Introduction: Install a Clothline and Save a Bundle!

Picture of Install a Clothline and Save a Bundle!

The clothesline is probably the oldest method of drying clothes. It is also the cheapest and most ecological. Considering there is currently no electric clothes dryers on sale that meets the Energy Star requirement, it also means that using one will save you a lot of money.

Just to put things into perspective, the average electric clothes dryer needs 4kw/hour to run. If you run the dryer on a daily basis for 1 hour a day, depending on the cost of electricity, you will be throwing out close to 30$ a month just to dry your favorite shirts! That's well over 300$ a year. And just imagine when you dry bed sheets often and baby clothes almost daily.

Since according to scientists (IntelIntel), generating 1 Kilowatt Hour of power also generates 1.64 lbs of carbon dioxide, a clothesline is cheap way to help the planet. (One hour of clothes drying generates about 6.56 lbs of carbon.)

But whether or not you believe the planet is warming abnormally is beyond the point. Saving your hard earned money is reason enough to put up a clothesline.

But first, you must decide where to put your clothesline. Locate it at a place that's easy to reach. Take into account that you will drop a few pieces of clothing over the years. So make sure you can go and pick them up. Clothes also dry a lot faster in a sunny location. The photons that the sun emits actually give energy to the water molecules so they get "kicked out". So sunny locations are preferable. If you can't do that, choose a place that is either windy or very dry. Clothes can also dry in the basement during the Winter when the house is dry. As an added bonus, drying clothes inside a dry house raises the humidity level.

Selecting the right clothespins is also important. Some have very weak springs and will surely have a hard time holding your clothes. Spending a bit more on good pins is a good investment.

Step 1: Required Materials

Picture of Required Materials

So here are the materials required to put up a clothesline:

2 large hooks
2 pulleys
1 length of plastic covered clothesline wire
1 line tension adjustment spool
metal anchoring slugs (if you have masonry or brick walls)

Tools:
1 Electric drill
1 large screwdriver (helps in screwing the large hooks)
1 hammer (to drive the anchors in)
1 wire cutter
1 ladder

I was lucky that most of the work was done when I bought the house. As you can see, I have a more sophisticated setup than the one I described. But it still does the same thing.

I'm sorry I don't have a set of "work in progress" pictures.

Step 2: Installing the Clothesline

Picture of Installing the Clothesline

Drill holes where the hooks will be attached. If you are attaching the hooks to a masonry wall, you will need to drill the holes slightly bigger than the hook's thread. You will need to use anchoring slugs so the drill size will need to be adapted to those. If you are attaching the hooks to a brick wall, you will need to drill in the mortar between the bricks. If you don't, you run the risk of splitting a brick which is something you don't want to do. Use the hammer to drive the anchor in the wall and screw in the hook. Using a large screwdriver that you simply slip in the hook makes it a lot easier.

If you are attaching to a wood wall, try and screw the hook in a stud in order to make it a lot stronger.

For most people, the other end of the clothesline will be attached to a power pole. If you do so, keep in mind two things:
-Usually, it is illegal to use power poles to attach clotheslines but the utility companies tolerate such usage.
-Power lines carry many times the voltage required to kill you. Be careful when setting up your ladder and don't put the line too close to the power lines. As a rule of thumb, the higher the lines, the higher the voltage. We want you to keep on visiting the Instructables site so work safely.

Now that the hooks are attached, put on the pulleys (they just slip over the hooks) and start threading the line. Once the line is through the pulleys, attach the tension device and start cranking. When the tension is adequate, just leave it like that. Cut the excess wire.

Step 3: Well Used Clothesline

Picture of Well Used Clothesline

You are now ready to hang your favorite socks to dry. Enjoy!

Comments

Derin (author)2008-11-09

I saw an industrial dryer with energy star at a drive-in camping area.

