Using a Drying Rack to Fight Global Warming

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. 


  1. We’ve been using a “humble drying rack” since the beginning of July for our cloth diapers and baby clothes. My husband wants someone to invent one that is sturdy enough for “man clothes” i.e. jeans and khakis!

    I am using a thrifty post from last week for my contribution, but I promise I’ll have a new one next week! This week you can read about my son’s neused table that cost $35 when it’s all said and done!

  2. The sun is the original dryer…
    Good points.

    Our thriftiest green thing was living for 6 years in a 120 square foot camper, using a compost toilet, solar shower, and gravity feed water system. Two adults, cats, a kid, and another baby, living as simply as we could.

    Read about it here:

  3. Here’s my tip for sharing the cloth diapering fun and getting others started on it:

  4. Here’s a link to how we (two completely non-handy people) built our own compost bin:

    I lived in the Canary Islands for over a year and I didn’t see a single dryer. They all used racks up on the roofs of their buildings and homes. I like the smell of line-dried clothing, but my husband complains about crunchy jeans and I’m not a fan of ironing.

  5. Our family has gradually added lots of little things that are both green and thrifty. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s going pretty well. We have a three month old baby and have so far managed to avoid Babies R Us and Target. We’re getting pretty good at making do with what we have, avoiding consumerism, and just enjoying our son. We use cloth diapers, drying racks and a solar oven, I breastfeed our son and wash my hair with baking soda… it’s the little things. Here are the details of our thrifty green life:

  6. In keeping with the laundry side of life…I posted about homemade laundry detergent here.

    I just found this site and will definitely be back!


  7. We already have such a great variety of ideas––and it’s only 7am! Please take the time to check out each others blogs and post comments. Thanks for sharing your best thrifty green tips with us this Thursday. We’re looking forward to reading more from you next week!

  8. I love my drying rack because it saves energy and helps clothes last longer!

    This week I’m trying to tackle the weeds taking over my lawn naturally.

  9. I love the clothesline, in fact my husband is putting up a new one this weekend!

    I posted a homemade detergent recipe a few posts ago, but added a tiny tip about conserving water on my post today.

  10. I posted a recipe for fabric softener, a good idea for those of us who hang our clothes outside to dry.

  11. I have a drying rack for small stuff like cloth diapers, and then I have a spring loaded shower rod across my laundry room that I use to dry bigger items. I hang most stuff from the shower rod using clothespins attached to hangers, but I’ll also throw our sheets straight over the rod to dry.

    I find line drying deeply satisfying!! :)

  12. Thanks for this post, which I found very inspiring. We’ve been thinking about putting in a clothesline for some time now, but keep putting it off (mostly because we live in a small condo with very little outdoor space, so we have to do a little problem-solving about getting an outdoor clothesline). But I’m inspired to get a drying rack this weekend and start there!

  13. I don’t have a baby, but this is a great idea to both save money and lots of CO2 emissions. Something I haven’t already been doing that I didn’t think of! Thanks for the post.

  14. thank-you for reminding us of the economic and environmental benefits of air drying our clothes. I own a small company which sells unique wall mount drying racks. The drying racks are designed for indoor use and can accommodate up to 5 QUEEN sized bed sheets!

    The best part is the drying rack extends from the wall only 3.5″ when not in use so it takes up very little space in the home. The sturdy 1″ diameter drying rods won’t bend and are made of strong Douglas fir.

    If you are interested please visit

    Hopefully more people will be turning off the most energy intensive appliance in the home.

    Thanks for your post!

    Best regards,

    Miles Hogan, Owner
    The Hogan Wood Company

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