My New 1000% Annual Return-on-Investment Clothes Dryer


Here’s an updated picture of the rack, still going strong 4 years after this article was written. Currently this one on Amazon is most comparable.

It’s widely known that I think clothes dryers are a big waste of energy. There’s something about a device that sucks warm air from inside your house, pumps 5,000 additional watts of coal-generated electric heat* into it, and then shoots it outside into the cold winter air along with lots of nice humidity from your freshly-washed clothes, that just doesn’t agree with my efficiency-oriented engineer’s brain.

But there are two laundry practitioners in my house, and a certain lady was not quite as fond as me of spreading out dozens of preschooler socks and floppy tall man shirts on every available surface each week on laundry day. So when Mr. Money Mustache was not in the immediate vicinity of the laundry room, he would often hear the electric clothes dryer kicking on somewhere in the distance.

You see, we both had the desire for natural clothes drying, but none of the right equipment to actually do it. So I have just been hanging up my wet clothes on hangers, towel racks, chairs, over doorways, etc, for the last few years. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds: since we live in Colorado at over 5,000 feet above sea level, the dry low-pressure air sucks away the moisture in only a few hours, as opposed to the 1-2 days it could take to dry a poorly hung pair of jeans on the East Coast. Then I put all the clothes away.

But anyway, our problem has at long last been solved by an amazing $20 device purchased from Target. A sturdy metal rack that folds out to reveal a total of 28 combined feet of hanging space, in a compact footprint. Small enough for even an apartment. Set it up in your living room or bedroom for the weekly drying of the clothes, or whisk the whole thing outside for full-on solar fresh air drying. In the semi-desert summer sunshine, a full load will dry in less than hour – faster than an electric dryer!

Compared to using the dryer, this device will save you about 50 cents of electricity per load, and at the US average of 400 loads per year (!?), you’re looking at $200 annually. As the title of this article suggests, that’s a 1000% annual return on the $20 price tag.

Benefit of increased marital harmony due to no more fights about my clothes-hanging skills? Priceless.


*The US gets about half of its electrical power from burning coal. My own power is 100% wind-generated thanks to a nice option presented by my local electric company, but still, most people are stuck using coal.

  • eva June 27, 2011, 9:10 am

    but still, most people are stuck using coal

    even better–a significant portion of my electricity comes from a nuclear plant which, coincidentally, has also been leaking tritium into a local waterway. awesome! I use one of those clothes-drying devices but prefer a clothesline off the side of the house where it’s sunny as my climate can be steamy and things take awhile to dry.

  • Sarah June 27, 2011, 10:26 am

    I rarely use our gas dryer and choose instead to hang things on a couple of inside laundry racks like the one you have or outside on a clothesline my husband installed for me. It amazes me that anyone uses a dryer when the sunshine is absolutely free and blazing hot in the summertime. Yes, your clothes and towels can dry a bit crispy (fabric softener is filled with chemicals and fragrance, so I don’t use it), but a quick 10 minute air-fluff in the dryer can fix that if it bothers you. Not to mention, dryers wear out your clothes much more quickly than line drying. Plus, I think laundry hung on a clothesline, flapping in the summertime breeze looks romantic and sweet.

  • Jenny June 27, 2011, 10:26 am

    I think we’ll get one of these as well. As we speak, we’re installing a full size actual clothesline in our backyard (we had been using line strung around the yard) and even in the winter, this will work!

  • Geek June 27, 2011, 10:55 am

    Hey MMM:
    Can you link to that dryer on target.com? I already have an over-the-door drying rack and a small rack similar to yours but I’m still resorting to back-of-chairs railings. I could use another.

  • AMY June 27, 2011, 11:22 am

    One reason why somebody would choose to not dry their clothes outside is allergies. The allergens stick to the clothes and then you put them against your skin. Not fun. Drying indoors is still a must though.

  • Rick June 27, 2011, 11:48 am

    My situation is unique and may be helpful to some readers. My closet is a flat setup where there are sliding doors in front of one pole’s worth of clothing depth. I’ve pared down my clothing holdings to the point of being able to line-dry clothes where they are stored! Win + Win!

    I confess to still drying socks & underwear. Maybe a line in the laundry room would make sense….

