A picture split into two halves. The left side shows clothes drying on a clothesline and the right side shows a woman unloading a tumble dryer. The words, "Clothesline vs. a Dryer" are overlain across the images.

The debate over whether you should be using a clothesline vs. a dryer is an old one, but it’s coming to the fore again thanks to the ever rising cost of electricity.

According to IGS Energy, the typical family uses the washer and the dryer for upwards of six hours a week. That’s 24 hours per month.

You’re thinking of drying your clothes on a clothesline instead, but will you save that much money by doing this?

Using a dryer at 2,790 watts can cost you at least $104.46 per year. You would be able to reduce your energy bill spending by at least that much if you switch to using a clothesline instead.

You probably have questions about switching from a dryer to a clothesline.

Well, we’ve got all the answers you seek, so make sure you keep reading!

There’s lots of great information to come.

If you’re mind is set on continuing to use a tumble dryer, you could choose a heat pump dryer to cut down on the amount of energy you use. We’ve written an in-depth article covering the pros and cons of this option.

How Much Money Can You Save By Using a Clothesline vs. a Dryer?

A picture showing US Dollar bills floating around in a tumble dryer drum.
Tumble dryers can cost a significant amount of money to run. Compare this to a clothesline, which is essentially free, and you could be on to a winning money-saving strategy.

As we discussed in the intro, the average household runs a clothes dryer for six hours per week.

Each time you use the dryer to dry a small load of clothes, the dryer requires roughly 3.3 kilowatt-hours of energy.

If a kilowatt-hour is priced at approximately 11 cents, then a load of laundry costs you 36 cents to do.

If you multiply that by six hours, you get $2.16. That’s how much money you’d save using a clothesline versus a dryer weekly.

That might not seem like much, but the costs do add up over time.

Per month, you’re saving $8.64. Again, that’s not much more than the cost of a cup of coffee nowadays, but keep doing the math.

Every year, you’d pocket approximately $112.32.

After two years, you’d be $224.64 richer, and after three years, $336.96.

If you have the option to keep any money in your pocket just by making a simple change like drying your clothes on a clothesline, why wouldn’t you do it?

The Benefits of Using a Clothesline to Dry Clothes

If the thought of saving up to $100 a year (provided you don’t use your dryer for an entire year) isn’t enough to tempt you to try a clothesline to dry your clothes, hopefully, these reasons will inspire the change.

Dryers Cause a Lot of House Fires Every Year

A picture of a blazing house set in large grounds.
Tumble dryers are responsible for thousands of house fires every year. By hanging your clothes outside and not using a dryer, you will eliminate the fire risk from your tumble dryer.

Let’s start with one of the most convincing reasons to stop using your dryer so frequently.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration or FEMA, the United States reports 2,900 fires started from clothes dryers every year.

These fires contribute to $35 million in property losses, up to 100 injuries, and at least five deaths.

Now, we should note that it’s not necessarily the dryer itself that catches alight, although that can happen.

Instead, the lead contributing cause to dryer fires is leaving the lint in the dryer trap. FEMA notes that this causes as many as 34 percent of dryer fires.

When you don’t use your dryer so much, you won’t have to stress about lint in the trap. Your home will also be a lot safer!

You’ll Spend More Time Outdoors

A picture of a woman hanging clothes on a clothesline outside on a sunny day.
The benefits of sunlight on our health are widely known. Give your mental health and vitamin D levels a boost by hanging your washing on a clothesline outdoors.

Let’s be honest; we could all use more time outside.

When you line-dry your clothes, you’ll often do so in the spaciousness of the backyard.

The only exception is during the winter or rainy weather when you might dry the clothes in your basement.

While the latter isn’t as advantageous, being outside is. You’ll get more vitamin D from your time in the sunlight, which can boost your mood.

Time outdoors might be able to improve your sleep and your level of focus as well, so it’s worth going out to dry your clothes as often as you can.

You’ll Give Your Air Conditioner a Break

A homeowner pictured in front of her AC's living room evaporator wiping sweat off her brow
During the summer, drying clothes in a tumble dryer is not only a waste of electricity but can make your home unpleasantly hot.

Even though your clothes dryer is all the way in the basement, it can still cause effects throughout the rest of the house.

If you’re not hanging your clothes out to dry, the tumble dryer generates heat all year long.

That’s not such a bad thing in the winter, but it can leave your house sticky and miserable in the summer.

