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Let us not be ashamed of our clotheslines

April 22, 2008

Funny how just as the west starts to realize the folly of certain habits, we in the developing countries begin to get introduced to them! I am talking of the humble clothesline.

The clothesline has been looked upon with disdain in the west (in North America and parts of Europe) for many years…until now. Whether its residential apartments or independent houses, municipalities have enforced rules which prohibit residents from displaying their laundry.

Clotheslines which are visible from the road are considered infradig, low-brow and ugly! Upper class people look down on them. And so does the government. Penalties for breaking this ordinance can be over 500 dollars in the United States in many well-to-do localities.apartment

Just contrast this to India where clotheslines are dime a dozen…and not just in the slums. You can see them adorning apartment blocks as well as posh bungalows. Sure, some colonies do turn up their nose at those who hang out their laundry, but it’s a rare colony which lays down strict rules to disallow it. As for Indian municipalities, they have too much on their minds to bother about clotheslines.

But in the west there is a strong movement to overturn bans on clotheslines and you’ve guessed it – thats because clotheslines are environment friendly. In Ontario, Canada, a couple ( Rob and Laurie Cook) are defying the law which which bans outdoor clotheslines. The couple want to do their bit for global warming and believe that dryers are a waste of energy.

The Cooks are part of a loose global network of people who are rallying around what they call the “right to dry.” … Tumble dryers, like sport utility vehicles, are verging on an image problem: Once symbols of economic success, they have morphed into icons of environmental disregard. The gas guzzlers of household appliances, electric dryers use about as much energy as a refrigerator – consuming more than 6 percent of household energy – even though they are used only intermittently.

Time magazine says that “Drying clothes in the sun can save up to 10-25 per cent of household energy consumption.”

Another site:

By hanging just 25 per cent of those laundry loads out to dry, consumers could save about $30 a year on their electricity bills and make a meaningful contribution to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases

More than half of the developed world uses clothes dryers (more than 50 percent of those in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and Britain). Their number is growing….in the Netherlaclothes linesnds, the dryers have been doubling every 10 years!

In India few people (including the affluent) use clothes dryers, even if they do own them. Most people don’t own them. Reasons aplenty for this:

  • The hot weather helps dry clothes quickly
  • The household help does the job of hanging out the clothes
  • Nobody cares if you hang the laundry outside
  • There are no laws against hanging the laundry outside
  • People cannot afford dryers, which can cost upwards of Rs 10000

Experts have said that household emissions are a quarter of the total emissions in developed countries and therefore stopping the use of dryers will make a significant dent. Thats why I hope that India never graduates to dryers.

And its not just to save energy. Dryers reduce the life of our clothes.

There are alternatives to hanging laundry outside if one thinks it looks ugly. One can get a pulley-operated clothes rack which can be slung up right to the ceiling after it’s loaded with clothes. These are much cheaper than dryers…but they won’t work in a cold damp climate. They are ideal for India’s climate though and a far better alternative to a dryer. But if you have to hang clothes outside, hang them outside. Better than using a dryer. Clotheslines are not something we need to become ashamed of. Let urban India not become like this Gurgaon locality where residents associations are discouraging the use of clotheslines. The “right to dry” is what all need to stand up for if the time ever comes upon us.

Related Reading: Global Warming and its effect on India
India cannot deal with global warming alone

More: Pesticides poisoning India
Sound Pollution in India – a solution?
Where have all our sparrows gone?
Shocking pollution during the Ganesh Festival
Hoarding epidemic in India!
Clothes contain chemicals that could harm you

(Photographs copyrighted to me)

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55 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2008 8:27 am

    Totally bang on Nita! I totally dislike using clothes dryers here, but don’t have a choice. I can’t even think of drying my clothes in my small balcony here. Plus, we waste so much of energy. Clothes get spoiled much faster too. Of course, you’ve pretty much covered all the points in this post. 🙂

    I wonder how people will manage to dry their clothes in India now. Even if you use floor cloth drying hangers, some clothes might still be visible. Mostly, people tie ropes on their balconies and use it for clothes drying. I don’t know what’s “gross” about it.

    Stop paper bills and stop using plastic bags, but start using clothes dryer machines! Wah!

