Here's a good article (looks to be a series!) that I found. We can all take this as good advice.
Thirty Sustainable Days - Day One, Use a Solar Clothes Dryer
Day 1: Use a solar clothes dryer to dry your
The solar clothes dryer is a marvelous invention.
It is simple to build, use, and maintain. You
1. A length of rope, commonly sold in dollar
stores as "clothes line".
2. Clothes pins, also sold in dollar stores.
3. Something to stretch the clothes line between.
My clothes line is stretched between a tree and a
fence post. You can also plant posts in the
ground specifically for use as your solar clothes
dryer. The traditional model is a "T" shaped
post, allowing for 2 or 3 strands of clothes line.
Another helpful item is a pouch to hang around
your neck, in which you put the clothes pins while
hanging the clothes out to dry. Clothes racks are
available to allow indoor drying of clothes. If
you have a solar sun porch, that would be a great
place to dry your clothes on rainy days.
This is one of the simplest and easiest steps
towards sustainability. It also provides great
benefits -- the clothes smell great!
Besides the ease and simplicity of the solar
clothes dryer, there is a second reason I selected
it for the first step.
We might as well, at the very beginning,
understand that as we move towards sustainability,
questions of race, class, and personal entitlement
must be addressed.
Whenever I talk about using a solar clothes dryer,
the following objections are often presented:
1. "My neighbors will think I'm weird if I use a
2. "Using a clothes line is so white trash."
3. "I like soft towels."
4. I don't have time for that.
About 6% of the nation's electrical energy is used
to dry clothes. One reference I found on the
internet said that about 3 kilograms of greenhouse
gases are created for each load of clothes dried.
So we need to ask ourselves if our personal
attitudes about race, class, and personal
entitlement are more important than saving energy
and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If race,
class, and personal entitlement win, then we all
lose because that is the path to the ash-heap of
history, a future that looks more like Mordor than
There is no way forward into sustainability that
does not involve challenging those attitudes of
race, class, and personal entitlement so that we
change the way we do things. Sustainability is
not a matter of belonging to the right
organizations, writing letters, believing
politically correct opinions, and despising
unpolitically correct politicians. Sustainability
is about how we live our lives.
We Americans are incredibly wealthy by world
standards. From that wealth we often derive a
personal sense of entitlement. If we think we are
entitled to use all the energy we want, then we
will use all the energy we want. We actually look
down on people who use sustainable methods -- such
as the solar clothes dryer -- because we think our
economic status entitles us to waste energy by
using an electric or natural gas clothes dryer.
Our neighbors opinions of what we do (or what we
think our neighbors opinions will be) become more
important than securing peace, justice, and
sustainability in the world around us.
Because we are special, we think our time is so
important that we can waste energy in order to
"save time". We never stop to question the
assumption that we are actually saving time as we
squander fossil fuels and release greenhouse
And so it comes to pass that we are well
programmed to be mindless consumers, ravaging the
earth and polluting the atmosphere in our quest
for the "good life". Breaking free of that will
require conscious effort to challenge our own
personal attitudes that keep us from moving
Nine times out of ten, when I suggest sustainable
alternatives, the response is a variety of
objections as to why it won't work, or why it
isn't appropriate for a particular situation.
That's how we got into the situation we are in.
Nobody wakes up in the morning, yawns, and says to
themselves, "Well, today I am going to ravage the
earth and pollute the atmosphere." Yet, in the
myriads of decisions we make during the day, we
often decide to ravage the earth, pollute the
atmosphere, and oppress the poor.
If we want to be in a better situation, then we
need to make better decisions. Some of those are
big decisions, some of them are small.
I don't see any way into a sustainable future that
would allow us to continue to run electric or
natural gas dryers to dry our clothes. Perhaps we
could use them on rainy days (although maybe we
could wait for a sunny day to do our laundry), or
in an emergency when you just have to have a clean
shirt in 15 minutes (or maybe we could plan our
clothing use better), or when it is very cold.
And people who are disabled may be entitled to
clothes dryers because of their physical condition
and ability. But those would be "extraordinary"
situations, the "ordinary" way to dry our clothes
will be the solar clothes dryer.
This is not a bad thing. This is a good thing.
It is an easy way to add a lot of value to your
What is virtue? Virtue is the habit of doing
good. How do we develop virtue? By doing good
things. Do a good thing today -- on your way
home, pick up some clothes line and clothes pins
at your favorite local store.
PS. Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the
good. If switching to 100% solar clothes drying
is too much to contemplate at first, then solar
dry your clothes every other week, or on some
other schedule. Every BTU saved is a BTU that
doesn't contribute to greenhouse gases in the