Tips AU

The ultimate cheat sheet to hanging washing

By Katie

Updated: April 13th, 2022

Less ironing? Yes please.

Before you throw that soaking wet washing into the tumble dryer, consider that each load generates more than 3kg of greenhouse gas, stacks up your electricity bill and isn’t actually great for your clothes.

These laundry day tips will help you hang washing to save your wallet and the environment and your favourite t-shirt!

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Use hangers to dry without creasing

Hang t-shirts, shirts and dresses directly on to coat hangers as soon as they come out of the washing machine to reduce the need for ironing. As water drips out of the fabric the weight of the garments will make them dry crease-free.

Plus, putting your clothes away in the wardrobe will be a breeze!

Give each item a good shake to remove creases from the spin cycle then hang to dry on a plastic coat hanger. This method eradicates creases in most  “quick dry” fabrics but stiff cotton shirts or linen garments will still need a quick once-over with the iron.

When hanging wet garments avoid wooden hangers that can warp from moisture or metal hangers that can rust and stain clothes.

Overlap corners of washing to save space

It doesn’t take long to run out of space on the washing line on days when you find yourself contending with multiple loads of laundry.

Maximise hanging room by overlapping the edges of your clothes when pegging them down. More space, less pegs – win, win.

Watch out with heavy fabrics as the layered corners can take longer to dry.

Hang across, not along, the line

Ultimate laundry hacks | Airtasker
MIND BLOWN. Image: Imgur

A brilliant hack to help accommodate supersized laundry loads is to hang items across rather than along the line. Just make sure there’s plenty of air flow and light around your washing line or clothes horse to ensure wet clothes don’t become musty and smelly before drying out.

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Hang your socks together

Avoid playing annoying games of ‘sock snap’ by hanging pairs together to dry using a portable hanging peg dryer.

This is a cost effective hanging solution that you can pick up for just a few dollars at Bunnings and most discount variety stores. this nifty invention provides a dedicated spot to hang socks, which makes it easier to keep pairs together, while freeing up precious space on the line for other items.

Wash your socks in a mesh lingerie bag to avoid losing one in the washing machine!

Utilise sunshine to fade stains

Stuck with an annoying stain that has resisted your best attempts to remove it with specialised detergents or an overnight soak? Head outside to harness the power of the sun. Nature’s stain fighting superhero, sunshine can lessen the appearance of a variety of stains and has the added bonus of helping to make whites appear brighter. Plus, it’s free!

Tackle stubborn stains with household ingredients

To attack hard-to-shift coffee, wine and food stains make a paste with vinegar and baking soda. Apply directly to the stain then leave for five to ten minutes before washing as normal.

When it comes to pesky makeup stains, particularly foundation or fake tan, apply dish washing detergent directly to the stain prior to washing then run through the machine on a hot cycle.

Turn clothes inside out to stop fading

While sunshine is great for making white clothes shine, it’s the enemy of bright colours and darker hues. Colour rich items fade quickly in direct light so you’ll need to hang them in the shade, or turn them inside out, to minimise sun bleaching.

Add protection over your clothesline

If you want your clothes to dry as fast as possible but don’t want to risk fading, or having your clean laundry ruined by a surprise downpour or a bird with good aim, consider rigging up a tarp above your clothesline. A handyman can install hooks to make this easy to put up and take down.

Protect items drying on a clothes horse by threading the handle of a golf umbrella between the center rails and voila, you have protection from all elements (and birdlife!).

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Hang cleverly to avoid peg marks

Peg marks are the pits – but you can avoid them with these hanging hacks.

Hide ugly peg impressions by pegging dresses from the hem and t-shirts from the armpits along the sleeve seam.

As a general rule peg tops at the hem, and bottoms at the top. For jeans, shorts and trousers fold the waistband seam over the washing line and peg in the seam, or flip and peg at the leg hem.