  2. April 22, 2008 9:07 am

    This is not the first time, nor will it be the last when I’ve had a post sitting in my draft folder with the same topic and I see it published here. 🙂
    (Are you sure you can’t read minds? 🙂 )

    Yes, there shouldn’t be any shame in using clotheslines, and some people who are conscious have been using them in the US (including the members of a house where I lived few years ago) and it is becoming a commonly discussed idea to stop using the dryer and start drying clothes on a line. Things have come a full circle.

  3. April 22, 2008 9:39 am

    Ruhi, contradictory isn’t it! Ban plastic but welcome energy consumption! But people learn from their mistakes and I think the west is doing so now. I hope! 🙂

    Amit, as long as you don’t publish a post sitting in my draft folder, I’m fine with it! 🙂 Yeah, but I think we do have similar concerns about the environment. But actually you know I am a Jack of all Trades. Even during my 9-5 days. When I was with The Telegraph in Kolkata I wrote on every conceivable topic from law and consumer issues to obesity and womens issues! Then in Mumbai I worked for 2 years with their Health supplement and I wrote on everything concerning Health, from fitness and fatness to every concievable disease! And marketing articles in my ET stint. The truth is ofcourse that I don’t have any in-depth knowledge on any of these issues. 🙂 You have far more knowledge of environmental issues for example, and I am looking forward to reading your post.

  4. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 22, 2008 9:59 am

    A basic point: If some people find clothes drying outdoors unsightly, then there should be appropriate civic legislation to provide houses (especially flats) with enough DESIGNED space, with adequate air circulation, to dry them out of sight.

    And this does not mean space for just the quotidian six items per head of outer and inner wear plus personal accessories per head of a statistically derived family of 4.7–5.3 members. One also does have to dry (even if not everyday) bed-linen, towels and assorted other items of household use.

    In a hot, dry place such as Ahmedabad, for ten months of the year, it takes barely an hour for clothes to dry outdoors. During the two humid and cloudy months many people, after washing them in the traditional way, spin them in the machine to extract the excess water and let nature do the rest.

    The only rational case against drying clothes outdoors, in most parts of India, is that the colours fade rapidly. Well! All the more reason to avoid bright colours which, in most most modern textiles, anyway consist of hazardous chemical dyes.

  5. April 22, 2008 10:00 am

    Nita, You are absolutely right. MOST of Indian families can not afford a dryer. You should have written this part in bold. 😀
    One more thing I always notice about India (and all developing countries) is that most of issues or say problems are mostly caused by economical conditions.

  6. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 22, 2008 10:15 am

    Also, IMHO, the billboards, hoardings, paste-up posters and neon signs that adorn (?) our urban landscape are far more ugly than drying clothes.

  7. April 22, 2008 11:53 am

    Nita you have hit on one of my pet peeves – the sheer idiocy for about 20 years in parts of Canada to ban drying clothes outside. My youngest sister lives in an upper middle class neighbourhood with pretentions that they are so above it all as to not HAVE to do more than push buttons to dry their laundry. They have a community ban on outside drying of clothes, even in capacious backyards. I call the place “Disneyland”, although it has a more U name. Pickup trucks have to be parked in garages, motorbikes, ditto, only a certain type of planting in the front yards and a stricture to maintain a manicured lawn that looks like a golf green. Reality check for these folks – people, of all kinds do have dirty laundry – and the cleaning and drying thereof is a natural chore of householders. The whole notion of such pretentiousness drives me crazy. Of course, these people are in the rear-guard of environmental behaviour. Such is life here among the haves, complete with obscene attitudes. G

  8. April 22, 2008 2:12 pm

    When we say we got freedom here in India. ITs Spelled FREEDOM, unlike other democracies around we are indeed a free country. I can dry my clothes up on the terrace or out on my balcony and noone will care. Man! that is freedom. Now I realize how simple things like that are often taken for granted, while we compare each and everthing with the west. 😀

  9. April 22, 2008 2:42 pm

    by dryer you mean the washing machines? if so well a lot of people have it/in the process of getting it…

  10. April 22, 2008 3:30 pm

    Vivek, I agree with you entirely, space needs to be provided for drying if the colony is forbidding the drying. I don’t know if such ‘drying balconies’ which are by the way very common in army type flats, are provided in Europe and America. Probably they aren’t. And I can add one more unsightly thing in our cities…construction debris!

    Suda, We are environment friendly by default! 🙂

    Suburban, good to know your down to earth attitude! Yep, all that looking down on laundry is sheer pretentiousness, common to upper class people. Not allowing laundry in the backyard I think is going to the extreme. If one doesn’t like to look at one’s neighbour’s laundry, one can always grow a tall hedge or something. And about all those other restriction, it must be making each house look identical to the other. Thats pretty boring.

