Author Topic: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?  (Read 25962 times)

GreenAcres

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How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« on: April 03, 2014, 07:47:17 AM »
The title says it all.  My clothes come off the line stiff and wrinkled.  I usually fluff them in the dryer for a bit, but I feel like that almost defeats the purpose of line drying.  My work shirts are all wrinkled and need ironed or put in the dryer.  My jeans and towels can almost stand on their own.  Any tips?

Also, does anyone have a great detergent recipe that helps?

Russ

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 08:10:51 AM »
wear them for 5 minutes?

rubybeth

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 08:12:03 AM »
I do the fluff trick with things that will get crunchy. Have you tried fabric softener in the wash itself?

rocksinmyhead

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2014, 08:13:23 AM »
hmmm... any work clothes I have that need ironing after being line-dried outside probably need it after the dryer or indoor line-drying too (which I do for many of my work clothes anyway, to help them last longer).

as for the other stuff, I just embrace it. I may just be a total weirdo but I actually feel like the hard crinkly towels are more absorbent.

I have heard people say that vinegar helps as a fabric softener, but I add vinegar to every load (helps get rid of musty smells on towels, sweat smells on running clothes, dog smells on everything) and I don't really notice an improvement in softness. but you could try it!

Ottawa

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2014, 08:21:44 AM »
wear them for 5 minutes?

YES!

I usually fluff them in the dryer for a bit, but I feel like that almost defeats the purpose of line drying.  My work shirts are all wrinkled and need ironed or put in the dryer. 

NO!!  Unplug your dryer and turn off the circuit breaker for it!  Also, we don't use an iron. 

Actually, we get the stiffness in our towels...I usually just flick them a couple times once they are dry and they become less crunchy.  As for wrinkly shirts - I only have one of many dress shirts that suffers from this - I don't care and wear it anyway - wrinkles disappear within minutes from the body warmth/humidity.

I have an excellent recipe for laundry detergent!  We used this one http://naturalthrifty.com/homemade-laundry-soap.html
Instead of tea tree EO, we used orange EO.  Makes a tonne and costs very little!  BTW, used an immersion blender to get rid of the 'gel/wonton soup' consistency!

hoodedfalcon

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2014, 08:22:53 AM »
Hmm. I don't seem to have this problem. Maybe it's a water thing? Or a detergent thing? At most, a brisk snapping of a towel is all that is needed. I do use vinegar as fabric softener for some things.

Ottawa

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2014, 08:28:42 AM »
Hmm. I don't seem to have this problem. Maybe it's a water thing? Or a detergent thing? At most, a brisk snapping of a towel is all that is needed. I do use vinegar as fabric softener for some things.

Yes, we do this too for some things! 

Also, Ottawa has VERY SOFT water which may help with lowered crunchy-ness.  If you have Hard water, you may be getting alot of mineral deposit - serving to promote stiff clothes.  The borax in the detergent recipe I posted may assist with reducing crunchy-ness!

GreenAcres

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2014, 08:31:02 AM »
I think we have very hard water.  The wrinkles are very deep wrinkles, not like anything out of a dryer.  Sometimes the dryer and ironing doesn't get the wrinkles out.

GreenAcres

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2014, 08:32:33 AM »
wear them for 5 minutes?

YES!

I usually fluff them in the dryer for a bit, but I feel like that almost defeats the purpose of line drying.  My work shirts are all wrinkled and need ironed or put in the dryer. 

NO!!  Unplug your dryer and turn off the circuit breaker for it!  Also, we don't use an iron. 

Actually, we get the stiffness in our towels...I usually just flick them a couple times once they are dry and they become less crunchy.  As for wrinkly shirts - I only have one of many dress shirts that suffers from this - I don't care and wear it anyway - wrinkles disappear within minutes from the body warmth/humidity.

I have an excellent recipe for laundry detergent!  We used this one http://naturalthrifty.com/homemade-laundry-soap.html
Instead of tea tree EO, we used orange EO.  Makes a tonne and costs very little!  BTW, used an immersion blender to get rid of the 'gel/wonton soup' consistency!

Thanks for the recipe!  I have been doing a homemade powdered recipe.  Maybe a liquid would be better.

Russ

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2014, 08:34:35 AM »
less snarky advice:
-hang wrinkly things in a steamy room (e.g. bathroom while you shower) and the wrinkles should fall out
-the crunch could mean you're using too much soap, mine always get worse when I pour in a bit extra on accident.

