Line-drying clothes -- indoors

My wooden clothes rackHere is a handy "gadget" that has saved us a lot of money through our frugal years. (We're still in them, by the way.Wink) This folding wooden clothes rack was a bridal shower gift, and it stands in our living room all winter (and often in the spring and fall, as well!).

Unlike many of the things I thought I "needed" when we got married, this clothes rack has been used countless times. If our heat is blowing, there is likely clothes drying over the vent. Not only does it save dryer costs, it puts much-needed moisture in the air!

During the coldest months, a load dries in less than 24 hours. In the spring or fall, when the heat isn't used as much, the clothes takes about 24 hours to dry. Longer than 24 hours concerns me, because of mold. Thankfully, if the clothes would take that long to dry in the house, it usually means it's a nice day outside, and I can use my clothesline!

I do prefer my outdoor clothesline. It's nice to be able to wash several loads in one day, and bring in soft, sun-kissed clothes or diapers. But for me, this wooden rack is a winter-time must-have!

Do note that your location, humidity, and outdoor temperatures will determine how well this will work for you!

For more: See Jennifer's page about drying her clothes indoors!

Comments

We do the same thing! Although we do it year round because we do not have a yard large enough to have a clothes line.

One thing I do to hurry clothing along in drying is to just pop it in the drier for 20 minutes. If I do a load first thing in the morning much if it is dry by bed time.

Also, I move the laundry to the heat.

Either the front patio, kitchen where I am cooking, or our garage in the summer or when my husband gets home from work and parks the vehicle with the hot motor in there!

Kristy

Phil 2:9-11

We have a one just like yours and keep ours in front of a heat vent, too! I remember picking it out at the local hardware and taking it home. Not many folks window shop for drying racks!

Since we have a tiny bathroom, we also put our towels on it to dry. They get dry faster and stay fresher longer, so it creates less laundry than if they were in the steamy bathroom.

I, too, prefer an outdoor line. Since we're relatively new homeowners and don't have our own line yet, we have a sweet neighbor who lets us use her clothesline. ;-)

Thanks for mentioning that Tammy. In our house now, there are no vents on the floor, they are all on the baseboards, so I can't put it over vents like I did in CO. Good tips!

Jennifer

We dry socks and washcloths on one of those racks. Everything else dries on one of the numerous lines stretched across our basement. We do use an outdoor clothesline when it is warm outside! We have had dryers at different times, but the last one broke about six years ago and has never been replaced. My brother and sister-in-law gave us one, but it has the wrong kind of plug for our electrical outlet!

...but I don't think we'd ever need it, since we live in Arizona. I've been using our clotheslines almost exclusively for a year & a half, even during the one or two times we've had frost (it's so arid here that even if the clothes are frozen, the moisture will evaporate from them- just like meat getting "freezer burn", I suppose).

I have one of those laundry wheels (pictures on your outdoor clothesline post) too and love it- it's great for drying handkerchiefs, baby wipes & washcloths etc without using much space or a bundle of clothespins. Wish I could find another, but I haven't seen them in the dollar stores lately.

If you want the line-dried clothes to smell nice, try using a little diluted lavender oil in the wash- another experiment I'm trying is to enclose a sprig of fresh-picked rosemary in a mesh bag and toss that in with the diapers. My husband loves the sun-and-lavender scented sheets, but he, like most husbands, does not like "exfoliatey" towels or stiff socks!

- Samara (www.samarajane.blogspot.com)

I like to hang my clothes too, but do not have a line outside available right now, so what I do is put it in the dryer for 5 to 10 minutes and then take the things out and hang them on hangers. In the summer I just leave them above the dryer in the garage and in the winter I hang them along the closet ridges in the bedrooms. The downside is that big things like blankets and sheets still need to be done in the dryer. But it does cut down on ironing, :) and wear on the clothes, save some money on the electric bill, and I too love the humidity it adds in the winter. Well anyway I have never posted on one of these things so here goes and I hope it works!

