What is Texas’ “Right to Dry” Law?
Nothing says Americana like people who still observe the old tradition of hanging their laundry out to dry.
Ask your grandparents, and they'll tell you the story. In the "old days," before electric dryers and washers were widely available, laundry was exhausting. Women, who were primarily responsible for household chores, would wash clothes by hand, using a washboard and tub.
After that, It was then that the clothesline was employed. In rural areas, clotheslines were often hung between trees or fence posts. In cities, metal clothesline poles were a staple in many neighborhoods.
The typically tall, metal poles were embedded in the ground and were designed to rotate or swivel, making it easier to hang and take down the laundry.
The first electric clothes dryers were available in the 1930s and 40s but were way too expensive for most San Angelo families. They became more popular in the post-war economy of the 1950s.
After that, clotheslines slowly disappeared. They are rare these days.
However, in 2015, Texas Senate Bill 1626 was passed and went into effect in September 2015. The law prohibits any restrictions on the right of Texas residents to use clotheslines or other traditional methods of hanging laundry to dry.
It's probably a good idea, considering the tenuous status of the Texas power grid. The law was meant to promote energy efficiency and sustainability by reducing the use of electric and gas-powered dryers.
Before the law was passed, many municipalities and homeowners' associations had rules prohibiting residents from hanging laundry outside, citing concerns about property value or aesthetics.
It is important to note that homeowner's associations and municipalities can still regulate the placement of clotheslines, but they cannot outright prohibit them.
For many, air-drying clothes is by far superior to an electric or gas-powered dryer. Not only does air drying save energy, but it also gives your laundry a special fresh air scent. Unfortunately, it can also often give your laundry the gritty feel of sandy loam earth here in West Texas.
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