Line dry clothes to reduce electric bill

The Hang Factor

by Lisa Raymond

One of the best recommendations for lowering your home energy bill is to hang clothes to dry instead of using your dryer. While I agree this has saved my family about $40 a month, there may be a snag or two to iron out with certain family members while making the transition.

One of the things you will first notice when hanging clothes is they feel different. Even if you use fabric softener during the rinse cycle, the clothes will not have the highly TV-touted "sunshine fresh softness" we have all come to expect from our clothes dryer. My sons, aged 15 and 17, first protested the crunchy towels coming off our newly installed clothes line.

"How am I supposed to take a shower without any good towels?" The fifteen year old asked.

"These are the same towels you used last week," I pointed out. I forgot about the energy waste involved in using logic with a teenager bent on getting his way.

In the end, it was use crunchy or go stinky. Given it was date night, he relented and used four towels right off the line.

Next, came the battle of the blue jeans. The seventeen year old couldn't possibly wear stiff jeans. They don't hang right. He'll be laughed out of school. His social life will suffer irreparable damage. I'm ruining his life on purpose to get even for the fish tank incident.

"They soften up from your body heat after you wear them for a while," my husband said. "Then, they'll hang."

"I'll just wear my dirty ones until you guys get over this clothes thing," my son replied. As an aside, teenage girls do notice if you wear the same jeans to school for a week. A teenage boy will then wear non-hanging jeans.

Not without a last ditch maneuver to gain the all important hang factor to his clothes.

Our deep freeze, full of discounted meat and fresh produce from our garden, is located next to the washer and dryer in the basement. The master bedroom is on the second floor with the boys' bedrooms on the first floor. Seventeen year old desperation realized we couldn't hear the dryer from our room.

We're not exactly sure how long the boys (and we know it was both of them) were sneaking dryer time in the middle of the night. It must've been about a week. I can just see them doing their own laundry at 1:00 am. One boy standing guard in case we wake up and the other one trying to decipher laundry detergent labels. Kids are better entertainment than TV any day of the week.

My husband discovered the deception for one reason only. My boys didn't realize dryer lint reproduces at an alarming rate if not contained properly. When confronted, they confessed.

Our last battle came when the fifteen year old had to hang his clothes on the line. (Punishment must fit the crime after all.) As parents, we didn't understand the humiliation involved. It is the end of the world if girls see either of them hanging clothes on the line. The absolute end of the world. How could we be so cruel?

But, by the way Mom, why do my clothes smell so good? Megan noticed it too.

Take the Next Step

  • Decide where you'll line dry clothes and install a line or two!

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