Sunday, November 28, 2010

Clothesline Questions Answered

Here are a few of my most common clothesline questions answered for you:

#1 - How much does it cost to dry a load of clothing in the dryer for 1 hour?

Ok, this one takes some calculation, but here we go: 

The average electric clothes dryer burns 6000 watts per hour of use (check yours for a more accurate figure).  Our cost per kwh (kilowatt hour) for electricity from October to May is 8.928 cent per kwh (7.227 base rate + 1.701 fuel charge), From June through September the base rate is 8.330 making the total 10.031per kwh.  So, the 6000 watt per hour dryer is burning 6kwh.   In the summer, that equals 60.186 cent per hour and in the winter that is 53.568 cent per hour.  Now, let's assume your family only creates 1 load of laundry per week.  That equals $4.21302 per week in summer and $3.74976 in winter.  That is $205.18 per year!

Of course that is only if your family creates 7 loads of laundry per week, and if each load only runs for 1 hour.  You will have to adjust your calculation based on your family's use to figure out the cost. 

There are a couple of things that figure doesn't include.  For instance, in the summer, the heat from the dryer makes you house hotter so that your AC has to work harder.  In the winter, the extra heat from the dryer is helpful, so it costs a couple of cent less. Another thing - How many of you turn the dryer on "for just a couple of minutes" to de-wrinkle your already dry clothes?    that 'just a minute' is usually about 20 minutes and repeates itself because most of us don't even get the clothes out then, so we do it all over again.

#2 - I don't like the stiff feeling clothes get on the clothesline.

First of all, be thankful that you did not live 60 years ago when no one had a dryer.  Secondly, that stiff feeling goes away after about 5 minutes of wear.

There are a couple of practical solutions to this problem.  One is to take clothes off the line when they are just slightly below dry (very slightly below) and put them in the dryer for 5 minutes (set a timer so you don't forget), and your clothes will not feel line dried at all.  Another option is  to add some fabric softener to your load.  My husband likes Gain and so we use it - of course I only use half the recommended amount, but it still does the trick.

#3 - How much does it cost to put up a clothesline?

Mine was about $25, but I also went ahead and got the green line that is a piece of wire coverend in green plastic.  It is heavy duty and has no problem holding up my laundry.  The cotton line dry rots and breaks after a couple of months

All in all, lines cost as much as you want to put into them.

#4 - That's a lot of work.

Hogwash.  It takes between 5-10 minutes to hang a load of laundry on the line, and 2 to take it down.

#5 - But how about those new 'high efficiency dryers' that don't use as much electricity?

Look at the price tag, they cost a lot more.  There is no way they save money.

#6 - I don't have the time, I have 6 children.

If you have 6 children, then you have children old enough to train how to help you.  A 6 year old can help with the laundry.  My 4 year old is able to help with laundry somewhat.

#7 - I work full-time so it doesn't fit into my schedule.

I have always found this reason to be interesting.  Partly because I have heard it from people who are 'out shopping', or always doing leisure activities.  Take horseback riding for example.  If you have time to care for and ride one of those creatures, then you most certainly have time to hang your clothes out.  Of course if you're in debt and have horses, send me an email so we can discuss how to prioritize and the difference between wants and needs.  Same thing with golf, going to a weight watchers meeting, reading trash novels, sitting on your bum in the sun doing nothing, etc.

#8 - It's not good for your clothes.

Air drying is best for your clothes.  It's the hanging part that some clothing can't tolerate, so there will be some things best to lay flat to dry.  But that is the case whether you use a line or the dryer - there will always be things too delicate for a dryer.  Another thing is that a high heat dryer actually wears your clothes out faster becuase it shrinks fabrics and pulls at the stiches.

#9 - What do you do about all the lint

Lint is not a big problem with line drying becuase there is no heat and tumbling around creating lint to begin with.  The little bit of lint created can easily be removed with a 3 inch pull of duct tape.  I have only had to resort to this maybe 3 times, ever.

#10 - I don't want to

Now this is an honest response.  No excuses, no nothing.  Just an honest "I don't want to".  Okay, so keep looking around and find another way to save money, there are plenty of options out there.

But if you find yourself in debt still or getting worse, send me an email so we can talk.


Anonymous said...

I've line-dried my clothes off and on. Do you have any suggestions for how the clothes line leaves the clothes wrinkly? I've noticed that my climate isn't very windy, so the clothes just "sit" on the clothes line and stay wrinkled. Even if I flatten them out beforehand, they are still wrinkly. This means I have to use the iron on almost all my clothes. (I don't bother to iron the sheets, towels, or undies, but all the outer clothes require ironing. I spend more time ironing the clothes than running the dryer...) Any thoughts on how to fix that issue? Thanks!

Mommy B said...

We don't have the still air wrinkle problem, I am coastal. However, I would think that if you spritzed your wrinkled stuff with water from a bottle and tossed in the dryer (only half full, otherwise you can create another wrinkling problem) for 5 minutes (set a timer so you don't fry your clothes and so that you don't miss it when it turns off and create another wrikle problem) that would work.

If you break it down, let's say you did this twice per week (since you're only filling the dryer about half full) at 5 minutes per cycle, then it would take you a full 6 weeks to incur an hour's worth of dryer charges. I think for the sake of saving the ironing time, it would be worth it. Ironing does take a while compared to hanging the clothes out.

Blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I'll have to give it a try. (When the weather is warmer, of clothes might freeze on the line before they dry if I put them out in the winter weather, LOL!)