My lovely husband made us a clothes line. It is sturdy and functional, with plenty of room on three long lines, and the beautiful green color makes it blend in elegantly with its surroundings. I love to hang out my clothes in the warm summer breeze. It is quick, the laundry smells delicious, and it is easy to fold and sort the dry clothes as you take them down. Line drying our laundry makes me feel good about saving both money and energy, but what are the true facts behind line drying vs. tumbling?
Dryers consume about 6 - 8% of a households monthly electricity use. For us that would mean $9 - 10 in savings per month. Not a lot of money, but it adds up. When you consider that a clothes dryer uses 1800 to 5000 watts per hour it is still a worthwhile thing to do. 1.5 pounds of carbon emissions per kilowatt hour are generated in the production of electricity by a coal fired power station. Another benefit is that air drying makes your clothes last longer, and the sun acts as a natural bleach and disinfectant. It also gives you a tiny bit of exercise and precious fresh air time.
We are fortunate to live in an area where outdoor clothes drying is allowed, but in many places in the US that is not the case, especially in planned developments. For some reason clothes on a line are considered an eye sore and a threat to property values. If you are interested in preserving your laundry rights you can join the right to dry movement, you can also sign an online petition to encourage our first family to line dry their clothes for one day to set a good example.