Drying Laundry on a Clothesline: Why It's Dreamy

K. Emily Bond
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sheets laundry clothesline
Photo by K. Emily Bond
This was the scene on my rooftop this past weekend, my freshly laundered linens drying in the Andalucían sun. Nice life, eh?

Several hours after removing them from their hooks and dressing my IKEA Sultan Hjartdal bed, my husband and I snuggled in for an exceptionally good night’s sleep. Unfortunately our toddler, whom we still bring into the bed on unsettled nights, caught a stomach bug and threw up all over our fresh sheets. What once smelled of spring breeze with a hint of eucalyptus now reeked of baby vomit.

Such is parenthood.

The following morning, we hung the sheets up again. Because it was a warm day with a high around 80, the sheets were dry by early afternoon. On really hot and sunny days, pretty much every day now that it’s officially springtime, the rooftop is especially energy-efficient. Come June here in southern Spain, the scorching sun can dry clothes in about an hour.

A few lessons that I’ve learned about drying laundry alfresco …

Before hanging clothes out to dry, I’m always careful to turn them inside-out to protect their colors. The biggest bummer is that there will be some fading, the extent of which depends on the intensity of the sunshine you’re dealing with. Another caveat is that I’m also sure to use a healthy dose of fabric softener since the clothes can get rather stiff.

While I do sometimes miss that “fresh out of the dryer” feeling I reveled in back in the United States, drying my laundry on a clothesline in Europe gives me a certain satisfaction. First of all, it’s as green as you can get (save the fabric softener). Secondly, you can literally smell the fresh air in your sheets and closet -- air that smells vaguely of the orange blossom trees typical at this time of year. Thirdly, with my son strapped to my back in his Ergo, trekking up and down the stairs is great cardio.

My little guy’s still not feeling great, bless his heart. But my legs look damn fine.

Do you hang your laundry out to dry in the sun?


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