Socks and undies are a debatable category! Some people recommend hanging by the toes or crotch to preserve the elastic in the bands, others think this will make these areas wear through faster.

Remove excess water from handwashing

Clearly clothes will dry faster when not dripping wet. Remove excess moisture from hand washed garments by laying them flat on a towel before rolling them up and squeezing them out. The towel will absorb a substantial amount of water while preventing your clothes from looking crinkled and  wrung out.

Dry knits flat to avoid stretching

For materials prone to stretching, such as jersey or wool knits, lay the item flat to dry. An outdoor table, chair or even a trampoline can become a temporary drying space. Put a towel down underneath to prevent the clothing from absorbing any surface stains.

Organise as you hang

Save time sorting by allocating a section of the clothesline to each person in your family, or if you live on your own, allocate each line to a particular type of clothing. Then as you unhang and fold the dry clothes they will be neatly ordered.

Go the extra mile with separate baskets for each family member that can be easily deposited in each person’s room.

Tumble dry in less time by adding a towel

Of course, it’s not always perfect drying weather.

For days when there’s no sunshine in sight, speed up the time it takes for a load of wet laundry to dry in the tumble dryer by adding a dry towel in at the start. The towel will help absorb excess moisture, reducing drying time (and the cost of running the dryer)!

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I've loved interior design for as long as I can remember and I'm currently about to renovate my first home. So as well as being the Content Lead at Airtasker, I'm also on the lookout for the latest design trends, backyard ideas and anything to do around the home. I'm also trying to use low-tox cleaning methods and work towards being more plastic-free!

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  1. Pauline Hudspith

    Sunlight also gets tide of tomato stains

  2. Pauline Hudspith

    Rid not tide

  3. Glenn

    If you are in a hurry and it is a hot and still day just hang your clothes without pegs you will have it done in no time

  4. Anonymous

    Always peg t-shirts under the arm so the peg marks don’t show

  5. John

    I always put washed clothes straight onto hangers and onto the line. For stiffer fabric I quickly brush them with my hands to remove any wrinkles so that no ironing is required. When dry I then just place the clothe already on hanger straight into the wardrobe and presto.
    (socks and underwear are hanged on those multi-hangers, or just placed on the line without a peg. )

  6. Sam

    But a hanging peg tree from a $2 to hang your socks and undies. It’ll not only save time but also pegs!

  7. Tracy

    I live in Far North Queensland, so hanging clothes on the line is very damaging to the clothes. My hubby rigged up a good quality heavy duty tarp over my clothes line, and now not only do my clothes have protection from that extreme heat/ultra violet sun, but they can still be hung when it is wet season and they will dry. You can have your local upholsterer sew up a heavy duty cover for your clothes line too. My inlaws have one, it’s Excellent!

  8. Carole Corry

    Someone told me once and it’s a great tip, if you wear it at the top, hang it from the bottom, if you wear it at the bottom, hang it from the top.

  9. Anon

    Sox on clothes and pegs on sox. Space saving plus saves peg marks ruining clothes

  10. Helen Whittle

    If I am using my clothes horse to hang the washing in the courtyard, I keep all non-ironing items to my right and the items that may need a pressing to my left. When I come to gather the dried washing, it makes it much quicker and easier to fold and put away, into the appropriate drawers or ironing basket indoors.

  11. Sally

    I fold my sheets before hanging the open folded ends on the line. This saves having to put half of it over, and when they are dry, just unpeg at one end and start folding, one peg at a time, half your folding work is already done

  12. Katriba

    Hang all socks onto a small Asian clothes clip that will accommodate many pairs and any odd socks when dry – go into a holding bin until their partner turns up. Sort it weekly to reunite pairs again. It is so much easier to sort socks this way and also it is much quicker to get them off the line and pair them up while watching TV in the add breaks.!!