  • GayleRn June 27, 2011, 12:11 pm

    This cracks me up. My mother, now in her eighties considers the clothes dryer one of the greatest inventions ever. Back in the day, hanging up the wash was a continuous and onerous chore. Basements had clotheslines strung back and forth continuously and could not be used for living space. You had to do that because clothing hung outdoors in the winter simply froze. Permanent press had not been invented so everything had to be pressed to be wearable. Now multiply that by 7 kids and that was why my mother’s ironing board was never put away. In fact it is still up as I write this. Every second or third load was cloth diapers, 36 minimum per baby, all had to be folded. Old ladies love their clothes dryers, they know how much human energy it saves and how much space it freed up for other uses.

    • MMM June 28, 2011, 7:23 am

      Yeah, I would probably use every labor-saving device ever invented if I was trying to raise 7 kids at once. But for the more common sizes of family these days, with a thoughtful laundry schedule, the hanging takes a very small amount of time – a nice meditative downtime which might otherwise be spent watching TV in a non-Mustachian household..

      And of course climate and house size does affect the amount of drying that can be done as well. Your Mum proved that where there’s a will there is a way.. I would still line-dry if I lived in the Northeast (as my own mother does), but in the SW US it is even more of a non-issue. You can almost throw your clothes across the room into the drawers and expect them to be dry when they land :-)

      • Chris December 1, 2011, 9:40 pm

        Seriously… it’s awesome. I set up a clothesline in the basement. 6 lines across the storage / laundry area for about 90′ of line space. One side hooks (via hook & eyes) to the wall so I can wrap it up when not in use and get to my stuff.

        I can dry 3 loads of laundry at once and, due to our super dry air + a front load washer that spins a ton of moisture out, the stuff is totally dry in an hour or two. 8 loads per week = $4 x 52 = $208 in the stash per year, for the cost of a couple hooks, some old scrap 2x2s and 100′ of clothesline cord ($7).

        The added bonus was I turned off my whole house humidifier, which saves additional cash. Win.

      • Sky February 14, 2019, 4:38 am

        I HIGHLY recommend the Minky retractable clothes line. I fastened the mounts to 2 trees outside for the summer and only string it out when I need it.

        For the winter, I have another mount in the basement and you just bring it in and pin it up and only string it out when you need it. Pretty affordable at about $16. I much prefer the additional space on it. I love how starchy the clothes get!


    • Rainbow Rivers June 28, 2011, 7:44 am

      My Grandmother still hung clothes for 10 kids outside in the winter! Many stories of her hanging wet clothes on the line till her fingers bled! After they froze she then brought them in to finish drying over and near their wood burner! I wonder if she would of just been better off skipping the outside in the winter hanging, never something I ever aspired to do just from hearing her stories!

      I do love most the stories though, oh the joys of using an outhouse in the cold winter months, My Grandfathers solution to indoor plumbing was making a kind of pully device where you could stand in the kitchen and pull the buckets of water from the well along the line into the house so you did not have to go outside todraw water from the well in the cold………. the bathing in a small metal round washtub in the kitchen near the wood burner……………….. oh yes and using dynamite to blow up carp in the river……… those were the days! LOL

    • Cheryl May 23, 2014, 8:37 am

      I never thought about dryers that way, but I’ve often thought about how awesome it it is that washing machines exist. Laundry must have been an absolutely horrible chore before they did!

      And vacuums! Man, those are awesome! Also: hot water! And grocery stores, where you can buy anything from anywhere in the world, year round! All that before computers and the internet even came around!

      I was born in ’86, and I guess plenty of people my age take this stuff for granted, but for some reason I’ve always known we live in an age of fantastic convenience. The world is awesome, y’all.

  • Dwight June 27, 2011, 6:23 pm

    My climate is the opposite of yours. I live by the coast in the Pacific Northwest. There is a lot of humidity! We don’t have extreme temperatures, but every day of the year is cool enough to want a little heat. So- I use an indoor rack like yours and run a dehumidifier. The waste heat from the dehumidifier is just enough to keep the house comfortable. The cloths drying is a free bonus because I would have used the same amount of energy heating the house if I were using a heater rather than the dehumidifier.

  • No Debt MBA June 28, 2011, 6:35 am

    We got an infinite ROI with our clothes racks last year since we got them for free one was left as a curbside give away because the hinges were a little loose (easily fixed with a screw driver) and the other was left behind by the tenants who had the place before us.

  • Fu Manchu June 28, 2011, 10:09 am

    For anyone interested in indoor clotheslines, we installed this retractable one for our apartment and it works great. It just runs from one end of our guest room to the other, and is sturdy enough to hold up two loads of laundry at once (we drilled each end into wood – make sure it’s anchored!).

