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Fresh Laundry

May 1st, 2010

I’ve always been picky about my towels and sheets. I never quite knew why it was that I couldn’t stand fabric softener or fragrance when it comes to laundry, particularly sheets and towels. I always felt like towels and sheets didn’t feel “clean” or something when they were washed with fabric softener (and let’s not even get started on overwhelming fragrances). I feel like towels with fabric softener don’t dry or soak up water and hate the feeling when using them. I always described the feeling I was looking for as “crispy”. Then a few years ago I started drying my laundry outside and realized why.

I grew up with line dried clothes. We lived in South America where it was hot and dry. We line dried the clothes so the cotton sheets and towels got that stiff feeling. That’s what I love. I noticed that the towels are kind of scratchy when I get them off the line and I love it! I feel like they actually dry instead of just the smearing water around.

They also smell fantastic, or actually don’t smell of anything, which is wonderful. Now that it’s warm, I am able to have crispy sheets and towels again – and how great it is!

And besides, laundry looks wonderful drying in the garden, who needs garden art when you’ve got fresh laundry on the line.

So what about you, any weird laundry issues? Do you line dry any laundry?

30 Comments to “Fresh Laundry”
  1. Rose on May 1, 2010 at 5:01 am

    In the UK it’s rarely nice enough to dry laundry fully and everyone dries clothes indoors, which gives houses a rather musty smell IMO, especially in winter. I’m quite the opposite in that I cannot stand what I call “crunchy towels”, they’re so abrasive to me, and my son actually screams if you try and rub him down with an air-dried towel. He has ultra-sensitive skin and skin-sensory issues, and drying laundry any other way will bring him out into a terrible rash (he even gets a rash from the glue in band-aids so I have to buy special ones). A friend turned me onto the fact that if you put a small trainer (I think they’re called ‘sneakers’ in the US) inside the dryer with your clothes, it takes half the time to dry, so I do that to save energy.

    What I do dry outside is sheets for the bed, as there’s nothing better than clean sheets. I also make my own laundry soap out of cuttings from my soap batches, washing soda and borax substitute. It saves me loads of money that way.

    If I’m feeling especially posh I will put a bit of essential oil on a muslin cloth and put it into the dryer (or add lavender/chamomile “tea” to the softener partition on my washing machine). This gives my washing a nice floral fragrance and can help put my son to sleep.
    .-= Rose´s last blog ..Beltane, May stuff and gardens =-.

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    • Susy on May 1, 2010 at 8:46 am

      Great idea with the muslin towels and essential oils! and the tip on the sneaker in the laundry. Here in the US they sell a rubber ball that you can use. I usually spin dry my clothes an extra time which helps them dry faster in the dryer and outside.

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  2. kristin @ going country on May 1, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I line dry everything, but I kind of hate the scratchy towels. And the towel I use for the baby goes in the dryer for a couple of minutes to soften up before I rub him dry with it.

    BUT. The absolute BEST thing to line dry? Cloth diapers. Because the sun bleaches them and makes them not nasty-looking anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my gross stained diapers in the winter when there’s no sun . . .
    .-= kristin @ going country´s last blog ..Little Dutch Boy =-.

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    • Susy on May 1, 2010 at 8:44 am

      Line dried diapers – awesome. I love the way all the kitchen/house rags come out clean & fresh smelling and bleached out. Amazing what the sun will do!

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Amy on May 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      Kristin~stained or old diapers make great dust cloths……

      Reply to Amy's comment

  3. Beegirl on May 1, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Just came in from hanging a load of sheets out before the storms later.. My husband hates when I line dry the towels. He likes them soft, I like them LOOFA style. Feels so good to dry off with those line dried towels!! Have a great weekend!!
    .-= Beegirl´s last blog ..The Farmer and The Egg Lady =-.

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    • Susy on May 1, 2010 at 8:43 am

      Love the “loofa” style – great way to describe it!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. mamaraby on May 1, 2010 at 8:24 am

    When I was pregnant with my youngest I was incredibly overwhelmed so more often than not we’d use the dryer. I felt so bad because I felt like I wasted the line drying season. I think I’ve more than made up for that this year. It’s so nice to hang clothes on the line again. I love the way the lines look with all the clothes pins lined up neatly in a row.

    I hate scented anything when it comes to laundry, but that’s probably not unique to laundry. I have to be careful with scents because more often than not the one’s in home care products give me a headache. I really like the smell of the Bi-o-Kleen detergent, though. It smells nice going in the washer, but you can’t smell anything when the clothes come out of the washer.
    .-= mamaraby´s last blog ..Folk Music Fridays – “From the Tongues of Kings” =-.

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    • Susy on May 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

      I’m with you, I can’t do strongly scented anything (even flowers in the garden) or I get a headache. I can’t stand the smell of lilacs – too strong, or Easter lilies, always had a migraine on Easter Sunday.

      I’ve been experimenting with making my own laundry detergent with unscented castile soap. Works great so far!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. marcyincny on May 1, 2010 at 8:57 am

    OMG. I can’t believe there’s another soul on this planet that actually looks at her clothesline as I do. I live on an corner and my clothesline is visible to the entire neighborhood where there are no other clotheslines to be seen. I’ve always felt some kind of obligation to make my clothesline look as attractive as possible and so I’ve come to buying sheets and towels, etc. with an eye as much as to how they look hanging together outside as they do inside. I love looking across the yard and seeing my laundry blowing in the wind. I only thing I don’t hang out is underwear.
    .-= marcyincny´s last blog ..Back in Business =-.

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    • MAYBELLINE on May 1, 2010 at 6:55 pm

      Oh marcy – underwear is hung on the lines between the sheets or towels. That way, your “unmentionables” are hidden from view.
      .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Summer Crops – Part II =-.

