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hang your laundry to dry outside in the winter

 
                        
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I have done some deep winter camping in 40 below weather...  after a goods night sleep your body sweat wicks to the bottom of the sleeping bag and freezes...  nice coat of ice.

If you take the bag out in the morning and face the bottom of the bag twords the sun.  the ice will be evaporated by noon.'

I suppose you could do this with freeze dried clothes.
 
Lisa Paulson
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We have an outdoor line which gets a lot of sheets , towels and horse blankets in good weather but in the PNW it is cool and humid much of the year so I have a rack suspended from the ceiling  10' x 4' that has five long dowels running the length of it and I hang clothes on hangers on it year round now.  It is super efficient as the clothes go from washer to hung and when dry they stay on the hangers and get put in closets and I just take a batch of empty hangers I find in the closets back to the laundry area to use next time.  I just started this winter and have only used my machine dryer once since , so it is unplugged at present. 

 
Larisa Walk
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Here in Minnesota we hang clothes out to dry all year round.  The trick to hanging laundry in the winter is to have the laundry "prepped" with clothes pins already attached and laid in the laundry basket ready to go.  I have a pair of rubber gloves that are just used for laundry so they're always clean.  And I work quickly since the laundry will freeze as it's being hung up if the temp is sub zero, which it often is on sunny days.  We do hang socks, undies and other small stuff on a clothes rack behind our masonry stove, but the big and bulky stuff does most of its drying outdoors first.  Our house gets too much humidity build up since we're growing plants in the windows, so laundry wouldn't help that situation.  If you have a dry house in winter, hanging laundry indoors is a plus.
 
                              
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paul wheaton wrote:
Backwoods home mag has a picture of laundry outside covered in frost.  And the article talks about how it is "freeze dried". 

I usually dry my stuff inside not far from the heater.  On racks. 

Freeze dried clothes ..... anybody tried it?




Yep-rather it was the older generation-my mom, aunt and grandma. outside clothes line was there, you had a housefull of cabin-fever kids, you dont hang wet clothes inside if your smart. And yes, it works quite well. Be warned, your hands get dam cold and you can't wear gloves and hang clothes on a line-the gloves get caught in the clothes pens.

Leigh
 
                        
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"I have heard twice once from my father who gets his information from the knewspaper and once in a CNN article that you can sterilise water leaving it in tranperent bottles, plastic bottle bottles  in the sun, after a day in the sun all the microbes die. The sun can't take heavy metals and other inorganic contaminants from the water but according to scientists it can kill pathogens" (sorry I don't know how to show this is a quote from an earler post )

This is strongly NOT advised..the sun/heat also will cause changes in the plastic which then leaches chemicals into the water. These chemicals are definitely not recommended for a person to consume. Anyone wanting to carry water in their car or on hikes or whatever are strongly urged to make sure they don't carry it in the soft plastic bottles it normally comes in, and to try to make sure it stays out of the sun if you have any intention of having a person drink it.
 
                    
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Unfortunately there is too much smoke & other stuff in the air where we live to hang stuff out side in summer or winter. But I can imagine that freeze drying could work in the right conditions.

 
                                        
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I heard an interesting factoid the other day from Will Hookers permaculture design lecture (NC State).  He cites the source in his lecture, but I can't recall the study.  The amount of energy that Americans expend drying their clothes in the dryer is roughly equivalent to the amount of energy we get from Nuclear power.  That would be about 19% of the national total!!  We could eliminate our Nuclear dependency by simply hang drying our clothes. ( I know it's wishful thinking, but it is astounding isn't it?)
 
                              
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I wish someone who can do screenshots OR someone who has a decent graphics program and can draw building plans, would watch that episode and post plans-photos here. That would be super cool.
Leigh


wombat wrote:
I do dry my laundry outside winter and summer, but it rarely freezes here.  Freeze dried clothes are still wet so you have to bring them in and hang up to dry.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/128286/zatoichi-the-blind-swordsman-the-fugitive

I was watching Zatoichi: The Blind Swardsman.  The Fugative  (available on hulu and elsewhere) and noticed that Zatoichi was doing his laundry at an inn in Edo Japan.  This clothes rack was shown for a way to dry kimonos and other laundry.

