Monday 9 December 2013

Drying Laundry without a Dryer, by Kira

I thought I would miss my dryer when it died.
We knew it was coming; it had a horrible squeak when it ran,
and gradually took longer to get started.
Eventually, it just stopped drying clothes,and we deemed it not worth repairing.
At first I did miss it.
I guess for the most part it was the convenience that I missed;
if you needed something dry now, you could run it through the dryer and have it ready in a matter of minutes.
It was also missed for it's ability to dry the cloth diapers thoroughly.
It's been two years now without a dryer.
It wasn't missed for long.
It just took a while to get into a rhythm and working out drying details.
We have an outdoor clothes line that Andrew installed within the first year of moving into our home, which was about 9 years ago.
The second was put up shortly after the loss of the dryer.
Since then, two more lines have been added indoors.
One is a line that goes through the middle of our living room, which I usually only fill before bed and empty early morning.
The other line is the seed shelf that Andrew built last spring for holding my seedlings.
The woodstove really does work wonders for drying clothes.
If it wasn't for the woodstove it would be slower.
I can do three large loads of laundry in the evening, fill all the lines in the living room and have it all dry by morning.
The most difficult time for me to dry laundry is during the hot
and humid summer days.
If I get too far behind on these humid days I sometimes hang the clothes indoors and light the woodstove.
Some may call that crazy for making it hotter.
But the temperature doesn't normally rise much.
What it does is dry my clothes and also cuts the humidity in the house.
We also started to be more mindful of what was actually dirty before just throwing it into the dirty clothes pile. (Yes, a pile, not a hamper.)
Now that we're diaper free, (yay!) the laundry has been cut back even more.
This past year I dried more inside than outside.
There just wasn't that much prime drying weather.
The key to going without a dryer is having the right kind of set up in your home.
For me it's lots of lines and a running the woodstove.
By the way,
here is a link to my laundry soap recipe.
I felt it was appropriate. ;)


  1. man I miss my woodstove!

  2. I hang dry all of our clothes and try to use the dryer for just the last 5 minutes or so (basically to get the pet hair off that still made it through the washing machine). We also have a woodstove, so winter is great (I have a huge drying rack from Lehmans and then a smaller metal one) and summer is of course fine for hanging outside. It is the in between times, spring and fall, when it is not cold enough for the woodstove, but not really sunny outside yet, that the clothes never seem to dry and I have to hit the dryer pretty hard. With 11 furry animals inside and one 14 month old babe in cloth diapers, I am doing at least a load every day.

  3. Thank you for explaining, Kira. :)

    I envy your wood stove. We keep our home fairly cool in the winter months (we have a natural gas furnace), and I have found in the past that when I hang laundry to dry inside it takes so long to dry that it starts to smell mildewy. Not good. So I use the dryer all winter long.

    Since where we live is very windy though, in the summer when I hang laundry outside it is often dry in less than an hour. I love hanging laundry outside on a warm, sunny morning.

  4. I think laundry hanging to dry, whether inside or outside, is just the most beautiful and satisfying thing to look at.
    Your home looks wonderful and cozy in your photos!
    I altered my own laundry soap recipe now that I have read yours - by adding sea salt I think it is working much better! xo

  5. I just noticed! Diaper free - how wonderful to hear!

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