There is nothing like the scent of laundry dried outdoors on a clothesline. There is an art to it, however. A friend sent me the following great tips, granting me permission to share it with newsletter or blog readers if I so desired. Enjoy!
The Fine Art of Clothesline Laundry
On a beautiful fresh morning here in West Tennessee, I reflected on tips that I’ve been given over the years, and other random thoughts. It’s wonderful to meditate, plan, pray, or even talk out your frustrations while putting that clean damp load of laundry on the line.
I sometimes think “ugh,” as I have a tendency to get a little behind on laundry when lupus flares, but then I have to remember my poor grannies who first had to fetch the water…my maternal granny had to put her babies’ dress tails under the table legs so they wouldn’t follow her down to the spring…I remember her old wringer-washer when I was about six or so. How I loved to see those heavy wet articles flatten themselves into ribbons! Then she had to rinse…re-wring…and wag the clothes to the clothesline. When they dried, they had to be ironed (my least favorite chore!)
She had an old Dr. Pepper bottle, with a sprinkler head attached, and she sprinkled everything and rolled it up, then put it in her refrigerator to dampen. Starch…now that was another thing. No spray cans, of course. She had to cook her starch, then let it cool. Items needing starch went directly from being rinsed and wrung out into the starch pot, then to the clothesline before drying and ironing. Wouldn’t they have scoffed at my procrastination….just load, add detergent, push buttons and it’s done.
Talk about white …..I use a little bleach when I wash whites, and turn any stubborn stains toward the sun, and it’s almost magical to see how sparkling white they get! I put out a clean dishtowel and dishcloth every night, after the dishes are done, and they stay relatively stain-free and they smell wonderful. Someone I know in my family, whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned, has kitchen cloths whose “old-grease” smell is quite off-putting.
Now to the hanging part. I am a little OCD when it comes to clothesline etiquette….I want all my underwear together, all socks together, etc. I hang socks by the tops, to help prevent holes in the toes. I hang jeans inside out, so the pockets and seams can dry well, by the waistband.
Now, when it comes to sheets and blankets, some (like my mother-in-law) insist that they be hung by the middle section, or thrown over the clothesline. I say that doing this wears the middles out quicker, as if they don’t already wear out in the middle from use and wear! I hang mine by the selvages, because I can always turn up a little hem if they start to fray.
Our t-shirts are hung by the hems, because Steve’s go inside his jeans when he puts them on and I don’t like those little bumps on the shoulders. I can always iron that little area on my hems, because I haven’t worn mine inside my jeans for some 27 years now. Everything else just goes up as is. My colored clothes are hung on hangers inside, to prevent fading, and ironed as necessary.
I will have to say, in inclement weather or when those danged little orange ladybugs are out (they swarm me and bite!) I do use my dryer. We save lots of money, especially in the summer, and I like that, plus it’s greeeeen. My uncle won’t have his laundry hung outside…he says the clothes get crunchy and the towels get stiff. I like my towels a little on the rough side…they will dry you much quicker than if dryer-dried.
All in all, it’s a great sense of accomplishment to put your wash outside to dry….try it, you’ll like it.
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