Proper method to hanging clothes on clothesline?

bookertAugust 19, 2008

I use an outdoor clothesline except during the rainy season and wonder how I can discourage the marks left by the clothespins? I hang shirts upside down, pants upright....

I use large plastic pins as they seem to hold the heavyweight items much better that the wooden ones. It seems that the wooden pins come apart at least for me.

I get a pretty good breeze each day and the small pins don't hold well enough.

Thanks again for helping out!

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I use Diamond Brand wooden spring clips (the heftier looking ones) on a plastic-covered line. My drying set-up has both long, straight, lines and a large folding umbrella dryer. I do have some plastic clips but I find that they get brittle and break since I never take my pins off the line. One of the reasons I like the wooden ones is that they are easier to put back together if they spring apart and if one wooden part breaks, I can just set the otehr aside until another breaks and make a new pair.

Are you asking how the clothes should be hung? Have you ever read Cheryl Mendelsohn's book, Home Comfort? That has a wonderful section on the technical minutia of hanging out. I adopted one or two of her ideas.

You say you hang pants from the wistband. I do that for jeans (turning the fronts open diagonally to dry the pockets more quickly), but for all other pants I hang them upside won with the hems together and the legs folded along the crease lines. It does take a bit longer to dry when hung this way, though, but saves trouble with ironing, or leaves them not in need of ironing, but still looking neat-ish..

I hang shirts with pins only on the side seams leaving the fronts unbuttoned and hanging down loose. Mendelsohn would definitely not approve of that; she thinks they should buttoned up and the center front clipped.

What I adopted from her though was the idea of hanging the items so as to catch a billowing breeze. For instance, take pillowcases, hang them with the top up and taut along the line, but pinned not quite at the exact edges of the case. This allows the front to be a little loosier (and droopier) so it separates the layers and drys faster. You can hang either the front or back more loosley depending on the winds that day. This also works for things like T-shirts.

You should check Mendelsohn's book (or the later one she wrote that is only about laundry) if you want to get the "official" hanging out rules.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 12:01AM
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For T-shirts, I've always hung them upside down, very straight, using wooden clothespins on the very edge. This has always worked well.

For really nice shirts (such as those worn to work or church), have you thought of hanging them on plastic hangers, in the shade or indoors? I found some hangers made by Tide at Wal*Mart, and they are perfect for any kind of shirt and sweaters, too. I use them for our nice clothes which I don't want to put in the dryer. I have found that a gentle breeze serves to 'iron' them, to remove wrinkles.

I've always hung up jeans as both of you said. I usually dry 'nice' slacks in the dryer, but I have dried them per Molly's suggestion, too. I hang them out of the sun to prevent them from fading. Again, a soft breeze serves to 'iron' them. And of course, the scent is heavenly. :-)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 4:49AM
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Another fan of hanging clothes to dry; and all the instructions I'd received from my mother and in Home Economics Class about the "proper" way to hang laundry on a line have been displaced long ago with my own logic. I dislike drying clothes in a dryer - the wasted energy and the way dryers shorten the life of clothing.

One of the smartest things we did last fall was when we converted a small unfinshed room in our basement and fitted it with clothes lines and a ceiling fan for air circulation. It worked so well all winter long (no more frozen fingers from hanging clothes outside) that I hardly ever dry clothes outside anymore. NO bird poo, sun fading clothing, wind blowing things off the line, wind whipping/snapping things to shreds or having to rush home to beat an unexpected rain shower... We now wash laundry while watching TV at night and hubby is as good with clothes pins as I am. With the dehumidifier on in the basement and the breeze from the ceiling fan, things easily dry overnight.

On one back wall I have a long rod on brackets and this is where I hang clothing on hangers to dry. At first, the hangers would slide together from the air from the fan, so we covered the rod with a foam pipe insulator (looks like a swim noodle that is scored from end-to-end to fit over water pipes). The hangers sink into the foam and stay separated now.

1. Use the slowest spin speed on your washer. You'll get fewer wrinkles set in than when using the high-speed spin. You may even have a spin speed designed for hand washables or line drying.

2. Added moisture in the clothes from a slow spin will give garments more weight, and gravity will pull many of the wrinkles out.

3. Any tops/shirts that normally get hung on a hanger is also dried on a hanger. That way they go from the line (or rod) to the closet. I use wooden hangers. Wire hangers can leave rust or metal marks on wet clothing. Quality wooden hangers also have a natural curve to the shoulder so they round the shoulder area and clothes drape better on the hangers.

