Winter Laundry and what do you do?

What do you do in the winter with your laundry?

I'm choosing the Sixth Circle since laundry is a household chore.

I just got back inside (as I write this, it's Tuesday, 12 January 2021). It's sunny, above freezing, and there's a slight breeze. I live in Hershey in Central Pennsylvania. We have real winters although nothing like points further north.

I hung out the laundry.

I hang laundry outside year-round. I do not expect most of my laundry to dry in the winter in one day. It depends.
Sheets? Yes. Undergarments? It depends on the fabric. Sweaters? Again, fabric makes the difference. An orlon or acrylic sweater dries in a flash. A cotton sweater takes all day and all night. A flannel shirt? A good breeze makes the difference.

I vary how I hang my laundry. Fortuitously, my clothesline was installed perpendicular to the prevailing winds. A stiff breeze will dry almost anything. I work with the wind, facing laundry so the wind blows it open, works down the sleeves and pant legs, airing and drying every part of the garment. Shirts in particular should be hung so the wind bells them.

Should socks be hung by the toe or by the opening? Polyester socks dry fast. Cotton doesn't.

Much of the laundry won't dry. I bring it inside in late afternoon. Then, after putting away what is dry, I break out my big wooden, Amish-made drying racks. Careful placement ensures garments dry with fewer wrinkles. Some items are almost dry and finish by the time we go to bed. Other items (cotton sweaters) take overnight.

Hanging the laundry outside first strips most of the moisture out. The laundry dries inside much faster. It smells fresher.

I can dry wet fresh-from-the-washer laundry on racks but it takes much longer and it doesn't smell as fresh. The racks are also inconvenient, taking up square footage in the living room.

What do you do with winter laundry?
Do you let it accumulate for a sunny day?
Do you hang it out and let it freeze-dry over several days?
Do you give up and use the dryer?
Do you select garments based on how easily they dry? Synthetics dry fast. Cotton holds onto every drop of moisture.

Tell us all!

I do pretty much what you described. I live in the Salt Lake area, so it is dry and if the sun is out and there is a breeze, the laundry, even cotton things can dry in a day. In the summer, it is more like an hour sometimes. However, if it looks like it might snow, I will bring in partially dry laundry and put them on my wooden drying racks. I do my best not to use a dryer, but if I have to pre-shrink cotton fabric or just need to pre-wash anything I think I would sew into something to sell, I will use the dryer as that is what most people will use and the fabric needs to survive their laundry methods.

mountainmoma's picture

I dry inside summer and winter, very rarely outside. Usually just wash in cold water, water grey waters out to some plants. I use Oasis laundry detergent ( feeds plants), no borax or bleaches. I havent owned a clothes dryer for 30 years. I dont buy synthetics, clothes are cotton or wool

We tend to save laundry for a sunny/windy day. Yesterday was one such. I check the predicted humidity as well as the temperature/sun/wind speed. If all looks good the night before, we do an early wash and hang out.
My winter clothes tend to be selected for ease of drying as well as layered for warmth. Silk vests/long johns are thin and dry quickly. The next layer is again thin and is a merino/polyester mix bought when I needed to travel light and was less aware of plastic issues. I have three of these. The layers are on top of bra and knickers. I have very many pairs of knickers from when I travelled for work. These are changed daily but don't take up much room in the laundry basket. The silk layer (of which I have about six changes) is changed twice a week. The next layer and trousers are changed every week. I hang stuff to air overnight. On top of these I wear a hand knitted jumper that doesn't touch my skin so is changed when it looks/smells like it needs it. Similarly for a skirt. Wearing an apron for cooking protects my top clothes. All this means I can go three weeks without washing clothes. Which is just as well looking at the upcoming weather.
Bedding and towels are more difficult however because we are a household that was formerly two we have plenty towels and sheets so we can change them and wash when is convenient.
All this is easier because we are not really going out and do not change outfits several times a day. It does mean we potentially have two or three washes to do when the weather is fit.
Washing that hasn't fully dried outside gets put on racks and is generally dry the next day.
I/we have never owned a dryer.

lathechuck's picture

The weather (Jan 16, central Maryland) was a little warmer than average, mid-40s(F), though the daily high is typically above freezing anyway. As I was hanging things up, I thought "I'm a little chilly, but I'm getting some beneficial sunshine (Vit D), and I wouldn't want anyone to frack another gas well just so that I could have the privilege of throwing my wet stuff directly into the dryer."

My clothesline is sheltered from the wind, and my favorite way to hang socks is just to fold them over the line without a pin. I hold one end, swing it under the line, and the free end flips over the top back toward me. It literally takes just a second.

My sheets dried, my towels were dry enough to hang in the bathroom as usual, but some other things were just a little too damp to fold and stack. I'll leave them in the basket for a day or two to finish drying. When I need to put freshly-washed things away for a while, I might run them in the gas-fired drier to make sure that they won't grow mold in storage.

I, too, can wear the same pair of jeans and the same flannel shirt (over a cotton T-shirt and often a cotton long-sleeved knit shirt) for weeks between washings. I think it has something to do with age (60+) that I'm not stinking up my clothes as much as I did twenty years ago.