|Under these towels is an expandable metal clothes rack.|
It is lightweight but fairly sturdy and can be folded up
when not in use. It holds quite a bit of clothes, although
not quite a full load (of course I don't tend to use the lower
bars very much)
As you may have read, the one thing I didn't plan for was an outdoor clothesline, and to put one in now would look rather odd with the landscaping we have or require too long of a walk to be user friendly. For the time being I am using a folding dryer rack.
I should say that we live in the western portion of the PNW and during our drier, sunnier, warmer weather (generally after July 4th and extending through early autumn most years) I found hanging laundry outside to dry quite easy and enjoyable to do. In fact, I honestly became addicted to it--it was SO fun to do and it made me appreciate the simpler life my pioneer forefathers lived:)
Summer and early autumn were great, and then late autumn arrived and it became more challenging with the low night/early morn temps, higher humidity and rain. During these months I again resorted -- unhappily I must add -- to drying laundry loads in our electric dryer with the exception of a few loads of lightweight items that I hung up on the rack indoors as a fellow blogger (Helen of new morning light) told me they do in Norway. This did work but I was a bit uneasy of trying it with heavier loads such as blankets, towels, jeans, etc. because of possible humidity issues. The area I used for this indoor drying was near a heat register (we have forced air electric heat).
Now it's spring (2013) and I am again experimenting with outside drying. This time I am keeping track of variables other than just temperature, wind conditions and load type. I am curious to see how this affects drying times. Please note that I'm still convinced that laundry loads would dry faster on a clothesline or umbrella type clothes dryer where more of the surface would be exposed to the wind and sunlight and am researching possible solutions like retractable clotheslines and an umbrella type clothes dryer that could be removed if needed.
Some data from this year and last:
Day 1: High 60, light wind. Full load of 2 jeans, 4 tee shirts, a lot of underwear and socks, one kitchen towel. Hung at approx. 1230; removed at approx. 1730--a few items still slightly damp but OK.
Day 2: High 63, light wind. One full to queen sized lightweight blanket. About 4 hours?
Day 3: High 73, light wind. Bath towels X 7, few items clothes. Some dry at 3 hours; all at 4 hours.
I am finding that I'm really enjoying hanging the laundry out to dry---my hubby doesn't like the stiffness of the towels, but I actually don't mind it at all. Now I just need to decide on what kind of clothesline to get and use (in addition to the folding rack). They are forecasting even higher temps and continued sunshine for the PNW...the research will continue:)
Day 4 (March 2013) High below 50, humidity 52%, dewpoint 30 late afternoon stats. Mixed weather (including showers and even hail at one point, cloudy to sunny at times). I (mostly) dried a mixed load of towels, clothes yesterday for several hours and then finished them off by hanging them in our house overnight. But, I left the towels outside overnight. This evening -- really late afternoon--I brought them in. Surprisingly they were all pretty dry with only the thickest one a bit damp in places. Note: during the very brief periods of rain showers and hail, I placed them under our roof overhang.
Late April 2013: mid 70's. 20% humidity, dewpoint 31, winds NNE15G (?) in the afternoon made it possible to dry 2 loads the last two days. SO much life to be seen while outside -- loving this:)
Days in the 80's and above...even better:)
Days with high humidity...not so great:(
Days with off and on showers...really yucky. Update: but as you can see above, I am now experimenting with moving the laundry under cover during these times.
Overnight drying? During the summer I left things outside overnight on the drying rack with no problem. This was when we were having dry, warm weather with not too cool of nights. Spring 2013: I have been experimenting with leaving damp laundry outside overnight...and have been surprised that they have not been more wet in the morning! On the nights I did this our temp dropped to the 40's and it didn't get foggy. The laundry (a heavy towel, jeans, sweatpants) was completely dry by mid morning--it might have been dry earlier but Aimee likes to sleep in:) On one morning I did this here were the weather stats at 10am: temp, 45 deg, 63% humidity, 33 deg dewpoint. Not sure about the wind stats. Another group of stats from a different day--this time checked at 9 am: 37 deg, 82%, 32 deg dewpoint with a few clouds. I would not leave items like woolens or silk outside though.
Windy conditions? seems to help dry the laundry faster...one autumn day we did see strong winds that brought the whole rack off the deck and tipped over one of our very heavy patio chairs:)
Bird Droppings? have only had a couple of incidents in the months I have hung laundry to dry. Not a big deal, I just washed the item again:) If anyone was to have a problem, it seems like we would because our yard is very bird friendly...perhaps it is that I hang the laundry on a deck adjacent to our home?
Sub-freezing? fascinated by this concept! Next time we get an arctic front and dry conditions, I am going to try this--maybe with some dish towels or lightweight laundry to start with.
Plan: I am now looking, again, at the various types of outside clothes dryers. Would appreciate input if you have used a specific type and like/dislike it.
Love this resource:
Feel free to add your own alternative drying success/failures by leaving comments.