I don't know how to make a screen shot, but the clothes line is in the Episode - The Fugitive at 25"50' into the film.

There is a frame of square posts jointed by mortised joints.  Along the top are bamboo rods held in place by pins attached along the top of the frame.

A really neat close dryer!
 
                    
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Here, we have tropical climate almost for year, so no need to worry about to dry the clothes. We just hang out side, it will dry in few hours and Iron them, look fresh and  great!


 
                        
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So glad I found this thread. I hate using the dryer but here in the mountains the winter days can be pretty biting and it's often a struggle to get the clothes line-dried. Thanks to Kathleen for the greenhouse suggestion. I've had a greenhouse/barn for several years and have never considered hanging my laundry there. Until this year it has always housed plants AND animals. However, it is now just plants and it smells like the outdoors rather than animals. I'll have to consider that. And Walk, love your hints from Minnesota. I've done the rubber glove thing but hadn't thought of attaching my pins before getting out in the cold. You've all helped me head into this next winter much better prepared to dry my laundry. Thanks!
 
Jami McBride
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Spoil-child here, I hate the stiffness and wrinkles (don't even say the "I" word!)

But I found this and it really is helpful....



Some folks find that their laundry is uncomfortably stiff after being hung to dry. Hang your laundry on a windy day and this won't be such a problem. The wind is actually more important than the amount of sunlight, since it is the action of the wind that fluffs the fabric. Hanging laundry on a hot, sunny, windless day will only scorch the fabric and stiffen it. You don't need bright sunlight to get your laundry dry, but the sun does have natural disinfectant properties and will bleach your whites their brightest.

To hang sheets, towels, cloth diapers, and linens, pin them on the line so they form a "bag." Fold these items across the middle, so the short ends meet and the fold is at the bottom. Use clothespins to fasten the corners to the line. Then fasten one side of the sheet or towel to the clothesline with several pins, leaving the other side free. The wind will get between the layers of fabric, and make it billow out into a bag shape. It is the action of the wind and the fabric rubbing together that produces soft, fluffy sheets and towels dried on a clothesline.



Fans use a lot less energy than dryers, and there is something to be said for circulating the air when moisture is present.  So maybe when laundry has to be hung inside a box fan could be incorporated to aid in de-wrinkling and fluffing just a bit.

I'd like to find a pulling system where I could lower, using one rope, my entire clothes line, and after all the clothes are hung raise it again out of the way.

 
                      
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when I built this house I put my clotheslines on the west side. I hang out my sheets, com ein to take a shower, & by the time I get dressed the sheets are dry. Its a sunny 90 degrees this am in central Texas.   
 
kent smith
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We hang laundry outside all year long, even in the winter. We are at 9500' elevation in the Colorado Rockies. Our winters are so dry that even though 4 months out of the year it does not get above freezing, things dry our very fast. I would specualate that between our altitude, (vapor pressure), and the lack of humidity this is  the reason. However, everything dries out here, your skin, the dishes, and the green house.
kent
 
                              
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Location: Alberta, Canada
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Canada Zone 3 cold but low humidity.  I hang them out year round.  In the winter they come in cold but not wet when they warm up heavy things like jeans sometimes a little damp. 
I am soooooo lucky!    I have a back porch, kind of like an airlock entry and right in that little room resides one end of my clothesline (the long vinyl coated kind with a pulley on each end).  It goes though a skinny little door in the wall.  Insulated and weatherstripped well and when you close that door the grooves in the side for the clothsline are so tight that you cant 'reel in the line' until you open the door.  Sure is great for the winter and grabbing it in quick when it rains out.  I have a dryer (still almost new shape at least) I put in the towels for a quick fluff.  And yes I also have one of those little closets in there with a fold down ironing board.
 
          
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This is a subject near and dear to me - as one of my life's dreams is wrapped up with it -
having my own sauna.... 
I dream of the day that I will wile away hours all cozy in my finnish sauna.

