Is it me, or did many of the green ideas originate in Europe? Seriously—bicycling, walking, buying fresh and local—have long been a way of life in Europe. And to that list we should add air drying clothes.
In France, as in most European countries, space for a separate laundry room is sometimes not an option. In my personal experience, a front loading washing machine can occupy a space in the kitchen, under the kitchen counter, but never a dryer. I have stayed in two homes that had tumble dryers, but, usually clothes are taken outside, to line dry.
I enjoy the smell and feel of clothes that have been air dried, especially bed linens, tablecloths, tea towels, cotton shirts, and jeans. During the warmer months, I hang all of these items outside to dry; in the colder weather I used a collapsible drying rack. After drying on the line outside, the linens are wrinkle free, and have a stiff, crisp hand, almost as though they’ve been ironed. Cotton shirts and tees retain their color and size when regularly line dried, and jeans never shrink!
Not everyone has the space to dry laundry outside, but 2’ x 3’ space is all that is needed for a collapsible drying rack; I purchased mine at The Container Store a few years ago for less than $10, and I see they still carry the same one. I love it, and use it all the time, indoors and out. For large items, I use a clothesline, but I was surprised to see the variety of drying racks available today.
So whether you do it selflessly for the planet, or selfishly to please yourself, air drying laundry is a good thing, and inexpensively European!