Ottawa

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2014, 08:35:48 AM »
Thanks for the recipe!  I have been doing a homemade powdered recipe.  Maybe a liquid would be better.

Yes, I suspect it would be - the powder may not be dissolving well in your water...

The only total homeade fail we've had is the dishwasher detergent (powder)  It left an ever-increasing thickness of brown scum build up on our dishes.  We still use commercial - which bugs the hell out of me as it is so damn expensive - even on sale! 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2014, 10:00:37 AM »
Jeans and towels are the only things I have had be "crunchy". This goes away almost instantly on wear/use.

For wrinkles, are all your work clothes wrinkle free? I've had no issue with wrinkles falling out just hanging them up on hangers. Yeah, they're not perfectly pressed, but since I have to fold them up into panniers anyways, it doesn't really matter.

I'll have to remember the vinegar thing. Some of our towels do get a little musty.

rescuedog

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2014, 10:01:39 AM »
The title says it all.  My clothes come off the line stiff and wrinkled.  I usually fluff them in the dryer for a bit, but I feel like that almost defeats the purpose of line drying.  My work shirts are all wrinkled and need ironed or put in the dryer.  My jeans and towels can almost stand on their own.  Any tips?

Also, does anyone have a great detergent recipe that helps?

I went without a dryer in my previous home for 10 years.  I poured liquid fabric softener when the machine was on its last rinse.  Of course you have to listen for it and run down there (mine was in the basement) in time!  I have never felt my clothes were stiff.  I hung them very neatly on a dry rack, sometimes having to change their position to minimize that dry rack line look.

Good luck I hope that helps!

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2014, 12:23:19 PM »
If you do want to try fabric softener for some things, I've heard that you can cut it down with vinegar. And you can try the Downy ball instead of listening for the final rinse. (I have a front-loader, so I don't have that problem--I use vinegar but dry my clothes in the dryer. We have free utilities here, so there's not much incentive!)

ZiziPB

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2014, 12:30:14 PM »
I would definitely recommend using liquid fabric softener in the last rinse.  Also, drying outside when it's windy helps - when the clothes have some movement while drying they end up a lot softer.

And I think putting your items into the dryer for a few minutes is perfectly acceptable too.  You will still save 40 minutes off a typical drying cycle if you put your stuff in for 5 minutes!

AJ

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2014, 12:47:45 PM »
I may just be a total weirdo but I actually feel like the hard crinkly towels are more absorbent.

Me too! :)

Our stuff comes out way stiff as well. I didn't realize it was a water thing. I think I would rather run the dryer for two minutes to fluff than add fabric softener to the wash. But yeah, wearing it around for a few minutes usually does the trick.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2014, 12:54:37 PM »
wear them for 5 minutes?

YES!

I usually fluff them in the dryer for a bit, but I feel like that almost defeats the purpose of line drying.  My work shirts are all wrinkled and need ironed or put in the dryer. 

NO!!  Unplug your dryer and turn off the circuit breaker for it!  Also, we don't use an iron. 

Actually, we get the stiffness in our towels...I usually just flick them a couple times once they are dry and they become less crunchy.  As for wrinkly shirts - I only have one of many dress shirts that suffers from this - I don't care and wear it anyway - wrinkles disappear within minutes from the body warmth/humidity.

I have an excellent recipe for laundry detergent!  We used this one http://naturalthrifty.com/homemade-laundry-soap.html
Instead of tea tree EO, we used orange EO.  Makes a tonne and costs very little!  BTW, used an immersion blender to get rid of the 'gel/wonton soup' consistency!

Thanks for the recipe!  I have been doing a homemade powdered recipe.  Maybe a liquid would be better.

It might not be so much a matter of liquid vs. powder as whether you are using vinegar in the final rinse. Without vinegar, soap-based homemade detergents can build up on the clothes. Vinegar makes it rinse out better.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2014, 01:06:10 PM »
I use Tide Free and Gentle. The trick with detergents is that, unless your water is super hard, you need around 1/3 of the lowest line on the cap, even for a giant load. At my usage rate, since I like the detergent, even homemade doesn't pay off.

The closest thing I use to "homemade" is grating laundry soap to make "powdered" detergent to wash my rain gear (for some reason the label specifies powder detergent).