    Xylene, don’t forget – freedom to litter too! 🙂

    Vishesh, no I don’t mean washing machines. Dryers are separate contraptions. After clothes are taken out of the automatic washing machine, they need to be hung out, even if the water has been squeezed out of them. Once clothes come out of a dryer you can fold them straightaway.

  11. Joss permalink
    April 22, 2008 3:31 pm

    Yes, it both incenses and amazes me that people in Britain continue to use tumble driers. They guzzle huge amounts of power, and there is no need for them. If you live in a house you can use the washing line in summer and the radiators in winter. And yet people with both gardens and central heating still use driers. Plus, of course, they’re throwing their money away. For apartment-dwellers there is more of a problem, but I hope the ‘right to dry’ movement takes off here too. I had not heard of it until now. Thanks for alerting me to it.

  12. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 22, 2008 3:40 pm


    Yes, a lot of peopl do have them or are in the process of getting them. But not everybody who has one uses it daily. It is reserved for emergency such as when the domestic help does not turn up, or when there is a particularly large load. And even then, you will find that the drier mechanism rarely used beyond getting the clothes from “wet” to “damp”. As for getting them thoroughly dry by using heat during the last cycle, not too many machines available in the market have that facility.

    The overall economics of washing clothes is still tilted in favour of paid human labour, however expensive.

    Surprisingly, round-the-corner laundromats have not taken off in India, not even in urban localities with concentrations of young, single people with high disposable incomes. Such people tend to rely a lot on dhobis and dry-cleaners, despite the reduced life expectancy of clothes associated with the former and the expenses with the latter.

  13. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 22, 2008 3:49 pm


    The job-tied accommodation provided by the armed forces, the railways, many nationalised banks, and by the elite departments of the government (Space, Atomic Energy etc.) as well as by public sector corporations (ONGC etc.) is exceptionally good, especially outside Mumbai (even in Mumbai there are happy exceptions). It would be the envy of most top corporate types.

  14. April 22, 2008 4:04 pm

    Joss, if the weather is good I guess one should be allowed to dry clothes outside. But if the climate is damp and cold for a large part of the year and your houses are heated then it means a pulley like arrangement in the corridors will work quite well. It would cut down on the driers anyway. Here in India in apartment blocks people fix rods outside their balconies as you can see in the picture.

    Vivek, yeah, central govt. accomodation is great as it not only comes with drying balconies but a room for the household help!
    However even then I see people using their balconies as the space in the drying balconies is never enough. As you said, one’s linen, and sarees etc need more space. In India also I find people have more laundry and I think partly it is due to our hot weather as we cannot wear the same thing twice.
    Thats an interesting point you made, about the laundermatts. There are hardly any around. Its because household help and the services of the friendly neighbourhood dhobi who hand delivers are still thriving in most parts of India.

  15. April 22, 2008 4:35 pm

    namaste NITA!
    i’m against dry machines and also Air conditioned machines because the people have not a responsable use of this machines (global warming).
    In my country its very common to hang the clothes outside in a line and I think it looks very nice, warm,…! Remember the typical image of a little town in Italy, where the street is packed of clotheslines…its like a picture!!! its great!!!

    The law should bother about most important things than silly things like this…
    Have a nice day!

  16. April 22, 2008 5:33 pm

    I never knew that its banned in certain countries to dry clothes in the sun??? 😆 I guess the west has a lot to learn from India, whether it may be the art of living, sprituality or drying clothes. But this post is quite an eye opener. I never thought that drying clothes outside can save a lot of energy. I should have talked my mom into not buying a fully automatic machine. 🙂
    But, don’t you think that its silly to form a law on such non issues??

  17. April 22, 2008 5:34 pm

    by the way, don’t you get confused by two Amits??

  18. April 22, 2008 6:38 pm

    As far as I know, the ban on line drying in the US is imposed by the housing associations for certain localities/buildings in a city where the owners are concerned with the looks and don’t want the property prices to go down. It would be rare (probably impossible) for a city or state to pass a law banning line drying of clothes. Just wanted to clarify that point and make that distinction as some of the comments seemed to mix the two.

  19. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 22, 2008 6:40 pm

    Amit (whichever one) 🙂 :

    “… spirituality of drying clothes … !” I like that 🙂 .

