Laundry Tips Series {Dryers vs. Line Drying}


Do you use a dryer, line dry your cloths or a both? There are pros and cons to either way you look at it it. I’d like to share some thoughts on the topic.

It’s funny how what is the norm for some people really isn’t the norm for most. Really how many people in the world own dryers? It’s something that most people who grew up in the States have accepted something you just have. Growing up visiting my Grandma I can remember on one hand the amount of times I saw her use her tiny dyer (we’re talking 3 feet by 2 feet, maybe). I loved helping her hang clothes in the gentle Missouri summer breeze. Her clothes never saw the dryer in the summer time. Even in the winter she hung most of her clothes in the basement, when she was 80. My Grandma rocked! She was also a wonderful example to me.

Living in Mexico dryers are pretty much unheard of. So that year I spent as a laundry lady all 9 plus loads a day were hung by hand. The school where I serve has a dryer but it’s only for emergencies, like rain coming down for four days straight and 30 kids needing clean underwear. Even in the winter clothes are line dried. A few months ago I when I was at Bible Study one of my new friends who had just moved to the area mentioned that she had a dryer, we were all shocked! It was so unheard of. Electricity is very costly for most living in Mexico. It’s less compared to what Americans spend but still more than most can afford. So line drying it is.

Even for those living in the States (or Canada) dryers are expensive. They are one of the top energy users in the house, along with refrigerators, lighting and heating. The average American spends roughly $196 a year on the energy used to run the dryer.

There are benefits to both sides but I think that the benefits of line drying far out weigh those of using the dryer.

Benefits of Line Drying:

  • Fresh clean air, it’s great for you and your clothes
  • Clean “line dried” scent, we actually pay for this scent in some fabric softeners and detergents!
  • Save money on electricity,  about $196 a year
  • Time outside, I always feel better if I’ve spent some time outside
  • Vitamin D, the sun is the best natural source of Vitamin D, soak it up!
  • Sun “bleaches” clothing, making whites brighter
  • Natural highlights, the sun lightens your hair 🙂
  • Clothes last longer. Lint is worn off the fabric as it is tossed in the dryer, weakening the fabric fibers.
  • Clothes don’t shrink
  • No static
  • Zippers catch on clothing and snag them when using the dryer.
  • Less laundry, when you hang your clothes to dry you start to realize which items can be used more often before they make it in the laundry basket.
  • Time alone (possibly). It’s a time to get out of the house for a few minutes. Why not pray for each person in your family by name while you hang up their clothes?
Benefits of Dryers:
  • Saves time
  • If you have seasonal allergies it keeps pollens off clothes
  • You can do laundry on rainy/snowy days. Even with having covered lines my clothes take about three days to dry on rainy winter days. Inside it takes two days. The clothes end up smelling musty.
  • Ok, I have to admit it, I love the feel of sheets hot out of the dyer. 🙂
How about you? Do you line dry, use a dyer or both? Do you wash your clothes by hand?

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday,  Green Living Link Up, Teach Me Tuesday,  Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Your Green Resource,  Homestead Blog Hop,

About Katie Mae Stanley

Katie Mae Stanley is the writer at Nourishing Simplicity, where the focus is on nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living and faith. Ethnic and Mid-west foods are always a favorite in her kitchen and on her blog. She is also the author of the book Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. Katie Mae spent 10 years as a missionary dorm "mama" for a gaggle (almost 40) of amazing deaf girls at a school for the deaf in Baja California, Mexico. Now she finds herself state side ready to embrace God's next adventure. A cup of tea or coffee and a bit of dark chocolate make an appearance at some point in any given day. You can connect with the Nourishing Simplicity community on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


  1. I can definitely live without my dryer. My washing machine on the other hand…. I’m pretty attached to it. 😉

  2. Dryer…we live in a rain forrest (Humboldt County, CA) unless its a rare sunny day there are so many mold spores in the air it ruins cloths…my aunt kives to line dry she throws in dryer hangs on the line to finish it up but she lives a bit more inland.
    We probably spend ckoser to 4-5 hundred a year on drying though can’t wait to go modern solar powered.

  3. I’ve line dried ever since I married. I don’t know why I started, my mom never line dried. And you’d think with 6 kids I would have preferred the fast reliable electric dryer that sat unused most of the time. I did do infant clothes and towels in the dryer. I had giant wood racks upstairs to use in the winter. Got my exercise doing stairs several times a day anyway. 🙂 Now that it is just hubby and I, I still line dry and in winter I have a wall rack that folds accordian style over the wood heat vent so clothes dry pretty quickly with that set up. Had to make a fire today actually; what a cold lowsy summer we’ve had; hard on the garden, hard on my timing of laundry to hang out, and hard on my cold old bones! 😛

  4. We recently moved from 300+ days of sunshine a year Colorado to western Oregon, and I’m having trouble figuring out any way to line dry during the winter! Even clothes hung inside take 2 to 3 days to dry. What is your covered clothes line area like? Sounds fascinating! I found your post through Simple Lives Thursday, by the way.

