Thursday, July 24, 2008

Green Drying

Today my dryer went kaput.  Won't even tumble.  It's just dead.  It's dead, Jim.  It's an ex-dryer.  Now, I had been planning on getting a new washer/dryer set.  Tomorrow?  No!  Like, September, October or December.  Not tomorrow, not next week, not three weeks from now.  And I'm not going to do it.  Not not not!  (Stubborn stomp.)  The good news is that it's summer and the stuff I had in the wash can line dry outside.  The bad news is that I have to line dry outside until I figure out what I want to do (besides research washers and dryers and cave and go to the laundromat.)
I've line dried before.  And those of you who plan on waxing rhapsodic about line drying including how it makes clothes have that special smell and so forth, go ahead but be warned that I may feel an irresistible urge to hunt you down later and talk about how we should all go back to catching and killing our own food and eating it raw.  I can talk for hours about that.  Days even.
Here's the deal with line drying in my limited and reluctant experience.
  • It saves lots of electricity and yes it makes clothes smell nice.
  • The clothes often don't feel nice unless you beat and shake them after they're dry.  I especially dislike crispy towels, but some people do like them so this may be an upside for them. 
  • That nice smell includes an infusion of pollen, so if you're allergic, guess what!?
  • Spiders and bugs will quickly find the clothes and cuddle up inside their nice shelter.  You have to turn everything inside out and shake to make sure you don't have any unwanted passengers.  Fleas or ticks will not shake out, but fortunately they rarely hop on in the time that you've left the clothes outside.
  • Birds will settle on the line and leave little whitish and grey presents.  Happy birthday!  (But it's not my birthday ...)
  • It takes a lot of room.  The pic shows one load.  While you're line drying, unless you have a really nice line drying rig (which I covet, btw) you're limited by warmth and wind as far as how many loads you can do in a day.  
  • If you want to dry anything big, like sheets, you need a much higher rig than I can conveniently string right now.
  • Don't use a stretchy string or a string that will stretch when wet (like cotton, unless it's woven around a non-stretchy core like many clotheslines are.)
  • Don't let the clothes touch plants.  Bugs will crawl from the plants onto the clothes.  They'll still creep up the posts and along the line or simply hop on but you won't get as many as you will from the plants.  You'd be surprised how much traffic there is on a single grass stalk.
  • If you use your spouse's rappelling rope, don't take a pic of it and then post it on the web.  (Oops ...)
  • Unless you're in a windy area you don't need a lot of clothespins.  Only for socks and underwear.  If you need to put wet clothes out to dry in an emergency situation where your dryer has just quit, assuming it's not super-windy right then, hang the clothes first so they start to dry and then go get your clothespins.  You're less likely to overbuy that way plus they'll be drying while you're driving.
  • Try not to hang them at a time when they'll be out overnight unless you have no choice.  They'll get dew damp in the morning and you'll have to wait until they dry before you can hang your next load.
  • Try not to hang clothes in strong winds.  They collect a lot more dust and pollen that way.
  • Don't run long stretches of line.  They'll sag a lot.  Additionally, put heavy stuff by the posts first and then hang the remaining lighter stuff in the middle of the line.
  • If you have jeans out to dry expect that they'll take forever to dry.  Jeans and other heavy clothing items need to be turned and/or turned inside out in order to finish drying.  The rest is fine as-is.
  • Take in clothes as they dry.  On a warm day things like light polyester or poly-cotton blend work shirts, handkerchiefs, thin socks and/or nylons and scarfs can dry in just a few minutes.  Generally speaking, woven clothing dries faster than knitted.
  • You can dry stuff outside in very cold, even freezing weather.  It takes longer, but if it's very dry (like it often is in winter around here) the ice in the clothes will sublimate (dry off.)
Please feel free to shoot me down or disagree or give me helpful hints or fun laundry stories.  I'm open to ideas, encouragement, and laughs.  Just so you know, I'm also resisting the go to the laundromat option.  It's pretty expensive and inconvenient.  But I'll probably get up tomorrow morning, look at the laundry pile, and cave.

Yes, yes, I'll be looking at Energy Star products, Craig's List (aka I stole this list,) and Sears is at the top of my list for places to shop.  Btw, I've never, ever had a new washer and dryer, so I'm a little excited about the possibility that I'll be getting a new or late-model set.  Not excited enough to offset the aggravation of the timing (couldn't it have quit a couple of months later?) but still.  

My appliance guy had just fixed this thing recently, too.  I may have him take a look, but I've already poured a lot of money into it for repairs, so ... Ugh.


Things that puzzle this other goddess.... said...

Our dying DRIERSSSS read plural, that's two, that have quit in the last month are why we aren't eventing this summer. (I also killed one washer-the newer one.) So I'm down to washing half sized loads and was drying outside until this last weekend when a lovelly friend of my husband realized we needed a drier and was Craig's listing one....he gave it to us instead. And even helped us get it out here! WOOT! No more drying clothes by hanging them from my gazebo!

I feel for you, ttptog

Kai Jones said...

If you get desperate, bring the laundry over here and dry it.

Kami said...

Thanks for the support and condolences!

Today I' m going to do some budgeting, research, and general moping around online to see where I'm at and figure out what my options are.

There is one major upside to the laundromat that I didn't mention last night that does have its appeal. I can get all my laundry done and finally wash all our blankets. Our washer isn't big enough to do king sized comforters so that'll be good to get done.

And, since I'll be hauling laundry around anyway, I'll get the dry cleaning done. Anything that needs dry cleaning that I don't want to get dry cleaned right now I'll donate to Goodwill--always a good test of whether you really need something or if it's simply taking up space.

So there's the good along with the bad with this, as is the case with most problems that come along.