  20. April 22, 2008 7:18 pm

    Francina, namaskar to you too (Thats in Marathi) 🙂 Yes, I have heard that Italy does not follow the hide your laundry policy. Cheers to that!

    Amit, after washing clothes in a fully automatic machine one needs to still hang them out! We in India rarely use heat in our washing machines, though such types are also available. And about mixing you two up, never! Even though here the avatar doesn’t appear, it appears in the comment page where I see the comments. If you didn’t have an avatar it would be possible at times! But no, not really! 🙂 But let me add, if you avoid buying an automatic washing machine, that will save more energy! I doubt that your mom is going to like the idea though. 🙂

    Amit, from what I read during the research, it is the town municipalities which are doing it. I found a link where a woman in Florida had to appear in court. You can read about that here. And certainly certain towns in Canada are doing it. It said so in the research I did. I am not so sure about the U.S though. But as you said, its not that common.

  21. April 22, 2008 7:47 pm

    @Vivek : Cummon!!! Its “spirituality OR drying clothes”. 🙂 And “spirituality of drying clothes ” sounds really scary.
    @Nita : Got the point. And yes my mom will never accept such an idea. I can’t even think about speaking such things in front of her. 🙂

  22. April 22, 2008 7:54 pm

    Nita, thanks. I stand corrected. I guess some small towns and localities in the US can pass laws like that, but I don’t see that happening in a city like NYC or Boston.

  23. April 22, 2008 7:57 pm

    I really liked the title. “let us not be ashamed”…washing/drying in many our household is still done manually..and drying clothes in the sun is very common. One thing I have noticed is that clothes do not smell bad if dried in sun..but only problem I see with this approach of drying clothes is the embarrassments which I feel when undergarments keep flying around the balconies of homes.

  24. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 22, 2008 9:54 pm


    My apologies. I had the wrong pair of specs on!

  25. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 22, 2008 10:00 pm


    Nice to see you making that fine distinction between “namaste” and “namaskar”. Actually I have, since childhood, heard quite a few Marathi speakers using the former too, though I myself insist on using the latter. What gets my goat is the emerging trend among Maharashtrians of saying “namasHkar”, paan-in-the-mouth-bhaiya-style.

  26. Guqin permalink
    April 22, 2008 11:36 pm

    Clothes lines being considered ugly is a perfect example of the deception of modern culture. If a man stands naked in the street, the man is considered odd. But if we think it through, it is the street being odd, we artificially created the street as something special (Please don’t mis-intreprate, not encouraging people going out naked in the street here.).

    Clothes lines are definitely natural and beautiful, it is the overly artifiacail environment (geometrically designed buildings, plastic looking colors, non-existent textures etc.) that makes clothes lines unnatural the truly unnatural and ugly one. When people live in such artificial environments long enough, they learn to see the clothes lines as ugly. When this collective consciousness becomes common knowledge, banning clothes lines becomes law.

  27. April 22, 2008 11:42 pm


    I have another idea . . . people can wear damp clothes,there would be no need for drying them,it would help in keeping things cool in the heat as well 🙂 If film “stars” can wear wet clothes,the common man can wear damp ones 🙂

  28. April 23, 2008 12:00 am

    didnt expect the humble clothesline to be so utile and nature friendly Hmm i must say this is one of ur most well thought posts 🙂
    little wonder u have A wide angle view

    i must admit , though my machine can dry to 95 % i have depressed the slow down button so am fine, with the semi dry clothes at 70% dryness
    namaskar sounds way more dignified too, but most Amazing india adds focus on namaste
    raj ,
    with the heat that is tormenting us , it wd be a practical idea, else one might die of dehydration and sunstroke 🙂

    ps delete the prev comment

  29. April 23, 2008 12:47 am

    This issue also highlights how a certain action (using a dryer, or rather, not using a clothesline) in certain societies gets equated with status symbol, is looked down upon and is considered a sign of “progress” that everyone else is supposed to sign on to. 🙂

  30. Ravi permalink
    April 23, 2008 1:41 am

    LOL Raj, your idea of wearing wet clothes to avoid “disturbing” view of clothesline was funny 🙂

  31. April 23, 2008 3:17 am

    I’m not sure if “disdain” is the right word, but I do know that “in the west” is wrong. My parents have a clothesline, as do most of the people in my little part of Canada. Most of my friends in Montreal and Toronto have one or one of those little metal clothes trees in their backyard.

