Use the solar dryer

Photo: istockphoto.com/Anna Sirotina
Does anything smell as fresh as laundry dried by the sun? Unfortunately, hanging our laundry out to dry has become a thing of the past. Today over 75 percent of households use a clothes dryer and after the refrigerator, it's the biggest energy-guzzler in our home. Save energy and your clothes It makes sense to use solar energy. The simple act of pegging up a few shirts and pants reduces energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions while saving you money. The average family dries up to 40 loads of laundry per month, which adds five percent to their hydro bill. Clothes also last longer when they're hung up to dry, particularly cotton shirts and delicate undergarments and as Martha Stewart recently pointed out, sunshine makes your whites whiter without having to use bleach. If your building or municipality has a no-hanging clothes ordinance than hang your clothes indoors. Drying your clothes indoors adds to humidity to dry air, reduces the need for a humidifier and it is good for your houseplants. But you may also consider calling your local city hall to find out how to get the ordinance lifted. Where to get hung up The traditional outside clothesline is a two-pulley system that the clothesline runs through. Most hardware stores sell clothesline kits that includes a .50 cm by 30 metres (3/16 inch x 100 feet) cotton or nylon clothesline, two clothesline spreaders, two metal pulleys,two screw hooks and one clothesline tightener. You'll need two garden posts to install a pulley system or you can tie-up a line between two trees or two solid structures. There is also a plethora of clothes racks out there, from the classic wooden clothes horse to the tiered metal rack with platforms to lay sweaters and hang shirts. The best wooden racks are made from unfinished aspen or white pine and have wooden dowelling so your clothes don't catch. Standard metals racks are made from lightweight chrome or aluminum covered with plastic. Chrome costs more but lasts longer. Whether you are drying clothes on a balcony or in a backyard, there is a clothes rack to suit your space. How to get hung up The great debate on how to hang clothes has never been resolved but there are plenty of tips and techniques out there. The Clothesline is a book dedicated to the art of hanging laundry but includes some time-tested traditional recipes for lavender ironing water and verbena soap among others. Here are some tried and true tips for hanging out your wash:
  • shake out clothes before hanging to make them softer and have fewer wrinkles
  • turn clothes inside out to prevent fading
  • to prevent clothes peg marks, hang shirts by the shoulder seam
  • hang soft knit shirts and sweaters inside out on hangers so they keep their shape
  • hang T-shirts by the bottom seams but leave a slight sag in the middle so they keep their shape
  • overlap corners of separate items so you use only one peg instead of two
  • store your clothes rack indoors when not in use.