Many people opt for hanging their clothes on clotheslines, especially during the warmer months. It’s a good way to save energy and money since you don’t need to use your tumble dryer. Still, there are more benefits to using a clothesline.
If you’re in the market for a new clothesline, we have the top 10 best clotheslines to recommend. Whether you’re looking for a certain material, one for traveling or you need one for indoor use — we can help.
- Lightweight & easy to carry
- Can be installed anywhere
- Travel must-have
- Durable stainless steel
- Sock clips
- Adjustable wings
- Easy to pull down & up
- Comes with wheel
- Can be used indoors/outdoors
- Good airflow
- Reduces wrinkles on clothes
- Holds 60 pounds
- Mold and rot-resistant
- 210 feet of space
- Easy to install
- Adjustable length
- Classy traditional appearance
- Easy to transport
- Resistant to warping & splintering
Is It Better to Dry Clothes Inside or Outside?
If you want to dry your clothes quicker, we recommend hanging them outside on a warm sunny day. Even if it’s a cold day, as long as the sun is shining, it’s likely they’ll dry much faster than inside. If your clothes dry quicker, they’re less likely to smell musty and damp.
However, if it’s humid or rainy outside, it’s better to dry the clothes inside where they will dry more quickly, even if the room is dry and cold (1).
Does Hanging Clothes Outside Kill Germs?
Yes — the ultraviolet rays can help to kill germs on your clothes. The rays can act as a disinfectant, but note that they won’t kill all germs and viruses (3). Keep in mind that if you live in an area with high air pollution or pollen count, this could make your allergies or asthma worse.
How to Choose the Best Clothesline
If you’re wondering what the best clothesline is for you, we can help! Consider these important details when shopping to discover which one will suit you the most.
There are many different materials when it comes to clotheslines. For example, there is plastic, nylon, cotton, rope, wood, and galvanized steel.
Wood will usually work for an indoor clothesline. While it’s aesthetically pleasing, make sure the wood is treated to be waterproof so that it doesn’t rot over time.
Plastic is a common choice because it’s waterproof and easy to clean. It also doesn’t stretch with heavy clothes. Plus, it’s cheap!
Nylon is similar to plastic in that it’s waterproof, easy to clean and resistant to mildew. But it’s very slippery and difficult to tie, so hanging up clothes and getting them to stay can be frustrating.
Cotton is a nice material because it’s strong and easy to hang clothes on without the pegs moving.
Definitely look at the material for each clothesline to decide which is best for you.
Always look at the length of a clothesline to make sure it will stretch all the way across your chosen space. Clotheslines come in many different lengths, so you’ll find something to suit your home or garden.
The most sturdy clotheslines are ones you can tie up yourself or umbrella clotheslines. Retractable clotheslines are fairly good, but if installed poorly, they can fall. Standing clotheslines — or clothes drying racks — are not very sturdy especially if put outside. One gust of wind can blow them over, but they are perfectly fine indoors.
Some people buy a clothesline for one specific place. If that’s your idea, then you don’t need to worry about portability.
However, if you’re going to bring your clothesline camping, or you want to move it around the garden to follow the sun, you’ll want to consider something portable. That might be a lightweight unit, or it just something you can untie and tie again, like a piece of rope.
This comes with the material you choose. For example, nylon and plastic are waterproof materials. You can easily wipe these clean if there’s ever a build-up of water or lint. Cotton and rope lines can be put in a mesh bag and washed in the machine.
However, with something like a wooden clothes drying rack, it’s a bit trickier. If it’s not treated properly, it’s going to be really difficult to keep clean.
Finally, think about versatility. If you live somewhere where the weather changes all day long, then you might want something you can bring outdoors and indoors. For example, a clothes drying rack is good for this. On the other hand, you could get a piece of rope and just untie it to place it somewhere else.
For that purpose, we wouldn’t recommend a retractable or umbrella clothesline since they need to be installed in one spot.
The Best Clotheslines of 2021
We’ve spent hours researching real customer reviews, expert advice as well as applying our own insight. We have been using clotheslines for years so we can confidently recommend these top 10 best clotheslines on the market!
Hawatour Portable Travel Elastic Clothesline
When you’re traveling, camping, or sharing a communal garden — you’ll want to try the Hawatour portable travel clothesline. You can easily put this up and take it down as and when you need to use it.
This is a must-have for people who love traveling, camping, swimming, fishing, boating, canoeing, and other outdoor activities. You can hang it between trees to dry your clothes, socks, and swimwear.