    There are regions, like Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa, which have municipal councils with far too much time on their hands. Kanata has bylaws which determine the colour of your house, the height of your hedges and how long you can park on the street in front of your home.

    The law in Ontario (largest Canadian province), has been deficient in that it doesn’t prevent private developers from banning clotheslines in their developments.

    So the “bans” placed on clotheslines come from condo associations, or building associations and similar small private groups. So “the builders are writing the no-clothesline policy into their purchasing agreements over concerns that they destroy the aesthetics of a neighbourhood.” [here]

    I’m not sure where Rob and Laurie Cook are, but there are no blanket city bans, or provincial or federal bans in Canada. And the limits that are in place are mostly legacy edicts which were put in place during a time when people still thought it was okay to use treated water to wash their sidewalks.

    Another issue, at least here in Canada, is clotheslines only work for five months of the year. Chances are very good anything left outside from November to April is going to freeze solid. For example, today in Edmonton (Canada) it’s -4C, where I am it’s +26C. My parents have interior clothes trees to hang their laundry on in the winter, fall and rainy days, and they do have a dryer setup just in case something they want to wear is still damp but during the warm months they do have a clothesline suspended from their back porch.

    It is interesting you wrote about this now, however. Just a few days ago the Ontario Premier announced they would be changing the law so that private developers could no longer ban clotheslines in Ontario.

    You can find the April 18, 2008 announcement [here]

    But this is the important bit:

    “The provincial government is putting an end to restrictions that prevent people in some areas of the province from using outdoor clotheslines.”

  32. April 23, 2008 7:31 am

    Gabriel, thanks for that detailed information from Canada. Put things in perspective. However when you say why I wrote about it just now, it is precisely because Canada is thinking of overturning the ban! I read that they are doing so and my point in the post was that the west (not just Canada) is realising the folly of its ways on this subject. There are others up in arms against this practice in the USA too. However in India this tendency is just starting in certain upscale localities and no one thinks anything is wrong with it.

    Rambler, I think drying clothes in the sun has a lot of advantages, one of them being that it kills bacteria as the sun is a disinfectant. When my babies were small, I dried all their diapers in the sun to disinfect them – the doc had told me too! I love drying underclothes in the sun too! But I try and not display them to the world. 🙂

    Prax, thanks. However most washing m/c’s work like that. One needs a separate electric dryer and that is what people have in the developed west.

    Amit, that is what gets my goat. People in India have started doing it too. There is one lady in our colony who hangs out her clothes on the front balcony (we all have drying balconies) and people look down upon her. I think she has more clothes than usual, as its a bigger family.

  33. April 23, 2008 8:04 am

    I’m a Canadian living on the west coast. I see this is an urban issue that’s hard to relate to. I live in rural and semi-remote conditions where thankfully clotheslines are not at issue. In winter it rains and we have no choice but to use clothes driers but in spring, summer and fall using clotheslines comes naturally. They save energy and thereby reducing our electricity bills. The sunlight disinfects the fabrics and the result is clean clothes that smell good. That’s a rural take on the issue. Best wishes to all. 🙂

  34. April 23, 2008 8:30 am

    I understand your point, and the point you’re making, I just have a problem when you write “the west/Canada is realizing the folly of its ways on this subject” and “But in the west there is a strong movement to overturn bans…”

    We’ve never moved away from the clothesline, and we’ve definitely never banned their use… the private developers which have banned, in the past, the use of clotheslines make up a tiny, really insignificant percentage of Canada and “the west”. The new Ontario law which will prevent, in the future, these developers from banning clotheslines isn’t a Canadian law, it’s a provincial law (if anyone’s counting there are ten Canadian provinces and three territories). I’m not sure what the laws are in the other Provinces and Territories.

    And, again, it will effect only the tiny percentage of people who live in these private developments… private housing developments which are owned by a company, an individual or a group which then leases or rents housing based on contracts which stipulate how those units can be used.

    The “ban on clotheslines” here in Canada really does not exist. Most houses in the region of Canada I live in have them. But in the biggest cities — Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary — there is a growing awareness, and a voluntary movement starting where people are returning or remembering the use of clotheslines, either as an environmental option or a financial option.

    But really, it’s just remembering that the option has always been there, some of us may have forgotten but considering appliances like the automated washer / dryer come from the Convenience Revolution of the 1950’s, this has been almost a sixty year long obsession in “the west”. In a general sense, just like most cultures when something new and shiny is introduced “the west” adopted technology with both hands, but are now seeing value in their/our past.

