outdoor clothes line

maddie_in_kyJune 10, 2009

Hi all!

I've installed an outdoor clothesline in order to save money (and to enjoy sheets that are dried outside). :)

Can anyone tell me how to hang shirts so that they don't have a clothespin mark on the sholders? I am using the pins that have the metal spring as I can not find the other type. If I hang the shirts from the bottom, would that mess up the collar? (These are men's polo-type shirts.)

(on a funny note--this is the first time that I've had the joy of hanging out clothes in 20 years. I hung out the sheets yesterday and before I could get the rest of the basket hung up, a bird had cr@pped on my fitted sheet -- never had happened before, so I had to laugh.)

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Don't feel bad, Maddie. Monday, I was standing outside admiring my flowers & a seagull cr@pped on my shoulder! Ick!! I was already mad at them for dropping clams on our roof to break them open...scares the daylights out of me...sounds like we're under attack. I would never hang my laundry outside to dry around here...oh yuck! lol

FWIW, my Mom used to hang Dad's shirts upside down on the clothes line with a wooden clip on each end & one in the middle.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:38PM
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Yup - upside down does the trick!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:57PM
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Good for you, having sweet smelling sheets, ecologically dried clothing, and getting fresh air and exercise (if you have ever tried to hang clothes on a line in a Texas "breeze", you know what I mean about exercise!). Have you considered getting patterned sheets so something that falls out of the sky won't show?
Seriously, enjoy your clothesline, and hang the shirts upside down.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 5:52PM
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Yep, hang the shirts upside down and if you have jeans to hang hang them upside down too. They dry better and you have less wrinkles.

I haven't hung clothes out for a few weeks now because we had a Robin who insisted on making her nest right by my laundry room window. Not only did she verbally complain but she and her mate dive bombed me a few times. I figured anything I hung out while they and their brood were still using the nest would get soiled so I've waited. I noticed the other day they were gone.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:16PM
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Hi Maddie in KY,

Congrats on choosing to line-dry your laundry.

Hang 'em tail up, probably with one pin near each of the vertical seams.

A light breeze will shake out the wrinkes ... but that method doesn't seem to help human skin: sorry.

We have robins around here (and the cats got at least one, that they brought into the garage where they get fed) and barn swallows, that fly around and cheep when I go into the part of the barn near their nest, and I have much of my garden materials there (including the radio). Mourning doves, as well.

Haven't had trouble ith the clothes getting crapped on (that I've noticed, at least ... and I had my eyes fixed, last summer) ... or on me, either. I must lead a charmed existence, I guess.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:01AM
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Shirts/tops that I normally hang on a hanger - is dried on a hanger on the clothes line - so they go from the clothes line to the closet - NO pin marks. With a little hand pressing while wet when I put them on the hanger, I have all but eliminated any ironing. I occasionally have to give a shirt a spritz with water and smooth with my hand to remove wrinkles.

Another hint for fewer wrinkles is to turn your washer to the lowest speed for the spin cycle. The extra moisture actually works FOR you when drying clothes on a line. Gravity pulls on those heavier clothes to pull the wrinkles out. I hang jeans/slacks from the bottoms one leg on one line (seams together so you get a crease), and the other leg on the line in front of that one. Now there is air-flow through the crotch, which usually takes longer to dry when you hang pants from the waist. The weight from the body of the pants helps pull out wrinkles.

I have converted all our hangers to wood hangers with a metal hook on the top, so I don't get rust on clothes using metal hangers with wet clothes. If you find you get "bunny ears" on the shoulders of heavier garments dried on hangers, you can reinforce the shoulders by sticking some old shoulder pads between the garment and the hanger. I also use TIDE hangers to hang garments to dry (see link below - available at Target and Wal-Mart). No "bunny ears" using the TIDE hangers.

On my umbrella clothes line I can slip the hook on hangers through the loops of clothes line on the sides, so I don't take up any line space for things on hangers. I put my clothes on one side and hubby's on the other side to quickly take them from the clothes line to the closet. The loops of clothes line also keep them from being blown off the clothes line and keeps them well-spaced.

A friend had a length of chain on her line just for the purpose of hanging hangers. She could slip the hooks through a link in the chain and the clothes didn't blow off nor did they slide together.

We also have an unfinished room in the basement converted to a drying room with 6 lines and a 6-foot long clothes rod attached to one wall where we hang clothes on hangers to dry. We installed a ceiling fan/light to aid in airflow and I now use the basement more often than the great outdoors. No sun fading clothes, no bird poo, no wasp or other bugs hidden in sleeves, no brutal Kansas wind shredding fabrics, no freezing fingers, no wet clothes from an unexpected rain shower. We can wash 2-3 loads while we watch TV in the evening and hubby helps me hang it in the basement. It's good to have options.... Now I rarely use the dryer (poor thing...).