    Crawford 40 feet Retractable Clothesline

    • Fu Manchu June 28, 2011, 10:11 am

      I should mention that the 40′ model will run you a whopping $12.99, very Mustachian investment!! We simply open the windows in our apartment and humidity is never an issue.

  • momotaro June 30, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Good going, grasshopper! Your starting to think like the Japanese. These racks are standard in Japan. There are several other earth friendly appliances in the typical Japanese household that you rarely or never see in the west. Cheers!

    • David G. McKenna August 30, 2013, 9:11 am

      Can you cite any other examples? I’d love to hear more about Japanese efficiency at home!

  • Ginger July 1, 2011, 1:28 pm

    I just bought a similar rack at BBB with their 20% coupon, only cost me $16. My DH did not like me hanging the clothes everywhere but by using the dryer it add over $16 a year so we compromised. I see cheaper utilities in my future.

  • Jan July 4, 2011, 3:45 am

    I love to see other people use these dryer racks! I’ve used mine for several years now and I have a system down where I was a load at night & hang them up. The rack is in our bedroom, and since we sleep with the ceiling fan on, it helps to expedite the drying of the clothes, and we have the fan on to help keep us cool while not lowering our A/C too much. It’s a win-win. Plus, if I need something to wear the next day, it’s definitely dry by morning. Great post!

  • Chicknamedal August 14, 2011, 2:16 am

    In addition to all of the other great reasons for not using your dryer as much as possible, air drying helps make your clothes last longer. I haven’t dried any of my non-underwear clothes for 25 or so years now. At my last office job (2 years ago) a coworker complimented an outfit I was wearing and asked where I had purchased it. That outfit was 10 years old! I couldn’t remember where I had bought it…not even a little bit. She couldn’t believe I had clothes which lasted that long! My secret: no drying in the dryer. Colors stay longer, fabrics wear better, there is less pilling, etc. The key to being able to wear clothes that are a decade old is to purchase classics which will not go out of style. I also do not believe in plunking out a chunk of money for clothes, so I do not buy at the expensive price. When I had to have “work” clothes–you know, professional–I shopped the clearance racks, the out-of-season sales, and at discount stores. While I found some excellent deals ($100 jacket for $15 and so on), I purchased most of my clothes at the local wally world or Target. Even Walmart clothes will last if you take care of them.

    • Cheryl May 23, 2014, 8:42 am

      I’ve wondered about this. My clothes don’t last particularly long, but my mom recently gave me a bunch of stuff she wore all through college. Everything from nice dresses to meh t-shirts. Now that I own them they’re suddenly wearing out! Maybe she wasn’t machine drying them….

  • Ealasaid Haas September 12, 2011, 5:47 pm

    My mom taught me never to tumble-dry my tshirts — they last for AGES as a result, to the point that I have given away several boxfulls while decluttering, and have a box of shirts I’m going to sew into a blanket because I love them but don’t wear them regularly (I have given up the heavy unisex shirts and pretty much only wear girly shirts. More comfy and more flattering to my body-shape).

    I have tshirts that are 15+ years old and still look good. Tumble-drying is so friggin’ hard on clothes.

    • MMM September 12, 2011, 6:10 pm

      True, True. I only recently had to give up my “Lolapalooza 1992” t-shirt due to old age. I’ll miss you, old buddy, and the good times we had together through the years.

  • Jane October 21, 2011, 10:33 am

    I invested in a clothes dryer that’s a bit more expensive, but make such a huge difference in my life! We live in an apartment with not a lot of space to set up racks and no ability to put a clothesline in the backyard. Our porch is TINY -but it’s big enough for this awesome collapsable rack! We tried the cheapo retractable ones but they only lasted a season, so not worth the cost if you have to replace them every year! This one is on track to last forever, and I’ll definitely be taking it with me if we move. It holds 2 big loads of laundry and folds up to barely noticeable on its wall-mounted rack. GENIUS.
    P.S. When researching clothes drying options, read the reviews on amazon.co.uk, rather than the US website. People there actually use them there and you can get SO much more info.

  • JackVegas December 12, 2011, 2:34 pm

    One problem with air-drying is that it tends to leave mineral deposits and detergents in the clothing (as does normal machine drying). Another problem is that it can take quite a while to dry clothes on indoor racks. I’ve found a portable centrifugal spin dryer to be a handy companion to my air-dry rack.

