Imagine opening your door in the early morning and lugging a basket full of freshly washed sheets into the center of your backyard. Smell the fresh fabric as you pull each sheet from the basket and drape them over a clothesline while the sun shines down on your face and a light breeze runs over your arms. Many people consider this the perfect way to announce the end of winter, which makes hanging clothes out to dry a popular springtime activity.
The market for high-tech dryers with convenient features continues to expand, but the process of hanging clothing out to dry is still amazingly popular. If you’re wondering why anyone would do this when it’s much faster and easier to transfer wet bed sheets directly to a dryer, consider some of the benefits that come with the old-fashioned clothesline:
- It gives you the opportunity to spend some time outdoors when the weather is nice. If your lifestyle is high on stress, you may come to crave those simple moments when you don’t have to think. You just hang and enjoy the moment with birds chirping in the background and the trees swaying in the breeze.
- You can reduce your energy bill when you hang your sheets to dry consistently. The sun won’t charge you a dime to do the work of your dryer. If this is your primary motivation, you may want to hang all of your clothing to maximize the savings. If your dryer isn’t energy efficient, you can save even more.
- Many people are reminded of their childhood when they push their faces into sheets pulled fresh from the line. If your mother or grandmother hung laundry when you were little, get ready to go back to your early years in one of the most pleasant ways.
- For some people, line drying simply feels pure. They get pleasure from draping the sheets across the lines, watching them blow in the breeze, and then folding them up while still warm from the sun. This sense of purity may come partly from the reduced dependence on technology.
- Nothing can beat the natural scent of freshly laundered sheets dried in the sun and the breeze. It's so intoxicating that some companies try to bottle it, but no artifically duplicated "fresh linen" smell can match the real thing.
But Wait...You May Want to Hang It Up
If you’re starting to get excited about hanging your sheets to dry outside, pause for a moment while we discuss the potential downsides to doing so. For starters, it takes more time to hang sheets than to toss them in the dryer. You also have to watch the weather because rain clouds and thunderstorms can ruin your fun. If you have a homeowner’s association to worry about or a snooty neighbor, you might also get some unnecessary attention from those who don’t find sheets waving in the wind so attractive.
What About Seasonal Allergies?
If anyone in your home suffers from hay fever or another form of seasonal allergies, hanging your sheets out to dry may cause serious problems. Pollen and other allergens in the outside air will collect in your sheets as they dry on the line, and then you will bring those allergens into your home. The bed is the last place that you want those allergens to live.
When you put your sheets in the dryer, the heat naturally kills allergens, so that is always a safer option if someone in your household has asthma or severe allergies. If the allergies aren’t severe or you still want to give the clothesline a try, here are some tips to make this work:
- Pay attention to the pollen count in your local area, and avoid hanging sheets when the count is high. Do the same for other types of allergens that are a concern for your household.
- Try putting the sheets in the dryer for about five minutes after you dry them on the line. This defeats the purpose of hanging them out to some extent, but it can kill the tree pollen without relying entirely on the dryer.
This works best if you know exactly what causes your allergies and what time of year those allergens are in full force. That information may allow you to use the dryer during some seasons while enjoying the fresh air and the process of hanging your sheets outside the rest of the year.