Heat rises, so the main level of your home might get warmer on laundry day, followed by the upper levels.

This causes your air conditioner to work much harder to cool your home.

The more the unit strains, the greater the likelihood of breakdowns or even catastrophic failure at some point.

You’re Doing the Environment a Favor

A closeup of a man's cupped hands holding a glass globe of the world. He is wearing a green T-shirt.
If looking after the environment is important to you, you should consider drying your clothes on a clothesline instead of using energy to dry them in a tumble dryer.

We only have one planet, and we all need to do what we can to take care of it.

By skipping the dryer, you’re also skipping the electric load it contributes each time you run it.

Your home will be that much greener!

Your Clothes Come Out in Better Shape

An image of white clothes without wrinkles after being hung out on a clothesline vs. a dryer.
Hanging your clothes out to dry on a line improves their look because they won’t get as wrinkled as if you put them in a tumble dryer.

The clothes dryer, like the washer, can twist, spin, and pull on your clothes.

Sometimes, after taking your favorite clothes through a wash and dry cycle, they come out with more loose strings and undone hems than before washing.

Your garments are also usually extremely wrinkled as well.

When you skip the clothes dryer, you can spare your garments from the trauma of spinning, spinning, and spinning some more.

They might last longer, and they’ll remain in better condition too.

No More Static Cling

A gray sweater with a sock and a tie clinging to it due to static electricity.
Clothes dried in a tumble dryer as opposed to a clothesline will have a lot of static cling.

It’s the worst feeling when you go to wear your favorite sweater or pair of fuzzy pajama pants only to find that they’re sticking to your skin like a plastic wrap because of static cling.

The static cling doesn’t come out of nowhere. As your dryer tumbles your clothes around, the fabrics interact and generate electrostatic charges.

Static cling can be a pain all year long, but it’s worse during the winter because your clothes are bulkier and thus make more contact.

Line drying doesn’t create the opportunity to generate static, so your garments come out of the wash ready to wear without sticking to you uncomfortably and giving you static shocks.

Your Whites Might Look Whiter

A bright white sheet hanging in the sun on a clothesline.
The sun’s UV rays can help to make your white clothes even whiter. However, be careful not to allow colored clothes to fade in the sun.

This next point only applies when line-drying your clothes outside, as you need the sunlight to make your whites their brightest yet.

The sun lightens clothes without any harsh chemicals like bleach. Your whites, if they were yellow and dingy, can return to their former luster.

However, the sun doesn’t only lighten whites but every garment that hangs on the clothesline.

Thus, to prevent fading, ensure your colored clothes are hung on dryer bars or inside out.

Your Clothes Are Exposed to Fewer Chemicals

Assorted bottles of household chemicals.
Drying your clothes on a clothesline vs. a dryer can help to reduce the amount of household chemicals that your clothes are exposed to.

You know that your laundry detergent is laden with chemicals, but we bet you never knew the same was true about your dryer sheets.

Indeed, dryer sheets contain softening agents such as alcohol ethoxylates, fatty alcohols, and fatty acids.

It’s just chemicals on top of more chemicals when washing and drying your clothes, which does our environment no favors.

By skipping the dryer sheets and using a clothesline instead, you’re cutting down on the chemicals you use and doing our planet a big favor.  

How Long Does It Take to Dry Your Clothes Using a Clothesline?

A young child hanging out clothes on a clothesline.
Drying clothes on a clothesline can take longer than using a dryer, but this depends on where you live and the weather conditions at the time.

You typically need about an hour for your clothes to spin through one dryer cycle, or perhaps it’s somewhat briefer at 45 minutes.

Should you decide to begin line-drying your clothes instead, how long will that take?

Well, naturally, it’s going to take longer.

How long you’ll wait for your clothes to dry on a clothesline varies depending on the wind, the air temperature, and the type of fabric.

That said, it generally takes two to four hours on a slightly breezy, warm day.


If you run your clothes dryer frequently, changing to drying your clothes on a line can help you pocket up to $110 a year.

Much more importantly, you’re introducing fewer chemicals into the environment, prolonging the life of your clothes, and spending time outside, which will greatly favor your mental well-being.

Even if you only cut down on your dryer usage to half the regular time, you’re still making a green decision you should be proud of!

For more tips and advice on living a more eco-friendly life, why not read our article, “Zero Carbon Footprint Goal: 6 Easy Tips You Can Do Now“?

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