Most of us have a washer and dryer readily available to us, even if it means a trip to the laundromat. But what if a power outage outlasts your supply of clean laundry?
Regardless of the season or the weather, clothing can be dried on a line, either inside or out. Inside takes a bit more ingenuity, and it’s never very attractive, but line can be strung across any room. The room with a wood burning stove is ideal (and a wood-burning stove is an essential part of any preparedness program!) Wooden racks can be purchased at the local variety store, which can be folded and put away when not in use. And I know that nobody wants to acknowledge this out loud, so I’ll whisper:
“Most laundry can be used more than once before it requires washing. Bathroom towels are wet with clean water wiped off a clean body. Shirts and jeans can be aired out and re-worn. And here’s a little tip about making pants last longer – wear a panty liner or sanitary napkin.”
Springtime is a wonderful time of year for hanging out laundry. It’s an especially fun and rewarding part of spring cleaning. There is nothing to match the sweet smell of freshly laundered linen after a winter of being closed up in the house!
Materials to build a clothes line can be purchased at most variety or hardware stores. A good clothes line is strung between two well-anchored posts. But a serviceable clothes line is strung between anything available! If the line is strung tautly, it will support the laundry by itself; if not, a post of some sort may be needed to prop up the line in the middle. Keep a rag on the line with a clothespin so that the line can be quickly wiped of pollen and dust before hanging out a new batch of laundry.
I like wooden clothespins. I don’t have a reason – maybe it’s just because they seem more ‘homesteadish.’ I like to have the clothes pins easily accessible – which for this getting-old-and-hard-to-bend-body, that means having them hanging on the line as I am hanging out the linens.
The length of time it takes to dry a batch of laundry obviously depends on the weather. A cool, dry day with a nice breeze is the best. An extremely hot day will dry clothes extremely fast! But in the absence of electricity, does it really matter how long it takes the laundry to dry on a line? It will eventually dry! And even if your electricity is up and running, line drying in nice weather will save on the electricity bill. It costs around $70 per year to use an electric clothes dryer. And who couldn’t find something more fun to spend that on?) to make clothes pin holder is to fashion one out of a bleach or laundry soap container. To reduce the number of clothes pins needed, overlap each garment and pin the two corners onto the line simultaneously with one pin.