A solar-powered clothesline makes sense in Southern California

Editor's note: Our Feb. 7 story on the revival of old-fashioned clotheslines as a way of reducing energy use prompted the largest outpouring of letters this year. A sampling:

Thank you, thank you Alexandria Abramian Mott for your story ["The Answer, My Friend . . . "]. When I tell my friends I have a solar clothes dryer, they are amazed that I have such a fantastic appliance until I add that it is a line between two poles.

I don't understand why so many people cannot stand the sight of clean laundry drying, especially here in California, where we are blessed with ample sunshine. The clothes dryer in my kitchen gets used only on rare days when it rains.

Jean Holt Koch Los Angeles


My husband and I are true believers in drying our clothes on the clothesline. The result is that the elastics last forever and the clothes, as you have mentioned, smell nicer.

I also have established the etiquette on undies. I put the undies in the middle of the umbrella-type clothesline, and bed linens and towels on the outermost lines to act as a screen, so the neighbors will not be offended. Let's act more "green" and save money at the same time.

Cheri Dickinson Santa Monica


The bio for my 50th class reunion in 2005 included the line, "In 48 years of marriage hung out 9,984 loads of wash -- never owned a dryer." That's still true; 100% of my laundry is hung outdoors 100% of the year!

Line drying is an art! Sun and shadow in your drying area must be observed. Putting up and taking down the iron pole, and rigging the line require a degree of physical strength and knot-tying knowledge. Then there's the matter of how and where to place items on the line to avoid fading and how to hang like items together for easy folding.

There is far more to be gained from line-drying than pennies and energy. There's physical activity and a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Kathleen Brewster

Santa Barbara

I live in Mid-City Los Angeles and line-dry all my laundry. Not only is it an obvious energy-saver in a region with plenty of sunny weather, but it brings back sweet memories of my mother in rural Pennsylvania, who hung laundry (for a family of seven children) on the backyard line. She died 15 years ago, but I saved her woven-straw laundry basket and her weathered wooden clothespins that squeak when you pinch them.

Today, walking between the rows of freshly hung laundry, damp shirt sleeves graze my cheek with their cool softness and are the closest thing I have to feeling her actual touch.

Sylvia Sukop Los Angeles


I am remodeling and put my laundry room on a balcony so I can hang it all out there. My architect thought I was nuts, but it's got the best view, and it's the place where we capture the sun every morning. I don't feel like a crazy fool anymore.

Melanie Galuten

Santa Monica


I grew up when clothes were dried naturally on clotheslines because dryers were found only in commercial laundries. Why anyone would want to go back to hanging laundry outside is beyond me. I can still remember winters when clothes froze the moment they were hung up and had to be brought inside to finish drying. It sometimes took days. Yes, clothes had a fresh smell, but it was fleeting. Sheets had lost it by the time they were made up in a bed. If some people consider it a badge of honor to line-dry their laundry, so be it. I'd rather switch to energy-saving light bulbs.

June Moffett Santa Ana


In January I saw lavender sheets drying on a line in Mandalay, Myanmar. I made my tuk-tuk driver stop so I could snap pictures. Thinking of your article about illegal clotheslines. America, get a grip!

Katherine Holden Las Vegas