What makes this travel clothesline so great is that it comes with movable stoppers and clothespins. You can position each clothespin so that it stays put. Your clothes won’t all fall into the middle. They stay nice and fresh so they dry quickly and don’t get musty and smelly!
You can hang the clothesline anywhere! It comes with bungee stainless steel hooks. Just wrap it around a sturdy object, secure the hook and hang up the line.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Clothes don’t fall into the middle.
- Can be installed anywhere.
- Must-have for travelers.
- Only stretches 10 feet.
- Only has 12 clothespins.
|Material||Elastic and stainless steel|
|Length||Up to 10 feet|
|Versatility||Indoors and outdoors|
Songmics Foldable Clothes Drying Rack
If you don’t have a tumble dryer, or just want to save energy, but live in a rainy or humid place — you need to get an indoor clothesline. For this, we recommend the Songmics foldable clothes drying rack.
It folds up really compact, but when it’s open, it’s perfectly spacious! It has 33 rails over two tiers so you can hang up all your clothes without anything overlapping.
Made from stainless steel, this durable clothesline can hold up to 77 pounds of clothes. It won’t get rusty, moldy or mildewy — and it will last years.
When this drying rack arrives, you can have it up and running in a few seconds. It folds open quickly and easily so you can hang up your laundry with no problems at all.
Another feature: sock clips! There are 27 added sock clips on the ends of the clothesline wings so you can hang up your socks without them blowing away or falling off.
Lastly, the wings are adjustable. So if you have long towels or bed sheets, you can angle the wings so the fabric doesn’t trail on the ground.
- Easy to open, close and store.
- Durable stainless steel.
- Sock clips.
- Adjustable wings.
- Takes up space when opened.
|Length||72 feet in total|
|Versatility||Indoors or outdoors|
Foxydry Extendable Ceiling Mounted Drying Rack
Want to save space, have a statement clothesline and make drying clothes a little bit fun? Then you should check out the Foxydry extendable ceiling mounted drying rack.
This is a great way to make use of every inch of space in your home. Simply use the pulley system to pull down the clothesline. Hang your clothes on it before pulling it back up out of the way. Make use of vertical space and get the clothes out of the way of your everyday activities.
The rack is definitely a space saver. It comprises eight drying rails which can accommodate almost 12 meters of drying area. So you can widen it for larger items like sheets or towels.
It’s made from aluminum and steel so it’s sturdy. But if you exceed the 22-pound weight limit, you might have issues. This can be a hazard since it could fall from the pulley system.
- Saves space.
- Easy to pull down and up.
- Works in any room.
- Safety hazard if it falls.
- A challenge to install.
|Material||Aluminum and steel wood|
|Length||39 feet in total|
Home Solution 2-Tier Clothes Drying Rack
The Home Solution 2-Tier clothes drying rack is a handy solution if you want two levels. It also saves more space than a multi-tier drying rack. Plus, it provides better airflow.
The way this works is you hang your clothes on hangers, then attach the hangers to the arms. That way your clothes dry in their natural position without folds or bumps ingrained into them. This method reduces wrinkles vastly!
It’s also great for small items, too. The rack comes with little clips so you can hang up socks and underwear.
This is a versatile clothesline. You can use it indoors or outdoors. But you can also use it for ironing. When you’ve ironed a shirt, keep this clothesline nearby, hang up the shirt and let it completely cool wrinkle-free!
It’s also a great wardrobe replacement if you’re waiting on a new wardrobe. You can also take this with you in your camper or RV to store your clothes.
- On wheels for portability.
- It can be used indoors or outdoors.
- Space for a whole load of laundry.
- Good airflow.
- Might topple over if weight isn’t distributed evenly.
- Lightweight and flimsy construction.
|Material||Stainless steel and plastic|
|Versatility||Indoors or outdoors|
Aero W Wall Mounted Laundry Rack
Low on space? Opt for the Aero W wall mounted laundry rack. You can easily install this drying rack indoors or outdoors to save space but still dry your clothes the eco-friendly way.
This clothesline will lower your energy bill. But even more, it will also reduce wrinkles on clothes since they’re not tossing around in a dryer.
Although this is a very compact product, it still provides a total of 22 feet of space. And, it can hold up to 60 pounds of laundry.
It’s stainless steel so it’s super durable and weather resistant. Whether you’re hanging up wet jeans or just socks — this laundry rack can handle the job.
It’s also great for organization. You can use it for hanging towels or outfits for the next day. It keeps the home a little tidier.