Like mara 2008, I also found Tide hangers a few months ago and absolutely love them. They are wide at the shoulder so your clothes don't get "bunny ears" from the impression of the hangers. Great for heavy-weight tops/sweaters and cotton fabrics. Before using the Tide hangers, I would reinforce the shoulders of some garments with old shoulder pads to keep them nice and smooth while drying on a hanger.

4. I was taught to hang pants from the waist, but I hang them from the cuff - seams together, so it will put a crease in the pants leg. I do use special plastic pins for this, that don't leave a mark. If marks are a problem, you can give them a quick spritz with water or Wrinkle Release and they smooth right out. I found the pins at an Ace Hardware Store. I pin one cuff on one line, and the other cuff on another line (in front of the first cuff) so that air can circulate through the crotch for faster drying. The weight of the body of pants works to pull wrinkles out and give the leg a nice crease.

5. I also like to use drying racks inside (I have a couple styles). They are a quick way to hang kitchen towels, dish rags and wash cloths - NO pins needed.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 6:17AM
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To all,

Again many thanks for the replies!!
I love the different ideas and methods given, it truly is wonderful to have options!

I love the smell of line dried clothes and although the sun can fade clothing, I make sure that I take clothes off quickly. I myself haven't experienced any fading.
I do get stiff towels if I leave them on for too long and remedy that by putting them in the dryer with a wet washcloth for 5 min.

Since I iron EVERY morning I will certainly try hanging dress slacks as suggested!
I won't have the luxury of indoor drying in the rainy season as in SoCal we don't have basements. =(
I've never had good luck hang drying on hangers in the house.
The breeze definitely helps de wrinkle for me!!!!
I'm not sure hanging items on hangers outside will work for me either as the breeze would knock the items off.
I will try it just to be sure though.
The Tide hangers sound good. I actually bought several thick and large hangers from Wal-Mart that I love to hang jackets etc.. on. Maybe they are similar.

Funny, my large plastic pins keep breaking off on me too!
I get frustrated, but agree it's the heat that's making them brittle. I figure for me it's worth the cost since I'm on propane and a $3 bag of pins beats $4 a gallon of propane all day long!
I'll ck out an Ace store and see if I can find the Diamond brand wooden pins. I like large pins and I recently changed over to wire coated lines. I used to use cotton line and it frayed way too fast for me!

I talked so much about hanging my laundry out that my mom hired someone to make her a clothesline! It turned out beautifully, much better than my setup! (We used to have one when I was a kid so it brought back memories of the sweet smell of sunshine!)

Hope this post encourages others to give line drying indoors or out a try!

Blessings to all.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 11:54PM
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bookert, do you have a garage? A friend of mine who doesn't have a basement has put a retractable clothesline in her garage. She loves to use it only rainy days, and will often leave a window open about an inch to get that wonderful scent in the laundry - a sort of homemade 'rain scent' as listed on detergents. :-)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 12:22AM
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I have a line in the garage too and hang pants from the waist. I figure that any pin marks will either be covered up by a belt or a sagging shirt or waistline.

I also bring the clothes/towels in when they are still just barely damp if I can catch them at that point. I stick them in the dryer for about 10 minutes on low heat & whatever wrinkles are in them fall out.

I also have a drying rack for t-shirts etc and hang as much as possible on hangers in a rod in the laundry room.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:05AM
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marti8a, I too have a rod in my laundry room; I keep hangers on it, which means they are always available when I take clothes out of the dryer. And I also use it to hang 'nice' clothes and delicates on the Tide hangers I mentioned earlier. It's a tension rod, similar to a shower-curtain rod, and dear hubby put it up for me when we got our new washer/dryer. I have a small laundry room, and he put it above my dryer. It is so convenient, I don't know why I didn't think of it years ago.

I'm still hoping to get another outdoor clothesline - had one years ago and absolutely loved it. It was in the way of dear hubby's hobbies, so he took it down. Am trying to talk dear hubby into it. Maybe if I remind him how much it saved us on electricity, that will help! LOL

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 3:12AM
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mara 2008,marti8a,
Yes I have a big garage,not attached, but it has numerous gas cans and lots of various cleaners in there. Don't want the fumes to leach onto the clothes.
Good idea though!

I have a small tension rod in the laundry room but forget about hanging clothes on it!