I have some drying racks (we aren't allowed to have clotheslines where we live). I also have a spin dryer, which really helps make the drying racks practical in our humid climate. It spins out a lot of the water left in the clothes. It helps save time in the dryer too if you have one. The clothes are less stiff if I use the spin dryer before I hang them on the racks. The spin dryer isn't cheap, but we bought it instead of a dryer. You can find them online if you are interested.

If you work together with your neighbors, you should be able to overturn this rule on energy conservation grounds. This happened recently in our neighborhood.

Hi! We used these in our college dorm rooms and have taken them with us on vacation in rental properties. . . indispensable for sure. Especially since we can't have clotheslines in our yard due to neighborhood covenant.

These are also handy when tsking ornaments off the Christmas tree as you can just quickly hook the ornaments on the rack and then easily organize the ornaments for storage.

Emily

Moisture in the air and dry clothes.I will be getting me one of these to have for next winter.I will still use the dryer for a few minutes to fluff them.I don't like them stiff from drying.Or maybe over the heater vent?

Great idea.I have been thinking of some kind of clothes line to get for the summer too.We do not have a big enough yard to have a long clothes line.Maybe one of those round ones would be ok?I will have to look around.

Yep - we have the exact same rack that we're using in Italy. Actually, we wash at night (when the electric rates are cheaper), and my husband hangs the laundry before work. When the temps warm up, I move the rack outside for the day.

It's working great for us!

There are seven of us,and I have not had a drier in over 25 years.I use a drying rack,and have a rod that stretches in the doorway and i hang wet clothes on hangers.In good weather,I use four lines,twenty feet long, side by side,in our tiny yard.Sandra, older mom

Tammy, I sure enjoy visiting your site and being inspired by all the common sense and practical information! I would like to post a link so other's may enjoy :-) I also read your older post on drying clothes outdoors. What beautiful pictures of laundry fluttering in the breeze! It brought back sweet memories of our first home (in Ohio) with it's big yard and nice large, sturdy clothes line. I used it often and your article made me miss the opportunity to hang clothes outside!! I'm not sure if we would be permitted to have a clothes line here due to deed restrictions... may just have to check into that! I often hang clothes right out of the washer on a rack in our laundry room. I may join the fun and post a picture along with a link to your article! Really enjoy your blog!! Blessings, Diane

We also use our drying rack and since we have a woodstove for heat in the winter this works well, adding moisture to the air and the clothes dry fairly fast. In the summer or when the weather is good we hang outside on our lines. Very economical! Unfortunately this last winter we had to use a dryer because our house was under construction and we had no wood heat.

For those interested: Here is Diane's laundry post! :D

Kristy, thanks for the good tips! I occasionally put the clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes or so before haning, BUT I'm usually too lazy, since that means an extra trip down to the basement. Plus, my little guys get into mischief while I'm gone, even for a minute!! ;)

Brandy, our bathroom is TINY, too -- I should start leaving our smaller clothes rack (about half the size of the one pictured above) set up for towels. If our family grows, I'll definitely need to! :) (We have one small towel rod in the bathroom)

Samara -- and everyone else! -- thanks for the tips! :) Jaclynn, you're right -- wood heat makes for quick drying. :) We've never had wood heat, but older houses seem to have drier inside air in the winter... probably because of drafts! :)

