DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

God Dries It for Free--Solar Clothes Dryer

I was reading the NY Times headlines yesterday (keeping current on the news for work) and ran across something I had to read at home.  I read all the comments and clicked on most of the links because I thought it was pretty interesting.

Apparently there is a laundry war in this country. All over the world, people hang laundry to dry, generally outside. In fact, it wasn't that long ago that it was common here. However, after the invention of the dryer, the laundry line became known as obsolete. Now there's a movement to go back to the laundry line, because it is energy efficient as well as relaxing alone time. But some neighborhoods have banned this, while some areas, such as Florida, have passed legislation prohibiting the ban of laundry lines. I have a gas dryer now, so a lot of the statistics are not relevant as I am not running an electric dryer and there doesn't seem to be much information about savings when switching from gas to the laundry line.

The neighborhood we are trying to move to has a laundry line ban in the CC&Rs, but they also have a solar panel ban if it can be seen from a neighbor's house (which you can see anything in the backyard from some neighbor's house) and that cannot really be enforced.

There are several solutions presented in the comments. Here are my favorites.
  • Use a retractable line--certain items can be hung without clothespins by looping
  • Use a portable drying rack, available at IKEA and
  • Use an umbrella style rack--can double as an umbrella by putting some type of tarp over it
  • Use boat cord and boat hooks (Martha Stewart idea)
Those already doing this say it takes less time than drying in a machine, clothes last longer, and the sun bleaches whites better than bleach. Here are tips I picked up.
  • Laundry can be hung inside if neighborhood issues prevent outside drying
  • White vinegar in the spin cycle
  • Hang colors inside out to prevent fading
  • Hang tops down, bottoms up
  • Use natural detergents like Old School Brand Laundry Soap--I currently use Seventh Generation, Method, or Ms. Meyers
A good resource: Project Laundry List is making air-drying and cold-water washing laundry acceptable and desirable as simple and effective ways to save energy.

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