Ditch the dryer, hang clothes outside

Modern reasons make old-school drying a good idea

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - If you think hanging the laundry outside to dry sounds like a throwback idea, there are plenty of modern reasons to consider going old-school.

Perhaps the biggest reason you might want to ditch the dryer is that the appliance is one of the top seven energy users in the home.

"They use a ton of electricity. About 4 percent of most household electricity is used in a dryer," said Consumer Reports home editor Paul Hope. "But they also break down the fibers in your clothes over time from the high heat of the cycle."

If you're ready to give line drying a shot, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Hang a clothesline in a sunny spot, away from birds. 
  • Use durable clothespins that open easily. 
  • Shake items out first to reduce wrinkles.
  • Hang shirts from the bottom.
  • Hang pants and skirts from the waistband to make clothespin marks less obvious.  
  • Fold knits right over the line to avoid puckering and stretching.

Fresh air will give your clothes a fresh scent, Hope said.

Mother Nature offers another bonus when you dry clothes on a line.

"The sun is actually pretty powerful. It can fight stains. It can even bleach our whites and make them brighter," Hope said.

But items such as dark jeans need to be turned inside-out to reduce fading, Hope said.

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