- Reduces wrinkles.
- 22 feet of space.
- Holds 60 pounds of laundry.
- Poor mounting materials included.
- It doesn’t expand very far, so clothes don’t have much air flow.
|Length||22 feet in total|
|Versatility||Indoors or outdoors|
Ram-Pro 80 ft. All-Purpose Rope
Many people opt for a rope clothesline because it’s strong, durable and can be used for many purposes. The Ram-Pro all-purpose rope is no exception! You can use it as a clothesline, but also for climbing, crafts, a jump rope, pool safety and other purposes.
As a clothesline, though, it’s a great rope. It withstands damage from weather, and most chemical exposures, such as petrol, rot and mildew. It’s a very durable option. It doesn’t lose strength when it gets wet and isn’t likely to sag, depending on how tight you tie it.
The rope is 80 feet long, which is probably too long for most gardens and homes. But it’s easily cut up into smaller pieces. You could even install a clothesline inside and outside the home!
- Mold- and rot-resistant.
- Unlikely to sag.
- Chemically treated.
- Might fray.
|Versatility||Indoors and outdoors, all-purpose|
Household Essentials Umbrella Drying Rack
Umbrella clotheslines are more popular in the UK. Most gardens have one — and for a good reason. They’re super practical, don’t take up much space and are weather resistant. If you’re in the market for one of these, we recommend the Household Essentials Umbrella drying rack.
It has 30 vinyl lines for your laundry, totaling to 210 feet of space! You can easily hang your clothes since the umbrella rotates. So you don’t need to keep moving around, with your heavy basket of wet clothes, to hang up the laundry.
When you’re not using it, you can close it up again so it takes up minimal space in your yard. The arms are strong, durable and anti-rust.
Just keep in mind that it needs to be installed in concrete. This protects your garden and the drying rack. You also need to use a ground sleeve so you can remove the drying rack during bad weather.
- 210 feet of space.
- Lines need to be redistributed often.
- Ground sleeve not included.
|Material||Aluminum, steel and plastic|
|Versatility||Outdoors on concrete only|
Riveda Retractable Clothesline
Secure the Riveda retractable clothesline to a wall, indoors or outdoors, and hang up your clothes! When it’s not in use, it retracts into the body of the product, so it doesn’t take up much space at all.
It can handle loads up to 30 pounds in weight; the line is 40 feet long! It’s super easy to use. When you’ve reached the desired length, you can lock the clothesline into place, pull it tight, and hang up your laundry.
The line and case are made from heat and crack resistant plastic. It’s sturdy, durable, and won’t rust.
It only takes a couple of minutes to install. You can do so in your kitchen, on the balcony, in the garden, or on your commercial property, too! One more thing: it comes with 12 clothespins!
- Easy to install.
- Retractable so doesn’t take up much space.
- Adjustable length.
- Can be used indoors or outdoors.
- The line sags if laundry is too heavy.
- Low-quality materials.
|Length||Up to 40 feet|
|Versatility||Indoors and outdoors|
Household Essentials Outdoor Clothesline
If you buy a rope line or elastic line, you need somewhere to hang it. The Household Essential outdoor clothesline is a traditional t-post where you can hang up your line and then your laundry.
Keep in mind it only comes with one post — so you might need to order an extra one. Plus, it doesn’t come with the line to hang clothes. You’ll need to buy that separately.
This is a nice white t-post that will look traditional and classy in your yard. It’s rust-resistant so you can use this in all weather for a long time. Once installed in concrete, it’s sturdy and won’t blow over on windy days.
If you’re new to the world of air drying your laundry, this is a great place to start. It takes about 15 minutes to install one post. But once you’ve done that, add your line and you’re good to go! Nothing beats the smell of freshly air-dried laundry.
- Classy traditional appearance.
- Quick to install.
- Hard to get the t-post even.
- Only one post included, and no line.
|Length||86” tall, enough for 5 clotheslines|
Home-it Bamboo Clothes Drying Rack
We recommend a foldable clothesline if you live in a small space, the dorms or an apartment. The Home-it bamboo clothes drying rack is the perfect solution. It’s not too big, but when it’s not in use, fold it up and slot it away in a cupboard.
It’s portable, easy to use, and can be installed anywhere. We recommend keeping it in a bright warm room with good circulation and dry air.
Dry your clothes the gentle way by opting for a drying rack. Tumble drying is convenient but over time, it can wear down your clothes. The Home-it drying rack offers an eco-friendly and kinder way to dry your clothes.
