeans and trousers up-side down.  The waistband is the thickest part of the trousers so it dries the most slowly.  Pinning the trousers to the line by the waistband just slows it down even more.  Pin them to the line by the bottom of the legs.  You can tell the curious that it helps the water run out of them.

Socks can be hung two-at-a-time.

You don't have to line dry everything to kick OPEC in the teeth.  My washing machine can wash a "Super" load in 40 minutes.  It takes 90 minutes to dry.  I can un-bottleneck the drier by washing a mix of large, slow-to-dry items with each batch of small, synthetic, pain-in-the-butt items.  Then I hang the slow-to-dry items on the line and pitch all those itty, bitty items into the drier.


  1. You mean to tell me that there are people out there who don't know how to air-dry laundry? I ought to go into business selling, installing, and servicing solar-powered clothes dryers.

  2. We could have several models. Industrial grade, made of heavy drill-stem with coated wire , and the classic model, made of 4X6 treated lumber with cotton cord.

  3. Shaking my head, sadly.

    Not only are there people out there who do not know how to air-dry laundry, there are people who fully support ordinances and Home Owner Association rules that prohibit the patriotic act of drying, sanitizing and freshening laundry while simultaneously impoverishing OPEC.

    These are the same people who brag about eating rotten cheese (Roquefort cheese) that was first eaten by a frugal country person.
    These are the same people who brag about eating French leftovers (Ratatouilli) first cooked by a frugal country person.
    These are the same people who want everybody else to ride bicycles.

    The problem is that three is not a clique-ish, up-scale French word for Haught-Laundray. Perhaps you can dredge some fancy phrase from your Cajun buddies.

    Do you know the difference between a client and a customer? About $25/hour billing rate.

    I suspect you can impose the same premium after you copyright the Cajun slang.

    Thanks for reading. Doubly thanks for commenting.