Returning to Our Roots // Hang Drying Clothing

Last month we started the series Returning to Our Roots where we talk about ways to simplify your lifestyle and save money! We talked about how you can save some money by baking your own sandwich bread and by planting an indoor herb garden. Today, we- are covering how to hang dry your clothing

Did you know that drying your clothes with a machine uses 5000 watts of power, runs an average of 24 hours per month, and adds around $218 to your electric bill yearly? Of course, this varies depending on the size of your household. But that is crazy! That is money you could easily be saving for much more important things. On the other hand, you may be thinking, "I'm not too worried about saving money, and I don't have time to air dry my clothing." That's all well, but did you know that machine drying your clothing is what's making your favorite pieces not last as long as they could? The tumbling from the dryer rubs away the fibers from your clothes and the clumps of lint you pull out of your dryer is actually part of the clothing that you just took the time to protect! Fibers, especially wool, are meant to be air dried and last much longer if you do. If you're like us, you don't always read every single label on the shirt you just bought, but maybe it's time that you did! You could be saving money and those expensive pieces of clothing by washing + drying them the correct way. We are striving to take better care of our clothing.

Another benefit of air drying your clothing? The sun has natural disinfecting and whitening properties. UV rays help to disinfect water and damp laundry by interfering with the reproduction cycle of bacteria. That means if you were sick, your dirty bedsheets have now been naturally disinfected without having to use harmful chemicals like bleach! On the down side, because the sun does have natural whitening properties, that does mean the bright colors in your clothing could start to fade more quickly if hung in direct sunlight.

Here are some tips on how to hang dry your clothing:

1. Choose a good spot for your clothesline, if it's going to be outside. A sunny spot is good if you are wanting to bleach whites. A shady spot is better for preserving color. Under a tree is probably not your best option (bird poop). Beside your house, where a shadow is cast, is better! Our clothesline is in a sunny spot in our yard. If you can't hang outside and have to inside, you're humidifying your home naturally! That is bloody brilliant, if you ask me, especially in those dry winter months. Most people who hang dry indoors don't have the need for a humidifier. Bonus!

2. Hang loose. To avoid pinches in the fabric from your clothespins, make sure to pin in more discreet locations. Don't pin at the edges of your shirts. This will cause them to stretch at the bottom in the places that you pinned. Air drying helps to get out the wrinkles! I learned the hard way by stretching the bottoms of my shirts as far as they could, and they stayed that way. Now I leave some room when pinning.

  • Hang shirts, skirts, and underwear by their hemline.
  • Hang nicer pants by their cuffs, folded, for crease lines and jeans by their waistband. Turn out the pockets to dry more quickly!
  • Hang dresses by the shoulder seam.
  • Hang socks by the toes.
  • Hang linens and towels draped 1/3 over the line.

3. Look at the type of fiber you are hanging. Wool sweaters and other wool items should never be hung on a line. This can cause the item to stretch. These pieces should always be lain flat to dry and flipped. This way you can reshape the garment to the original shape from when you bought it. Terry cloth can also dry funny on a line, but this is not always true. Make sure you check your labels to see the recommended way of drying! A safe way of keeping your towels soft is to toss them in the dryer for a few minutes after hanging.

4.  Shake & Smooth. One of the best tips I've learned is to shake and smooth your clothes while hanging! Shaking helps to remove lint and wrinkles. Once your clothes are hung, make sure to smooth out the wrinkles and pull at the fabric a little. This will definitely help ensure that you don't have to pull out your iron, and if it's a little breezy, that helps, too! And don't forget a shake or two once dried, just in case of critters!

5. If it rains, let your clothes dry longer. A little rain never killed anybody. Of course, if it's down pouring, you should probably dry inside. You can get most of your drying done by hanging your clothes on hangers in your house. Hang drying is a great way to really start paying attention to the weather! You'll now begin to make the sunny days your laundry day.

Although all of those benefits are excellent, and you will be helping to erase your carbon footprint, I believe the best benefit of hang drying is the positive outlook on your mental health. Hang drying clothing is said to squash your stress levels. It is soothing and relaxing to carefully hang each piece of clothing, reminding you why you bought it, why you love it, and to take care of the items that you purchase. We all know that in this age, we spend too much on things we don't need and too much time hurrying from one task to the next. Now you have a reason to truly enjoy the special pieces you do have. Drying bed sheets is the perfect excuse to read that book you've been meaning to catch up on and enjoy a warm cup of coffee in the spring breeze.

We hope you have found a new love for taking care of your clothes like we have! Enjoy those undies blowing in the wind!!

xoxo Kayla