This rack has a versatile design. The top tier is flat with four bars so you can fold clothes over the bars or lay them flat to dry. There are more tiers below to keep your clothes separate and well-ventilated for quicker drying results.
Lastly, the wood is bamboo. It’s resistant to warping and splintering, but if you don’t keep it clean and dry, it might start to mold.
- Easy to transport and store.
- Versatile and spacious design.
- Resistant to warping and splintering.
- Will mold if not kept clean and dry.
- The finish wears off quickly and stains clothes.
|Length||27 feet in total|
|Versatility||Indoors or outdoors (but not in rain)|
|Hawatour Portable Elastic Clothesline||Travel||Elastic & stainless steel||10 feet||Yes||Yes||Indoors/ outdoors|
|Songmics Foldable Drying Rack||Indoor||Stainless steel||72 feet||Yes||Yes||Indoors/ outdoors|
|Foxydry Ceiling Mounted Drying Rack||Ceiling Mounted||Aluminum & steel||39 feet||Yes||Yes||Indoors|
|Home Solution 2-Tier Clothes Drying Rack||Two-Tiered||Stainless steel & plastic||60 hooks||No||Yes||Indoors/ outdoors|
|Aero W Wall Mounted Laundry Rack||Wall-Mounted||Stainless steel||22 feet||Yes||Yes||Indoors/ outdoors|
|Ram-Pro 80 ft. All-Purpose Rope||Clothesline Rope||Polypropylene rope||80 feet||Yes||Yes||Indoors/ outdoors|
|Household Essentials Drying Rack||Umbrella Clothesline||Aluminum, steel & plastic||210 feet||Yes||Yes||Outdoors|
|Riveda Retractable Clothesline||Retractable||Plastic||40 feet||Yes||Yes||Indoors/ outdoors|
|Household Essentials Clothesline||T-Post||Galvanized steel||86 inch||Yes||Yes||Outdoors|
|Home-it Bamboo Clothes Drying Rack||Foldable||Bamboo||27 feet||Yes||No||Indoors/ outdoors|
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Bad to Leave Clothes Hanging Outside Overnight?
It depends on where you live. If you live in a humid climate, leaving your clothes overnight increases the chances of the clothes remaining damp. If they stay damp, then they can host mold and mildew, which can make them smelly (4).
It also might rain overnight, which would bring your dry clothes back to square one.
You might also have issues with birds and insects which live outside. They can dirty up or ruin your clothing.
In general, we recommend taking your clothes back inside as soon as they are dry and not leaving them out overnight.
What Are Clotheslines Made Of?
Clotheslines come in a range of materials. When shopping for a new clothesline, you’ll find some made of rope, cotton, plastic, nylon, galvanized steel, and even wood. It depends on your personal preference and budget which one is best for you.
Is It Illegal to Hang Washing out in America?
There are currently only 19 US states that have a “right to dry” law in which you are entitled to hang your washing out to dry (5). Outside of the US, drying your clothes outside is the norm. But it is frowned upon in many communities within the US.
Most of this is due to privacy and aesthetic concerns. Essentially, neighbors don’t enjoy seeing your laundry on the line.
But it does seem to be becoming more accepted as we learn more about climate change and fossil fuels. Check within your state if it’s legal to hang washing in your backyard before doing so.
Does It Matter If Washing Gets Rained On?
If it starts raining, we recommend running out and bringing in your laundry! You probably won’t need to rewash it, but definitely hang it up somewhere warm to dry or put it in the tumble dryer.
However, if you’ve left it out in the rain for a long time, it might start to smell damp and musty. In this case, you’ll need to rewash the clothes.
How Do I Keep My Clothesline Tight?
Over time, your clothesline might get a bit loose from the weight of your clothes. Each clothesline requires a different method for getting tight again. But in general, you should be able to untie it from the source, pull it taut and retie it.
However, if you have an umbrella clothesline, for example, you’ll need to pull each line a little to evenly distribute the length of the line. Each line should have an even amount of slack before you push the clothesline higher. Repeat this process until the lines are evenly tight.
Back in Fashion
Clotheslines are back in fashion! Considering that we’re so conscious of climate change and the importance of saving energy, they should be. Drying your clothes outside on the line is a great way to save money and energy.
With the best clotheslines recommended to you, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your needs.
If you’re looking to save a lot of space, check out the Foxydry ceiling drying rack. Maybe the Household Essentials umbrella clothesline is calling your name! Lastly, the Hawatour clothesline might be the perfect solution if you’re traveling or camping a lot.