Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Solar Clothes Dryer

Today is National Hanging Out Day as organized by a group called Project Laundry List. PLL is a nonprofit that advocates line drying as an alternative to clothes dryers. (http://www.laundrylist.org/)

Did you know there is no such thing as an Energy Star clothes dryer? If you're like me, you've been upgrading your home appliances to be energy efficient, but clothes dryers suck so much energy that none have been determined to be highly efficient by the Environmental Protection Agency.

I use my gas powered clothes dryer as little as reasonably possible. I'm not a martyr about it, though. I hang laundry outside whenever there isn't snow on the ground, usually March through November.

I love hanging laundry outside! The birds sing to me and the chickens call from their coop. I never hang out socks and underwear. I'm just not that bored. But I do hang dozens of shirts and jeans every week, and the smell of freshly air-dried bedsheets is heavenly.

For those of you who live in neighborhoods that restrict clotheslines, it's time to get creative. You can set out folding drying racks on your patio or deck. Or use a hammock stand or other household item to prop up your drying laundry. Finally, it might take some activism to educate your neighborhood association to allow natural clothes drying as the right alternative.

In the winter, I try to hang some of my wet laundry indoors. My mother-in-law used to have ample indoor clotheslines in her basement. She said it saved energy and humidified her house at the same time. I don't have quite as much space as she did, but I'm learning to hang dress shirts neatly buttoned on hangers and suspend them on a rack. Jeans hang from a clothesline in the workshop. It's not a perfect system, but I figure that every little bit helps.

Today it's snowing, so I'm off to hang clothes in the basement. I hope you'll consider it, too!

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