Thread Number: 91255  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
The science of line drying items outdoors
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Post# 1157646   8/22/2022 at 22:41 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Came across this article about how line drying items outdoors vs. indoors generate a more pleasant long lasting smell.


Also note this week is 4th annual hang dry week.



Silvia’s research analyzed the scents of towels that were dried in the sun compared to towels dried in the shade or dried indoors away from the sun (note that the dryer wasn’t even tested or considered as an option). The team placed towels that were dried in these various methods in plastic bags and then analyzed their odors using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The analysis showed that only when towels were dried outside in the sun were substances like carboxylic acids, aldehydes, and ketones detected. These substances are the same ones used in the perfume industry and have aromas like fruit, almonds, or citrus.

The chemistry is complex, but suffice to say that the presence of sunlight and water were necessary to “generate the odorous molecules.” These molecules then “bind with the cotton, which is a linear cellulose polymer, by hydrogen bonds,” and these hydrogen bonds are strong, meaning “the smell of fresh laundry is relatively long-lasting.”




Post# 1157650 , Reply# 1   8/22/2022 at 23:23 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Has been long known (for ages actually) that drying laundry out of doors, especially in sunlight, produces wonderfully fragrant wash. Hence for years various products were marketed that supposedly gave that "outdoors fresh" scent to wash dried say indoors or in some sort of dryer.

Nothing, I mean *NOTHING* is better than freshly laundered bed linen that has been dried outdoors in sunshine, with perhaps a bit of a breeze. Even when sitting in linen cupboard for few weeks things still often retain that wonderful fresh smell.

Post# 1157657 , Reply# 2   8/23/2022 at 01:29 by SudsMaster (California)        

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Oh, I can think of a few things that are better than freshly laundered bed linen that has been dried outdoors in sunshine, but this is a family forum.

Post# 1157658 , Reply# 3   8/23/2022 at 02:16 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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Sometimes I leave laundry overnight outside on my covered balcony and it smells like natural morning dew.

Post# 1157659 , Reply# 4   8/23/2022 at 02:24 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        

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Shame on the HOAs and apartment complexes that would try and BAN hanging clothing outside.
naughty, naughty. Bad HOAs!

Post# 1157660 , Reply# 5   8/23/2022 at 07:25 by henene4 (Emden (Germany))        

You just don't get UV radiation much other ways than sunlight.

UV is great at making chemical reactions happen.
Also has bleaching properties - which might be good or bad depending - and sanitation properties.

BUT living in a city center near a highway I can say that you MIGHT have a bad awakening line drying whites.
Even a few hours can leave a gray dust layer.

Post# 1157663 , Reply# 6   8/23/2022 at 08:47 by Mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

Our Grandparents already knew this.
I do like my bath towels soft and clean smelling though. Kitchen towels I’ll hang out and sun bleach, it makes a big difference.
Makes a big difference on my utility bill also.


Post# 1157670 , Reply# 7   8/23/2022 at 13:22 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        

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"BUT living in a city center near a highway I can say that you MIGHT have a bad awakening "

Yes, and imagine having to live there for years on end. So sad.

Post# 1157692 , Reply# 8   8/23/2022 at 19:56 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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I line dry my bed linens for as much of the year as it's feasible.  Machine drying is no match for the crisp feel and fresh scent of line-dried sheets and pillow cases!

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