    • Hi Danielle, my covered lines are an extention of a small shack/storage area. It’s a a open framed structer with a tin roof, three side are open to the elements and the fourth side is the wall of the stroage shack. It’s not my favorite set up but it still does it’s job. Unforntuantly the cloths take up to three days to dry outside in the winter during the rainy season, even when they are covered. If I had the choice I would use a drier when it rains.

  5. I love hanging my clothes on the line. Thankfully my SIL finally got my line up since moving to our homestead. But wish we had more days of sunshine…rather than rain.

  6. I line dry whenever I can. However, we DO have to use the dryer in the high pollen days in Spring and Autumn… just too many allergies in my family members! And I use the dryer every few loads just to remove the delightful little doggy hairs that seem to get everywhere! One tip about the stiffness: try running the clothes through an extra spin cycle. I find that the dryer the pieces are when you hang them up, the less crunchy they’ll be when finished.

  7. Found you from Homestead Barn Hop. 🙂

    I love my clothesline! That is actually my only way to dry clothes right now. We have lived in AZ for 3 years, and have just not gotten a dryer. 🙂 We lived in a camper for awhile, so I did laundry at my in-laws, then we moved to a tiny house with no dryer hookup and when we moved to a bigger house with a dryer hookup, I told hubby I didn’t need/want a dryer. 🙂 Since we have so many days of sunshine, it works out well, plus my clothes dry much faster than they would in dryer! Not to mention, I can have 3-4 loads drying all at one time. I grew up with line dried clothes, although my Mom did use a dryer when I got older. So stiff clothes aren’t a big deal to me. My husband wasn’t used to it at first, but now he doesn’t mind, is actually used to it. 🙂

  8. I love line drying, especially in the summertime when the dryer would compete with the air conditioner. For those who have “crunchy” clothes, check the amount of soap you are using compared to the load size. A large part of your crunchy problem is that the soap is not completely rinsing away. Vinegar in your rinse water will also help with that because the vinegar helps pull the soap out of the clothes. Hope that helps.

  9. I love line drying! Unfortunately, we also have about 6 months of winter here, and it doesn’t work as well during the winter. Now, if we ever get a wood stove, we will definitely dry clothes on a rack in the winter, but for now it is just during the summer and early fall…and when it isn’t raining during the spring.

    • Wood stoves are the best! I wish I had one too. One thing about living in cilmate that is hot and dry most of the time is that you can line dry most of the year. Those raining weeks make laundry pretty hard.

  10. Good Morning! I wanted to thank you for linking to Your Green Resource. I featured it on my site this morning and I pinned it to our Pinterest board.

  11. I have problems with “crunchy” items too. Some things feel fine, like our sheets, blankets, and my husband’s work pants. But I hate the crunchy, stiff bath towels, jeans, and my work clothes. Vinegar does not help. Maybe because our line is on our covered back porch and doesn’t get much direct sunlight??

    • Linda, I’m sorry I missed this till now. I don’t think that the sunlight effects the softness of the laundry. It maybe possible that your water is hard. I’ve heard that giving the items a shake before you hang them and after you take them off the line may help with the stiffness. I’ve found that no matter what you try, line dried clothes wil never be as soft as machine dried. My clothes and towels always “destiff” after being worn or used.

  12. I’ve just started line drying my diapers and I don’t love how the cotton ones are crunchy and not soft and fluffy. Is there a trick to make them come out a little softer, I wonder…

    • I add half a cup of white vinegar to my load of laundry as a natural softner. It should work for cloth diapers as well.

    • My cotton diapers are the same way (though the bonus of drying them outside is that stains go away faster!). When I bring them in, I throw them in the dryer for a few minutes – just enough time for the dryer to heat up which softens them up considerably. I don’t feel guilty about that use of the dryer at all! I am so glad to be able to quickly dry my cloth diapers outside spring thru fall (I live in the foothills of Sacramento, CA) because the sun is SO hot & the air is so dry. Once our rainy winters hit, I have to dry them inside & it takes SO LONG in the dryer and I start to run out of them if I hang to dry inside.

      Note, I have read that you shouldn’t add vinegar to diaper loads because it can intensify the urine smell & leave it in your diapers. Just what I have heard – haven’t tried it.

    • Colths do dry fast in the hot heat of the summer! I grew up in Lodi. Thanks for the input on vinegar.

  13. I love to line dry!!! If it’s not below 50-ish (my fingers can only take so much), I’m hanging them out–which means I save about $130 or so a year. :o) Personally, we LOVE the feel of starchy, fresh-smelling, line-dried sheets–that’s our favorite benefit! Oh, and the stain-lifting sun!

  14. One of the down sides of living in an apartment. Even if there was room on our tiny porch, it is against the terms of our lease agreement. Plus, we don’t get any direct sunlight. Which isn’t a bad thing because our downstairs apartment stays cool all the time without the ac on. 🙂 Still, I’m looking forward to being able to line dry!

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