Top tips for line drying

    08 May 2017

    We asked Earthwise fans for their top tips on line drying, we unleashed a torrent of information: from wash-day lore handed down through the generations and washing avoidance tips to ways of side-stepping bugs, beasties and birds — it’s also clear that a lot of us would do anything to get out of the ironing! Here’s a selection of our favourites:

    Birds, Bugs and beasties

    • Never hang laundry under trees – clothes become targets for bird droppings!
    • Attach zip ties to the washing line at intervals (just like you do on bike helmets to stop magpies) to stop birds landing on the line and pooing on your washing (which was a major hassle for us!)
    • I shake everything as I get clothes off the line to reduce the risk of any spiders or other bugs invading my kids clothing. My daughter was stung by a wasp hidden in the armpit of her clothing!
    • Run a cloth along the clothes line every now and again to keep your clothes spider-free!

    Hang ‘em up   

    • I hang my clothes on coat hangers. As soon as they are dry I bring them in and pop them straight into the wardrobe.
    • Mum always taught me to hang bottoms by their tops and tops by their bottoms.
    • My tip is to use three pegs for two items by overlapping clothes slightly. This saves line space and means you don’t have to search around for those last few pegs.
    • Peg socks together on the line so that they don't get lost

    Stains away!

    • If you have a tomato sauce stain on clothing line drying is best as it is a uv stain and the sun's uv rays will make the stain fade away like magic. 
    • Hang dry your whites in full sun to get them extra white
    • To get whites whiter hang them out at night. The night air improves the whiteness — a very old trick my late mother once told me.

    Speed it up

    • Allow plenty of space around your washing. If you try not to crowd the line, everything will dry faster. 
    • After drying, fold clothes and towels straight off the line! That might seem annoying but it means you don't have to look at the mountain of unfolded washing later and cringe. The bonus is that your clothes won't be creased! 
    Timing is everything
    • Hang your clothes inside out so the sun doesn't bleach strong colours. Hang out your washing at night so it is dry before the sun gets too hot.
    • Hang clothes out during the early morning or in the evening when the sun is not so hot. Your clothes will stay softer.
    • For busy parents that struggle to get many loads done during the week: hang out a load of washing before you go to bed — that way the clothes are already outside drying in the morning. This avoids you having to find time to hang it out during the morning routine before everyone leaves the house
    • Get it pegged on the line early in the morning so it dries and can be brought in before the heat of the day kicks in.
    • Hang it up the night before and it will be dry by the time you are home from work! And have a hat with a light so you can see while you're hanging it up!
    • Hang washing up early and don’t leave it to completely dry out. When it’s still slightly damp, bring it in and run it through the drier for a few minutes – say goodbye to crunchy towels. Or just put it in the hot water cupboard.
    • I hang my stuff after 3pm, which seems to stop the crunch. There’s no direct sun and washing is always dry by 6-7pm.
    • My tip would be to hang things out overnight. In winter a frost can have a bit of a sterilising effect on linens and nappies (this is based on my Gran's advice, not science as far as I know!)
    • I always hang clothes inside out so they don't fade and putting a load out at night means it's ready to dry at first light. 
    Beat the rain
    • Hang your washing on clothes horses so it can be moved into or out of the sun...and they're low enough for the kids to help hang/collect the washing! 
    Keep in shape
    • Thread an old pair of pantyhose through woollens to stop them from losing shape. Throw a capful of eucalyptus oil in a warm wash to soften the load and it acts an antibacterial to kill nasty germs. 
    Say goodbye to peg marks
    • Hang baby clothes on the line using the crotch domes to save pegs and avoid peg dents in their clothes
    • Hang clothes inside out to avoid peg marks, preferably pegged in the underarm area or on the seams. Hang delicates away from direct sunlight to avoid damage to fabric
    • If you want to avoid peg marks on tops and shirt, peg them under the armpits or fold the collar over the line and peg.
    • My top tip would be to hang shirts on coat hangers rather than with pegs. No ugly peg marks or ironing required.
    • Hang them tight as they dry better rather than scooped. Also peg clothes under arms to avoid ugly peg marks. 
    Get someone else to do it!
    • Put the washing on first thing on Saturday morning, then go out and ride your horse mid-wash. That leaves hubby to hang out the washing on the line. Job done!
    • If you live at home and wait long enough ad your mum ends up hanging it out. 
    DON’T let anyone else get their hands on it!
    • My tip is don’t let hubby hang it — unless you want it to take three days to dry!
    • My tip is to make sure you actually get the towels out and on the line. Avoid leaving them in the washing machine! 
    Live in an ironing-free zone
    • Shake three times and hang clothes flat in the sun. This will take the creases out —then fold directly off the line. The sun’s heat in the clothes irons them too and straight in the drawer they go!
    • I hang school uniform tops on coat hangers, then hang them on the cloths line, preferably in full sunlight. That way they don't get wrinkled. 
    Out of sight, out of mind
    • Hang knickers and bras in the middle so that the bigger stuff hangs around them — this saves the neighbours seeing my ‘comfy ones’
    • It's very windy where I live, so a tip my mum gave me is to always hang the washing with the wind at your back. Nothing worse than trying to hang out wet washing and it’s all blowing back on to you!
    • Always check pants pockets 
    • Hang towels horizontally (rather than vertically) if you have room - they dry much quicker
    • Allow plenty of spare space around your washing, try not to crowd it, everything will dry faster.
    • Hang large towels on each corner so that the washing line spins evenly! 
    Who knew washing could be so easy! We hope you’ve found a few new tricks. If there’s anything else you think we need to know about line-drying laundry, just share your words of wisdom on our Facebook page — we’d love to hear from you.