In a story typical of technology in our lives: Once upon a time, there were no clothes dryers. Imagine! Then only rich people had the new clothes drying machines (for the help to use). Then, and now, almost anyone can afford a clothes dryer, or at least a trip to the laundry shop for coin-operated dryers. Whew! What did we ever do without those machines?
Hint: We hung wet laundry on a clothes line (cost, about $20.) and dried our clothes for free. We also did not need coal-fired or nuclear power plants to dry our clothes. We used a new/old concept, solar power and wind power. For free.
Our clothes also lasted longer (short fibers not removed by machine action), shrunk less, and naturally sun-bleached and smelled better. Unless you lived next to a coal-fired plant or the railroad. And once clothes dryers became affordable, clothes lines became a symbol of technological obsolescence, if not of poverty and the lower classes. Many neighborhoods actually enacted covenants forbidding hanging laundry outside.
Clothes dryers are typically faster – no time needed to hang each piece, just throw it all in. They work better at drying when it’s raining or freezing outside. The tumble can help soften clothes. And they avoid the problems of birds or sooty pollution. Energy Star dryers also save money and resources.
Still, there’s something about free. And those fresh smells.
The clothes dryer isn’t going to go away, and we’re all thankful for that. A compromise might be: On a sunny or dry breezy day, tumble the clothes in the dryer for a few minutes, then hang out on a line or hangers to finish drying, softening, and wrinkle removing. It reduces dryer time and energy use tremendously, eliminates shrinkage, and produces much improved finished laundry. In truth, it works great for me. (I also use organic concentrated cleaning powders and softeners – no chemicals to leach out on me from “clean” laundry, and also saves money.)
Technological hipness ain’t what it used to be. Clothes lines, including retractable ones, racks (can be used indoors on rainy days!), coat hangers, and clothes pins are all available at your favorite hardware or supply store or online. They must sense a market.
Save money and resources. Make friends with the birds.