OCD Line Drying


For some reason, I still remember a song we sang at junior school that started, Today is Monday, Today is Monday, Monday's wash day, is everybody happy? You bet your life we are (whistling tune that a class of 8 year olds can't manage).

So, I always do my laundry on a Monday. Always have and I suspect I always will. These are the habits that the OCD housekeeper cannot afford to loose!

Anyway, so I do two loads, one lights, one darks and then towels, bedding etc. I care about the environment, I choose 'green' products where possible (I might have a post brewing on that one some day!), and Dusband and I try not to pollute the environment any more than we have to. (I.e. we try to walk everywhere!)

What does confuse me is the people who choose the green products and then stick their laundry in a tumble dryer.

According to National Statistics, almost 60% of households now own a tumble dryer. That means more than 14m households are using electricity to dry clothes, when they could save that energy by hanging them outside. An average drying-machine cycle uses just over 4kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg CO2. If all households with a tumble dryer dried one load of washing outside each week, instead of by machine, they would save over a million tonnes of CO2 in a year.

According to Carbon Footprint, an A+ fridge-freezer used 24 hours a day will produce 116kg CO2; an A-rated washing machine used 187 times will generate 51kg CO2; and a dishwasher used 135 times at 65°C will create 84kg CO2. The A-rated tumble drier recommended by the Energy Saving Trust, used 3 times a week, will generate over 160kg CO2 per year.

I know all the arguments for a tumble dryer; it's easy, it's quick, it makes my clothes soft, I don't have to iron them etc etc. But I wonder if you really stop and think, whether you can afford the extra 10 minutes a day to hang your laundry outside (rainy days not included!) to save the planet that much.

I'd rather have clothes that maybe I have to iron sometimes (although I find a nice breezy day gets rid of most wrinkles!) than not have the atmosphere to even go outside, let alone hang my clothes out!

Anyway, rant over, here's how I hang my laundry outside in my own cute little OCD way!

First I put all the clothes that are nice and biggly hangable in the basket. Tops, trousers, pjs etc.

Then I pop socks on a little peg hanger thingy. I never even knew these existed til I lived in Devon and our next door neighbour used hers to pop her socks out to dry, it's so much easier than pegging them to the line! Anyway, I like to pair them and peg them because we both wear colourful socks so it's fairly easy. If we both had to wear black socks or we had kids who had school socks...well, I just don't know how I would cope!

There are more socks to come, that was just a selection of mine. Remeber, this is a week's worth of laundry for two people! We try not to launder everything after just one wash, there's no need for jeans and jumpers...but socks...eeeewww!!

Anyway, add your sock hanger to the laundry basket.

Next, I like to grab the reshape whilst damp items out of the separate pile I've already put them in, (which I totally forgot to tell you about at the start) and pop them on hangers so that they don't get misshapen by the pegs.

Add those to the basket and you're ready to head outside.
We have what estate agents would call a bijou garden. I.e. it's pretty tiny! However, we've strung up a washing line between the edges so that we can hang laundry down and one day I might even invest in a whirly gig! I think these are called Rotary airers by normal people.

So, you get outside with your laundry basket and remember that you took the washing line down so you didn't get garrotted whilst planting your radishes yesterday. Oops! You put it up again trying not to get a headache from the man who lives behind using his petrol power washer to clean his car mats....again...

Hang the jumpers in the area where they're going to get the most sun. They'll drip a lot, but it's gonna take more than a puff of wind to dry these babies and you wanna give them all the help they can get!

Then add your sock hanger somewhere (we'll add to this when the next load is done) and then hang up your biggly hangables.

Job done without too much hanging around outside (haw haw!) and hopefully the CO2 I've saved by not using a tumble dryer can go towards offsetting that of the man living behind with his petrol powered pressure washer!

p.s. I live in Wales where it rains more often than is dry, and generally it takes between 4 - 6 hours to dry a load of laundry outside. When it does rain then it's onto airers somewhere for a day and a half of drying. To me, that delay and having to avoid an airer in the corner of the room is worth the saving in CO2.

p.p.s. If you want to find out more about what each appliance uses, check out this link on Carbon Footprint . I used their calculator and came out at 5.37kg a year. Try yours and comment letting me know yours. Let's see who can get the lowest carbon footprint!

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  1. I found this post interesting - thanks!

    I checked my footprint (well, ours) and we were 11.2 - much under normal for a US family - and we have 7 in our family - not too shabby! :)

  2. This was a great post, mine came up as 3.63, was pleased at that, world target of 2 tonnes that would be a challenge. I have a family of 4 and as my children grow I can see this number increase not decrease it's hard to try and save the world.


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