How to Hang Clothes to Dry

Before the electric clothes drier became common in the middle of the 20th century, laundry was dried by natural means, on the clothes line. It is still a wonderful method for drying laundry: they smell fresh and they look crisp. Even better, the process doesn’t cost you a dime, and it gets you out in the fresh air.

Laundry on the line
  1. Shake out your clothes as you take them from the washing machine. It’s easier to get them on the line if they’re not all bunched up in the basket, especially on a windy day.
  2. Mentally sort the items in the basket by shape and size. Think about what you have in the load and how you can fit it all on the line. Find a corner of the basket to separate really small items like socks and underwear.
  3. Spread out your large pieces.
  4. Hang your large pieces first. Spread your sheets and towels over the line and clip them at the ends. If you have a breeze, put more clips so they don’t blow away. You will need to hang your sheets with half on each side of the line. Don’t double the towels if you don’t have to–they’ll take longer to dry doubled up.
  5. Hang your shirts on the line next. Put your dress shirts on hangars and hang the hangars on the line. Hang your tee shirts from the bottom hem. Shake them out and hold them by each shoulder to get them straight. Put a clip on one bottom corner of one shirt; use a clothes pin to clip the other corner of the first shirt and the first corner of your second shirt together on the line. Add one or two more tees to the shirt chain. This will help you save space on your clothes line.
  6. Hang your pants, shorts and slacks in one of two ways: Pull them tight across the waist and clip the waistband to the line, or use a pants hanger to grip them at the hem and hang the pants hanger on the line.
  7. Fill in with small pieces.
  8. Finish hanging your laundry with the small pieces. If your line is especially full, you can fit these small things (baby clothes, hankies) in among the larger pieces. If you have plenty of room, hang socks by their toes and other small bits by any usable length of fabric.

Things You Will Need

  • Freshly washed laundry
  • Clothes line and clothes pins


  • Air flow is important for drying, so try to hang your laundry to make the most of any little breeze or whiff of air.

About the Author

Colleen Morrison has been writing professionally for two decades. She holds an M.A. from the University of Wyoming and a Ph.D. in history from Arizona State University. She ghostwrites articles, blogs and Web content for her clients. Articles under her name appear at M&M, eHow, Golflink and other sites.

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