I don't have a drying rack so how do you dry your heavy sweaters? I don't like putting them on the bed to dry so I usually hang them on thick hangers. I think this may stretch them out some though over time.

Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:43PM
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bookert - As an avid knitter/crocheter, I'm really fussy about drying sweaters and I use a couple different drying racks. Google - Sweater Drying Rack and you'll find several styles and prices - such as...

I also have a portable rack that is flat (similar to this one: It's about 30"x20" and has 11 wire lines. I like it because I can also pin things to the wires (a real space saver), or lay a sweater on the top, and it folds for easy storage.

I also have a traditional wooden clotheshorse and a wall-mount expandable (accordion) clothes rack where I dry wet things in the laundry room before they get tossed in the baskets.

FYI - When I hang clothes on hangers on my outside line, I slip the wire hooks of the wooden hangers on the ends of the umbrella clothes line where the plastic clothes line loops are located. Just hook them on the clothes line loops. No more clothes taking flight.

I have a friend who's husband rigged a line made out of light-weight chain and she puts the hooks of the hangers through the links in the chain and they not only stay put no matter how windy it gets, they don't ever slide together.

Necessity is often the mother of invention.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 3:46PM
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bookert, I worried about the fumes too, and open the doors when I have clothes drying. When I bring them in, they just smell like clean clothes.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 3:54PM
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You could get one of those folding umbrella style dryers and mount it in a recessed ground socket on wash day then take it back inside afterwards. Or better yet, he could take it down when he was "hobbying". Actually they are easy to pick up and move but I'm all for letting the natural consequences of foolishness devolve onto the right person.

That way your DH you have his hobbies and wear clean, inexpensively-dried clothes at the same time. The umbrella thingies run from cheap ones at HD for $35 to really wonderful ones from Australia for $250.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 7:00PM
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bookert, grainlady seems to have laundry down to a fine art - I'm still learning. She's a great source of info.

I used to lay my laundered sweaters on a wood-dowel drying rack which was in my garage. That worked okay, but it did take them a long time to dry - sometimes several days.

So then I started hanging them on the Tide hangers I mentioned earlier. They are smooth plastic, have wide shoulders, have slits to allow for drying, and my sweaters dry much quicker on them.

My new Bravos dryer came with a drying rack (doesn't move) for shoes, sweaters, etc. When winter comes and we're wearing sweaters again, I may try that on very low heat and see how it works. But thus far, I'm very happy with the Tide hangers. My sweaters have not been stretched by them.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 2:21AM
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I'll have to look into getting a drying rack. Again not having a basement to hide the drying clothes presents issues, but to save $ I'll get over it! =)

Unfortunately we don't have screens on the windows (someone "borrowed" them a number of years ago! =( Long story.....
No screen door on the access door either and we have a problem with those sweet mice that invade when you aren't looking! =) (FYI,soda pop in a small flat dish works wonderful!)(poor things can't burp!)(no toxic chemicals around the kids or pets either)

Yes, I agree, grainlady has it down to a science! Great for us! Let's not forget about housekeeping, as I've learned tons from her too! =)

I guess I'll have to take the plunge and go to Wal-Mart to ck out the Tide hangers. Should call them up before making the trek over, but most people don't know what is in stock even when they work in the dept. Bummer, but true.
Do you remember the cost of the hangers and how many in the pkg.?
My local location stopped carrying dryer balls and I was nice enough to give my set away thinking I'd just get some more! ( although they did put divets in my s.s. dryer drum!) Anyone know if there are softer ones available that hold up well?

Great day to all and blessings too!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 5:39PM
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bookert, I'm sorry I don't remember the price of the Tide hangers - I *think* they were about $10 for a set of four. Prices may vary from store to store, of course.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 5:33AM
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I found a link showing the Tide hangers. It's not a great picture, but I think you can see how they're made. Evidently, I didn't pay as much for them as I had thought. :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Tide hangers

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 5:37AM
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mara 2008,

Thank you for the link for the picture! Now I have a visual that I can use to find them.

I recently bought a 50 pack of nice wooden hangers from Costco, but I'm always game to try out something new. Especially if they don't cause those crazy marks in the shoulders!! Grrrr, they drive me crazy! =)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 12:45PM
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Melissa Houser

Bookert, To get your towels dry on the line without the stiffness, I learned a trick. Fold the towels in half and then pin the free edge, not the folded edge, to the line.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 12:44AM
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lissa z9b,

Interesting.... I'll try it! =)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 5:39PM
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