Do you own a solar powered dryer? If not, they’re available for under twenty bucks and can save loads of emissions in their lifetime. Yes, I am talking about the humble drying rack.

Whether you live in an urban apartment or sprawling acreage, anyone can handle erecting a drying rack and letting nature do the rest. You won’t need dozens of clothespins to hang each sock, baby t-shirt, or undergarment.  Just flop the clothing on the rack in the morning and take it off later in the day.

In the summer I bask in the glory of sun dried clothing.  I hang the sheets, towels and adult clothing on the line while my toddler helps (somewhat sloppily) by arranging dishtowels and diaper covers on our drying rack.  

Although it air drying isn’t glamorous, it is revolutionary.  

What are the environmental benefits?  A clothes dryer is one of the biggest energy users in your household.  Depending on its efficiency, it can eat up as much energy as your oven and more than your water heater, burning up to 5000 watts of electricity each hour.  Refrigerators technically use more, since they’re on all the time, but per hour, dryers are the largest consumers.  Dryers also waste energy twice, since they suck in air from your home (which has been cooled in summer and heated in winter) and then blow it out of the house.

What are the cost benefits?   Besides lowering your utility bill, you’ll reduce expenses on clothing.  My sister, a mother of five children who is constantly battling with laundry, will only air dry her children’s garments.  Since line drying doesn’t set stains the way a heated dryer does, she prevents soiled clothing from being permanently ruined in the dryer.  If the stain doesn’t come out, she just tosses it back in the wash.  Air drying also prevents shrinking and limits wear.

How can I take it a step further?  If you’d like to air dry all your laundry and set up a clothesline,  check out Laundry List–a site dedicated to helping people move away from dependency of dryers.  Even hanging just a few loads a week can make a huge difference in your energy bill and your carbon emissions. 

Thanks for joining Thrifty Green Thursday!  Come back tomorrow for Rebecca’s line-drying trouble-shooting tips.