The Joys of Hang-Drying Laundry

Today we had a beautiful sunny day which made me think: time to do laundry! Isn’t that what everyone thinks when there are blue skies outside? For about 8 years I’ve been hang-drying almost all of our laundry. The exceptions I make are sheets and towels (because sheets are too big and I like my towels soft). Otherwise, on the drying racks they go! I started partly because my husband already owned a drying rack or two as his home lacked a dryer (but had a washing machine). Additionally, my son, who was a toddler at the time, thought it was great fun to “help” me. Also, because dryers are the appliance that most suck electricity, it seemed a great way to reduce our energy consumption.

Although we do not live in a climate that is warm all-year round, we are able to hang-dry our clothes all year. This is because we use drying racks instead of a clothes-line. The clothes take a little longer to dry in the winter, but I place them over heat vents and that speeds up the process. Also, I like to think that I enjoy the bonus of adding moisture to the air this way (forced air heat really dries out the air and my skin starts to resemble a crocodile’s). Then, in the summer, I can put the racks out on the deck and the clothes end up smelling great from all that fresh air.  2014_0407Laundry

I also like to think that the sun’s UV rays can kill some germs, but I haven’t seen any evidence that really backs this up. But hey, it’s 64°F today which is pretty toasty for the Pacific Northwest in April. And it is not raining, thank you very much, so I’m not complaining!

Another bonus is that clothes that otherwise might require ironing, often don’t: score! We hang button down shirts and the like on clothes hangers and hang them wherever it suits us and they dry with fewer wrinkles. Ditto with our cloth napkins and placemats. I actually like ironing, but I am usually short on time so I’m willing to give it up (aren’t I the martyr?).

So, I suggest that you start doing the same. You don’t have to commit to hang-drying every load, just do what you can! We all need to do what we can to reduce our energy consumption so we don’t have so many mudslides, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, monsoons, earthquakes, etc. You know what I’m talking about here.

On a cheerier note, today I made my short-cut Mexican Soup. I love the real thing, but I don’t always have time to make it. Also, I often have a jar of half-eaten salsa in the fridge and I have learned that it doesn’t keep forever, like many other condiments, and I hate to waste food. So, here is my cheater’s recipe.

Short-Cut Mexican Soup
Salsa (at least one cup to make one serving)
Vegie broth
Assorted add-ins like:
Black beans
Frozen corn
Cheese, shredded or just sliced thinly
Avocado, diced
Cilantro, stemmed and chopped if you care
Broken tortilla chips from the bottom of a bag
Scallion, sliced

Heat the salsa, broth, beans, and corn (if using) until it reaches the temperature you want. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients on top and eat.


2 thoughts on “The Joys of Hang-Drying Laundry

  1. Well you get this love of hanging genetically. Both your grandmothers and one grandfather hung out their wash. All seasons. Your mom and two aunts do all year around. One time one winter my pants froze so fast it was funny. I brought them in and took a photo: Blue jeans doing yoga.
    Here is a poem by Frank Steele
    Part of a Legacy

    I take pillows outdoors to sun them
    as my mother did. “Keeps bedding fresh,”
    she said. It was April then, too__
    buttercups fluffing their frail sails,
    one striped bee humming grudges, a crinkle
    of jonquils. Weeds reclaimed bare ground.
    All of these leaked somehow
    into the pillows, looking odd where they
    simmered all day, the size of hams, out of place
    on grass. And at night I could feel
    some part of my mother still with me
    in the warmth of my face a I dreamed
    baseball and honeysuckle, sleeping
    on sunlight.

    It was( I hope past tense) a brutal winter, and one of the many sad parts was I could not wade out to my lines but used the basement.

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