How to Prevent Line Dried Laundry from Getting Stiff

Line drying laundry has a lot of benefits. It uses less energy so it saves money and natural resources. The sun is a natural disinfectant and stain remover and makes clothes smell fantastic. Some even find the ritual of hanging clothes relaxing. There is one major drawback, however, and that is the tendency for line dried clothes to come off the line very stiff. Dryers tumble and fluff clothes as they work, making it hard to recreate the softening effect on the clothesline. However, there are steps you can take to lessen the stiffness line drying tends to create.

Some people find hanging clothes on a line is a relaxing ritual.
  1. Use less detergent. Most detergents today are highly concentrated and can be used sparingly. Too much will build up on the fibers of the laundry and cause stiffness.

  2. Add vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. Vinegar is a natural fabric softener that can strip soap buildup.

  3. Shake out wrinkles before hanging on the line. This replaces some of the tumbling action of a dryer and prevents wrinkles.

  4. Avoid hanging the laundry in full sun or at the hottest time of day. The longer it takes to dry, the softer the laundry will be.

  5. Hang laundry on windy days and the wind will move the laundry so it doesn't get stiff as it dries.

  6. Bring the laundry in while it is slightly damp and finish drying in the dryer for 10 minutes. This still saves energy, but softens the fabrics.


  • Terrycloth towels are likely to still be stiff after line drying but by following the steps in this article you can lessen the stiffness significantly.
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