Save 10% electricity with 1 simple step

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drying-clothes-on-line-saves-electricityToday carbon fast is all about how we dry our clothes. The advice reads “Dry your clothes on a clothes line instead of in an electric drier. Electric driers use up to 10% of residential electricity in the United States.”

Well this one is a no brainer to me. In fact I have to admit, that even though I advocate a ‘live and let live’ attitude to life, one of my major bugbears is hearing (and SMELLING!) a tumble dryer working on a beautiful sunny day.

I decided to take the step to ditch my tumble dryer 10 years ago. It was a pretty tough decision to make, as the UK is known for its long drizzly seasons and our house is not exactly warm! However, I’ve dealt with washing real nappies, the clothes of a muddy toddler and the clothes a very hands-on practical man in my time with no need for using electricity to dry it.

The key, as with all things in life, is careful planning. If you find yourself with 4 loads of washing to do, it’s a total nightmare (I speak from experience), but if you adopt the ‘little and often’ philosophy it’s no big deal to get a load of washing dry.

What we do on a rainy day is wait until bedtime and then hang the clothes on two lines in our dining room. Mr Green has put hooks either end of the room and we simply attach strong lines and put our clothes up. In the morning, 80% of it is dry and the rest needs to be finished off outside or on the line again that evening. No big deal, right?

In fact I have a secret pleasure in life – it’s getting into a freshly made bed with linen that has been dried outside. The smell cannot be beaten; it’s like having sunshine in your bedroom. The simple pleasures in life are the best, don’t you think?

Tell me, what is your simple pleasure that also fits nicely with an eco friendly life?


  1. Small Footprints on March 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    One of the unfortunate things about living in an apartment (well, this apartment) is that the management doesn’t allow us to put up clothing lines outside … and they don’t provide any for us. We also aren’t allowed to put a drying rack on our patio. So any line drying has to be done indoors which is tricky in a small space. I’ve tried drying things in the bathroom but our weather doesn’t cooperate and it seems to take days to get things dry. I’m going to keep investigating this one, though … there’s got to be a way. 🙂

    Usually, all the Eco-experts say to only wash full loads of clothes … but I would guess that they are assuming we use dryers. So I wonder what the difference is between washing several small loads then using a clothes line and a large load using the dryer. Hm … interesting. Also, do you find that you use less water by washing smaller loads more often?

    Thanks, Mrs. Green!

  2. Mrs Green on March 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    @Small Footprints: Ahhhh, I think I remember you commenting before about not being allowed to use lines and I can see how drying in a bathroom might not work; it wouldn’t work in ours either as it’s an old coal house, so pretty cold in there! I’m not sure about the water usage of my machine. On a ‘half load’ I’m not sure if it uses half the water; I’d need to check my manual for that. Well I hope you find a solution. Bearing in mind heat rises, I guess you’d need some kind of pulley that gets the clothes as close to the ceiling as possible – do you have a stairwell; that would be ideal…

  3. rewinn on March 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I *love* the idea of putting a couple of hooks in the living room for overnight drying of sheets! Definitely will try it – sheets have been the big problem for us! We’ve been drying indoors on a couple of standing racks plus a “Pressa” from IKEA – it looks like a plastic octopus with 16 clips on the arms, and a hook on its head for hanging from whatever – it’s cute and worth the investment for the entertainment alone!

  4. Mrs Green on March 31, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    @rewinn: Hi Rewinn, good to see you again. We drape our bedsheets over the banister and they dry really well on there. Try the hooks and let me know if your indoor lines work for you!

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