Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Line drying your clothes

I had Todd hang me a clothes line this spring in the hopes that we could switch to line drying. Growing up, Todd's mom always dried their clothes on the line, so he'd begged me for years. I just couldn't understand why anyone would want to do that. But alas, here I am giving it a try. But this spring, we made the purchase of 2 packs of clothes pins and a 50' rope. Todd tied it up on the fence posts, and then it sat. See, our laundry is in the basement, and we have front loading machines which you can fit a good 20 lbs of laundry in, I swear! So here I am, extremly pregnant, carrying 20 lbs of wet laundry up from the basement to hang on the clothes line. Yeah, just wasn't going to happen. Until one nice Sunday afternoon when I asked Todd to help. He graciously agreed, carried it up, and we hung it all on the line. The result......a huge load of stiff shirts that I decided needed thrown back in the washer. Todd said his shirts were fine, but there was no way in hell you'd catch me in something as soft as sand paper!

So until now, the clothes line once again sat, waiting to be used. Well, wouldn't you know my cloth diapers saved me. I had read that virtually any diaper stain could be removed with the power of the sun. So I had a few with horrible stains, so I figured, why not, I'd give it one more try. I looked online and found a couple tips. Mainly, stiffness was due to laundry detergent build up. So even though I was using the front loading detergent, I cut that recommended amount down to half of what it called for (so 1/2 Tbsp for you other Crunchy Clean users). Then I set my washer to have an extra rinse cycle so that I can make positively sure the diapers are detergent free and then I added 1 cup white distilled vinegar to the wash load. Then, once everything had been washed, I actually cheated and threw the diaper in the dryer for just a quick 5 minute fluff. I use the ultra delicate cycle. Then up the stairs I went to the clothes line.

So......the result? MUCH better! A few things like my hemp inserts (which are kinda stiff anyway) and some hemp diapers needed fluffed, but I just waited till I had another load at night to put in the dryer. I also threw in a tennis ball just for kicks (hey, it works for down comfoters, right?) and they came out perfect.

Today I tried the rest of our laundry and this system seems to be working for us. PLUS, as an added bonus, I doubt I'll ever use OxiClean again. Some of Todd's work shirts that haven't been near any shade of white in over 5 years......look pretty darn good. Maybe not "brand new" white, but give it another line dry or two and I bet you won't be able to tell. Plus, I noiced it got out a ketchup stain on Luke's shirt I must have missed! Amazing! That sun is something else....

My next experiment??? Washing with only cold water. I just read today that it can save $.25 per load. For us, we're looking at at least $2 in savings per week! Woohoo!

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