What if Someone Told You That You Couldn't Line Dry Your Clothes? | Seventh Generation
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What if Someone Told You That You Couldn't Line Dry Your Clothes?

Author: Seventh Generation VT

Did you know that drying clothes outside on a clothesline is illegal in some states? That someone in the US was shot and killed simply because he wanted to dry his clothes outdoors? That our planet's economic and environmental future hangs on an unlikely thread: the clothesline?


British filmmaker Steven Lake crisscrossed the world to unravel the reasons why clotheslines have been banished in favor of tumble dryers. As it turns out, corporate America sold us an electric dream: replacing simple centuries-old, outdoors line-drying with the electricity-hungry dryer. The consequences? An increase in the demand for electricity across the globe. With developing nations now starting their own love affair with what is again being sold as an electric utopia, the demand for electricity to power clothes dryers is increasing exponentially.


From the sunny gardens of California where clotheslines are banned to India's communal open air Laundromats, a new film, DRYING FOR FREEDOM, is a voyage into the new environmental battlefield where money, status, and class come first and the consequences for our planet come second.


The Drying for Freedom "Hanging Out Festival" is April 19 - May 5. A global festival, it will unite thousands of environmental enthusiasts organizing their own screenings of the award-winning environmental documentary DRYING FOR FREEDOM in homes, libraries, community centers, bars, and cafes to help raise awareness of how we can all make a difference. The festival aims to screen the movie in over 300 venues in 20 different countries, and you can help. Register for your Festival Pack here



dirinc picture
Amen. Thankfully, I live in a very ecologically conscious small city in Michigan. In fact, we came in second (only because we are so small)in a nation-wide recycling contest. The only ordinances I know of are aimed at improving the planet and eliminating pollution. We recycle, compost, trim and shred. I have two short clothes lines in my backyard that I use to dry mostly shirts and pants-- on hangers-- as soon as the weather allows. No one has complained so far and I hope they never do. Living in Michigan doesn't give me much of an "outside" season. BUT, I also use two pipes in my laundry room to hang as much as I can all year round. Had to get a new dryer after 15 years and I tried to chose wisely. I still try to line dry as much as possible. Better for the environment and better for the clothes. Pollution is everywhere, outside and INSIDE. We can do our part by not adding to it.
gwork picture
When I first moved into my house my hubby and I bought a washer but couldn't afford a dryer... I was almost evicted because of my clothes line. I only got away with it because its not a permanent structure.
nana11 picture
It is not wise to line dry your clothes now, there is so much pollution and pollen in the air it is giving people asthma and all sorts of breathing problems that line dry their clothes from having to smell that all day. Put the clothes in the dryer, it also kills any bacteria from the heat.
CALF picture
If you live in a big city, I wonder what else the wind might be blowing into your clothes instead of or in addition to sun and supposedly fresh air. Not that it should be against the law to hang out your clothes, but I'm entirely sure it's as healthy as it seems.
Sharon354 picture
That is the dumbest thing I've heard in awhile. Drying clothes outside is cost effective.. It lets the utility company's equipment not over working them.. Plus the smell of dried clothes is breath taking.. I don't have room for a washer/ dryer in my house..so in the summertime we enjoy hanging them outside.. There is no harm being done to any of my neighbors and my umbrella clothes dryer isn't an eye sore.. To me it shows people do care about saving money,saving on utilities...saving the environment. If we can't hang our clothes outside then our government should have money available to pay for mine and other families clothes to be dried..
theresarn picture
OMG! banned in whole states! The greed in our country just staggers the imagination. I have been hanging out on my lines for over 35 years and have never had a neighbor complain. They have even apologized for running the lawn mower when I have clothes out and it has to be below freezing for me not to hang out. Only problem I have ever had- a couple years back I had so many spiders I had to throw clothes especially sheets in the dryer on touch up to make sure I didn't have them in the clothes.
gmclenon picture
It seems ridiculous to me that there are laws preventing someone from hanging their clothes out to dry. And sad. I just came back in from hanging out a load even though it's only about 50 degrees outside. I love letting Mother Nature do Her thing with the sun and the wind while allowing me to save money and conserve energy. Who, in their right mind, can argue with that?
wannabegrngirl picture
I LOVE hanging the laundry out to dry. It makes a HUGE difference in my electric bill. The problem, I have neighbors. They stink, literally, they burn garbage and fill my yard with smoke, toxic. I can hardly ever leave my windows open or hang clothes on the line. Summer comes and I smell like I've been a camp all week. Neighbors are the anti-thesis of being green.
noodles11 picture
People are nuts nowdays. I wish I could hang out the laundry to save on the electric bill, but theres no place to in the small yard that we rent with the small overpriced house.
PLRSJR817 picture
I can no longer hang my laundry outside, our neighbours are so mean. Every time in the past that I hang laundry out, they mow lawn. They walk incredibly slow next to the fence and then must weed wack too. My laundry smells of exghust fumes !!!! I have paid attention to their mowing and do laundry the next day and they mow again ! Yes, this has happened twice. The line is in a perfect place to get a lot of air and sunshine. It is cemented into the ground. There is no other location for it. I do have a drying rack and put a few things out on the deck. I so miss the fresh crisp sheets and exercise.
wvwoman picture
Amazing that it is illegal in some places! I had a line like the one in the picture above (where you click to watch the video) in my back yard when I lived in Phoenix, and never thought of it as an eyesore.
JT4784 picture
I know it's forbidden by many homeowner association bylaws and CC&R,s but entire states? We keep a drying rack in our laundry room and can dry quite a bit that way. You have to admit, outdoor clothes lines are a major kind of ugly. I wouldn't want to look at one out my window.
OrganicCherry picture
illegal? Thats strange law. In Europe and Asia people use clothes lines forever why not in the US? Especially during warm season clothes dry so quickly outside. Using dryer is fine in winter but why not to use sun and wind to dry your clothes in summer. We could have saved tons of electricity and money if people used clotheslines.