Building your own clothesline is one great way to save a lot of money on your monthly energy bill.
The idea of building a clothesline came up while my husband and I were discussing more ways to cut back on the energy bill, short of lighting candles at night and going to bed at dark.
We both grew up in homes that used a clothesline. Knowing what an energy hog an electric clothes dryer can be, building a clothesline was the first thing we thought to do when trying to conserve the energy bill.
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We built our new outdoor clothesline with wooden posts. My grandma had one made with steel posts.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Line Drying Laundry
- How To Build A Clothesline
- More Clothesline Options
- More Ways To Reduce Household Expenses
Benefits of Line Drying Laundry
- It is the best way to see a huge dent in the energy bill
- Won’t shrink your clothes
- Clean fresh smell
- Stretch your clothing budget because clothes last longer
- An easy way to get exercise and burn calories
- Indoor drying racks help humidify indoor dry winter air
- Fewer wrinkles in your clothes
- Faster in the summer. You can finish laundry quicker
- The sun naturally brightens whites
- Getting outside is good for your mental health
- Enjoy the fresh scent of line-dried bedding
Also, See our DIY Clothespin Bag
How To Build A Clothesline
Building a clothesline is a weekend project only because you have to wait on the concrete to dry in the holes. You can build the posts with T and brace in a few hours.
All of the supplies and tools you need are available at a hardware store or home improvement store.
- 3 (Three) 8 ft. landscape timbers
- 4 (Four) 2×4’s cut at a 45-degree angle on both ends
- 6 Clothesline Pulley’s
- 5 Line Tightener’s
- 8 Screw Eye hooks
- 4 of nuts, bolts & washers about 7″ long
- 1 bag Quikrete, concrete mix
- Tape Measure
- Carpenter Square
- Post Level
- Posthole digger
Select your location. Choose a sunny spot preferably without trees.
We have a lot of trees in our yard so we selected a location with the least amount of shade between trees. It also needed to be out of the way, near our fence line to leave the backyard free for the kids to play.
Determine the distance you want between poles. This decision will be affected by your location and the length of line you desire.
Dig deep holes for the posts to be set into. Do not set the posts just yet. Keep in mind the height of your line. See Step 8 for tips.
Cut one of the 8 ft. timbers in half creating two 4 ft. posts. These will become the “T” which will attach to the two other timbers.
Install the clothesline pulley’s onto the two 4 ft. “T” posts you cut. Be sure to measure your desired distance between pulleys. This task is easier done while still using your workbench which in our case was a couple of saw horses set up in the yard.
Create a notch in both of the remaining 8 ft. timbers for the ‘T’ to fit into.
Measure your desired distance down the post where you will cut a notch (see picture below). This notch helps to secure a better fit when you attach the “T” post.
My husband did this step using a hammer and a chisel.
Attach the “T” to the anchor post using the nuts and bolts as pictured above. (I took the picture after the project was complete. The line will not yet be installed at this step)
Using the 2 x 4’s, cut to fit, attach as bracing boards using screws.
It is time to set posts into the hole at the desired depth. A rule of thumb is between 6’ to 7 ½’ tall.
It is important to take into consideration two things.
- How tall does the line need to be so that the person using it can actually reach the line to hang out the clothes.
- Hang the line high enough so that normally hung clothes won’t drag to the ground.
Nail a few wooden stakes on to brace the post prior to adding the Quikrete into the hole.
Once you have your post braced up and it is level, go ahead and prepare the Quikrete according to the package directions. Add the concrete carefully so your post remains level. The concrete may take up to 2 days to set up. Do not add the clothesline until after the concrete has been set up.
String the Clothesline.
A clothesline tightener is wonderful because a clothesline will begin to sag a bit from time to time and those allow quick tightening.
You may have noticed what appears to be an upside-down can on the top of the clothesline posts. Those are placed there to prevent rain from rotting the posts. It’s a nice trick.
You don’t have to be living a homestead life to enjoy the benefits of a DIY Clothesline. You can build your own clothesline in the backyard of your home no matter where you live as long as you have space for it.
Print the instructions with a checklist for tools and supplies needed to make a clothesline. You probably already have all the tools and maybe even a few of the supplies.
What can I use for a clothesline?
You want a clothesline rope with strength and durability that won’t rust or rot. The polypropylene cord works well and can be easily wiped off when needed.
How far apart should a clothesline be?
40 to 50 feet apart is a good length for a clothesline. Any further and you run the risk of the line sagging. If you make your T post wide enough, you can run three lines on one post for more space to hang wet clothes at one time.
What is the average height of a clothesline?
The average height of a clothesline is around 6 ft to 7 1/2 ft tall. It is best to make your line tall enough so the laundry doesn’t touch the ground but low enough to accommodate the height of the person hanging out the laundry.
Will clothes dry on the line in the winter?
Yes is the short answer. If you live in a climate with freezing or subfreezing temperatures, your line-dried clothes will likely freeze. Don’t fret. Bring them in and lay them out to thaw at which time you will find they are dry. It’s a multi-step process but it still works.
Why does my clothesline sag?
All clotheslines will sag from time to time. The weight of the clothes on the line will pull it down slightly but it shouldn’t sag to the point of the clothes touching the ground.
Causes can be as simple as the line being too long or the cord needing to be replaced after years of use. Clotheslines require maintenance.
One way to fix a drooping clothesline is by installing line tighteners as we have recommended in our DIY Clothesline tutorial.
More Clothesline Options
- Fold Up Air Drying Laundry Rack to use indoors during inclement weather
- Retractable Wall Mount Clothesline, good for apartment balcony, laundry room, or garage
- Portable Elastic Retractable Clothesline for travel
- Honey-Can-Do Heavy Duty Gullwing Drying Rack, great for sweaters (Amazon best seller)
More Ways To Reduce Household Expenses
- 7 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Winter Energy Bill Right Now
- Cheap Meals To Make When The Budget Is Tight
- 52 Simple Budgeting Tips For Families
- 15 Ways To Cut Your Household Budget Starting Today
- How We Finally Reduced Our Electric Bill