Fire Your Dryer

Save money and go green with FREE wind and solar energy! How? “Fire your dryer” and start line-drying your laundry!

Why Line Dry | Line-Drying FAQ | What Kind of Clothesline? | HOA Clothesline Letter | Laundry Hall of Fame


Why Line Dry?

Save $$! Dryers soak up more than $100 a year in energy costs.

Save your clothes! Dryers stress fabric, cause shrinkage, warp elastic, and shorten the lifespan of your favorite shirt.

Fresh scent! Line-dry your laundry and sleep on sun-kissed sheets every night.

Reduce your carbon footprint! Dryers consume more than 900 kilowatt hours per year of fossil fuel energy that causes pollution and global warming.

Meet the neighbors! Spending more time out in your yard gives you more opportunities to build community by connecting with folks who live nearby.

Line-Drying FAQ

Q. But won’t my clothes end up all wrinkled and need more ironing?

A. Nope, most modern clothes are a blend of different fabric types, so you’ll probably end up ironing just as much (or as little!) as you did before the clothesline.

Q. What about my neighbors? I don’t want them seeing my under garments!

A. Our top tips for line-drying discreetly:
(1) Use an indoor drying rack for your unmentionables.
(2) Set up a clothesline with several parallel lines (see What Kind of Clothesline? below). Then, put your personal items on the inner line and hang other items on the outside.
(3) Start a clothesline trend in your neighborhood and get everyone on board. Once all the undies are out in the open, no one will care!

Q. What if my Homeowners Association bans line-drying?

A. Did you know that Virginia is considered a “Right to Dry” state? The Code of VA, Section 67-701, states that community associations may not ban solar collection devices. To get started on changing your HOA’s policy, invite Transition Cville to your next HOA meeting to present the benefits of line-drying to your neighbors (email You can also send them a copy of our HOA Clothesline Letter. Alternatively, you could try an indoor drying rack – handy in winter, too.

Q. How long does it take to hang out my laundry instead of throwing it in the dryer?

A. A full load takes about 10 minutes to hang. It helps to have a system like hanging all the sheets & towels first, then clothes, then small items like socks. If you want to go casual and skip the clothespins, just toss everything over the line and be done in less than 5 minutes. On a windy day, sheets and lightweight items can dry in about an hour. A normal load on a somewhat humid day may take about 8-10 hours. Clothes on an indoor drying rack near a woodstove will dry in about 2 hours. Yes, line-drying takes longer, but there’s good news, too: you won’t have to babysit your laundry. Let it hang as long as you want, and it won’t get wrinkled like it would sitting in a heap in the dryer.


What Kind of Clothesline?

Basic Outdoor Line: If you have two sturdy places to attach your line – like a tree, porch post, etc. – set-up couldn’t be easier. Get two screw eyes or screw hooks and a length of clothesline. Heavy cotton clothesline (100 ft. for about $8 at Meadowbrook Hardware), nylon line (50 ft. for about $4 at Martin Hardware), or PVC-coated wire (50 ft. for about $5 at Martin Hardware) will do the trick. Get a 50-pack of wooden clip clothespins for about $4.

Screwing hardware into a tree can damage the tree, so consider tying your clothesline around the tree instead. Instructions for tying knots:

Tips: Look for a spot where birds can’t easily perch above your line. Hang the line low enough to reach it comfortably, but high enough that sheets won’t drag on the ground if the line sags a little. Add a turnbuckle or clothesline tightener ($4 at Meadowbrook) to easily tighten the line as it stretches over time. Avoid blocking a high-traffic area.

Retractable Clothesline: If you want your clothesline out of the way when you’re not using it, a retractable line is great! Get a 5-line indoor/outdoor retractable clothesline for about $16 at Martin Hardware. It’s easiest to install between two walls, because you need about 2′ of horizontal space for anchoring the lines at each end. Or, you can get a single-line retractable reel for easy installation similar to the Basic Outdoor Line.

Here’s another type of line that can easily be set up and removed:

Pulley Clothesline: If one or both ends of your clothesline will have to be attached high off the ground, a pulley system  is your best option. This also lets you stand in one place to hang your laundry! You can get two pulleys plus hooks to attach them for about $8.50 at Meadowbrook Hardware. Step-by-step instructions from The Not-So-Modern Housewife:

umbrella-styleUmbrella Style Clothesline: You can get a compact umbrella-style clothesline for about $65 at Meadowbrook Hardware. The multiple lines make “discreet” drying easy (hide your underwear on the inner lines). Install by digging a hole and filling with gravel around the clothesline post.

T-Post Clothesline: You can buy two heavy duty T-posts with room for 7 lines for about $60 each at Martin Hardware. Or you can make a rustic version out of reclaimed wood (check out Shell’s line in our Laundry Hall of Fame). Concrete is recommended for installation (about $5). The T-post clothesline is another good option for “discreet” drying. It’s a more expensive option than most – but you’ll have plenty of room for hanging lots o’ laundry, and it should last practically forever.

Indoor/Outdoor Drying Rack: A collapsible wooden or metal drying rack can be used in the yard, on the porch, or inside the house – and there’s no installation required. Drying clothes on an indoor rack in the winter can actually help humidify your house, too. Drying rack prices run from about $20 to $100 or more. Or you can make your own from an old ladder!

Still have questions?

When your clothesline is set up, we’d love to see a photo of you line-drying your laundry! Send your photo to and we’ll add it to our Laundry Hall of Fame.