Friday, December 31, 2010

Hanging Laundry to Dry Indoors For Dummies

(Like ME!)

When I moved to my one-bedroom duplex from a four-bedroom house this summer, I had to downsize. A LOT! Some of the things that didn't make the mile trip to the new place was a lot of my homeschool books (still need to sell them), my freezer and my dryer. There is simply NO ROOM to have them in this house. Life is all about choices, and these things were not as important to me as what I kept here with me. DK's let me keep some of my stuff in the basement of the house they're renting. Except the dryer. That's upstairs and they're using it. And since both work full-time and my daughter's pregnant, I figure the dryer is of more importance to them than it is to me. I'm not drying work clothing for two. Most of what I dry is what I kick around the house in and a few towels.

Which means, I've had to figure out how to get my clothing dry on some kind of line. I'm thankful that where I live has a nice clothes line in the back yard. I'm also glad for all the times as a child BD (before dryers), that I had to hang the family wash on the line.

But how to apply this to indoor drying. And WHY indoors. Well, I live in the SOUTH. The south is VERY GREEN. Lots of kudzu. Lots of trees. Lots of vegetation. And did I mention, LOTS of kudzu? But do you know WHY the south is green??? Because it RAINS. All. The. Time. At least where I do it rains all the time. Now, I'm thankful for the rain because I LIKE things green. If I wanted brown, I'd move out west. They have some pretty deserts. Brown deserts. That's nice to visit, but I LIKE green. So I deal with rain on a frequent basis. And you can NOT hang clothing to dry outside if it's raining. Or Snowing, Or..freezing.

So here's what I figured out to do.
Wash a load of clothing normally. If you MUST, wash it by hand. But my washing machine DID make the cut of "important" items to be kept. lol

I wash my clothes in homemade laundry detergent and rinse it in vinegar. I like the homemade soap better than commercial. It doesn't stink and I don't break out in a rash from left-over soap. Before I switched to homemade soap, I had cut back on how much detergent I was putting in the washer, but I still would have problems. My laundry detergent how-to is here. And for the record, you can make a batch of this up at one time. Sometimes, I'm just lazy and don't feel like spending the time grinding soap for a whole batch. And you could make liquid soap out of it, but takes more room to store it that way and I've never had any problems with the soap not dissolving in the washer, but then I do grate it rather finely by using my smallest grating wheel.

So, the laundry powder goes into the washer just like you would regular detergent. I put the vinegar into the little holder that you'd normally put your name-brand-add-it-to-the-washer dryer stuff. And turn the machine on and let it work. It works, I go post on my blog. lol

Now you have clean clothing. And NOW it's raining AGAIN and you really don't want to let it hang on the line 3 days until it decides to stop raining. I mean, no one around here would EVER be guilty of ANYTHING like that. Oh, hey, at least the clothes were well rinsed!

So, what to do? Well, hey, I have some hangers and I have a shower curtain rod. Hummmm. So, I simply hung the clothes on the hanger and then put the hanger on the shower curtain rod to dry. I've not had any problem with the clothes dripping because my washer does a good job of removing the water on the spin cycle. But it's been raining off and on for weeks here and after 24 hrs, my clothes were NOT dry. It's winter. The heater is on. If you count it being set to 66 degrees as "on". (That's what sweaters, sweatpants/shirt and socks are for. That's why the old folks used to wear HATS. Go put on more clothes!) So why didn't the clothes dry?? Well, it's cold enough to close up the house and put the heater on, but my brick house is warm enough that the heater isn't cycling as much as the a/c was blowing with it set to 78. (Go put on a light-weight cotton shirt, go barefooted. That's why the old folks used to wear cotton. Take some clothes OFF! Only don't answer the door that way, please!)

What to do? Cue the....FAN. Yes, my little fan that blew in the house to circulate the air so that the a/c wasn't running as much was placed on the bathroom floor and turned on. It then took about 3 hrs for the clothes to dry. (Cotton underthings and socks on hangers set about 1 1/2 inches apart.) Today, we have towels. Heavy towels, drying. I just hung them up about 30 minutes ago, and they're already about 1/3 dry.

Some suggestions for using indoor drying methods:

When you go to hang up an item, give it a good "snap" or two. Shaking it out helps get wrinkles out.