Also, if you are having rinse issues, it could be buildup in your washer itself. Doing this once a year is recommended by many appliance repair folks, especially if you have hard water or have been using too much detergent:

1. Run empty washer, full hot, 1 gallon of bleach.
2. Run empty washer, full hot, 1 gallon vinegar.
3. Run empty wash, full hot, nothing.

Rural

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2014, 04:09:20 PM »
Can you hang the clothes in an area that would get more wind? Wind while clothes are drying will take care of both wrinkles and stiffness.

$200k

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2014, 04:20:39 PM »
It also depends on the material.  Nearly all of my t-shirts are a form of cotton-polyester blend, and are less prone to wrinkles.  If they do wrinkle, then yes, they go away after 5 minutes of wear.

Another consequence I've discovered since line drying:  Cat hair that was once removed in the dryer remain.   

RetiredAt63

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2014, 04:24:03 PM »
Fabric softener coats the fibres, so they are less absorbent.  Towels look great, but don't absorb water, so not a good outcome.

I will run my clothes in the dryer (no heat) for a few minutes before line drying - it gets the wrinkles out.  Also, as posted already, you may need to do more than one rinse depending on your detergent and water softness.

kite

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2014, 05:05:40 PM »
Is your washer wringing things out too hard?  The HE machines are designed to extract as much water as possible to cut down the dryer's energy use.  If I leave them in the washer for any length of time, they start to dry a bit in that shape, setting the wrinkles.   I use delicate or permanent press cycles,  mostly.   And I try to hang right away, not leave them.  Even the crunchiest towels soften with age.  Cheap beach towels soften up the quickest.  I give everything wearable a good shake and fluff while wet as it goes onto a hanger, where it remains until it is time to wear.  Hangers go out on the line then into the closet when stuff is dry with an occasional detour to a steamy bathroom if wrinkles are bad.  But I usually only see wrinkles if I've let a load sit too long.   

deborah

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2014, 08:20:43 PM »
A few questions:

1. What sort of environment do you have - is is really hot and/or with no humidity?

Your washing could be getting far too dry. Try bringing it in more quickly.

2. Is everything drying hard, or are some things soft?

If every single thing is drying hard, you may have some residue from the wash in your clothes - try less soap powder, vinegar or the three washing machine cleaning cycles mentioned.

3. Are just your jeans and things made from heavy materials drying hard?

This is "normal" and will be fixed by 5 minutes in the dryer, fabric softener or putting it in your freezer for a few minutes. (these will also help in question 1).

4. Do you leave it out overnight?

You may be getting dust or smog in your washing by leaving it out too long (not to mention moths laying eggs in your washing). Where I live, at certain times of the year, migrating moths are trying to look for places to hibernate over summer. If we leave the clothes out overnight, you can be sure there will be a moth in your socks when you take them off the line.

A good clothesline gets plenty of sun, plenty of wind, and is undercover in summer and when it rains.

mahina

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2014, 04:05:44 AM »
for about 20 years i've line dried our laundry, exclusively, and in several climates/water types. i'd add to all the good stuff above that hanging right is key.

shaking, snapping and generally jostling the fibers out of their wrung-out position is essential before hanging. position items on the line so there are no new wrinkles being introduced, by working with the lengthwise grain of the fabric.

smooth and pull at seams and any wrinkly spots with your hands as you work--'finger press'. tug collar bands out straight, to counter seam puckers. hold each end of any long seam (slacks, skirts, sleeves) and pull, finger pressing as you go.

after clothes have hung for a while and partially dried, take down and shake each piece lightly, then return it to finish drying upside down. now you can pin slacks up by the cuffs, folded with side seams out, finger pressing front pleats, and pulling long seams again.

all this sounds like more trouble than ironing, perhaps, but it actually goes very quickly and requires no equipment. and hopefully you'll be outdoors, enjoying your collaboration with the air!

happyfeet

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2014, 04:24:39 PM »
Check for too much soap.  I bought this sweater at the Salvation Army and it was crunchy.  I washed it without soap and it generated an amazing amount of soap bubbles.  I did this twice.  It had so much built up detergent in it.  Much  softer now. I lined dried it also.

