How long can I leave wet washing on the clothesline?

To run out to retrieve your clothes when the rain starts or leave them for longer?
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Hanging your washing on the line might be the most economical way to dry it, but that’s if the sun is beaming. If it happens to rain, the length of time you’re leaving washing on the clothesline before it’s dry can stretch on and on.

Say that there’s a sprinkle of rain, or even a downpour, how long can you leave them out there for? There’s no definitive guide, but the longer you leave them damp, the more chance there is that mould and bacteria will begin to breed. There’s also the chance of rain spots leaving dirty marks on your clothes.

Are you the type who races out to bring the washing in at the first sign of rain, or would you leave it on the line until it dries, even if that means waiting days? A Mumsnet forum discussed this divisive question. “I’ve been on a washing mission today and put the last load on the line at around 4ish. It’s not dry and so not likely to be by tonight,” one mum said. 

There were mixed opinions, but many were in favour of leaving clothes on the line for as long as they need to be dried, even if that means leaving them overnight. “I pegged mine out at 10. Hopefully it will be dry by tomorrow morning,” one user wrote. Another added: “I’m just going to hang mine out now. Obviously it won’t get wet given the current heatwave, but during wetter weather, I don’t mind if it gets a soaking and takes a bit longer to dry; the rainwater softens the fabric.” 

If you’re stuck with a lot of rain, drying your washing inside could be another option but has its down-sides. A study by the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow found the water in your washing adds another 2.5 litres of moisture to the air per typical load.

The study mentions three main health risks associated with indoor drying:

  • Moisture and excess dust mites were an asthma risk
  • A high mould spore count was bad for asthma and eczema
  • Indoor drying combined with fabric softener could deliver a potentially hazardous and carcinogenic chemical cocktail.

So it’s really a personal choice at the end of the day… and how soon you need clean, dry clothes!

Should you bring your pegs in or leave them inside?

There are those among us who love to collect the pegs with our washing. Then there are those who like to leave them up on the line, always.

While we wish we could say there’s no right way, it’s definitely better for the longevity of your pegs to bring them inside. That way they’re away from the harsh outdoor elements.

Sun and rain will quickly wear down plastic and rust metal, so if you leave them out it won’t be long before you’ll have pegs falling apart and needing to be replaced.

Although it’s extra effort, it’s worth it to pop your pegs in a basket and bring them inside when they’re not being used.

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