    This little jewel looks like a small trash can but is an ultra-centrifuge for spin drying cloths after they finish their “normal” water extraction spin cycle in the washer. Its amazing how much water is left behind and can be extracted using this little centrifuge. I routinely pull nearly a quart of water of of a standard load of laundry. The super extraction removes nearly all the remaining water and trapped detergents, leaving the cloths just slightly damp to the touch after only 3-4 minutes. Light clothing or synthetics come out so dry that I put them into my old dryer on air-tumble only and they come out ready to wear in about 15 minutes. Normal cloths go to the drying rack for a few hours first, and then into air-tumble for 15 minutes for final drying and fluffing.

    I just wish the units were cheaper, but if you consider the energy savings, they are cost effective and pay for themselves very quickly.

    I use this one purchased through Amazon for about $180:

    The Cadillac of such units is the Spin-X:

    • Littlegreengecko January 12, 2013, 7:11 pm

      If there are noticeable ‘mineral deposits and detergent on your clothes then it is due to one or more of the following: (a) Water level in washing machine was set too low (b) overloading – too much clothing in machine for a single wash (c) too much detergent (d) maintenance or design fault with washing machine.

      If you are concerned about mineral deposits etc on your clothes then use a chemical free washing powder or make your own (plenty of simple quick recipes on the net). Or just use a teaspoon to tablespoon of soap – laundry soap was used right up until the 20th century advertisements appeared telling us only chemical wash detergents can get your clothes clean.

      Time to air dry your clothes – yes it does take a long time to dry but you don’t need to stand there watching it dry! Unless you are naked due to running out of clothes which suggests to me you either need to get yourself some more clothes to cover washdays and/or plan your wash days so you are not washing your entire wardrobe in one dat.

      Centrifugal spin dryer- sounds like marketing BS to me. Unless I missed something I am pretty sure my automatic washing machine already has a spin dryer! If my spin dryer didn’t remove the excess water then I would be firstly getting my washing machine warranty card out and then ringing Mr Washing Machine Fixit Man.

      • Catherine July 13, 2016, 5:48 am

        I’m based in South Africa, where most people dry their clothes outside. Very few people own tumble-dryers. They are seen as a complete luxury.
        However, we battle with line-drying in winter – our clothes just wouldn’t dry in the short daylight hours.
        Finally, last year we bought a spin dryer similar to the one described above – it works like a bomb, takes up very little space, it’s portable and uses far less electricity. The spin cycle on most washing machines still leaves a lot of water in your clothes, after 3 minutes in our spinner most of the clothes are almost completely dry.

    • Emma June 28, 2015, 5:45 pm

      If you are concerned about this, try using a little white vinegar as a fabric conditioner, reducing your detergent by half (You probably won’t notice the difference) and for towels, soak over night in a couple of litres of water and vinegar then wash in washing machine without detergent. Mineral deposits should no longer be a problem!

  • October MacBain January 24, 2012, 9:27 am

    We moved into our new house in winter, but one of the first things we did when the ground thawed was install a rotating clothesline (the kind that looks like an inverted umbrella) in the yard. We also purchased a rack that looks just like the one in the picture. It frequently comes out to set in front of the fireplace, where the warm air quickly dries whatever is placed on it.

  • Jason January 28, 2012, 10:43 am

    We use the same dryers. I used to complain about the racks alway up in our back room, but after seeing the savings, I complain no more. I am becoming a mustachean convert.
    P.S. Also going to start riding my bike to work a couple of days a week. I only live 1.5 miles from my office and have a bike path the whole way.
    Thanks for all the tips. Love the website.

  • Johonn February 12, 2012, 8:03 am

    In Korea, where my wife and I are currently spending 8 months, only the well-off have clothes dryers. The rest of us use clothes racks, and the ones we have can usually take an entire load of clothes each. I’ve uploaded a picture that you can see here if you like:

    • Johonn February 12, 2012, 8:05 am

      and I should clarify for those unfamiliar with Korea that it is fully westernized, but in myriad ways it is a much smarter lifestyle than in the US. For one thing public transportation is cheap, reliable, and convenient. Of course this works in a large part because of the population density.

  • Jo July 2, 2012, 9:26 am

    We invested in 2 “best drying racks” from bestdryingrack.com. They are maple and steel, very durable, and they hold a lot. Growing up in New Zealand the clothes dryer was only used as a backup when the weather was uncooperative – everyone had a washing line. Living in Japan in my 20s I hung clothes on the balcony through humid summers and bitter cold winters just like everyone else – I didn’t know anyone with a dryer. Using fossilized sunshine to dry clothes is really silly when the sun is shining in your backyard right now!

