Awch it’s a good drying day

Sometimes my Granny’s voice pops into my head as I walk the dog in the morning.   “Awch it’s a good drying day”.  Whenever there is a particular combination of sunshine and a brisk breeze, I want to rush home and make the most of a good drying day.

My Granny grew up in a time before washing machines and tumble dryers. Wash day was a major event.  My mum grew up with a twin tub machine so doing the washing was still a time consuming chore.  I have the luxury of a washer dryer, but even so I still dry almost all of my clothes by hanging them outdoors on a line.

Washing drying outside a window
Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

Sustainable and good for the environment

Line drying is free and it uses no natural resources.  You don’t need much just a bit of outside space, a line and some pegs.  You don’t even need  much outside space.  I lived in a flat and had a folding clothes airer which I  put outside on a tiny balcony.  In European cities washing is strung across the alleyways, the space above people’s’ heads is used as a shared resource.  My garden is not big, but its big enough to string a line. There is always enough space to dry your washing you just need to be inventive about fitting it in.

In these environmentally conscious times using energy to dry my clothes seems wasteful.  There is something timeless about standing outside in the sunshine the wind whipping my hair about my face.  Pegging out the washing in the same way my mother, granny and great-granny did before me.  There is really no way of improving on this system it is sustainable perfection.

Peg out clothes on the line to dry
Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

Saving Money

If I use the tumble dryer a lot, during the dark wet days of winter, it certainly increases the electricity bill. Confused About Energy  have some calculations so you can see how much it costs. The money I save drying clothes on the line means I am being paid (a small amount) to do something good.  I can’t imagine my Granny paying for anything she didn’t have to.

Pegging out the clothes doesn’t take that much longer than loading the tumble dryer, and stepping outside in the fresh air and feeling the sun on my face for a few minutes helps me de-stress and get a sense of calm.  Although the washing might take longer to dry, I don’t have to do anything.  I just peg everything out and forget all about it for a few hours.  Yes there is always the chance that it might rain, but rain won’t damage things you have just washed.

Memories of dying day

If the rain does come,  I shout “oh no, the washing” and everyone rushes outside to help bring it in.  At that moment I remember the times my mother or grandmother said the same on a drying day.  Even as a child I would rush out to help, I might only bring in one thing, but I was doing my bit.  Watching children now, helping their mothers I wonder what their memories will be.  I remember the time my niece was tiny she pulled her climbing frame half way across the garden so she could reach the line to help.  The connection to the past is so vivid when I peg things out. I see the generations before me doing the same thing, and wonder whether future generations will do the same.


The best thing about drying on the line is the freshness it gives to fabrics.  No fabric conditioner or dryer sheet can come close to it.  My husband has sensitive skin.  Too many products can leave a residue on fabrics and cause irritation. Sunlight and wind freshen without chemicals.  During hay fever season when there is a lot of pollen about don’t dry the clothes of sufferers outdoors.  The rest of the time nothing can beat line dried freshness.

Line drying makes fabric fresh
Hanging on the line makes fabrics fresh

Getting into a bed made up with sheets which have been hung out on the line is a joy.  There is a smell which is almost impossible to describe, it’s not scented it is just like fresh air.  It’s an affordable luxury for everyone.  So next time it’s a good drying day, grab some pegs and give yourself and the environment a treat.