  13. Katrina

    Give shirts and T- Shirts and jeans a quick hard flick when taking them out of the washing machine. This will reduce ironing time and shake most crinkles out. Always lie dry items neatly in a basket or over your forearm when transporting items from clothes line back inside. Be efficient in your methods to cut down on laundry and ironing times!

  14. Elissa

    Don’t bother pegging socks and jocks. Throw them onto the lawn or clean pavement. They dry pretty fast there and if your car is in a More private space, lay clothes or whatever on the bonnet of the car. Worksa treat;-)

  15. Mike

    Hang socks next to each other and by the toe. When the time comes to take them off, fold the end of one sock into the other so you already have the socks together.

  16. lisa

    Before hanging, give each item a swift and strong ‘shake’
    it seems to shake out a lot of wrinkles and creases and saves on ironing

    for items that must be ironed, i sometimes iron them wet straight out of the machine and then put on coathangers and dry after ironing
    the ironing wont be as crisp as when done after drying, but for childrens school shirts and dresses, the job is perfectly acceptable

    when removing clothes from the line, take the extra time to fold or at least lay neatly, clothes carelessly thrown into a basket wrinkle badly.

  17. Gloria

    For clothes that lose their shape easily like t-shirts, don’t stretch them when hanging them on the line wet, just fold them over and spread ‘loosely’ that way when you take them off the line they are not in the same shape that you hung them up as!

  18. Anja

    Three good shakes before hanging up clothes makes ironing very easy

  19. Trevor

    Save time in your day by not wasting it reading stupid articles about how to hang your washing.

  20. Tracy

    I have a cover over my clothes line, as I live in the tropics of Far North Queensland, which protects my clothes from the sun & the rain (ie Wet Season). Mine is custom made, by an upholsterer, but you can achieve the same with a heavy duty Tarpoulin.

  21. Josh

    One of my favourite tips is wearing clothes and sitting in them when they are just nearly dry and only feel a little damp – the body warmth finishes off the drying process, and hey presto, presses the clothes as well. The hard part is timing when you have several items in your laundry wash, and its also quite problematic to wear sheets and pillowcases which don’t actually have built in sleeves and holes for legs like (for example) shirts and pants.

  22. Carole Baker

    Overlapping clothes on the line to save on pegs just results in undried or damp corners which can end up very smelly and very stale, indeed. The idea is to get a goodly amount of fresh air circulating amongst the clothes. Stubborn oil stains on clothes benefit from rubbing gently with kitchen washing-up detergent pre wash. Works on everything, even silk. For silks, handwash in a bucket of warm water with mild detergent which has been thoroughly dissolved. Rinse thoroughly in tepid water and then spin-dry before hanging inside-out on the line. Iron when still damp and hey presto!, like new.

  23. Edith Molina

    Whites with stubborn stains, when it is very sunny (summer the best time) put the garment (after washed) in a wide container with a little water with detergent and squeeze lemon juice on the stain and live it under the sun until the stain disappears. It doesn’t work for colour runs.

  24. Clare

    I loop all the shorts and undies onto my arm as I take them out of the machine and it means less bending to pick them out of the basket.

  25. Jodi

    Hang a few jocks together on one peg, shake all clothing before you hang as this shakes out wrinkles & fluff & also hang your jeans etc upside down as this pulls out some wrinkles (just learned this it works).

  26. Beautiful dining room and I love the art! I feel your pain on the 3M srpits not working… I used some of the heavy duty srpits to hang some flat mirrors (no hanging hardware on the back) in our basement. They worked well for about a month I think, then one night we heard a huge crash and breaking glass – one of the mirrors fell on the tile floor and broke. 🙁 So sad. I knew it was possible because the paint on the wall was semi-gloss, but still! I thought they were sticky enough, too. Guess not. At least your artwork fared better than my mirror, may it rest in peace. :)~Chelsea

  27. Tom

    if you have a split cycle air conditioner running put the clothes on a drying rack at the hot air exhaust of the compressor unit

  28. K105

    My hack is about the other end of drying – I hate folding and sorting clean washing then carrying it around the house to put away, so now I have a tub for each person in the family, and take stuff off the line, fold it/roll socks, and put it directly into each person’s tub. Each tub goes straight to each bedroom for its owner to unpack and bring back to the laundry. Saves me a lot of time.