  • The Perpetual Student July 14, 2012, 1:14 pm

    If you’re really into saving steps and efficiency as I am, you’ll just hang your wet clothes on hangers as you would dry, and space them on the bar. The next day they are dry, and you just moosh them to the side to make room for the next load. No folding, no hassle. If you don’t keep much in drawers, laundry really becomes a streamlined process!

  • Katy September 15, 2012, 12:40 pm

    I got this thing: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50095091/ from IKEA….it seems a little cheapy..but has held up for a couple of years now….it holds A TON of clothes….I NEVER dry my workout clothes…….this can hold a solid two loads! Woot.

  • Peter October 5, 2012, 2:12 pm

    400 loads??? JTFC….

    • Pigeonherd November 12, 2015, 4:00 pm

      I agree, WTF???
      400 loads/year ??? Who is washing their entire outfit every evening (and sometimes twice a day)???
      Since this is an average, this means that for everyone who does only 1 load a week (or less), there are people washing their clothes seven times a day.

      So, does this figure include commercial launderers or something????

      • Canuck Game Guy November 12, 2015, 9:33 pm

        This math is a little off. For someone who does 1 load a week, this equals 52 loads a year. 7 loads per days would equal 2555. The average of these two would be 1303.5 per year, which is more than triple 400 loads per year. It is much closer to the average of 1 per week vs 2 per day, which is an average of 391 per year.

  • Nikhil October 19, 2012, 2:08 pm

    This is common in India, where all houses come with taller ceilings near the washer where you put up clotheslines or metal rods.
    Now that I’ve moved to the US, I think I’ll get a rack.

  • brenda from ar October 19, 2012, 11:27 pm

    Well, I still love my dryer, but I use it less than most folks. I toss the wash in and run it for maybe 7 minutes, then check. If things are de-wrinkled, they go on hangers on the shower rod, or on a wooden rack like your metal one. If a few things are still wrinkly, I run them in the dryer a few more minutes. No ironing required. I only keep an iron for sewing projects. Since I have an electric dryer (this can NOT be done with gas dryers), in the cool weather, I stuff the wall vent with something, put a knee-hi nylon sock over vent hose and vent the heat straight into the house to save on the heating bill. I guess it’s not much heat since I only wash about 5-7 loads per month, but I can’t see wasting it.

  • Darryl October 31, 2012, 1:00 pm

    I’ve been line-drying since I read this blog a month or two ago. I feel like a moron that I’ve been using the dryer all these years and now I think drying clothes is almost insane. Unfortunately, however, I’ve had some complaints from other family members that the clothes are too stiff/scratchy when line dried. That’s true, and while I don’t find it as bothersome as the others, I’m trying to keep the peace. Here’s a tip, from my mother: line-dry the clothes for a few hours (or as long as it takes in your own personal micro-climate) until they’re just barely damp. Then pop them in the dryer for 10 minutes. They’ll come out soft, dry and fluffy. You’ll still use the dryer, but far less. You might also want to do this only on shirts and towels that will scratch your delicate skin, but not worry about it for pants and socks where you won’t be as sensitive to the scratchiness.

    • Littlegreengecko January 12, 2013, 6:48 pm

      The reason your clothes go stiff is because you left them on the line too long. Once clothes are dry on the line the air continues to suck moisture out of them which is why they feel like cardboard and scratchy. So you need to get clothes the line as soon as possible once dry and remember that different fabrics dry at different rates. My Mum sniffs the clothes to tell whether there is still moisture in them, and if not, whips them off the line straight away. You don’t need an electric clothes dryer.

  • Bruno July 4, 2013, 12:08 pm

    We have used the IKEA ‘Frost’ (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40244831/) for about 6 years. Holding up well, in fact we now own two (NE humidity…). But no dryer since 2007.

    • Sarah January 24, 2015, 9:57 am

      Yes, this is the best thing ever. I came here to post it because it holds so much! I can get about 3 loads on 2 racks, 4 if i hang my tshirts on hangers and put them on the shower rod :)

      • Bruno January 24, 2015, 2:47 pm

        Yep. Still in heavy use here – now even more so due to cloth diapering…. yes without a dryer!

  • Ms. Manageable Muttonchops July 24, 2013, 10:01 am

    Put “Octopus Clothes Hanger” into google and behold the dryer of socks and other dedicates! I use this in place of the dryer load for small stuff. It is not too laborious really. Maybe if I had preschooler socks to wash I would think differently.

