How to Hang Clothes to Dry Outside: Tips and Hacks

hang clothes outside to dry

Here is my guide on how to hang clothes to dry outside to help you decide if air-drying is for you.

Have you ever considered hanging your clothes outside to dry? It can seem like a great deal of work compared to running your clothes through a tumble dryer. 

However, if you have sunny and breezy weather your clothes will dry quickly and have that lovely “fresh air” smell you can only get from air drying outside.

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Why Do Clothes Dry Faster When Hung Outside?

It’s all down it physics, for water to evaporate and therefore dry your clothes the temperature needs to be warm. For effective evaporation, the air around the clothes also needs to be low in humidity. This is why a combination of gentle breezes and warm weather dries clothes fast.

how to hang clothes to dry

Line Drying is Good for the Enviroment

A great alternative to using clothes dryers as these are expensive to run and use energy. Therefore outdoor drying will help reduce your environmental impact because less power will be used when running an electric dryer.

By hanging clothes outside you can save on electricity costs! Use the sunshine and wind which are free to dry your clothes.

Why not hang your clothes on a line or rack outdoors and enjoy the fresh air while they’re drying!

how to hang clothes outside

What Clothes Can I Dry on a Clothes Line?

The majority of clothes that you can launder at home in your washing machine will be suitable for drying outside.

One obvious type of garment that should not be hung is those with natural down fillings. These need to be tumble-dried with tennis balls to fluff the filling up.

If you have any doubts consult the clothing care label.

Check for Local Regulations

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In some places, clotheslines are forbidden on balconies and in backyards because the sight of laundry is considered unsightly to surrounding property owners.

So you’ll need to know what rules apply for your area before setting any clotheslines in your backyard!

Effective Clothes Hanging Tips

best way to hang clothes to dry outside

For best results here are some practical tips to follow when hanging clothes on a line outdoors.

One of the most important tips is to consider the weather. It pays to look a the weather forecast before hanging out clothes.

Avoid days with high humidity, high temperatures, high winds, rain, and any extreme weather events, like snow, frost, and hurricanes!

Also, avoid days when there are predicted high pollen counts. As pollen can end up on your dry clothes causing hayfever or asthma to susceptible people.

The best drying days are when there is a gentle breeze, low humidity, and warm weather.

  • To dry pants hang them with the waist hanging down then pin each leg separately. 
  • I like to give each garment a hard snap or shake just before hanging it on the line. This straightens the clothes and reduces the creases.
  • Generally I don’t fold items over the line unless the item is very large and heavy like sheets, curtains, and tablecloths. This makes an annoying line in the center of your clothes.
  • To prevent marks and stains keep the clothesline and clothespins clean.
  • Use enough clothespins that will prevent the items from falling off the line.
  • For single lines use a retractable clothesline prop in the center. This stops sagging and keeps washing off the dirt.
  • On windy days use more clothespins.
  • Hang heavier items like towels and blankets near to the clothesline prop or support, this prevents too much sagging of the line.
  • To cut down on ironing try to fold laundry as you remove it from the line.
  • Don’t overcrowd the clothes on the line they need space and plenty of air circulation to dry quickly and thoroughly.

How to Hang Clothes on a Clothesline? Tips and Hacks

is it better to hang clothes inside or outside
  • T-shirts, tees, and tops should be pinned to the line from the bottom hem at the side seams.
  • Hang socks in pairs, pinning the toes and allowing the top opening to dangle.
  • Bed linens: old sheets or blankets in half and pin each end to the line.
  • Towels should be hung at the corners without folding the towel over the line. They will then dry quickly.
  • Pillowcases: hang these up by the corners.
  • Hanging white items like bed linens will take advantage of the bleaching effects of direct sunlight.
  • Dark-colored clothes shouldn’t be hung for long periods in strong sunshine. Instead if possible, hang in the shade.
  • Start with the larger items first, then smaller items can be fitted into the gaps.
  • Don’t hang heavy items of clothing like heavy knit sweaters or embellished items as they will become misshapen. Instead dry flat on a rack.
  • very delicate materials like lace can become damaged when hung on a line. These items should be gently hung over a drying rack instead.

What Type of Clothes Line to Choose?

how to properly hang clothes to dry

There are different types of clotheslines available. What you choose and like is really a personal choice.

However, look for non-staining products as there’s nothing more annoying than seeing discoloration lines or marks on your clothes.

Cotton or Rope lines 

This cotton laundry line dryer rope is perfect for the laundry room or the backyard.

A popular choice as they are soft and kind to clothes and less likely to leave stains.

The center of the line should have a wire or a strong plastic core to prevent sagging.

Cotton Clothesline

Plastic Coated Wire

This type of line is strong, long-lasting, and won’t sag. A great choice for heavy use and line that is suitable for long lengths.

Just make sure the outer coating stays in good condition, so your clothes are not damaged by being hung on bare metal.

Plastic coated wire Clothesline

Plastic Coated Line 

This plastic-coated clothesline is fiber-reinforced for maximum durability and lifespan. Resistant to abrasion, moisture, rot, and aging so perfect for outdoor drying!

The smooth plastic surface wipes clean in seconds, Just wipe with mild soap water or rinse off with fresh clean water when needed.

Plastic Coated Clothesline

Different Styles of Outdoor Washing Lines

There are various types of outdoor clotheslines available. To choose you need to think about your personal preferences, the amount of space you have, and the amount of use it will have.

Outdoor clotheslines can be broadly divided into four types:

  • retractable line
  • wall mounted
  • simple clotheslines attached to posts
  • umbrella style collapsable

Retractable Clothesline

I have this type of clothesline. I love it as you can discreetly retract the line after use. I hate seeing an empty line hanging up all the time in my yard.

This Minky retractable clothesline comes with all the fixings you need to get it up and running in your yard quickly.

The fully retractable clothesline includes a UV protective outer casing plus 3 hooks which provide enough hanging space for plenty of washing.

The Minky retractable clothesline is designed to be perfect for use outdoors but could be installed inside in laundry rooms for example.

Minky Outdoor Retractable Clothesline

Wall Mounted Clothes Line 

This space-saving wall-mounted clothesline has all the features you need in an outdoor line.

It’s sturdy and stable with a built-in drying rack that holds plenty of laundry items at once.

It conveniently opens and closes with one hand, making your laundry drying easier than ever.

Wall-Mounted and Retractable Clothes Line

In-Ground Umbrella Style Rotary Dryer 

This rotary style dryer is made with 4 heavy-duty iron arms that hold 165ft of clotheslines.

The perfect outdoor clothesline dryer for any yard. Great for handling large heavy laundry loads.

The umbrella part of the rotary dryer can fold up when not in use, so takes up little space.

Rotary Style Outdoor Umbrella Drying Clothesline

Is Drying Clothes Outside For You?

In conclusion drying clothes on a line is a quick, easy and cheap way to dry your clothes.

Is there anything more satisfying than seeing a clothesline full of laundry fluttering in the breeze?

With the sun acting as a natural bleach to white bed linens, using a clothesline is particularly beneficial.

But it’s important to buy the right types of outdoor clothesline for your need. And follow some basic tips when hanging up your washing out on a line.

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However, the biggest plus to drying clothes on a line is that it is the cheapest way to dry your clothes. And of course, clothes smell better and feel fresher when dried in the sun.

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How to Hang Clothes to Dry Outside