Air Drying Laundry

One of the easiest changes to make to become more self-sufficient is to begin air drying your laundry. This is a must for those who are off-grid but it can save you money and diminish your reliance on electricity even if you are on-grid.  

Air drying works especially well in warm temperatures and sunlight. In addition to saving on electricity, drying laundry in the sun has the benefit of giving your laundry a fresh, clean smell without the use of harmful artificial fragrances in your laundry products. Sunlight also helps to naturally bleach and disinfect your clothes. In fact, the pioneers used to lay their bed sheets out on the grass to bleach them in the summertime.

 Laundry can be air dried in cooler temperatures as well, though it can take longer. Air drying in freezing temperatures will basically "freeze dry" your clothes. The freezing temperatures will turn the moisture into ice, which will then sublimate (turn into vapor), leaving your clothes dry.

Line Drying

Line drying is what typically comes to mind when discussing outdoor clothes drying options. Whether from a scene in a movie or an experience at our grandmother's house, most of us can probably picture lines of rope with laundry hanging from them. This is a fabulous option if you have the space to hang lines or erect a line dryer in your yard.  While people tend to think of this as being solely an outdoor option, it is possible to construct a method of hanging lines indoors as well. You simply need something solid on either end of the rope to which you can tie or clip it.

Using a line to dry your clothes is simple. While you can just drape laundry over the lines, it works best if you have clothespins,  especially if hanging clothes outdoors.  The wind can be notorious for sweeping clothing off the line if it is not properly secured. Clothespins can be found at most retail stores that carry laundry accessories such as laundry baskets and drying racks.

Rack Drying 

Laundry racks are the most versatile option since they can be used for both indoor and outdoor drying year-round.  You can get various sizes to accommodate small to large loads.  These can be set up in the yard; on the deck, porch, or patio; in a bedroom, living room, or dining room; in front of the fireplace; etc. 

Laundry racks do take up space, so you need somewhere to store them where they will not be in the way. The larger ones can be a bit heavy and awkward to carry, but are otherwise quite portable. If you have a large family, you may need more than one to serve all of your laundry needs. You can maximize your space by folding some of the lighter items in half before draping them over the rack.

Getting a quality rack will save you the aggravation of having one collapse under the weight of heaving clothing, having the rods sag over time, or having a piece break off. There are some great quality wooden racks that, if cared for properly, will last for years. You can find wooden and metal drying racks many places online.  You can also find them at retail stores that carry laundry products. We purchased our drying rack several years ago from Lehman's and have been pleased with its quality and durability.

Laundry racks can be used indoors and out

Combo Drying

One of the many complaints I have heard about air dried laundry is that people don't like the stiff feeling of their linens, especially their towels. One option is to shake your clothes to soften them a bit before folding. Another option is what I call combo drying. Line dry your clothes, then throw them in the dryer for a few minutes while they are still a bit damp. This will keep them soft, but still provide the benefits of fresh smelling towels and a lower energy bill.