  • Becky O. July 30, 2013, 10:25 am

    I grew up hanging clothes out to dry on the clothesline. Usually, it was just after dusk before my mother would remind me to go bring in the clothes.

    Living in a rural area, our clothesline was located next to a pasture, which was located in front of a dense forest. From inside that dense forest, the chorus of coyote howling always helped me gather the laundry at the utmost speed.

    Quite efficient on my mother’s part, now that I think about it.

    Anyway, now I have my OWN three-line clothesline, enough room to hang all of my bedsheets & blankets at one time. Every time I hang blankets and sheets, I have an urge to grab a book and read in the “fort” it creates!

  • Melinda January 7, 2014, 6:04 pm

    I know this post is old, I live in sunny Queensland Australia and all my adult life have never owned a dryer including two children in cloth nappies (diapers) for twelve months. Our weather is suited to line drying all year and rarely rains for days. Last week we experienced 42 degrees C. We are currently living in a caravan (trailer van) and a rope is strung and held up with a centre pole so for me their isn’t an issue whether to own and run a dryer or not.

  • Oh Yonghao April 22, 2014, 11:53 am

    When we lived in Taiwan we never owned a dryer, and other than foreign missionaries we didn’t even know someone who owned a dryer. Taiwan, being the tropical island that it is, is very humid, probably 80%+ 99% of the year, including the 90 degree days during the summer, which starts in April or May; to those complaining about the Northwest being too humid, stop being a complainy pants. We also bought a rack from Ikea and had one of those Octopus clothes racks for socks.

    Living in the states we bought a combo HE front load washer and dryer. We are very diligent in cleaning the lint filter every time. I’ve stayed at friends houses and done laundry and was always surprised when I would open the lint filter and find enough lint to make a pair of socks or more. They also commonly had trouble with clothes not drying and the dryer breaking down but couldn’t make the connection.

    Now that we’ve been reading this blog we are starting to convert back to the line drying, this should help our dryer last even longer. This month we are averaging under 8Kwh/day, including cooking.

  • CTY May 6, 2014, 11:00 am

    Just wanted to add this for people who have humid/cold seasons and have to wait a day or two for things to dry on these racks. I use 2 Minky racks I bought at Lowes for about $17 ea.
    Anyway, even though one rack can hold 1 load of clothes, I spread it between 2 racks. I drape each item over 2 wires so that there is a layer of air that circulates around the item. This trick allows for a dry time that is faster and more uniform. And if space is an issue, this rack also fits in the bathtub. If company comes simply close the shower curtain. I suppose 2 racks reduces my ROI by half (500%) but I can live with that.

    (the web site says $65, but that is not the price–they are always $16.99)

  • Cheryl May 23, 2014, 8:28 am

    When this article loaded up, my eyes went wide and my brain just locked up for several seconds. OHMYGOD! I totally had one of these things when I lived in Korea, and COMPLETELY ERASED IT FROM MY BRAIN when I came back to America. I never have re-adjusted to using dishwashers (Really? You’re going to rinse all your dishes then put them all in a machine where they have to sit until the machine’s full, then tediously unload them all? How many dishes do you even own? Unless you have a large family I just don’t get it.) but an alternative to dryers, apparently, fell right out of my ears. Awesome! I gotta find one of these!!!

    • Helen May 11, 2017, 3:46 am

      You don’t need to rinse dishes before they go in the dishwasher – just scrape them. I’m really surprised that people do this given the last two that I have opened specifically say in the manual not to rise them before loading. It defeats the purpose of their water saving abilities. I once saw a friend rinse every dish before loading and his tap was running the whole time – I was aghast! He could have filled a bath with that amount of water!!

  • Rupert September 27, 2014, 2:26 pm

    By buying green power you’re helping to create demand for renewable energy and helping to displace the dirtier power generation methods. However, unless your utility company built separate wiring to your house, that’s only connected to wind turbines, it’s unlikely that your power is “100% wind-generated” per se. All power sources and sinks are interconnected and cross-linked, which is why they call it a “grid” and not some other analogy.