    I’m doing a laundry tomorrow (Wednesday), so if the rain stays away I’ll take a photo of a Canadian clothesline for you…

  35. April 23, 2008 8:46 am

    Thanks Gabriel. I understand perfectly what you mean. You are saying that just about 1 percent (less!) of Canada has banned clotheslines. However, the ban is one thing, and social disapproval is another. I think there is a certain social disapproval going on there in upscale localities. But as you said the problem is not that large. Thanks for returning. 🙂

  36. April 23, 2008 7:55 pm

    It’s my pleasure… although I think I contradicted myself at least once in my last post when I wrote “We’ve never moved away from the clothesline…” because “We” have. It really is a matter if convenience, and there are as many people with washer/driers as there are with clotheslines. Your point is well made, and your headline is spot on…

    thanks gabriel, and its always a pleasure when you drop in! I am in goa right now! just arrived!! 🙂 – Nita

  37. April 24, 2008 1:13 am

    Very good post Nita.
    //As for Indian municipalities, they have too much on their minds to bother about clotheslines.// If the municipalities bother about the trash thrown on the road outside the houses and in the lanes and the by lanes of the cities I will be happy.

  38. April 24, 2008 3:28 am

    Most homeowner’s Assoc do ban the clotheslines and are run by morons who are obsessed with property prices. So they frequently give out warning notes about lawn heights and garbage bins left out too long etc. But the clothes line is a no brainer, sunlight is best.
    Luckily we have a indep house and no assoc. I do line dry clothes on sunny days which we have a lot of in Calif. I actually dry them in the shade of the side yard away from neighbors who may not like it. I know a lot of neighbors hang clothes outside. Perhaps a compromise solution would be to hang chaddi-banian type items indoors to not offend others.
    A lot of desis with kids have those small accordion style clothes hangers for kids’ stuff in apartment balconies.

  39. April 24, 2008 6:39 am

    Nita, can’t agree more! Not only are dryers (especially the ones we use in the U.S.) power-consuming, they destroy your clothes. Longevity drops dramatically.

    I think Indian dryers are not that powerful, so they don’t dry it completely. That’s much better.

    I would love to hang my clothes out to dry, but I cannot 😦 My apartment owners don’t allow it 😦

    I hope India, the country of abundant sunshine, does not make this compulsory — we are trying so desperately to trap solar energy for other purposes; what’s the point of not using it when it’s so freely available and does the job perfectly well?


  40. April 24, 2008 7:44 am

    SS, there are folding wooden racks that can be used indoors, but their capacity is rather limited.

  41. April 24, 2008 10:24 am

    in singapore, all apartments have a provision for drying clothes. they do it in a unique fashion.
    outside one of the windows, they provide 3 sockets where you can attach a bamboo pole. people clip the clothes on that bamboo pole and then put the pole in that socket.
    you might search for the pictures for these clothesline.. and it is something which can be easily replicated in mumbai.

    PS: i registered a new blog.. but somehow i do not feel like writing anything 😦

  42. April 24, 2008 4:00 pm

    It’s strange that in Kenya we inherited such british tendencies to ban clothes lines in some apartments – many of which are now built with interior wash areas where clothes can dry (unseen from outside) or on the flat roofs of the top floor of apartment blokcks

  43. Rebecca permalink
    April 25, 2008 12:27 am

    I use a clothes dryer here in California. I set the dryer to leave my blouses / shirts just slightly damp and if I hang them right away they do not need ironing.

    If I use a clothes line they are more wrinkled and need ironing. I wonder about the energy savings of using a gas dryer versus using an iron.

  44. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 26, 2008 5:57 am


    //i registered a new blog.. but somehow i do not feel like writing anything//

    It’s called writer’s block. Unless you are learning Tamil and confused between “blog” and “bock” 🙂 .

  45. April 26, 2008 9:12 pm

    i have been blogging everyday for 3 years now. its just recently wordpress had blocked my blog and after that i was so much frustrated and sad that i stopped blogging all together

  46. April 30, 2008 12:38 pm

    @ Amit.
    Right about the folding racks, but if it’s indoors, where’s the sunshine 😉

  47. October 22, 2009 3:21 pm

    Hey Nita, this is my first time here. I confess that I belonged to the category who felt ashamed of drying clothes outside one’s balcony. So my drying line is indoors. At times during the rains especially, I remember keeping the clothes stand inside the house and turning on the fan overnight. (We dont have much choice in the monsoons anyway)
    Your post was an eye-opener. Starting today all my washed linen goes out in the balcony!

