How to Hang Clothes on a Clothesline

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One thing I love about the summertime is being able to hang laundry out to dry. Not only does it save electricity and money, but it provides good nature therapy for me even on the busiest day. Plus, it’s a great way to get kids involved helping with household chores. How to hang clothes on a clothesline is quite simple once you have the tools you need.

What You Need for Hanging Clothes on a Clothesline 

Get or make a clothes line. If you have a yard, build or buy yourself a nice big clothes line. Otherwise, consider installing one of these compact lines in your house or on your patio. 

One accessory I love for hanging socks and other small items is a clip hanging dryer. Actually, I have no clue what they are called! When I was growing up, our neighbor lady who was a flight attendant would buy them in China for us because we used them so much and they weren’t a thing here in the states yet. Those were called angel babies. So that’s what I still call them because there is no easy way to describe a compact clip clothesline hanger…. So here are a couple pictures and you can decide what to call it!


For the clothesline, you will need clothes pins. I prefer the spring kind for everything. My Mom likes the old fashioned kind for bulkier, heavier items like jeans and blankets. 


You will also need a container for your clothes pins. Some people just leave their pins on the line all the time. I don’t like to do this because they weather faster and they get in the way. 

Personally, I keep mine in an ice cream bucket. But these cute clothes pin hangers make it so that you don’t have to bend down for a pin. I happen to have a toddler to hand me the pins from my bucket! Grab yourself a nice laundry basket that isn’t too big. I find the bigger the basket you get, the more you fill it and wet laundry is heavy! Plus, those bigger ones tend to cave under the weight of wet laundry. I love these kind that shape to your body.


Before You Wash

If you are particular about your clothing fading, be sure to turn the pieces inside out before washing. Then you can hang them without the sun damaging the color. It is very difficult to turn a wet piece of clothing! 

For whites, I love hanging them in the direct sun because it does such a good job of bleaching them. Diapers, sheets and burp rags get a nice bright boost from hanging in the sun. 

Read More: My Natural and Affordable Laundry Routine

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How to Hang Clothes on a Clothesline

1.Shake out the clothing item. You don’t want to snap it too hard because this can make the edges fray quickly. But you have to shake it vigorously enough to get most of the wrinkles out. 

2. Secure one side of the garment with a clothes pin. I’m right handed so I prefer to work right to left. First I pin the right side of the clothing and then work my way to the left. 

3. After the garment is secured with two pins, grab another piece. While holding the previous piece in place, lift the last pin you secured and slightly overlap your new piece and put the pin back in place.

This uses three pins for two pieces of clothing instead of four. On big wash days this can make such a difference! I don’t like having more than an ice cream bucket full of clothes pins so this method helps get the most use out of my pins and uses the clothesline space more efficiently. 

4. For socks, I grab two by the toes and shake them out. Then I slightly overlap the toes and pin them up. I don’t overlap socks with other items because they are so small and I find just pinning two together is the quickest. 

5. For jeans, I hang them by the ankles. If you are hanging dress slacks on the line, consider bringing your hangers outside and hanging them to dry right on the hanger so you don’t have to iron out any unwanted creases. When you bring them in the house to hang in the closet, just flip the pants the other way so the bit in the hanger can finish drying. 

 6. A button up dress shirt should be hung upside down with a pin securing it at each vertical seam. This keeps the clothespin crinkle out of sight (tucked into pants) and the extra strength of the seam keeps the shirt from getting stretched. 

7. T-shirts I hang by draping the bottom 6 inches or so over the line and pinning on both sides. 

8. Men’s underwear I hang the way they come out of the wash: inside out or right side out. But my skivvies I always hang inside out with the crotch facing the sun so it gets that extra bleaching and sterilizing. Let’s face it ladies, our undies are, shall we say, a bit more intimate while worn, than men’s. 

9. I’m picky about my towels. Hanging with just two pins – one on each corner – lets them sag and dry misshapen. I add a third clothes pin to the center of the towel to keep the end from drying in the sagged position.

10. As I’m pulling the sheets out of the laundry basket, I try to match up the corners and hang them in the first folded position. When I bring them in, they are much easier to fold, plus they don’t take up as much room on the line this way. Nor do they drag on the ground while drying. 

Read More: Laundry Day: Just one girl’s story of how I grew up doing laundry. 

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How to Hang Clothes on a Clothesline without them Being Crunchy

The easy solution to crunchy clothes from the clothesline is to use fabric softener in the wash. 

Because I like frugal options and less scents and chemicals, I pour half a cup of white vinegar in the fabric softener compartment. 

No, it’s not the same as fabric softener, but it helps. 

My husband and I actually love crunchy towels to dry  off with with and we don’t mind crunchy pants. Maybe it’s because we both grew up with our clothes being hung on the line so we are used to it. 

No clothesline? No problem!

If you don’t have a clothesline, grab yourself a folding drying rack. A quality drying rack is strong enough for several pairs of jeans. Grab a cheaper, spindly one for drying smaller things likes socks and undies. 

These collapsable racks can slide under a bed or between the washer and dryer for storage. Set them up on the deck, in the basement or in the bathroom with the vent fan on. 


Whatever your laundry routine, you can always find a way to incorporate line drying. Now that you know how to hang clothes on a clothesline, grab what supplies you need and enjoy the sun therapy! 

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