    “Energy production on the mains electricity grid is always set up as a combination of (large-scale) renewable energy plants, as well as other power plants as fossil-fuel power plants and nuclear power.” Wikipedia

    “…the electricity flowing through the transmission grid is part of a “power pool.” All of the electricity on the same grid is, in a sense, mixed together. There is no way to distinguish between the electrons generated by renewable sources and those by fossil fuels. In other words, the transmission grid does not keep “green” power separate from conventional power. For that reason, programs that claim to offer customers ‘100 percent green’ power are more symbolic than literal.” Institute For Energy Research

    “It is impossible to guarantee that the electrons you receive at your electrical outlet came from the Green Power generators directly.” Laurens (SC) Electric Co-op

    “Whether or not you choose to support renewable electricity, you draw upon the “pool” of power that makes up the New England electric grid. …it is physically impossible to distinguish and deliver individual electrons to specific homes or businesses…” Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance

    This doesn’t detract from your message; if anything it only makes it more important to do things like this (use drying racks) to conserve energy, because the only truly sustainable energy solution is to not use energy.

  • Rollie October 19, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Inspired by this, I’m trying out a variant that uses materials I already had lying around that cost me $0:

    standard 1-1/4″ closet rod (no idea where I got it or when)
    two lengths of nylon “parachute cord”
    two screw-in “cup hooks” from the “box o’fasteners”

    The hooks go into the wooden rafters that support the roof over my balcony. Each cord is tied permanently around one end of the closet rod, sitting in a shallow notch I made with a chisel. There’s a finger-sized loop in the other end of each cord, that slips onto one of the cup hooks.(*) I put my wet clothes on hangers (which I have to do later on in the laundry process anyway) and hang them to dry out on the deck. When done, the closet rod gets stored standing up in the uh, closet. Some bugs to work out still, such as not being able to do it when our downstairs neighbors are having their weekly stanky deep-fried culo cook-off, but otherwise a success!

    (*) That part was awesome BTW: Chiseling! Knotwork! Knots that slip (variation of fisherman’s)! Knots that hold a loop! (bowline) Very manly!

  • Candice Brasington February 4, 2015, 8:06 pm

    Love line-drying clothes…but have no support from my family! I would LOVE the extra money and quiet and reducing my carbon footprint by not using a dryer! But for my dear hubby…it is a MUST have! Argh! I would love to see a blog about a “house-divided” when one spouse is all on board about frugal living…while the other is not…and how to find a middle ground some how. I can and have lived without a dryer before and that was when I was a single parent AND using cloth diapers!

  • Michael April 24, 2015, 8:04 am

    Do you expect that this would work as well for one of those humid cold east coast climates you mentioned? I know here it snows half the year and rains the other half…. and we can go 6 months with gray skies (the joys of upstate NY!)

    So genuinely asking if you think this device would be sufficient in a sunless wet climate such as the above? Or if people have had experience trying it in such places? I’m definitely all for leaving the dryer behind if possible, but probably not for wet clothes hanging around for days!

    • Bruno April 24, 2015, 8:21 am

      Works well in central MA.
      In winter you get dryer-like speed and even the added benefit of moister air if you dry your clothes inside.

  • Aleksi August 21, 2015, 1:30 am

    I live in finland and I have never in my life used an electrical dryer. Not to save electricity, but because there has never been one available. Here it is quite rare to have one in the house. My in laws have one though, but my parents dont. We always use these racks where you hang the clothes to dry. Little cultural differences… ofc, as a true junior mustachian I will continue to use these racks to save money and earth.

  • Gosusgo December 29, 2015, 5:38 am

    I just ordered this sweet little bungee travel clothesline for an upcoming tropical vacation. Then I was sitting here reading this post, having coffee and listening to my dryer when I stopped and smacked myself in the head…now it is blissfully quiet (excepting pug snores on the floor at my feet) and all my clothes are drying naturally. Thanks fellow Mustachians for keeping me on my toes. PS At $6.50 – this one is a real steal!

  • Nya December 29, 2015, 8:57 am

    Interesting. I’ve spent most my life in France, where I believe electrical clothes driers remain a luxury item which are not commonly found. People simply hang their clothes on a rack like this one, unless they have a large family.
    Now that I live in Canada, every rental we lived in has an electrical dryer. I use it twice a month maybe, to soften bath towels, or in very rare clothing emergencies. Otherwise, we keep on using the French-bought rack we brought along, and can’t wait to be in the summer when we can hand clothes on a line outside.

  • Michelle January 12, 2016, 5:03 am

    Hey, I’m reading backdated post in an effort to pump up my existing moustachian muscles. You may have answered in ‘future’ posts but I live in a very cold and humid Ireland where clothes take days to dry and often get a mouldy smell before they dry fully. Any suggestions as an alternative to the dryer?
    I use the outdoor clothes line in summer and put clothes near the radiators when the heating is on but sometimes I have no choice but the dryer.

