Laundry drying on a washing line in the sunshine
how what why?

6 reasons to line dry laundry

There’s no time like summer to line dry laundry - when the air’s warm and fragrant, and the sun’s blazing. And there are so many reasons why it’s beneficial to line dry - from protecting fabrics and saving energy, to the scent and the cost. Plus, clotheslines have come a long way (some are even quite stylish!). Read on for a full list of reasons. 

1) Line drying clothes protects fabrics 

Most damage to fabrics occurs in a tumble dryer. Tossing and tumbling can cause wear and strain on seams and snags from buttons and zips, while excessively high heat can ruin some fabrics and cause irreversible damage. Research shows that this is especially true for natural fabrics like cotton. Plus, tumble drying shrinks clothes twice as much as air drying. Line drying is more gentle to fibres than a dryer, particularly for silk garments (which should always be hung to dry). Knits and cardigans are the only exception: these should be dried flat in their natural shape to prevent stretching and distortion. 

2) Line drying clothes saves energy 

Line drying, rather than tumble drying, is the most earth-friendly option when it comes to drying laundry: a household running a tumble dryer 200 times a year could save nearly half of CO2e by switching to a clothes rack or washing line. By contrast, line drying saves energy and precious fossil fuels, so it’s the pinnacle of green laundry and green living. 

3) Line drying clothes enhances scent 

There’s nothing like the scent of line-dried laundry. People have written poems about it. Candles and air fresheners try to imitate it. Line-dried clothes simply smell much fresher than clothes dried inside - and there’s science behind the scent. Hung outside, the ultraviolet light from the sun kills lingering bacteria, whilst the sun also produces a range of aldehydes and ketones (according to findings by Environmental Chemistry). Our noses associate these organic compounds with the scent of plants or perfumes, so it’s no wonder that line-dried clothes have such a distinctive and aromatic fragrance. 

4) Line drying clothes saves money 

According to National Statistics, almost 60% of UK households own a tumble dryer. That means over 14 million households are using electricity to dry clothes. So ditching your utility-powered tumble dryer won’t just save energy, but also utility bills and money. After all, a clothesline is much less expensive and operate than a tumble dryer. 

5) Line drying clothes bleaches naturally 

The sun’s UV rays will naturally bleach and disinfect laundry, which can be particularly beneficial for white sheets and towels, as well as lighter-coloured items of clothing. By contrast, be sure to hang brights and dark colours in the shade when line drying, as excessive sunlight can cause fading and discoloration over time. 

6) Line drying clothes is meditative 

Take the short time needed to hang up and then take down your laundry to enjoy a meditative and stress-relieving outdoor experience. Take in the sunshine, breathe in the fresh laundry scent, and make a ritual of the whole process - rather than see it as a chore. 

There you have our top reasons to line dry laundry - whatever your personal values or lifestyle - for your clothes, for the planet, for your bank account, and for your wellbeing. 

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