As you’re working on Greenifying your home and business, do you think about it as you toss another load of clothes from the washer into the dryer? You might have to go to the hardware store and special order them, but clothespins and the clothesline used to be the most basic and utilitarian components of a backyard.
When Americans finally got a chicken in every pot and a washer and dryer in every home, clotheslines began to represent poverty. A laundry line in the backyard was the norm in the 1970’s, but in the last 20 years became “just something that the lower classes did.” Communities outlawed them for the negative connotation that they offered to passersby.
In doing so, it’s almost impossible to calculate how much energy has been used to dry clothes. And most of those clothes could have been just easily and far more energy efficiently dried on a clothesline. Did you know that dryers are by far the most wasteful appliance in the house, gobbling up 6% of your electric bill?
Now, a group calling itself “Project Laundry List” is successfully lobbying state governments to allow you to dry your duds any way you wish. So far, Florida, Utah, and Colorado have all supported "right-to-dry" laws. Change is in the wind, along with a lot more sheets, socks and underwear.
And just so you are aware, here are some clothes-conscious facts. Hanging your clothes on a line to dry is better for them. Colors linger longer, giving your clothes a longer life. The fabric holds up longer--dryer lint, after all, is nothing but a thin layer that has been sheared from your clothes. The high heat of a dryer can also play havoc with the size of your clothes, so that something with a perfect fit comes out misshapen or, worse, six sizes smaller.
So this year’s big push to Greenify might see you looking in grandma’s closet. Keep searching, because grandma never throws out anything, including her clothespins.