  48. December 18, 2011 4:17 pm

    Nita, the post is spot on.

    I lived in Abu Dhabi for a year and now been in Dubai for the last 6 years. UAE has strict rules regarding the clothes drying in the balcony. Few emirates in UAE have strict regulations, banning the residents from drying clothes on the balcony or window spaces.
    UAE has a hot weather throughout the year except the winter months which last for four months. Federal and State governments view it as downgraded estate management and bad look to the city. Sharjah has the law in place from 2000 onwards and recently the emirates started cracking down errant tenants and imposing fines from AED 500 to AED 1500. My Sharjah based friends got tickets issued to them of AED 500.

    By the way, my brother is a small scale manufacturer of clothesline and smart hangers, located and operating from Bangalore. I am glad that he is helping the society in a small way to reduce the carbon footprints and to save on electricity bills too.

    Hope this may be a useful website for some citizens living in Bangalore. (Nita, I wish you don’t mind my recommendation of my brother’s website.)

    Best regards

    Dear Dani,
    I don’t publish links to commercial sites. But in any case I checked out the website and got a pop-up on my computer about a virus. “Trojan Horse Blocked” that is what my anti-virus told me. I would advise you not to post that link on any other websites. Thanks for visiting. – Nita.

    • January 7, 2012 4:20 am

      Hi Nita, thanks for the reply. I shall inform this to the website builder to head up and see if it’s malfunctioning. By the way, it was built on wordpress CMS and I think it needs now a version update to treat the visitors friendly.

  49. Vivek permalink
    November 2, 2015 4:47 pm

    I know this is an old article, but I had to comment. I came upon this, oddly enough, while searching for gas dryers, which seem to be about as rare as unicorns in India.

    While I agree that drying in the sun is environmentally sounder, there are many reasons why someone would want to use an electric or gas dryer. I’ve found that during my stays in India, my clothes get absolutely destroyed in a matter of months in the sun. A favorite sweatshirt of mine only survived about three months, after years of use in the US(and regular use of the gas dryer) kept it like new. So there I am at odds with those who claim that longevity is an issue with automatic dryers. Another issue I’ve found- and this is unique to India in my experience, having also used clotheslines in the US- is that clothes not only lose their fresh scent from the washing machine, but often smell like sweat when they are dried in the sun. I’m not sure if it’s the harsh sun(UV ratings often go far higher than the maximum of 9 or 10 that I experienced in the US), or if it is the rampant pollution, but I am quite dissatisfied with that aspect of sun-drying in India.

    I recently moved from an apartment with a small terrace, where I used to dry my clothes on a rack, to another which has tiny balconies, and quite insufficient space to hang out the clothes. So that is an issue which I’m sure many have in common with me. Also, if I need to dry my clothes in a spell of wet/damp weather, I would have no option but to spread them out under a fan all night. Not particularly energy efficient, and it adds to the humidity indoors.

    Lastly, I want to touch on the aspect of bans on outdoor drying in certain parts of the west. While India may be “tolerant” about hanging your clothes outdoors or tossing your garbage into the neighbor’s back yard, the west does have certain reasons for imposing rules. With regard to clotheslines, the bans are usually in the more upscale neighborhoods or towns, and you will find there also stringent rules about how high your grass can be, where you should place your trash cans, replacing missing roof tiles, if your son’s “banger” used car is an eyesore and should be removed or covered up, and so on. It is part of what gives an area a certain look and “feel”, and gives it value over other areas. In India, unfortunately, people generally don’t seem to give a rat’s tail about aesthetics, and that apathy seems to be mistaken for “tolerance”.

    My two cents on the subject!


    • November 8, 2015 3:41 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts on the issue Vivek.

  50. January 16, 2016 6:42 am

    A very relevant issue to be addressed. In an expensive condominium, i have seen people who are forced to drying clothes in small spaces next to kitchen, end up using fungal creams due to improperly dried garments, especially undercloths.

  51. Mihir permalink
    January 16, 2021 5:10 pm

    Sorry but clotheslines are just plain ugly. They should be avoided as much as possible. People living in 2BHK+ apartments in hot places like Mumbai still hang their clothes outside in their balconies or grills.


  1. Hanging the clothes out to dry… | DesiPundit
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