The credit for this sustainable habit goes 100% to Toby and his family. Many people in New Zealand line-dry their clothes, and Toby was always saying how much he missed having "crunchy" towels and t-shirts. When living in an apartment, we were obviously unable to line-dry our clothes, but now that we've moved into a house with a yard, line-drying it is!
Air-drying clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year. If all Americans line-dried for just half a year, it would save 3.3% of the country’s total residential output of carbon dioxide, experts say.
You give me a statistic on CO2 savings and reduced carbon footprint, and I'm in! The more I researched about the environmental benefits of line-drying clothes, the more onboard I was with this lifestyle change. It does add a little bit of time to the laundry process, and if I'm in a time crunch or the weather is bad I still use the dryer. However, for the most part I find it oddly relaxing to hang my clothes outside and you can't beat the smell of clothes dried with the fresh, outside air!
Although I loved the idea of line-drying clothes, I wasn't super excited about having a permanent clothesline in our backyard, so Toby and I found this great retractable clothesline that mounts onto our fence and hides in the corner unnoticed most of the time (link for the product on our website's "Shop" page). The lines are super easy to put up and bring down, so once we're done with laundry they tuck right back and you'd never even know they're there!
If you've never really considered line-drying your clothes, here are a few stats and facts that might change your mind!
Helps clothes last longer: one of the most impactful ways you can dress sustainably is by purchasing good quality clothes and wearing them a lot! The high heat and constant tumbling from the dryer can wear on your clothes - have you ever thought of where your dryer lint comes from? Line drying is gentler on clothes and can help them last longer.
Saves you money: there are different estimates out there, but for the most part people seem to agree that one dryer load costs you about $0.35 in energy costs. The average American family does 8–10 loads of laundry each week, so that totals to about $150-$180 saved on electricity each year. Sure, that's not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, but it can buy you a pair of Rothy's shoes!
Eliminates the need for dryer sheets: because we use natural laundry soaps (not detergents) and line dry our clothes, we've been able to ditch dryer sheets and fabric softeners all together! Dryer sheets are polyester sheets that have been covered in often harmful chemicals and synthetic (albeit delicious) fragrances that keep many of us coming back for more. Polyester, chemical, synthetic fragrance... bad, bad, bad.
As we see time and time again, what's good for the environment is good for us too (and when we're lucky also good for our wallet)! Switching to line-drying your clothing is a sustainable switch trifecta! So, go old school and start hanging outside.