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Hanging Laundry To Dry Outdoors: Clothesline Tip Sheet

Posted By Tipnut On May 5, 2009 @ 8:35 am In Laundry | 11 Comments

Hanging, done hit or miss, can be the most exhausting part of the wash-day procedure. Here are a few rules to follow which will make less stooping and straining:

Hanging Laundry Outdoors: Clothesline & Basket

Hanging Laundry Outdoors: Clothesline & Basket

  • Don’t have the line so high that each piece calls for stretching.
  • Before wheeling clothes out, put them in the basket in the order in which it is planned to hang them, ie., sheets together, towels together, etc. This will prevent chasing back and forth along the line, either carrying damp clothes or pulling the basket.
  • Buy a child’s wagon or build a little platform on wheels on which to trundle the clothes along and save lifting the basket. (An old baby carriage with the hood removed would be ideal–serving both as basket and wagon.)
  • Hang the clothespin bag on the line and push it on ahead of you or rig up a little trolley wheel which will make pushing easier. (Here are 11 Free Clothespin Bag Patterns [1]).
  • To save sprinkling* take the clothes down while damp. Follow the same procedure as for hanging and take in similar pieces at the same time. Smooth and fold them, which will save time later and allow a bigger load in each basketful.
  • Hang dresses and blouses on wooden hangers to make ironing easier.

Rights and Wrongs Of Hanging Clothes

Vintage Wooden Clothespins

Vintage Wooden Clothespins

As in everything else, there are rights and wrongs about hanging clothes. Here are some rights:

  • Clean the clothesline with a damp rag (do this after it’s up).
  • Be sure clothes pins are clean and smooth.
  • Hang white articles in the sun where they can bleach; colored fabrics in shade where they will not fade.
  • Hang sheets and other large pieces first, fitting small pieces into the spaces.
  • Fold sheets in half, hem to hem. Hang over line the long way with one-third of the folded sheet on one side of line, two-thirds on the other. Secure on either end and in the middle with clothespins.
  • Never hang anything by its corners or hems will tear.
  • Hang towels with one-third of length over line, pillowcases the same, open end down.
  • Napkins, handkerchiefs, belts, etc., may be hung in groups. Make sure colored and white articles are not mixed.
  • If there seems to be a strain when an article is fastened with a clothespin, hang more of the article over the line.
  • Be careful that the line is not hung too close to bushes or any structure which clothes may touch if the wind becomes stronger.
  • Hang shirts from yoke.

Sprinkling Tips

  • On hot sticky days, mildew will form rapidly. Do not let dampened clothes stand more than three or four hours. In the winter, they may be left overnight. Colored clothes should be sprinkled immediately before ironing.
  • A large salt shaker, a mason jar with holes poked in the metal cap or a clean whisk broom will aid in distributing water evenly.
  • Use warm water, since it penetrates and spreads more easily than cold.
  • Do large items first, one at a time. Small articles, handkerchiefs, dish towels, may be laid in piles, sprinkled and rolled together.
  • Heavy fabrics must be quite wet. Double areas, collars, cuffs, hems, also require more thorough sprinkling.
  • Roll garments smoothly, with as few wrinkles as possible. Pack them in clothes basket and cover with clean cloth.

Source: Woman’s Home Companion Household Book, 1948

*Sprinkling was a common method of preparing items for ironing…nowadays people prefer using the steam setting on their iron although some believe that certain items are ironed easier and turn out nicer when sprinkled damp first.


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[1] 11 Free Clothespin Bag Patterns: http://tipnut.com/11-free-clothespin-bag-patterns/

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