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My towels are super stiff after line drying, but I don't mind, really. It's different, for sure, but thanks to Martha Stewart, I never used dryer sheets with the towels anyway. Now I'm used to it, I guess. I actually kind of like it, in a weird way. I know that's not very helpful. Sorry.

Re: reducing: I've been turning off the water while I wash my hands at work (facilitated by wrist-operable, lever-style faucet handles), and I just discovered this week that I think I can get by with one paper towel to dry my hands (at work -- cloth towels already in place at home).

Jenn S

My line-dried towels come out all scratchy too, but I prefer that. For some reason, machine dried towels (especially with the fabric softener) are too...slimy? Silky? Anyway, they don't feel absorbant. And I like the "exfoliation feel" of the line-dried towels.

But if you don't, you can get a lot of softening by letting them dry completely on the line, and then throwing them into the drier for five minutes (with or without a dryer sheet).


My mom used to line dry everything except towels because I think she really wanted those suckers dry. And I mean, this was in the late fall in Canada where stuff froze solid if you forgot to take it off the line before the sun went down. Anyway, she would also throw everything in the dryer (sans dryer sheets) for a few minutes after she brought it in. I'll bet that would solve your towel problem.

Auntie Maim

It may even work to throw them into the drier on "air/fluff" once they're dry to soften them up. I've never tried that, so I'm not sure.


Hmmm, that's a puzzle. I line dry my towels, and while they don't come out as fluffy as in the dryer, they're not scratchy. Have you tried using a liquid fabric softener in the wash, in place of a dryer sheet? That might help.


Bath towels are the one thing I don't air-dry (and sheets, but that's just because I don't have any place to hang up sheets, since I live in an apartment). I have noticed that when I air-dry washcloths and hand towels (which I do sometimes if I only have a couple), the higher-quality ones feel much nicer than the lower-quality ones. The difference is much more noticeable when they're air-dried than when they're out of the dryer.

drunken monkey

Maybe you could toss them in the dryer for five minutes or so, even just on air, to tumble them? That might soften them up. I think that's what my mother does, and she too line-dries towels in chillier Canadian climates.

I actually put my towels in the dryer, but line-dry most of my clothing -- dress pants, sweaters, shirts, etc. Really, the only things that get tossed in the dryer are jeans, pajamas, lounging clothes and underwear.

Lisa S.

Thanks for the comments. I never used dryer sheets on my towels (I read not to do that, as it cuts absorbency), so it's helpful to know that what I was missing was the fluffing action provided by the dryer.

I think I'll try that this weekend and report back!

Dan W.

I haven't had a problem with our line-dried towels, though outdoor drying might yield a different result than indoor drying as you do.

marylynn's comment about frozen clothes reminded me of one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books I was reading to my daughter, where they mentioned hanging out clothes to freeze dry!

Suggestion for your reduce-reuse-recycle thread: I've often seen "rot" appended to the 3 R's, encouraging composting. My new invention, however, is a new "R" inserted at the beginning, because you try to do this even before "reduce" -- that is "Refuse" (pronounced "reFUSE"), as in "No thank you, I don't need a bag, I brought my own". If you don't let certain things into your house in the first place, you won't have to figure out how to get rid of them!


My mother told me that I'd be proud of her, since she'd been reusing a "green" bag at the grocery store. I was indeed pleasantly surprised, especially because I don't think I'd ever really talked to her about specific environmentally-friendly things I was doing (except for the HFCS thing, and she thought I was crazy). Maybe I should work on off-handedly mentioning CFLs in conversations.


I have no suggestions for you, just the comment that I grew up with those towels (we didn't have a dryer), and when I first moved out to an apartment where there was no room to erect the clotheshorse, requiring me to use the dryer, I thought dryer-dried towels felt so bizarre! Where was the roughness to get the circulation going?

drunkey monkey

Okay, I thought of something to try for October. I've been wanting to eat more vegetarian meals, but my fiance has a hard time believing something is a meal if it doesn't contain meat. It occured to me, however, that I am the only one eating whatever I make/buy for lunch, so I could make those meals vegetarian without complaint from anyone else. So that's what I'll do -- four out of my five work lunches a week will be veggie.

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