One Redditor has asked the r/Frugal subreddit whether it’s really worth it to line-dry their clothes, and the response has been near-unanimous.
If you have a garden or even a small balcony space, drying your clothes is as good as free — all you need is a clothesline or a clotheshorse and some pegs.
Compare that to a dryer, which the average American spends around $100 a year to run if it is electric, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Put together, the whole of the U.S. could spend as much as $9 billion a year simply on drying clothes.
Clothes dryers are losing us money in the long run too, as they make our clothes fall into disrepair more quickly than air-drying does.
The tumbling action of the dryer can cause your clothes to shrink, reduce their elasticity, and cause microscopic tears that get worse over time. The lint that collects in your dryer’s tray has to come from somewhere and is actually evidence of your clothes getting battered.
The savings that hanging laundry can make to your household’s carbon emissions are even greater.
According to one study, clothes dryers in the U.S. consume as much as 60 billion kilowatt-hours a year — around the same as the state of Massachusetts — and emit 40 million metric tons (about 44 tons) of carbon dioxide.
For households looking to minimize their carbon footprint, switching to drying your clothes in the sun is one quick and simple change that could have a big impact.
“Saves you money, electricity and it’s [environmentally] friendly,” one commenter wrote. “It also prevents wrinkles which might save you time from ironing, if you do that of course. It’s a standard practice in most European countries and especially if you live somewhere where there’s mostly sunny weather.”
“Hang-drying doubles or triples the life of my clothes,” another said, with almost 250 upvotes. “… It’s a virtuous circle. Better clothes + line drying -> longer clothes life – > lower annual costs – > able to spend more when I do need to replace something. So I end up spending less while being able to buy better clothes that keep their shape and look better, longer.”
A third Redditor chimed in with advice about when to hang clothes up to dry: “The earlier in the day you can hang clothes out to dry the better. They will dry by evening. Hanging clothes at night mean they will get evening/morning dew. If only time you have to hang laundry is night, just take it off the line before sun sets next day. You should be good.”
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.