One of life’s small pleasures is fresh clothes that have been dried in the sunshine. Drying clothes on a washing line outside saves money from using a tumble drier and also leaves clothes smelling beautifully and less likely to need ironing afterwards!
However, anyone who enjoys spending time in their garden will appreciate the frustration at having a washing line hanging across a beautiful garden. Although small, these handy household items can be a real eyesore in an otherwise beautiful garden! Enter a retractable washing line – free to use, perfect for drying your clothes, and then hidden away when it has finished doing its job, so you can continue enjoying your garden!
Only Got 5 Minutes?
Sick of hearing a tumble drier churning every time you need to dry your clothes? Fed up of having a wire constantly getting in your way hanging across your garden? Keep reading for some quick information to guide your retractable washing line purchase.
Obviously you are not going to be hanging your clothes out to dry in the rain! But, chances are your retractable washing line will experience some of the great British weather itself! We are yet to find a model that is not water-resistant, but there is more than just water resistance to look for in your retractable washing line!
UV Resistance will stop your washing line from looking worn after exposed periods of time in the sun. However, simple, plastic models will withstand most weather conditions and are usually much cheaper!
We would recommend looking for a cable that is PVC coated – this will help to ensure that the line does not become slack and sag after considerable use.
Double or Single-line?
Retractable washing lines used to just be offered as single lines – however, now there are many makes that have two cables that come out of the same holding cabinet, which means double the drying space with still the same small unit when not in use! Although a fantastic idea, these models do tend to be more expensive, so it is worth considering how many clothes you actually need to dry regularly before purchasing – you might be able to save yourself a few pounds!
Length of cable
Most cables are between 15 metres and 30 metres in length. Obviously, the longer the cable, the more clothes that you will be able to fit on the line, but if you have a reasonably small space for your washing line to be used, then a smaller cable will be perfectly adequate. If possible, measure the space that you are hoping to use first, to help inform your purchase.
Many models of retractable washing lines will now offer an automatic retraction. This means that as soon as you release the cable from its hook, the mechanism inside the holding cabinet will pull the cable back and roll it up (similar to that seen in a retractable tape measure). This is a feature that we would strongly recommend – it makes putting your line away considerably easier and also helps to avoid the cable getting tangled and knotted.
Most retractable washing lines will be able to hold more than enough washing for a normal household (between 15kgs and 30kgs). However, if you are going to be using your line for anything particularly heavy – such as pet beds or duvets – then look for a model with a higher capacity. If your retractable washing line is broken due to the capacity being exceeded then it is unlikely to be covered under the warranty!
Rotating Holding Cabinet
Some retractable washing lines now come with holding cabinets that can be rotated on their bracket. This means that they can be tucked parallel to the wall when not in use – making them even more unobtrusive, but also means that the washing line can be extended over different parts of your garden to suit you (perfect for a garden that gets sunlight in different places throughout the day).
Are Retractable Washing Lines Easy to Fit?
Almost all retractable washing lines are secured to the wall or fence using a simple bracket. Most have between 2 and 6 screws which can simply be screwed in to the desired location (We would always recommend using raw plugs before the screws to help ensure your retractable washing line is as secure as possible).
After this, all you have to do is choose where you want your line to run to. You want to make sure to measure the distance and ensure that it is adequate for your washing line – the farther your line can run the better, as you will be able to fit more clothes on, but choosing a location too far away could mean that your line does not stretch far enough.
Once you have found the perfect point, you need to attach the hook that your line will clip onto when being used. Some retractable washing lines will come with a compatible hook that can be secured, for other models you will have to purchase one. However, normally a standard small hook that can be purchased from any DIY shop will be sufficient.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are now many retractable washing lines that have been designed with just this in mind! Some retractable washing lines can be wall mounted with a frame that is then pulled out for the clothes to be hung on – perfect for people with very little outdoor space or balconies for example.
If you are still not happy with how a retractable washing line looks in your garden when it is packed away, then some models now offer holding cabinets that can be simply removed from the bracket on the wall – so there is very little sign of any washing line at all when it is not being used!