Hard water could be another cause.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 04:26:56 PM by happyfeet »

Fi(re) on the Farm

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2014, 05:05:14 PM »
I dry most of my clothes on a clothes line, occasionally using the dryer. My advice is: use less detergent, add vinegar to the rinse, skip the fabric softener (it's made out of animal fat so why would you want to put it on clean clothes?) Plan your laundry around the weather, pick windy days to hang stuff out and if need be, throw the stuff in the dryer for 5 minutes on cool or fluff. Even if you cut your drying time in half you're still ahead of the game.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2014, 06:44:21 PM »
Fabric softener is nasty. It makes everything feel greasy. Didn't realize it was made from fat - makes sense!

nikki

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2014, 06:59:00 PM »
I've never heard of using vinegar in washing machines, but I'm intrigued. I'm about to run out of fabric softener and would like to get by without it if possible.

Would I just pour the vinegar in the same little slot in the washing machine? Would I use as much vinegar as I would fabric softener, or less?

Blackadder

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2014, 01:10:14 AM »
I've been line drying my work clothes wrinkle free for 10 years or so like this:

- Hang them as soon as the washing machine is finished. Don't wait.
- Don't hang them by clothespins so they sag in the middle. Hang them over the clothesline and optionally secure them with clothespins
- Hang them over a straight clothesline. Don't hang them by the edges, but so that they hang over the clothesline symmetrically. Yes, they will not dry as quickly, but it is easier to avoid wrinkles.
- use a clothesline which doesn't sag. If it does sag, fix it, eg by adding supports.
- Before hanging the clothes, pull/shake any wrinkles out vigorously
- Hang them carefully without wrinkles and your clothes won't have wrinkles when dry (logic FTW)
- With shirts, pay attention to pulling the collar straight and hanging them straight and orderly so they won't dry in a weird shape

Regarding stiffness: Gone after 5 minutes of wearing, or 30 seconds of use for towels. A non-issue. Man up. ;-)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 01:21:07 AM by Blackadder »

Primm

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2014, 01:33:36 AM »
I've never heard of using vinegar in washing machines, but I'm intrigued. I'm about to run out of fabric softener and would like to get by without it if possible.

Would I just pour the vinegar in the same little slot in the washing machine? Would I use as much vinegar as I would fabric softener, or less?

I use vinegar (and about 1/3 of the recommended dose of washing detergent) and my clothes, particularly towels, are beautifully soft. Not sure how much of that is down to water hardness (or lack thereof) but still...

I use about 1/2 a cup of white vinegar (the home brand one is fine) in the fabric softener dispenser. The clothes smell ever so slightly vinegary when I take them out, but the smell disappears completely once they are dry.

happy

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2014, 03:05:32 AM »
Shake before hanging out.
Don't use fabric softener (builds up and makes it worse)
The faster things line dry, the crisper they are. But its hard to change the weather.
Embrace it.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2014, 08:22:56 AM »
I have this issue with towels too. I make my own laundry soap and use vinegar in the rinse. My clothes are fine, but the towels can stand up they are so stiff. I agree with the PP who said they seem more absorbent. When the kids and DH complain, I tell them it's for exfoliation!  ;)

rocksinmyhead

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Re: How can I make my line dried clothes soft and not wrinkly?
« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2014, 09:59:56 AM »
I've never heard of using vinegar in washing machines, but I'm intrigued. I'm about to run out of fabric softener and would like to get by without it if possible.

Would I just pour the vinegar in the same little slot in the washing machine? Would I use as much vinegar as I would fabric softener, or less?

I use vinegar (and about 1/3 of the recommended dose of washing detergent) and my clothes, particularly towels, are beautifully soft. Not sure how much of that is down to water hardness (or lack thereof) but still...

I use about 1/2 a cup of white vinegar (the home brand one is fine) in the fabric softener dispenser. The clothes smell ever so slightly vinegary when I take them out, but the smell disappears completely once they are dry.

I also notice a slight vinegar smell when I first take them out that then disappears completely.

and yeah nikki, my washing machine has a sort of "cup" on top of the agitator for fabric softener, I just put the vinegar in there up to the fabric softener line. so basically I use it exactly how you would use fabric softener.

Fabric softener is nasty. It makes everything feel greasy. Didn't realize it was made from fat - makes sense!

agreed, I hate it!!! I also hate dryer sheets. yuck. it's not even a sacrifice for me to not use these things, haha. my boyfriend took a while to come around to this point of view--for a while we struggled with the musty towel problem and he was like "can't we just use dryer sheets to make them smell good?!?" but the laundry nazi (me) said NO!! now that I use vinegar, no more mustiness and he's on board :)