Use "spring"-type clothespins. The "peg" type won't work on a hanger. At least, I've never tried them on hangers because they work by putting tension on the fabric by "jamming" it in place. Fabric gets caught between the peg and whatever you're hanging the clothing on. Common sense tells me that a small diameter hanger isn't going to "jam" enough fabric for the peg to hold the fabric in place.

Hang your clothing on a plastic hanger or plastic coated hanger. You can use wood, but they're more expensive. I sometimes use metal, but you're risking getting rust on clothes if you do that too much. Unless you have a coating on the metal hangers.

I hang shirts up like I would hang them in the closet. I use clothespins on hangers to hang everything else.

I use either those special pants/skirt clothes hangers or clothespins and regular hangers. I hang pants by the waistband. I open the pants out flat and put the hanger behind the waistband and clip it in two spots. I do not stretch the waist out with elastic waists, but do put them straight across the top part of the hanger. I end up with portions of the waistband not on the hanger, but the portion that is on the hanger is enough to let the pants dry.

I hang underwear by twos. I lay one pair flat, put down the hanger so that the "BOTTOM rung" of the hanger is where I'm going to put the clothespins. I then lay the second one on top of the bottom part of the hanger hanger and clip them together, one clothespin on the left side of the item, one on the right side. I then take and clip a pair of socks to the "upper rung", one on each side of the hook. I fold the sock over the edge of the hanger and clip it in the middle of the sock. One pin to each sock.

And for Christmas, I was sent a Wally-world gift card and bought myself - a second shower curtain rod. One that is tension mounted. And I put it so that it ran parallel to the regular shower curtain rod, but in the middle of the bathtub, and above the shower head. Tensioned that bad boy in place and then washed a 3 of loads of laundry.  I hung the heavier pants and shirts I had on the screwed in shower curtain rod and hung the lighter underclothing, socks, and smaller towels on the tensioned rod. Worked GREAT!

And when the clothes are dried, there's only a few things that need folding. The rest get taken straight from the shower curtain rods to the closet and hung up. Woo wee! No more laundry piles. Well, at least CLEAN laundry piles. Now if I'd only DO the laundry more than once every two weeks, I wouldn't HAVE 4 loads that need doing. Oh, well. Baby steps, baby steps.


Momof3girls said...

I hang my laundry indoors too. I went to Lowe's and purchased folding laundry racks. I have 3. There are 4 of us, so I do laundry everyday except Sunday. I wash them in the mornings, hang them up and by the afternoon, evening they are dry. I do have a dryer and I only put the colored/white clothes and sheets in there for about 5 minutes. I hang my sheets out, when it's not raining here in Louisiana. I enjoy doing laundry this way. My clothes are soft and not stiff like being hung outside. I do use vinegar in the towel rinse. We have allergies, so we only use dye free detergent.

LizBeth said...

Before we moved "here," I had laundry lines strung across my kitchen and laundry room. Hubs wouldn't let me do it here, but I really liked it that way. Just hung it up with clips like I would have done outside. Turn on the ceiling fans. I was in business. I think I'm going to measure the doors to see if those chrome tension shower rods will fit across them. That would work in less obscure/low traffic doors. Just take imagination, huh?

Mary Q Contrarie said...

I dry everything for my family of four on a couple of clothes drying rack. Here are a couple tips that may help with your drying time. Run your clothes through the spin cycle a second time. The more water you get out in the washer the less you will need to let evaporate. The other trick is to make sure you shake your clothes prior to hanging this separates the fabric and fibers and allows for as much air flow as possible. It also seems to really reduce wrinkles and the crunchy thing that some many people complain about.

Darlene said...

Thank you, Mary. Those are some good suggestions.

I can't afford to buy and have no place to store drying racks, that's why I don't use them. Wish I did have both the money and storage space, because you're right. You can dry a LOT of laundry on even one of them.

Giving the clothing a good snap or two does get a LOT of the wrinkles out and does keep them from feeling so crusty.

I'm thankful for a washer that has a super spinner on the spin cycle. My clothing feels quite dry when it comes out of the spin cycle.

If you hand wash and have a washing machine, I'd go with what Mary suggests. Spinning the clothing DOES get out more water and lets the clothing dry faster. But sometimes we don't have certain luxuries. So we do the best we can with what we have. Even sopping wet clothing, if hung to dry, dries eventually. So no sweat if you don't have one.

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Sowpath das said...

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Enndery Ashwin said...