Take a look at the above picture……talk about line drying…..are these professionals or what?….above water!
Ok….I’ll admit…..before moving to Italy, I never thought of line drying clothes. Why should I? Growing up in California, we had a washer and a dryer and they worked just fine, thank you! The maximum we did was place delicates on a hanger in the laundry room. But line dry like you see in Italian movies? Nope. Well…..I’m now here to to tell you I officially endorse line drying!
Here in Italy, electricity is super expensive and that’s why everyone line dries their laundry. It actually came out of a necessity. But even those who are economically well off, still line dry. It’s now more of a cultural thing. When you think of Italy, one of the things that come to mind is hanging laundry! I remember the first time I came to Italy and saw socks, underwear, pants, pajamas….you name it, it was there….hanging….sometimes right under a ground floor window! You just walk right past them and nobody thinks twice. Well I started giggling and of course my Italian friends were wondering what was so funny? But now, after 6 years…..not only is seeing hanging laundry so routine, but I personally love it. And here is why!…..
First, in order to line dry, you clearly need a bit of space to install clothe lines. However, you can also just buy a clothes drying rack and it will work as well =) I actually use my clothes lines on the balcony for sheets, towels and larger clothing….while using my rolling laundry cart for smaller items like socks, underwear, face towels, etc….
1) Economic – Obviously, there is no cost to line drying. God created the sun for warmth and the clothes get just that =D
2) Fragrance – When you line dry clothes, there is a different scent than that of a dryer. It’s like the difference between sun made tea and store bought….need I say more?
3) Shrinkage – Believe it or not, the dryer DOES shrink clothes. Anyone ever mistakenly place something in the dryer only to find it doll sized later? Now, you would think the sun would shrink the clothes as well, wouldn’t you? Well, I have found that it really doesn’t until a very long time.
4) Less ironing – Yippy! That alone would make me do it =D I have friends that literally hang the shirts on hangers and let them dry that way =D You will still need to iron, but not as much as if you leave or forget the clothes in the dryer.
5) Noise – I can’t tell you how many times my mom had to stop running the dryer because my dad wanted to nap and could still here the machine rumble like a freight train even with both the laundry room door and bedroom door closed!
6) Damages clothes – It’s no mystery that the dryer, over time, damages the fibers of the clothing…..it’s the concentrated heat mixed with the tumbling\stretching. Eventually, you need to replace clothing faster than if you line dry.
So now that I’ve given you some advantages……would you consider trying it? If so…..
Here are some tips on how to line dry!……
1) Buy LARGE good quality PLASTIC clothe pegs. If you must buy wood pegs, make sure to collect the pegs every time you collect the laundry as wooden pegs are not moisture resistant. Large pegs also enable heavier items to stay on the line (like blankets, heavy jackets, etc). You don’t want them flying away!
2) Have the hubby set up some clothes lines in the backyard, rear patio, or wherever you like! Or, if you tight on space, just invest in a good quality outdoor drying rack. I use one like this……It actually holds two loads of laundry at once. Make sure it also folds up and rolls…..that’s a lifesaver! If you buy something too cheap, it will collapse on you if you live in a windy area! I’ve heard my neighbor’s racks collapsing only to imagine their laundry all over the ground =(
3) If you have no shade whatsoever, and must put the rack or lines under the direct sun, invert the clothing so the clothes don’t fade with the passing of time. Or, you can hang the clothes at night like some women here do and collect them in the morning once dried.
4) When hanging shirts, sweaters, and tops, place the pegs under the armpits so no peg marks show, if any. Or peg at the bottom of the shirt (where the shirt gets tucked it). When hanging pants, I like to hang them from the bottom, not from the waist…..I feel they dry faster and leave no peg marks. However both methods work well.
5) When hanging bath or kitchen towels and table cloths, I usually do NOT hang them from the corner tips, even if it saves space because I find that the tips stretch and the towels lose their rectangular or square shape. I hang them straight across….see below.
6) Smaller articles like socks, underwear, wash cloths can be hung on the laundry cart....they take less time to dry and need less space….so I never hang these on the line.
7) When you are in rainy season, just remember that your clothes will need an extra day to dry.
So now that you have some advantages and tips on line drying….let me know if you try it =)
Happy laundry hanging!