  29. My Scottish mother-in-law said one should hang socks from the tops. Her reasoning for this was to avoid pegging in the areas which would wear out first. The pegs caused friction therefore she kept them away from hard wear areas, the toes and heels, to avoid holes.

  30. Rachel

    I spray ironing starch onto any clothes that are generally ironed, like business shirts, as soon as I get them out of the machine. Spray and then smooth them out with a flat palm and hang on a hanger, ironing takes half the time. I also have the issue of not enough space to hang my 5+ loads of washing per day on, so I fold teatowels and towels singlets etc in half lengthways. They don’t take much longer to dry but I can fit it all onto my fold out clothes airer. I wash a lot! I am also time poor so anytime I have to rewash something it is annoying to say the least. To avoid this I use a cup of ammonia or a cup of vinegar to my washing load baking soda is great too. For the ultimate grease and stain remover use a few drops of pure essential oil. Amazing results and beautifully scented washing

  31. Jeff

    If you can, put the clothes through a second spin dry cycle in washing machine before hanging or using a clothes dryer.

  32. tried it

    On wet days I use a portable line and place a golf umbrella over the top..keeps clothes from getting sopping wet and they do dry

  33. I never spend hours ironing, ( Believe me I use to) what a waste of time it is.. I now hang cloths up and iron them when i need to wear them.

  34. Dotty Hazell

    I peg my T-shirts and some dresses and shirts under the Armpits. mum taught me this one.. it hides the peg marks and helps to keep t-shirts in shape.

  35. Ian

    Leave the pegs on the line — don’t put them back in a peg tin/bag/container each time.
    Don’t buy wooden pegs
    Buy “good” quality pegs if you want to leave them on the line !
    Enjoy !

  36. Anonymous

    Great tips, thanks ?

  37. Jeanette

    For jumpers or similar knitwear that can be hung on the line, an old tip but a good one is to thread some old pantyhose from a peg through one arm, over the line and out the other arm to another peg. This will avoid any peg marks and possible stretching.

  38. Justine

    Pair the socks as you put them on the line…leave a gap next to single socks and when it’s mate surfaces from the basket you can peg it in the gap…roll them in pairs as you remove them when dry.
    Put small items on a mini hanging portable drier…then hang that on the line…makes it easy to bring them in quickly and safer on a shared line to bring them in at night (which is commonly when underwear goes missing)

  39. Danni

    I peg tops by the underarm and shirts at the bottom. I always fold my clothes as I take them off the line, then just put them away… I very rarely have to iron anything. I also shake my towels before hanging to make them fluffy and gets rid of any loose fluff.

  40. Ildi Tonkin

    I use an airer rack to hang out small items in a handy patch of sun. Socks, undies, tea towels, etc.. go on it. No pegs needed. Just drape over the lines. I can even get two towels on mine. One at either end.

  41. Janet Elliott

    I love this article. Living in Australia we are so lucky to be able to hand our washing outside and get it dry in one day. I lived in UK for a long time, and I either had to put washing on racks over radiators, or in winter, hang them outside and guess when they were worth bringing inside i.e. when the ice had melted!!

    I’m renting at moment, and one of my serious decisions about a new place to live is “can I hang my washing outside” and hopefully in my own space.

    I hang all shirts, tshirts on hangers and never need to iron them.

  42. Never hang jeans with the fly undone, as in the idea 4. This tends to cause a fading in the shape of V from the bottom of the fly up , when the trousers are worn with this faded V it looks ridiculess.