Of course I've sold the idea to hubby by pointing out that I can use it as clothes dryer and food dehydration device also.

 
Mark Rose
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While I don't have a clothes line where I'm living now, I love drying my clothes outside whenever possible (I move a lot currently).

The most important elements for drying clothes outside are definitely wind and low humidity. I've seen clothes dry faster in below freezing temperatures on a windy day, than a hot humid day in summer.

Temperatures and sun aren't as important, although night drying can be affected if the temperature drops close to the dew point. The sun can help on a still day, but a windy day is far better.
 
Walter Jeffries
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It works if it is sunny. The ice sublimates. It never melts but turns directly to vapor. It is slower than in warm weather. Unfortunately we generally get some snow every day or so this won't work for us unless we get a string of sunny days. Generally in the winter we hang cloths inside up high.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
 
T. Joy
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Oh, I'm not sure I want to do this. It's so cold and snowy and windy here... Brrrr... I do hang things in the basement, thankfully it's not damp or musty down there.

I built a clothes hanging rack sort of thing to put our once worn clothes on (that are still clean enough to be worn again ~ jeans, sweaters etc) but it doubles well as a drying rack. It's just 1x2's with dowels for the "rungs" (looks like a 6 foot tall ladder with 4 foot wide rungs!)
It leans against the wall behind a door and is never, ever in the way.
 
                                
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I have a friend who is 97 with whom I talk about the way she did things when she was young. I asked her about freeze drying several months ago because I was wanting to give it a try. She told me that it works best to let the items on the line get frozen solid and then vigorously shake them until all the ice falls off.
As far as sun bleaching. . I wasn't a believer in it until I had my son and started cloth diapering. If the sun can take out THOSE stains, it can take out just about any stain! However, the type of fabric does affect the whitening. If the fabric is 100% hemp or cotton, I've found that the stains release much better. If it is a synthetic fiber or a blend, the stains are more stubborn.
 
Judith Browning
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I hung out a load of kitchen towels yesterday that froze as I hung them, but from experience I know they will be mostly dry this morning and smell wonderfully fresh. We hang out laundry all winter... try to avoid bad weather and if there's no choice dry indoors on racks near the wood stove. Our clothes have survived some suprise ice storms where we couldn't get them off of the line for a few days.
What I think is harder to work around are the week long rains in warm weather, no drying wood fire, when the house humidity is about the same as out of doors.
I never understood using a drier for something that will happen in it's own good time for free.
 
Mr. Bill Anderson
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Check with your local electrical provider for off-peak times to get a better rate for your electric clothes dryer. Winter time, I'll pin out the clothes on the line and bring them in just before dark, then toss them into the dryer for 10 minutes just before bedtime 9PM or later. Not sure exactly how much the electrical rates go down, but it's worth it to save every penny possible.
Loving the smell of the outdoors on my clothes, I'll just do a "Damp" dryer setting. I don't care if anyone sees my boxers, but the wife's, um, intimate clothing is hung inside.
Great suggestions all. Great forum.
 
            
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hello, this is a great opportunity to refresh highschool physics. the 'freeze-drying' is actually sublimation. transition of a substance from solid directly to gas state. it works! additionally, you may want to bring the frosty britches inside before donned. cheers.
 
Chris Vincent
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YAY sublimation!
clothes are dry when they are no longer frozen stiff - so if they are flapping it time to go get them.
 
lavender rose
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me and my husband had the same issue with the ropes sagging a lot so what we use during the summer is a old cable wire.. It is strong and durable to with stand a lot...
 
Micky Ewing
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A few people have mentioned the bleaching and disinfecting power of the sun.  These are both due to the UV component of sunlight.  There is a down side to UV on laundry though; it causes dyes to fade and fibers in the fabrics to deteriorate more quickly.  Unless you have a regular need for the bleaching and disinfecting action, you'd be doing your clothes a favour if you located your outside line in a shady area.  Of course, this will extend the drying time for your clothes, but it will also extend their useful life.
 