Here is a link that might be useful: Tide Smart Dry Hangers

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 8:06AM
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I have found that hanging shirts by the tail stretches out the hem when the shirts are not made of a woven fabric. I hang all knit shirts and t-shirts by folding them over the line and putting the clothespins in the armpits.

Also, if you give each piece of clothing a nice shake (more like a 'flap') before you hang it up, that will do much to help the wrinkles fall out. My mom always did that, and she was a Kansas farm woman.

I have fold-up wooden drying racks that I use in the winter sometimes, and like Grainlady, I have a spare room with a ceiling fan. But usually I can schedule washing in the winter when the sun is out and the wind is blowing. Yes, I get cold out there hanging them up, but it doesn't take very long to hang out a washer load unless there are lots of small pieces.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 9:29AM
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I hang all shirts on plastic hangers, even if they are just t-shirts or undershirts. It saves me space on my drying line (I have very limited space) and it is much quicker and easier for me to use than clothespins.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:38AM
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I live in the country where there are frequently some breezes with which to cope ... and they love to push some of the shirts hung on hangers down to one end of the line, and they can flip light towels, undershirts, etc. up over the top of the line ... but they dump some of the shirts on hangers on to the ground, i.e. grass, so they don't get really dirty ... but they may get some dried grass cuttings on them, which leaves somewhat to be desired.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 8:26PM
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Ole Joyful,
We're in Texas, a state prone to "light breezes". I have found underwear out in the field after a little zephyr goes through. Fortunately, I recognized the underwear as ours!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 7:57AM
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LOL, I have the same problem with hangers, as it gets pretty windy in Oklahoma. If you use a wire hanger, you can clip a clothespin over the part of the hanger hook that touches the clothesline, and the clothesline and that does help. But in really windy conditions, the wind will yank the whole kit and caboodle off the line and throw it to the ground. If the wind catches something on a hanger just right, it behaves like a kite!

One other problem I have with hanging knit things on hangers is that it leaves little "nubbins" on the shoulders that have to be pressed out because they don't usually go away once you put the shirt on.

Hanging clothes on the line always reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago about two neighbor ladies who were feuding. They kept doing things to each other just to irritate. One of the ladies slipped over to her neighbor's yard after the wash was hung out and sewed every one of the sleeves and pant legs shut!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 9:31AM
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I use those cheap wire dollar store hangers that I have adapted just for hanging on the line. I curled the hook in so it is past the neck and padded the top part with cheap white dollar store washcloths that that I wrapped around each arm and glued with fabric glue. You slip it on the line sideways and then turn. They never come off even if it is windy. Of course if you have a heavy shirt these are no good, then you need a wooden hanger. I use a twist tie--the kind you buy on a roll to close the space after I've hung it on the line. I untwist it to take it off but leave it on the hanger.

I only use these for cotton t-shirts and blouses. Others get put over the line tail first and a couple of inches over. and I pin with 3 or 4 clothes pins being careful to stretch the shirt. Men's shirts get put over the line the same way and I use about 4 pins between the seams. Most times they don't need ironing at all

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 6:19PM
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I just recently ( finally!) bought a clothes line and I love it! I have been drying my towels outside, but my kids and husband don't like stiff towels. I tell them they better get used to 'em! lol They are pretty stiff, but boy are they absorbent!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 12:22PM
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virraszto -

Stiff towels is an indication of soap build-up or poor-quality cotton. Usually soap build-up.

When I switched to Charlie's Soap, it took about 3-4 weeks for my old detergent to wash out of the laundry. Then one day I noticed clothes were SOFT even when they were wet out of the washer - as well as when line dried.

My brother-in-law was visiting and asked where I got my towels because they were the softest he'd ever used. I got them at K-Mart, but they had never been washed in anything other than Charlie's Soap and line dried.

The only thing of mine that is still "stiff" is hand-knit dishrags I make with "cheap" Sugar & Cream cotton yarn. Ones I make with expensive leftover cotton yarn I make sweaters out of, are nice and soft. Quality of the cotton is the difference.

Another hint for stiff towels - you can toss them in the dryer on AIR only for a few minutes and they are quite a bit softer from the tumble (especially if you have a couple dryer balls in the dryer).


    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 3:59PM
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I usually always hang by the bottom of the shirts and pet them near the seams. With that said... An old grannie years ago told me to hand t-shirts over the line with the line hitting just below the armpits and then peg them there. When you take them off the line, they will have a crease but a few good shakes and folding to put them away the crease always comes out of the knit t-shirts.

I agree with stiff towels coming from detergent build up. I only use about 1/2 the recommended amount of detergent for a medium load in my top loading machine and use vinegar in a downy ball. I don't have super stiff towel issues. When I remove them from the line I give them a few additional shakes (making the towel snap) and that softens them up even more.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 7:16PM
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I hang the shirts from the bottom at the side seams. If you don't iron them the pin marks are usually tucked in. I iron everything except 100% polyester. I talk to people who say they never iron and I look at their clothes and can tell that right away.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 9:07PM
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1. Have you TRIED hanging shirts/tops from a hanger to dry to avoid the pin marks? I'd suggest not using wire hangers, especially those with the paint missing, because they can cause rust marks on clothes. I use wooden hangers because I can slip the steel hook through the ends of my clothes line to keep them from blowing off the line. I can't do that with plastic hangers, but they are a good choice because they don't rust.