    Cycling faces similar challenges so maybe I should just move climate :)

  • Pankaj April 7, 2016, 2:13 pm

    I have been reading this blog for quite some time. And because of this blog I actually improved a few things. Earlier I was taking 2 coffees per day(Tim Hortons regular’s though… Starbucks lattes were always out of budget :P). I was also occasionally getting late to office causing me to take the subway and not pack my lunch at home. These things are a history now.

    And yes … the dryer.

    Earlier we used to wash and dry our cloths in the washer dryer ($3 per wash/dry combined) each week. We moved to twice a month wash only (Dry on the stand alone dryer). and you know the calculations. Savings feel good!! After all :)

  • James Miller June 29, 2016, 1:04 am

    We live in Taiwan where it is so hot most of the year that I don’t know why anyone would use a dryer–though some demented people still do. A good way to dry clothes in a small space–which is standard here– is a rigid pole. Here clothes are typically put on hangers and then the hangers (and clothes) are hung on one or two bamboo poles on the balcony. I feel this is much better than the western way of hanging clothes on a sagging clothes line and will use this method when I someday return to the US.

  • Stephanie July 23, 2016, 5:06 pm

    Living in California it was easy to decide to skip owning a dryer altogether. We went for a backyard rotary line – the Hills Hoist (originally Australian – and in just about every back yard over there). It was a bigger investment (maybe $300??), but it’s so sturdy and can handle heavy loads of wet jeans or diapers without getting off balance and spins really easily in a slight breeze. Going strong after 6 years. It was available through Amazon

  • Ekaterina January 10, 2017, 1:45 pm

    It is always so funny to read about clothes dryers! I am from Russia, St-Petersburg. And even we have the climate which is not dry and warm at all – electric clothes dryers are quite rare here. You see – we live in a big city, where owning the house in the city itself is an impossible thing to do – there are almost only apartment buildings for all estimated 5 millions of us. And apartments are normally quite small ones. Like it is normal for a couple or even a small family to live in a one-room apartment (literally one room – not one bedroom as you probably thought). And we just don’t have space in our really small bathrooms for electric clothes dryers! Very often you even need to place your washing machine in the kitchen – because there is no place for this thing in the bathroom. And I personally don’t know anyone who has separate room for washing and drying here.And people normally do dry their clothes either on the rope on the balcony or on the simple metallic thing as described in the article – and never think twice about it. So, to sum it up, looks like we are quite bad ass with clothes drying here:)

  • EarningAndLearning April 10, 2017, 9:02 pm

    Loved this post & all the comments! Thanks to my MMM reading, I have cut WAY down on my dryer use, but I also don’t like that crispy feeling of fully line-dried clothes, so I do what an earlier commenter described: dry clothes in the dryer for a few minutes to soften & de-wrinkle them, then take out the driest items, give them a good shake and hang them on hangers in my closet (leaving door open to dry them, so easy, nothing to put away the next day!). Then I turn the dryer on for another 5 mins for the rest of the clothes and then shake out and hang the rest of the damp items. Socks & undies usually get another few mins, then I lay them to dry. I had no idea my dryer used so much electricity before reading MMM, but now it seems so obvious. I had just never made saving electricity and reducing my bill a priority. So glad I am now, and the extra effort & inconvenience makes me feel more Mustachian! (Although I suppose not using the dryer at all would make me truly Mustachian…) Hmmm, baby steps…

  • Slim September 6, 2017, 4:25 pm

    winter doesn’t have to mean the end of outdoor clothes drying… especially out there in dry air Colorado.
    Throw the clothes on the line any time there’s some sun, a breeze, and bonus points if it’s below freezing.

    Frozen laundry won’t get a mildew smell, and sublimation is a beautiful thing (at least for laundry drying purposes) that is much sped up by sunshine and circulating dry air.

    Get rich with the power of patience. If the clothes still aren’t dry by the end of the day (and you’re opposed to leaving them out overnight to dry more the following day) than you can still throw them in the dryer and you will have reduced the amount of energy needed to get ’em dry.

  • Paul Daly August 6, 2018, 7:36 pm

    I just spent 15 minutes hanging clothes to dry. At $.30 to run my gas dryer for 45 minutes. . . I’m not sold on the ROI here!

    • Mr. Money Mustache August 8, 2018, 4:23 pm

      Yup, that is a terrible rate of pay. I guess it depends on how many small items you are dealing with: we traditionally line-dried the big stuff like shirts and towels and pants, then chucked all the small fiddly socks and underwear and cloth napkins into the dryer.


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