Hung Out To Dry

Photo Credit: Copta from

There is nothing quite like going to bed between sheets that have been dried outside. There’s also nothing quite like putting on jeans that feel like cardboard after they’ve been dried on the line. But let’s focus on the sheets. June 4 to 11 is International Clothesline Week. This means this week is dedicated to drying your clothes on the line versus the electric dryer.

Incredibly, it was only three years ago that Ontario fought to have a clothesline ban lifted (successfully). And only last fall, Nova Scotians were given the okay to air their laundry. But the clothesline still remains an image associated with the lower/working class. And many home associations and private communities still ban the practice.

Most people I know rarely dry their laundry on the clothesline because it takes longer. Which is why hanging your laundry to dry outside this week is the perfect activity to help you slow down. Aside from the obvious environmental and monetary benefits (like the fact that the average electric dryer constitutes six percent of the household electricity bill), drying your laundry outside forces you to stretch an activity. I don’t mind hanging and collecting the laundry since the Bear and Banana are happy to play around me in the backyard while I do it. And sunshine is one of the best ways to make our cloth diapers white again.

This week, as most weeks in the summer, I will be hanging our laundry outside. Except for the jeans. I can’t get over the feeling-like-cardboard jeans.

For some interesting statistics and information on everything laundry, check out Project Laundry List.

10 Responses to “Hung Out To Dry”

  1. 1 energy saving light September 15, 2014 at 7:44 pm

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  2. 2 Gary June 22, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Hi y’all…Yes, its weird to even have a week like ICW. But unil the day humanity evolves to a point that it is legal to hangdry your clothes on your property regardless of which city or country you live, or we come up with a free/cheap energy solution, a BIG cheers to your use of “da line”.

    Creator of ICW

  3. 4 Gillian June 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I desperately want a clothesline! Clotheslines were commonplace where I grew up – every single house had one. There’s even a Nfld. saying “fine day on clothes”, meaning a beautiful, warm day perfect for drying clothes on a line. I didn’t know that there were places that didn’t have them until I moved here! I still get angry every fine day on clothes that I have to use my dryer! I guess I should move “clothesline installation” a bit higher up on hubby’s to-do list! 🙂

  4. 6 roma June 7, 2011 at 10:32 am

    It’s funny how Canada and Australia are so similar in many ways yet so different in other more surprising ways! I nearly dropped off the chair when I read that there were bans on clotheslines – is that for real?? :o. I guess it is the weather differences that could impact on this but I grew up in middle class household… and I am now 37 years old and only THIS year was the first time in my life that I have ever had a clothes dryer! I am not kidding. It’s just seen, I think, as an energy consumption that is not really necessary but it doesn’t snow in most areas so I guess we don’t have an excuse not to put the clothes out on the line – even in winter. The only reason I invested in a dryer was I have two kids under two and use cloth nappies. There is just no time for hanging clothes out on the line and given it’s now winter here, it takes a couple of days to dry which was not an option. So we got the dryer to make life a bit easier for us and give some more time – but I groan when i see the electricity bill and know that your comment above is so correct – the electricity bills have been huge and I got the most energy efficient one on the market – and I know that once the kids are out of nappies, the clothesdryer will be there in the laundry room gathering dust…. hopefully in time for summer when the clothes actually take less time to dry on the line than they do in the dryer. I loved this post! Thanks Laura, for opening my eyes to a rather random cultural difference that made me chuckle!

    • 7 roma June 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

      oh and one last comment, when it’s too rainy to dry the clothes on the line outside, a common sight is to have a million little indoor clothes racks distributed near each of the heater vents or in front of the trusty old heater depending on what heating option your house has, to get things dry. still takes a couple of days and takes up a lot of room but we just never thought of using a dryer until I was running out of nappies (diapers) too often and having to crack out the packet of emergency disposables one too many times!

      • 8 Mama Tortoise June 12, 2011 at 11:13 am

        Hi Roma,

        Thanks for your perspective. I can’t remember where I read it, but it said that the clothesline was somehow incorporated into the Olympics when it was last hosted by Australia – that’s how normal it is in your country! You’re lucky to have it part of your life. Most people here just use a dryer. But when it’s -30, it does make a bit of sense!


  5. 9 Miss Ella June 7, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I don’t have the luxury of dry my clothes outside, BUT I always dry my clothes inside on my laundry rack. Rarely do we use our dryer.

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