Solar clothes dryer

Ever since we moved into our Hawaii Kai, Oahu, home eight years ago, I have been hanging laundry on our seven clotheslines that are in the garage. Exposed to the elements, with just a little bit of cover overhead, my laundry benefits from the germ-killing sunshine and sometimes for an extra rinse cycle thanks to the trade wind showers. Sheets dry on a breezy, sunny day in about an hour. Denim can hang over night. Aloha shirts and blouses hang on hangers. I probably have more than 250 clothespins and have come close to using them all. Sometimes I have to wait until a nosy carpenter bee is through inspecting my clothespin stash before I can finish.

My grandmother’s philosophy was to hang laundry on the line the way it is worn on a body. Shirts hung from the shoulders, pants from the waist. Therefore, the drape and wear on the person isn’t contradicted by the drape and wear on the line. 

Besides the economics, one advantage to using a clothesline over a dryer is that you can leave it up until you have time to take it down. A lot of times I hang or take down my laundry last thing at night or first thing in the morning. It’s dark, the stars are sparkling, and I look at the constellations, planes and satellites as I reach up. Doing the laundry is cathartic for me. It’s a nice quiet time, whether I’m folding and stacking or hanging pants with pants, T-shirts with T-shirts, underwear and bandanas each from their own clothes pin. It’s a quiet me time when I get to think about things.cropped-bandanas22.jpg

My lines are too tall for my girls who are now 9 and 7 years old. Eventually, I’ll give up my laundry duties to them so they learn one of life’s basic chores and so they’re never stuck without clean underwear. Besides, it’s time they learned to clean the bathroom!

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. Years ago when I had bliss in my own place as a single gal, my dryer broke and I was too broke & cheap to get it fixed… I hung laundry for the next couple of years. It was wonderful, not to mention saved tons on the electric bill.

    I have many happy memories of hanging laundry with my grams when I’d stay with her during the summers in Colorado. She had a clothes pin bag she made out of an old denim vest. She had me hang clothes upside down. Shirts by the bottom, pants by the bottom cuffs, and right next to each other so they could share clothes pins.

  2. Hi! My clothes line is in the garage. We pretty much hang everything except for towels and sheets. Personally, I do not like crunchy towels so I rely on the dryer to get the fluff effect!

  3. Shawn:
    I have to agree with you. I put bath towels in the dryer for the fluff effect, I also put knit tops, especially black, to remove lint and to reshape them. Gym towels go on the line. I like those kinda crackly and stiff, LOL!

  4. Maybe because I don’t employ Grandma’s philosophy for hanging wet laundry, my clothes all have a haphazard drape.

    Enjoy reading your blogs as always =)

  5. In MANY parts of the Big Island… you can’t even have a real dryer because you’re either living off grid completely, or the power supply that you are limited to…won’t support a Dryer.

    I lived in a part of Oahu, that if you didn’t watch your clothes on the dryer… they would be stolen.

  6. True, Damon!
    When I lived in The Townhouse, a condo in Makiki, the mother-daughter team who delivered the afternoon newspaper helped themselves to clothes in the dryer all the time. I saw them wearing my shorts! Glad to be in a house where sharing utilities like that are not an issue. Thanks for your comment.

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