Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Make your own solar-powered clothes dryer

Remember these?
My dryer suddenly stopped working the way it should.  My neighbor, who can fix anything....and I mean ANYTHING....says the parts alone would cost so much that it is not worth fixing.  With some extra expenses this month, and my aversion to using the credit card, I decided to see how long I could put it off.

But...I only have one clothes line, strung from a hook on the house to a fence post.  It will hold almost a large load of laundry, an I often do 12-15 loads a week, what with the linens from our massage therapy practice.  So I got creative.
If you do this, just watch out  for rust on the fence, which will ruin any damp clothes that come into contact with it.  Part of our yard is fenced with a plastic coated fencing and that worked just fine for hanging smaller items.
I'm puzzled by home owner's associations that prohibit clotheslines.  I agree that the lines should have some standards for aesthetics, however, prohibiting them altogether is so 80's.  Time to get green.  Time to call a meeting and get the rules amended if you live under such archaic rules.

My neighbors tell me that watching me hang laundry, and the colorful clothes waving in the breeze, are rather relaxing sights.  Then they quickly state that they don't watch me, they just happened to glance out the window.  Hee-hee.  I know I'm watched.  I saw the video camera the day the tom turkey hopped over the fence in the rain and I climbed over after him in my Australian stock coat and my Indiana Jones hat and my clunky muck boots.  I just wish I knew how to find that one on youtube.

My point is, most people don't find the sight of hanging laundry to be offensive.  On the contrary, most people find it to be an attractive view.  HOA's need to get with the program.

Within certain parameters.  I had to hide our delicates on a fence that was hidden from neighbors and the street.  I'll show you, since you won't tell anyone.
Everywhere I looked, my yard was flapping with color.  It was as if everything suddenly bloomed all at once.
Although it creates some extra steps for me, I must say that I enjoy hanging the laundry out to dry in the sun and wind.  There is nothing that comes in a bottle that can recreate the smell of breezy sunshine that gets into the cloth.  My dryer still tumbles and has cool air, so I tumble almost everything with a dryer ball so I don't have to iron, and also to remove the pollen.  For dress shirts and such, I add a dampened small towel and they come out wrinkle-free.

I'm now thinking of putting up a serious clothesline.  I found a set out in our woods, galvanized pipes with a cross-bar with hooks for seven lines.  That could do some serious drying.  I can't wait to see the electric bill next month!


  1. I have 2 of the poles coming off the side of the wood shed. Each has 8 hooks. The lines are about 15' long. I use the plastic covered rope because i can wash it in the spring when I start hanging out again. I usually hang out from early April into October.

    I can hang 7-8 giant size loads on them. I also use the lines for "washing" and drying remay row covers. They are also good for drying the giant size tarps we use for everything.

    I once figured, many years back, that it cost $20 to run the dryer for the 5-6 loads we do a week. It must be considerably more by now.

  2. Wow, $20 a week? Yikes! I can't wait to see my new electric bill!

  3. Oh, no, that was for the month, but I do 5-6 a week, so 20 -24 loads a month = $20/mo. perhaps 5-8 years ago, or maybe longer.

  4. Oh, rats, but hey, it will still be a significant savings! Power costs only go up.

  5. i see london, i see france... hee hee hee hee

    hang in there baby - we got our "new" (to us) dryer for $30!!! whoot!

  6. Well, what I save in the electric bill will buy a new dryer in no time flat! But I must say, I'm enjoying this. I will need a dryer for those inevitable long, rainy weeks....I must get the linens washed for the business....but I'll likely continue hanging laundry. I'm planning a complete re-do of our back yard, and it will include a serious clothesline, a grape arbor, and lots and lots of berry bushes.

    Years ago, in our first apartment, in my pre-massage therapist days, we didn't have a dryer and only hung our clothes. It was very companionable, hanging out laundry and chatting with the older Sicilian lady next door. I miss those days.