At my house, shirts/tops hung on the hanger go from the line to the closet and look MUCH better and have fewer wrinkles than clothes out of the dryer.

Heavy items dry best on TIDE hangers, which are heavy plastic, wide at the shoulders so you don't get hanger lines, and vented for faster drying.

2. Have you tried a slower spin cycle on your washing machine to prevent some of those wrinkles you have to spend time ironing out? The fast 1,000 rpm (or faster) spins are designed for use with a dryer and tend to do nothing more than wrinkle clothes destined for the line. I have a special spin cycle on my machine designed FOR line drying, which helps eliminate much of the wrinkling from the start. The clothes are much wetter using the slower spin cycle, but the wetness works FOR you because gravity pulls on the wet clothes to naturally TUG most wrinkles out of garments. I never need to iron any clothes, but I also choose fabrics that are condusive for line drying. If you are careful how you hang wet clothes on a hanger - smoothing it with your hands and finger-press sleeves so they have a nice crease, and the fabric type is a quality of cotton or cotton blend that doesn't hold wrinkles. You shouldn't need to iron.

3. You can also spritz wet clothes placed on a hanger with Wrinkle Releaser and smooth them with your hand and that will help remove wrinkles. Spritzing with plain water and smoothing with your hand will ALSO work. You can spritz DRY clothes with Wrinkle Releaser or water to smooth out pin marks. But I just avoid pin marks to begin with by drying on hangers.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:09AM
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I have to tell you this! Our Township has a law that you can NOT hang out your cloths. Needless to say I break the law every time I do the wash. I had my husband put up a post behind the house and attatch the line to the deck and nobody sees it.

How this ever became a law I will never know but hope it is changed soon.

I LOVE my sheets and towels dried outside.

Have A Great Day!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 4:08PM
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Gmom... you might get around your
association' by declaring that you are going 'green', and that thire rules are superceded by federal regs (if you can't baffle them with your footwork, dazzle them with your BS.

For everyone else, Shake out the T-(or other shirt), put the clothespins 3" into the bottom of the shirt at the seams.

Women's hips fill out the 'pin marks', Guys & kids don't give a damn.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 2:51AM
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I've had a clothesline in the back yard since we bought this house 17 years ago. 2 years ago a young couple in their 20's bought the house next door from my dear, much missed elderly neighbor when she went into a nursing home. From Day 1 the couple complained about my clothesline. I called the city to make sure it's allowed and the city clerk said there is no law or regulation against clotheslines. They complain to both me and DH. I have the retractable type but it's pretty worn out and hard to retract, so I leave it out all summer. If they wouldn't be so nasty, I might put more effort into retracting it between wash days!

Last weekend they put up the ugliest Neighborh Hater fence you can imagine, just so they don't have to see my clothesline! The neighbor on the other side of them told me they complained to her constantly about her garden shed & compost pile, so they don't have to see those now. My dearest hope is they move soon!

Anyway - back to the topic, I hang shirts in 1/2 across the line & put two pins in them. This keeps the shoulders and hem from stretching out. It takes longer to dry but the results are worth it.

And I agree with the "flap" before you hang up items. My mom always does this and now I do, too. The flap helps shake out the wrinkles. And don't forget to use liquid fabric softener in your wash if you're hanging things out - that helps with the wrinkles, too.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 11:54AM
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Oh I'm sure we all might have had or have neighbors who don't like something.....a clothesline, a shed whatever. I have one now who l. doesn't like a veggie garden (too poor looking) 2. doesn't like composters....too smelly (not if it's done right) 3. hates clotheslines. We have the six foot fence between the houses and I just say "Quit looking into my yard then". Life is too short to bother with people like this.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 2:43PM
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Hi Budster! I just ignore the hating neighbors but they are making the neighbor on the other side of them a nervous wreck. She's lived in her house almost 30 years and the last 2 years, this young couple have said the meanest things to her about her house, yard, landscaping, roof, porch, etc. She lets them get to her. I just act like they don't exist - litterally, if they are outside I just look right past them. It's hard for me beacuse I'm naturally freindly and gregarious, and would love to be friendly with them.

I think it's a "generation gap" thing, too. Many, many 20 somethings were raised as "prized pets" so they think the world revolves around them. I've read several articles to that effect and believe it now that I have 20 somethings next door.

And the hating neighbors let it slip to the other neighbor that the didn't get a permit to put up the fence. We could cause them trouble with the city if we wanted. I won't - but it's nice to daydream about calling the city building code office.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 10:32PM
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