  43. Bruce Laidlaw

    Hang sheets by the corners, between two parallel lines if you can. When they’re dry you can fold them as you unpeg them. Easy!

  44. Jill Clark

    I have always put my washing on the line in the manner described above… Saves a lot of time and energy .
    Also, not that many people seem to use them these days, but if you have stained nappies and hang them out on a frosty night, the stains will disappear! (Mostly).

  45. Bettina

    Never hang black clothes in the sun. It fades the colour and makes them look old and worn out quickly.
    I keep a rack next to the washing machine with hangars and hang them directly from the machine then straight into the wardrobe

  46. Jennifer

    Throw bras inside out over the line. No peg needed. Space undies and jocks so the sun can take care of any lingering germs.

  47. Debbie

    Have tall guys in the family?
    Problem with tshirts always getting shorter?
    Hold the Tshirt from bottom edge… Swing a few times to shape and keep length. Then shake and hang .. Really works to keep them long !!

  48. Wendy

    Hang your jeans by the cuff as the weight of them takes the wrinkles out, simply fold and leave for a while and they won’t need ironing!

  49. P

    I live with my 3 kids & as I hang the washing I use one section of the clothesline per childs’ clothes…. as I take washing off the line I fold it, & therefore all clothes are brought into the house already folded & sorted for each child to put away! Saves so much time & is so much nicer folding washing outdoors instead of inside! 🙂

  50. sherry

    I always use clothes hangers to put out tops and trousers. I also peg socks bras etc onto metal hangers. In winter they are easy to grab. They are also easy to hang on curtain poll so they dry in warm rooms. Even on cold days the earth from window glass is enough to dry them. My daughter has loads of small baby items which when pegged to a hanger, and hung on curtain poll up high, stop the risk of fires as they wont fall off, and toddler cant tear down ?

  51. sherry

    Also, try using safety pin to group small things and put on line. Super fast for sorting socks, bibs etc

  52. udi

    many of my tips are already here, but this one. hang undies from there crotch to stop the waist elastic from stretching.

  53. Diana

    To free up time hanging clothes I lay all my family’s socks on my outdoor table and they dry up pretty quickly .

  54. Susie

    Peg one sock to the line by the toe, and peg its mate vertically to it at their cuffs. Socks are already sorted. When dry, just unclip and fold them together. Hanging the pairs vertically also saves space on the line.

    If you love fluffy towels that have been dried in the clothes dryer, save on electricity by hanging them on the line till half dry, then finish them off in the dryer.

  55. anthony bugeja

    We bought a ClevaCover from a store for our line. Specially made for our conditions. Keeps close dry when raining and stops bird/bat poo getting on your clothes! I think you can buy them online -(about $150) – best investment we ever made! I would think a lot cheaper than getting one custom made for you too.

  56. Steven

    With socks that you have as a pair out of the basket, pinch the inside tops of the two together, crease that pinched double cloth layer over the line, and use one peg to peg that pair on the line. For added efficiency, roll from the bottom when dry, unpeg, and overfold one of the tops around and over the rolled pair, creating a smiley face. ?. 4 advantages: keeps pairs together, halves peg usage, facilitates rolling at point of removal, and smiley socks increase family happiness. Massively outweigh the one disadvantage of sub-optimal trying of inside tops of socks at pinch and peg point.

  57. Marg

    Use a trampoline to lay jumpers out flat to dry so they keep their shape. This a good idea for when it’s the end or start of the season, and you have to wash a lot of jumpers all at once, as you can fit a lot on the trampoline mat.

    When my kids were young and it was a good drying day, I confess to throwing all the washed socks and undies on to the trampoline – quickest way ever of putting the washing out!.
    Kids scooped them up when they came home from school. and took their own items to their rooms.

  58. Declan

    I’ll pass all these tips on to my Mum, she’ll thank me for them

  59. Helen

    I love all these tips – better than the original article. Good to see some new ideas. I like the humour too (I just ‘wasted’ about 15 minutes reading it all, hehe).

