In today’s world, people are becoming ever more conscious of the ways their behavior impacts the planet. Everything we consider a modern convenience, from electricity right down to how we do our laundry, can hurt the environment.
One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to build your own DIY clothesline. Of course, you can buy pre-made, but making your own costs less money, especially since you can use, reuse, or repurpose things you already have on hand. Here are twenty eco-friendly DIY clothesline ideas to get started.
Important Details to Consider When Setting up a DIY Clothesline
While a DIY clothesline may sound self-explanatory, it’s more complicated than merely stringing up some line and hanging clothes from it. Here’s what you need to consider when thinking up clothesline ideas.
Think about how much space you have and how much you need. Chances are, you’ll have to weigh one against the other, but it doesn’t limit you as much as you might think. For instance, just because you live on a postage-stamp-sized lot doesn’t mean you can only dry three items at a time.
You should also consider how much laundry you plan to hang from your DIY clothesline. The weight of the clothes alone can determine what size and type of clothesline option is best.
Types of Materials to Use
Wood is the easiest material to work with when building a clothesline even if you’re building a folding line or drying rack. If you’re creating an outdoor clothesline, though, pressure-treated wood works better than regular wood unless you plan to seal the wood against the elements.
Also, cotton line stays cleaner for longer than nylon or plastic line. It’s prone to stretching and sagging sooner, but you’re less likely to end up with a weird line across your light-colored laundry. Cotton is both eco-friendly and cheap.
Clotheslines take up space, so a retractable or pulley clothesline can work when you don’t have room for a permanent one.
Multi-line drying racks increase the amount of line on which to dry your clothing. Whether you have a small yard or just a patio, or need a space-saving indoor clothesline, having multiple lines gives you that space.
Free DIY Clothesline Ideas to Consider
You have a variety of DIY clothesline ideas to choose from whether you need them outdoors or indoors, lots of space or very little.
Wooden T-Post Clothesline
T-post DIY clothesline ideas are the most common, and you can build one using extra landscaping wood or other wood you have in your garage. Pressure-treated lumber is better, but if you seal what you’ve got, you should be okay.
Two Trees Clothesline
If you have two trees positioned so the ground between them gets a lot of sun, you can string up a cotton clothesline between them. Be sure to avoid using anything you have to screw into the trees, though, because you don’t want to harm them.
DIY Clothesline From Swing Set
If you’re able to source an old swing set, you can transform it into a DIY clothesline! Paint it white or customize it to add a pop of color to your backyard.
Plant Hanger Clothesline
Lots of people have hangers installed on their homes to secure hanging plant baskets. You can string up a clothesline between them for a quick, easy drying line that’s nearly invisible. For people who have minimal space or whose HOAs won’t let them have regular clotheslines, this may be a good alternative.
This type of DIY clothesline requires very few materials and can stretch across your yard or across a corner. Or both. All you need are a few materials and two sturdy fences.
Disguised Post Clothesline
This DIY clothesline is a cross between a standard T-post and garden trellis line. Using wood you already have or decorative posts, you can disguise your clothesline posts as garden ornaments. The easiest way to build them is to cut the wood decoratively, and then make a T-post line.
You can build a compact, multi-line rack on a fence with just a few materials including repurposed or recycled wood. As long as your fence is stable and strong, you shouldn’t have a problem using it for this type of drying rack.
DIY pulley clotheslines give you the ability to move your line as you hang things up and take them down. The pulleys allow you to take it down when you aren’t using them so they aren’t in the way of anything else you do outside.
PVC Pipe Clothesline
Do you have leftover PVC pipe from other home improvement or repair project? If you’re saving it because you don’t want it in a landfill, you can repurpose some of it to build a T-post clothesline.
Retractable clotheslines work well for people who have extremely limited space or don’t want to deal with permanent structures. Pull them out when you need them and reel them in when you don’t.
Fold-Down Deck Post Clothesline
A deck makes an excellent place for a clothesline, but you probably don’t want it there 100 percent of the time. This clothesline uses posts that fold down when not in use, giving you full use of your deck when you’re not doing laundry.
Outdoor Foldable Clothesline
You can build one of these clotheslines using repurposed rods from old bed frames or other discarded furnishings. It’s suitable for the side of your house, garage, or shed, and it doesn’t take up nearly the amount of space traditional clotheslines do.
With a few pieces of extra two-by-four, two-by-six, or other structural boards or posts, you can build a clothesline, with or without pulleys, that goes from the side of your house to the end of your patio or deck, or somewhere out in your yard.
Upcycled Plastic Clothesline
This may not go well with our recommendation that you use cotton. Still, if you’re building indoor clotheslines (especially temporary ones) you can reuse plastic shopping bags to do so.
Retractable Multi-Line Indoor Clothesline
For people with tiny laundry rooms, anchoring retractable clotheslines inside cabinets can give you the line-drying you desire without taking up precious space.
Simple Indoor Clothesline
With a little hardware and a rarely-used space, you can put up a clothesline anywhere in your house. Depending on where you put it, you can make it retractable, removable, or permanent.
Indoor Basement Clothesline
For this project, you merely need scraps of wood, even if it’s just 3/4-inch plywood. With that and some handy rope or cotton line, you can make a multi-line retractable rack anywhere in your basement.
Crib Spring Indoor Drying Rack
This isn’t a clothesline per se, but it’s a great way to repurpose the springs from an old crib. Suspend it from the ceiling with some chain and eye bolts, and hang your clothes from it.
Space-Efficient Indoor Clothesline
This is similar to the indoor basement clothesline — with a twist. It’s not retractable, but you can create more than a dozen drying lines. The design is adaptable enough that you can use any shape space.
You can string up a simple line along the ceiling in a laundry closet and line dry your clothes indoors but out of the way of everything else.