Build-o-Matic (author)Derin2008-11-09

Well that would be a first!
When I did the research for the article, I checked out the Energy Star website where they claim no clothes dryers have the rating simply because there is almost no difference between the efficiency of all models.
"ENERGY STAR does not label clothes dryers since there is little difference in the energy use between models."
A clothes dryer is basically a tumbling drum with a fan and heating coil. The only way I can see to make a more efficient model would be to use a refrigeration based dehumidifier... then again it might not be as efficient in the end since it would take a lot of time to dry the clothes.

hammer9876 (author)2008-10-23

Hmm. I thought the oldest method of drying clothes was throwing them over the shrubs or rocks. :-) That's what we did camping at the lake. We thought we had come into the 20th century when we tied a rope between two trees. Of course the humidity was very low and things dried VERY fast. It was very humid where I grew up and nothing dried quickly back then. An electric clothes dryer was a must. No one has a clothes lines in the old neighborhood. A couple of years ago I saw Martha Stewart on TV before she was a convicted felon. She spent 20 slow, agonizing minutes explaining how to put up a clothes line. I sat there watching and wondering what happened to tying a rope between two trees.

Build-o-Matic (author)hammer98762008-10-24

Boy! I knew Martha was good for making time on T.V. but 20 minutes on that is a bit overkill. Often, in humid climates, the only thing that will dry clothes is the sun. If you live in a damp place with no sunshine... things get a bit harder I must admit, but not impossible. As far as just stringing a rope between two trees, it will work. But it's less convenient than the pulley system (especially if you set the line high enough to avoid having sheets drag on the ground)

macmaniac (author)2008-10-20

I thought everyone used a clothesline, they certainly do in the UK

RadBear (author)macmaniac2008-10-20

No. Most folks in the U.S. use electric clothes dryers. It's faster so we jumped all over them. Plus the neighbors won't know what my undies look like. :)

McDouche (author)RadBear2008-10-21

In Australia, having a clothesline is part of basic etiquette. How else am I meant to promote how much larger my underwear is than my neighbours!? I've tried pegging them to the fence and they just take them down, saying I'm ruining their fence-line (jealous pricks if you ask me). Also, I've never seen a clothes hoist of this sort n my life. We have big, 4m diameter spinning spokes with wire between 'em. Apparently we invented that - big surprise.

RadBear (author)McDouche2008-10-21

Definitely sounds like jealousy. Huh, sounds like the perfect thing to poke your eye out on. I've seen the rotating type of clotheline here in the US. I've always wondered if birds like to perch on clotheslines like they do power lines.

Rmg12 (author)RadBear2008-10-22

the rotary washing line is the one most people in the UK have (otherwise it's a line with no reel). Birds don't sit on ours haha. We have a dryer as well (but its hardly used), for incase its ultra-bad weather, but tumble-dryers imo makes clothes tighter. Theese reel ones I've only seen on TV etc. We have indoor clothes racks to put next to a radiator incase of really bad weather.

Bartboy (author)macmaniac2008-10-20

ditto with Canada, But cause US has so much poverty, most people don't have a yard, so end up wasting money on a machine.

Build-o-Matic (author)2008-10-21

I come from Canada too... The fact that most Americans use electric dryers is probably related to the New Deal which was introduced by Roosevelt as a way to stimulate the economy in the post 1929 period (check your history books...). I know I've seen people put them on galleries when there isn't much space in the backyard. In big cities, they used to go across back alleys... they still do in many European cities (look at Italian movies). My grandmother used to have a clothesline in the basement during the Winter. There are so many places where they can be put up that there is almost no reason not to have one! And yes, birds do use them as a nice perch from time to time. But it seems the wire isn't too comfortable for their feet so they don't stay on for long periods.

McDouche (author)2008-10-21

Instructables Robot; Please explain your logic in that... "3.00 (1 ratings) Your rating: 4.0"

ChrysN (author)2008-10-19

Good advice, nice instructable. I like the bunny hanging from its ears, cute.

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