  60. jenny

    pegging socks together would take me all day. I wash 100 socks every week. I put them in a tub and they can bloody well find their own pairs!!!!

  61. Andy

    Helen .. I just did the same thing. There were about 4 negative comments And the rest were poor to very great. Most I knew, but some were outstanding, so I’ll try.
    My tips with thanks to Steven Oct 25 and
    Jane Elliot May 17
    Matt Hetherington May 17
    Danni May 11
    Justine May 10
    Dotty Hazel April 22
    and Rachel April 13 – what an addition to washing then aroma. Many thanks.
    and Rael March 15
    and one could go on with all the good tips.

    My x 2 weekly washes and dry, will now be easier and a habitual time saver for me.
    Will await my next wash to see what is implemented.
    Great and Thanks.
    ps: Habitual time-saving is the best thing since sliced bread.

  62. Trisha

    I hang jeans from the bottom as the weight keeps the creases down a bit also zip up to avoid sun bleaching. All linen is prefolded to dry then I just finish folding and put away. Except towels, when they are hung on the line use 3 pegs so they don’t droop when dry also you can straighten them up while they are wet to get rid of the crinkly ends.

  63. Brenda

    Buy a cardigan hanger from Bunnings on put it on your clothes line you can hang underpants singlets T-shirts women’s tops etc no pegs required
    Shake all clothes before hanging on the line and pegs socks from the top they dry quicker

  64. Leanne

    To dry things faster on the line leave a space between each item, then on the next line hang clothes in front of the space from the first line.
    This creates an flow of air around each item decreasing dry time.

  65. Smelly

    To reduce washing effort 4-fold, wear a pair of undies 4 days in a row-right way, back to front, then inside out right way then finally inside out & back to front. Works a treat, and reduces sun-fade significantlyover the life of the undies!

  66. Kathy

    I fold almost everything as it comes out of the washing machine. It irons out most of the wrinkles before you hang them. It takes a little longer but totally worth it. I hardly iron anymore, only hubby’s work shirts. You’re welcome : )

  67. Robbo

    Do not Wash or dry men’s shirts in machines they fray the cuffs and collars and I have found hand washing over the years to produce the best results and make new shirts appear even though the many years old

  68. Amy

    A. I do a load of washing a day sometimes two
    B. How do i get spag bol stains out of clothing?

  69. Geoffrey Newall

    Leaving plastic pegs on the lines exposes them to continual sunshine, the most active thing for degrading plastic!! Wooden pegs soak up water and if reused whilst still moist can leave stubborn stain marks on clothes.

  70. Linda

    Use an old dishwashing machine cup rack placed over the hot water heater (mine is under the verandah) to hang socks – no pegs, local low level heat source & winds haven’t blown them away.
    In rainy winter weather, use a small fan in the laundry with clothes on indoor clothes racks – cheaper to run than a clothes dryer
    Use moulded shoulder dry cleaning clothes hangers for drying shirts/ tops / jumpers- keeps the shape well, dries a bit faster with more airflow through the inside of the garment & no ironing required

  71. Nicki

    We have a family of 4, so when I hang the clothes, each persons clothes get their own section of the washing line. Then when it’s time to take the clothes off the line, I take down one section at a time and fold as I go. Then all the clothes on hangers are taken down last. No more baskets of clothes to be folded and sorted! Saves so much time!!

  72. Robyn Poulton

    Excellent tips

  73. Roulse

    While drying clothes outside is an option most people in apartment buildings don’t have this option. Advancements in Clothes Dryer technology’s have made it cheaper to Dry Clothes. Heat Pump Dryers use gas to dry clothes and hence carry a whooping 6 star energy rating compared to previous technologies that had at most 2 star energy rating. Although Heat Pump dryers are a bit pricey ($1000 rrp minimum) they are well worth the investment especially if you add extended warranty.