I am so glad to see other people who like to hang their clothes to dry also. My husband gave me the hardest time when I first started but now he is used to it. My method is similar to everyone else's but one thing I do a little differently is I hang the clothes on clothes hangers and then hang the hangers on the line or drying rack. I use the small plastic children's hangers to drape my wash cloths and cleaning cloths over. I use shirt hangers for shirts(obviously) and pants gripper hangers for towels, pants and socks. I used to hang outside but since it is allergy season where I live and my youngest has a multitude of allergies, I have a hanging bar and drying rack in my garage. I do at least one load a day. Somedays two. There are five of us and two are teenage boys. Oh, yes, I also tumble my towels on no heat setting for a couple of minutes before hanging them and then the entire load after they are dry on the same no heat setting. The towels and jeans aren't crunchy at all this way. Just a minute or two is all you need. I also have some of those weird little ball thingies my MIL gave me for Christmas. I have just begun using the homemade laundry detergent with FelsNaptha, washing soda and Borax and I just love it. I also rinse with white vinegar which I add to a Downy ball. Sounds like a lot but it's really a system that works for me and the FelsNaptha gets so many stains out. I keep a partial bar in a baggie at the washer and rub it on any stains before they go in. Amazing results. It has even gotten out mystery stains in my husbands sweatshirts that I accidentally set in my dryer when I was using it again. I know this is a long post but I hope this helps someone out. Staci

Thanks for sharing about your method, Staci! I've never used Fels Naptha soap... but I make my children wear bibs and don't worry about the stains on our everyday clothes. I guess we all have things we're particular about, and things we don't manage so meticulously! :D

I've been using a clothes line AND not running my heat/air since early March(also when the sun goes down, the lites go out and we rely on oil lamps, about 15$ a month in oil). My bill is down over 60% from those changes alone. I have a wood burning fireplace and a few times so far, have wished I had a wooden drying rack so I could hang the clothes on it and set it in front of the fireplace. Has anyone tried this? Does it work?

Wow! That's some great savings! :)

I've never personally had a wood-burning fireplace, but I imagine that as long as you didn't put your clothes too close (i.e. fire hazard), the heat it gives off would definitely help dry the clothes more quickly!

I'm not sure where you live, and climate does factor into drying times. I use my wooden clothes rack ALL the time in the winter. The most challenging time for me is spring and fall, when it could be warm and rainy for a week at a time... the clothes won't dry inside (too much humidity and no heat). :)

We lived in a house that had four lines outside and I *loved* drying clothes outside, especially diapers as there's nothing better for diaper stains than some good ol' sunshine! In the house we rent now, though, we're not allowed to put up lines and I was trying to figure out a good way to dry them inside.

We have a room in our basement that we use for an office, and it has a hanging rod that is exposed, and I do hang clothes straight from the washer on that, but it's in the basement and I worry about not getting dry fast enough. I've looked at those clothes racks and thought about it, just never went through. I think I will talk to my husband about buying one.

Oh, he grew up on a farm where everything was line dried and he actually *likes* the crispy feeling of things, lol. I notice that if I am careful about getting all the soap rinsed, it's not so bad, and for towels and the like, that stiffness is gone after a use or two.

When I grew up my mon used to do this and my Grandma and so on.
After our cloth used to be dry,after hanging out there all day, we would put a movie in at nighttime and start ironing. I always iron all my cloth, even my towel just not socks and underwear).
I don't think that a lot of people do this anymore. When I brought this up once at work they all looked at me as if I would be crazy, some of them don't know how to iron and two of them didn't even owen an iron.
But I tell you after you iron your stuff it all feels a lot softer and nicer.

I just made a wooden clothes drying rack like the one in the photo above. I'm concerned that it might stain my clothes. Should I use wood stain or leave it bare? Has anyone had a problem with stained clothes?

I have to use portable oil heaters and need two for each end of our home. I thought I would try it and lay wet clothes over heater and in 15min a pair of jeans, towel , or shirt will dry.. Undergarments are so quick minutes...I pull them off just a couple before done. they do get the line dry siffness. I do put all my load in the dryer for 10 min on air dry with 4 tennis balls. I love not running my dryer and am able to get my two loads dry and washed and put away for the day. giving the tennis ball beat down for 10min softens them up like they went through the dryer.
heaters seem to keep heating the house and now my favorite was to dry and cut out the dryer. I wash 2 loads and almost dry them and put both loads in dryer for the 10 on air dry. I can't wait to see how my electric bill drops...:-)

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