Clotheslines come in many different types, shapes, sizes, and designs. You may think that they’re the simplest product to shop for, but that’s not the case. You need to be very detail-oriented to make sure your line matches your requirements. It should have a high enough weight capacity to take on all the laundry you plan on hanging. Its length should be suitable for your outdoor space.
We’ll cover all that and more in this detailed buying guide for clotheslines, so keep reading.
Let’s start with the types. You’d be surprised how much variety there is to choose from even for a seemingly simple product like a clothesline. Each type has its pros and cons, so let’s go over them briefly to help you take your pick.
Rotary clotheslines are made to hang your wet clothes on an umbrella-like, tall, round structure. They have a sturdy central stand integrated into the design that provides support to all the surrounding arms. This type of clothesline is ideal for people who don’t have a long outdoor space to hang their clothes. It takes up very little floor space and does a great job at drying your clothes naturally, as long as you position it in a spot that gets lots of air, winds, and sun.
Some variants of rotary clotheslines are enormous and can even be permanently mounted into the ground. Their heavy-duty steel frame makes them resistant to all types of weather, leaving them unfazed even by strong winds. They’re commonly found in large, shared laundry spaces such as hostels and guest houses because of their space-efficient yet high-volume capabilities.
If you don’t have a lot of free room to permanently spare for laundry, a folding clothesline is a way to go. Most small houses make use of these as you can easily mount them on your wall, and fold them away when not in use. This means you won’t have to sacrifice any valuable floor space on most days, which is a game-changer for apartments with very little space, both indoors and outdoors.
Speaking of small houses, you can also consider a retractable clothesline! It’s a practical solution for those looking to make the most out of tight indoor or outdoor space in their apartment. You simply mount it up on one of your walls along with a hook on the opposing wall. Extend and hook the line on when you need to dry your laundry, and when you’re done, unhook and retract it back inside to free up all that space. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s certainly worth saving up so much room in homes with space constraints.
Portable clotheslines are another great option. They’re the easiest to store thanks to the hinged legs that are integrated into their design. Simply fold them and store your clothesline setup inside a cupboard when not in use. Unlike retractable wall-mounted clotheslines, you can conveniently move portable lines between your indoor or outdoor spaces thanks to their handy and lightweight design. For instance, you can’t dry your clothes outside when it’s raining, right? That’s when portability becomes a lifesaver!
There are three major materials to choose from when you’re shopping for clotheslines. You can either go with sisal, a rubber line with a steel core, or a rubber line with a polypropylene core. Each is compatible with different usage scenarios, so let’s quickly go over them.
Have you ever seen those light brown clotheslines that have a wood-like texture to them — they’re sisal! It’s a natural material that’s organic and untreated, which means it can also be composted. That’s what makes sisal clotheslines the most environmentally friendly choice.
But, with that said, the porous fibers of this material are also highly vulnerable if you plan on leaving the line exposed to the elements outside. Over time, it can develop mold and rot if you don’t dry it out after each use.
Then, we have rubber clotheslines with a steel core inside. They’re stretchable, super resilient, and highly resistant to the outside weather. But, over time, corrosion on the steel core can make them turn brittle.
Last, there are clotheslines with a polypropylene core and rubber sheathing on top. They’re completely weatherproof and relatively cheaper, but won’t be as durable or strong as steel-based alternatives. At low temperatures, the material polypropylene (which is at its core) will lose some of its elasticity and develop brittleness, leading to an elevated risk of cracking.
So, what material is most suitable for you? That solely depends on where you plan on hanging your laundry. If it’s going to be outdoors (and stay there even when not in use), then steer clear of sisal as it’ll rot in no time. You’re better off with rubber-sheathed lines for that use case. For indoor use, however, a sisal clothesline is still a decent choice as it’s affordable, eco-friendly, and even has an aesthetic vibe to it.
Another factor to keep in mind is how often you do the laundry, and how big an average batch is. For heavy batches, you need a long line that has enough space to accommodate all your wet clothes. For a daily laundry cycle, even the smallest hanging space can suffice. But, if you only find the time to do it on weekends, you’ll need a much bigger clothesline — so pay attention to the advertised length and weight capacity of your clothesline.
Most people give little thought to the looks of a clothesline, but why shouldn’t you? But since it’s something that typically takes up permanent space in your house, you should always go for a line with high visual appeal. There are many aesthetic clothesline ideas that you can implement around the house to not just get practical use out of them, but also a boost in the ambiance!
If it’s going to stay indoors, look for colors that match the surrounding decor. For outdoor spaces, however, vintage or antique designs might be the way to go.
Your clotheslines should be very easy and quick to install. Ideally, you shouldn’t need to ask for help from a professional, and the included user manual should be clear enough for you to figure everything out on your own.
This Riveda Clothesline is a wall-mounted retractable model, which means you don’t have to sacrifice any indoor or outdoor space permanently for laundry. Simply extend the cord out when you need it, and wind it back down when you’ve taken the clothes off.
It’s light and compact, yet still has a maximum length of 40 feet and holds up to 30 pounds of weight. You get a sturdy build-quality that’s highly rust-resistant, and that’s clear by its 60-day warranty coverage. If you don’t love it, the company claims to offer a full refund — no questions asked!
If you’re a fan of space-efficient designs, the Gorilalline Clothesline is as good as it gets. Being a wall-mounted retractable model, it takes up zero space while not in use. It’s minimalistic, compact, and flat design can make you forget that it even exists on your wall! Even the branding logo is small and fairly unnoticeable, which matches the simple all-white aesthetic well.
Thanks to its modern shape and neutral color scheme, it naturally goes with any type of decor or theme in your laundry, bathroom, or balcony! It’s sturdily built with a combination of stainless steel and plastic, which means it won’t break down soon.
Want lots of hanging space for your large laundry batches but don’t want to spend the big bucks? Say hello to the Newraturner Clothesline. It’s a two-pack of portable clotheslines that hook onto walls with two metal hooks on each side. Each one is 10 to 12 feet long and can comfortably hold the weight of an entire batch. The elastic rubber band strands are durable and won’t snap easily. We love how you can easily fit these into your travel bag as they only weigh about 7 ounces each!
You even get 12 clips included in the package, along with 13 black rubber beads to separate them.
The Household Essentials Clothesline is for those of you who need all the hanging space they can get. At maximum length, you get a whopping 100 feet of line length to hang the biggest laundry batches ever. It’s made up of 100% cotton, which means it won’t stain your clothes with those stubborn rust marks, unlike metallic alternatives.
Chances are, you probably need only 40 feet of this rope for line drying, so cut it in half and use the rest for other activities like DIY crafting and art projects.
A: An average batch of laundry takes up about 35 feet of line space, so that’s a healthy minimum to keep in mind. You can get away with a smaller clothesline if you wash your clothes frequently (i.e. in smaller batches).
A: The sun helps in speeding things up for line drying, but it’s not necessary. Extremely sunny weather can actually be bad for line drying as the dust is more likely to kick up and stain wet clothes.
A: Typically, a clothesline can hold about 30 pounds of weight assuming it’s an average length of around feet.
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