Estar Holmes
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In my experience, freeze drying works to a point in E. WA. The clothes dry to an amazing degree in the freezing cold outside. Then, I have brought them in, waited for them to unstiffen, and draped them around the house to finish up.
 
Milja Hahto
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Haven't tried it personally, but I know it was done in the past. When freezing, the air here is usually really dry, so the laundry dries without problems, although 1 day might not be enough. Take into account that freezing makes the wet laundry fragile. I have heard that you should therefore let it hang until dry.

In our climate the dry winter air makes the low air humidity problem inside - even if it was 100% air humidity outside, when you heat it from 0 degrees to a normal 21 degrees, the relative humidity drops to very low. Drying clothes helps to keep the humidity on a healthier level, instead of using a humidifier.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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paul wheaton wrote:Backwoods home mag has a picture of laundry outside covered in frost.  And the article talks about how it is "freeze dried". 

I usually dry my stuff inside not far from the heater.  On racks. 

Freeze dried clothes ..... anybody tried it?


Yes I tried ... once. The laundry was outdoors at the line for several hours, until the sun was setting, and it was not yet a bit dry! I prefer to dry the laundry in the living room (while I spend most of my time sitting in the bedroom/studio)
 
Mick Fisch
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I was a kid living in a base housing neighborhood a long way from anything in South Dakota in the early 60s.  My folks had 5 kids.  I was the oldest at 8 years old (so there was lots of laundry and only cloth diapers).  Everything went on the clotheline in the back yard, winter and summer.  I've asked my mom about it.  She said everything dried fine.  We did have a basement with some lines down there, but she didn't like it as well as the outside line.  As I recall, she only used the basement lines during blizzards or when the snow drifted over the clotheslines out back (which it did a time or two. 

Once it drifted right over the house (over every house in the neighborhood) so my dad had to climb out the down wind window to get out.  No one could get to work so all the men in the neighborhood went around and dug through to the doors.  then they dug deep (higher than I could reach) trenches from house to house).  It happened right at the end of Christmas vacation so us kids got an extra 2 weeks off from school (yay!!!) befpre they could get the snowplows to us.  My mom was very pregnant at the time and the base sent a helicopter out to bring her in for her doctors appointment.  (I realize that the last paragraph has nothing to do with hanging your laundry in winter, but thinking about it brought such wonderful memories to mind).
 
Enffie Ho
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This clothes airer looks good
https://www.trianglehomeware.com/products/towel-drying-rack-crc01a/
 
Bill Erickson
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Enffie Ho wrote:This clothes airer looks good
https://www.trianglehomeware.com/products/towel-drying-rack-crc01a/


That is a pretty robust looking indoor clothes dryer. I'm used to seeing wooden dowels and the like, first time for stainless.
 
Lynn Garcia
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This was standard practice in Montana when I was young and especially in my parents and grandparents generation.  It works great here because of the dry climate.  How it works is by sublimation. Hang wet clothing and it will freeze, then due to the low humidity the frozen water will sublimate into the air leaving your clothes dry in about the same amount of time as normal summertime outdoor drying.  Not recommended during snow storms or rainy spring/fall.
 
Enffie Ho
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Bill Erickson wrote:
Enffie Ho wrote:This clothes airer looks good
https://www.trianglehomeware.com/products/towel-drying-rack-crc01a/


That is a pretty robust looking indoor clothes dryer. I'm used to seeing wooden dowels and the like, first time for stainless.



It is made of durable lightweight steel that is easy to move from room to room and accordion design folds flat for compact storage.
 
Bill Erickson
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Enffie Ho wrote:
Bill Erickson wrote:
Enffie Ho wrote:This clothes airer looks good
https://www.trianglehomeware.com/products/towel-drying-rack-crc01a/


That is a pretty robust looking indoor clothes dryer. I'm used to seeing wooden dowels and the like, first time for stainless.



It is made of durable lightweight steel that is easy to move from room to room and accordion design folds flat for compact storage.


That is the same style I'm used to, only with wood instead of lightweight steel. In our rather dry environment here in the "Inland Northwest", that encompasses eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, Idaho and western Montana, the wooden ones last a long time, with a little maintenance.
 
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