Right to Dry – Doing Laundry Au Naturel – Part 2

As was discussed in Part 1 of this series, “Doing Laundry Au Naturel”, there is a movement afoot aggressively promoting the use of clotheslines instead of dryers. The “Right to Dry” campaign does have its hands full in some jurisdictions in Canada because there are city bylaws in place prohibiting the use of clotheslines. While there are no such bylaws against hanging clothes and linens out to dry in the City of Calgary, some developments in the city ban the practice. (However, the only way such a rule could actually be enforced would be for a neighbour to take the clothesline violator to court.) Part 1 looked at energy consumption of dryers and the possible degrading effect dryers might have on garments. Now let’s examine the germ-killing ability of a dryer.

Dryers & Hygiene

Just which is more hygienic, your clothes dryer or hanging your clothes outside in the sun? According to research done by the University of Kentucky, “more bacteria are killed by drying clothes in an automatic clothes dryer than by line drying. Both
methods, however, will reduce the number of bacteria.” (“Cleaning Flood-Soiled Clothing”) Since it is the sun’s ultraviolet light that kills bacteria, using a clothesline to dry your clothes on a sunny day is effective just not to the same degree as the high heat of a dryer.

Fresh Smell & Stress Relief

The pleasant odour and stress relieving properties reportedly associated with drying linens and garments on outside clotheslines are definitely subjective experiences which can’t be measured. If someone derives a positive benefit from his or her clothesline, more power to them. However, common sense would dictate that under certain circumstances it would be far preferable or necessary to dry everything in a dryer. Suppose, for example, that you happen to live beside a large hog operation.

Dryer or Clothesline?

At the end of the day we are all governed by self-interest and necessity. Notwithstanding rules prohibiting the use of clotheslines within certain developments in the Calgary area, generally speaking, we are all free to make up our own minds. If your particular circumstances don’t dictate the method you need to use to dry your laundry, who’s to say a choice need be made? Instead of an either-or approach, weigh the pros and cons and use a combination of dryer and clothesline and get the best of both worlds.

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