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  6. Gail E on May 1, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I line dry everything I can! I absolutely love seeing my laundry blowing in the wind! To me, there is nothing better than to crawl into a bed made with freshly washed and sun dried sheets after a long day. The fresh smell is divine!

    Reply to Gail E's comment

  7. Missus@ Escape to the Farm on May 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I also love with my clothesline.

    I know that some areas don’t allow them, which I find hard to believe in this era of awareness of saving energy and other environmental issues.

    I usually put my clean wash into the dryer for about 3 minutes before hanging things out to dry, and the same when I bring them back in.

    It helps remove wrinkles (and insects from outside), and makes the towels softer than crispy.
    .-= Missus@ Escape to the Farm´s last blog ..Farmhouse =-.

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  8. Sarah on May 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I so love my clothes line too. I love the exfoliating part of having fresh, clean towel when getting out of the shower. I rarely use my dryer once the weather is nice. It saves a ton on my electric bill. It such a hot item that my neighbors sometimes come over and use my clothes line for their sheets and towels too.

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  9. MAYBELLINE on May 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I’m a clothesline snob.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Summer Crops – Part II =-.

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  10. Paula on May 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I don’t care for my towels to be dried outside. While I love the scent, I don’t like the scratch! I actually had to line dry my towels a few times this early spring because my towels had some kind of gross smell that not even bleach would get out! The sun did though.

    Sheets dried on the line and put on the bed are decadent. I love that. I plan my sheet laundry day around the weather so I can put them out.

    Does anyone have issues with your jeans not shrinking back? My jeans stretch out and get too big and if I just hang them, they are instantly too big.

    I was thinking the other day that my favorite view in the world is the view that looks over my veggie garden, out towards my laundry line and past that our living bamboo fence.
    .-= Paula´s last blog ..118/365 New Truck =-.

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  11. melissa on May 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I wish I could line-dry laundry more often. I love how soft my clothes are afterwards. But normally it’s too humid here for line drying.

    Reply to melissa's comment

  12. deedee on May 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    i keep “mentioning” to nick that we need a clothesline… he didn’t grow up that way, so he doesn’t get it!

    Reply to deedee's comment

  13. Leigh on May 1, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I love the smell and feel of line dried clothes too. I love my towels line dried, love their roughness, and love a good invigorating rub down with one of them after a shower.

    Reply to Leigh's comment

  14. Sadge on May 2, 2010 at 12:34 am

    my clothesline is visible to everyone driving up my street. I put our socks and undies on a folding rack out on the more private patio – discrete, plus it’s more sheltered so I don’t have to use clothespins.

    I like line-dried anything. The thing I can’t stand is any percentage of polyester in my sheets. It makes them feel like plastic to me. It’s gotta be 100% cotton, please.
    .-= Sadge´s last blog ..Spring Bulb Bed =-.

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  15. Jeff on May 2, 2010 at 8:10 am

    We line dry our clothes. It’s great later on in the summer because there is lemon grass planted underneath the clothesline so that when the wind kicks up the clothes pick up the scent.
    .-= Jeff´s last blog ..Garage to Greenhouse Conversion? =-.

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  16. Michiko on May 2, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I live in the UK and line drying can be a bit hit and miss but I love line drying the laundry….it smells so fresh & lovely :)
    If the towels and sheets are still a tad damp when I bring them in, then I hang them on the Aga rail, I do try to avoid using the tumble drier!

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  17. Morgan G on May 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I love to line-dry. It is absolutely my favorite chore. It’s so simple, you’re outdoors. Put on some tunes for me and I could line-dry all day.
    .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..Soaked Almond Joy! =-.

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  18. Kim on May 3, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I line dry my sheets, towels, bedspreads etc. I make a dry detergent which I love and prefer to store bought. Clothes have a nice, fresh clean smell. Love to hear how you like that Maine Farm book your reading.

    Reply to Kim's comment

    • Susy on May 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

      I really enjoyed reading Maine Farm, very interesting!

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  19. Allie on May 3, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I am so weird about laundry. I can’t let anyone else do my laundry, because they won’t have the same system for it that I do. I have certain clothes I need to line dry, and others I hand wash – and I need to do a load just for red clothes, so they don’t bleed into my other clothes. It’s not normal. But it works for me. :)
    .-= Allie´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – My Book Jacket!!! =-.

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  20. Annette on May 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    We line dry almost exclusively; no fabric softeners and I make our laundry soap. Love both the feel AND the smell.
    .-= Annette´s last blog ..Oh so deevil! =-.

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  21. Jayme aka The Coop Keeper on May 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I never use the dryer at all! In the winter I dry on a line in the house! I use vinegar as a softner, and homemade laundry soap! I found your blog through Grit, love it!

    Reply to Jayme aka The Coop Keeper's comment

    • Susy on May 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

      I also use vinegar in my rinse water, I find it keeps the clothes fresh as can be and helps clean them as well. I’m currently experimenting with homemade laundry detergent and dishwashing detergent.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  22. Gayle on May 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Line-dry here as well. My x-husband didn’t let me line-dry because he believed it was only for poor people & how we would be perceived by the neighbors. It was a small victory for me when I bought my house after the divorce and hung a clothesline. It’s a very zen thing for me to hang the clothes. Make my own soap. I’m in with the loofah crispy towel group. I have a dryer in the basement but never use it. My daughter (4 yrs old) recently questioned me about the dryer. I used it once recently just so it doesn’t sit there unused…I’ll probably sell it sometime soon. This whole time she thought it was a table that matched the washer. lol!
    .-= Gayle´s last blog ..I Built My First Rain Barrel =-.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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