A retractable clothesline is a laundry drying equipment where lines are pulled out of a cabinet box or casing, extending the lines to its maximum length and being attached to a post or wall directly opposite the housing.
The way a retractable clothesline works is simple:
Pull the handle out until the lines from the cabinet box become visible.
Extend the lines to where they will be hooked on – whether to a post or wall and secure in position.
Push the lock lever into ‘LOCK’ position to prevent sagging or drooping while hanging items on the lines.
(When not in use, the lines can be retracted or reeled back to the cabinet box or casing)
Retractable clotheslines come in various lengths and housing types: Installed permanently on a wall or post, with removable brackets, or portable hook-on products.
Because of this, it can be installed or prepared in different ways, depending on the product configuration and your location layout: wall to wall, post to post, wall to post, and post to wall.
Suitable Areas for Retractable Clotheslines
Backyards, Gardens, and Courtyards
A retractable clothesline in an outdoor area is like hitting two birds with one stone.
First, it’s a great alternative to a traditional hoist especially if you get a product that offers at least 40 to 50 metres of total line length.
Second, the only time that your backyard, courtyard, or garden is filled with ‘unsightly’ lines is during the drying process so when it is time to take down the fresh laundry, you can put the lines back to where it belongs – within its cabinet box or casing.
Installing a retractable clothesline in your laundry area can fast-track the laundry process because the lines are within instant reach as soon as you take out the wet washing from its final rinse or as soon as it’s done from having a quick spin.
If your laundry area receives indirect solar heat, this will totally speed up the drying time – and there is also no reason why you should even bother installing the retractable clothesline anywhere else!
Even if the laundry area doesn’t receive indirect solar heat, the most important thing is to position the retractable clothesline closer to the ceiling as the warm air above can help so much in removing moisture from your wet washing.
A retractable clothesline inside the bathroom or shower area is an excellent way to maximise the usefulness of the space.
If you’re very particular about ‘airing’ your dirty laundry out in a public space, so to speak, this is the right place to hang your lingerie, lace undergarments, and similar delicate items without worry or feeling embarrassed.
Having a retractable clothesline in the garage is something you should consider when there’s nasty weather condition or even during those days when you need an extra hanging line for your laundry.
One of the most frustrating things about laundry drying is not having enough space to hang your fabrics onto.
This is most apparent when you’re trying to squeeze in a thousand other chores from your to-do list or when you just want to end your day earlier than usual.
For a passionate homemaker, nothing is more luxurious than having to see long linens and sheets as well as thick towels or duvets be draped over without having to be scrunched up due to lack of hanging space.
As a guest or temporary resident for a holiday home, cottage inn, or vacation house, a retractable clothesline is a must-have especially if you have to stay in for a couple of days.
There are compact retractable clothesline products that won’t take up that much space in your backpack or luggage compartment.
And it’s a handy thing if you’re short on clothing items or you just want to re-wear the same outfit (no judgment here).
You’ll save a lot from having the in-house staff overcharge you on something that you can accomplish on your own.
And because you’re the one handling your laundry, you can completely be in control of how you hang the items and not worry whether it will be subjected to potential snags and tears from the hotel’s laundry facility.
Campers, RVs, and Travel Trailers
Can you imagine having a folding rotary hoist in tow during your camping adventures or out-of-town escapades?
It would be more convenient (and less laughable) if you have a retractable clothesline instead.
Again, it’s easy to set up (use a portable retractable clothesline) and it won’t take up that much floor or ground area when in use.
As soon as you’re done drying your clothes, you can just reel the line back in to its casing and keep it for later.
Most apartment complexes and condominium units in cities and urban dwellings don’t provide much of an outdoor space to begin with, so you can scratch off that rotary hoist from your to-bring list when you move into one.
A retractable clothesline can be your BFF and lifesaver rolled into one every laundry day.
You can set it up wherever there’s available wall space or sturdy mounting post (for fixed type products); it can be positioned over your living room or even in your tiny porch or patio (for portable or hooked-on versions).
It can follow the sun or use convection for clothes drying; and best of all, it will always have minimal visual impact to your modern space.
Benefits of Retractable Clotheslines
Let’s talk about how exactly is a retractable clothesline useful for homes and apartments without casting other types of clotheslines in a bad light.
Undoubtedly, any type of clothesline product is a hundred times better than relying on the automatic tumble dryer do all the work.
However, there are specific advantages to using retractable clotheslines -– take a look below:
Because all it needs is a sturdy wall surface or post mount to be drilled onto (for fixed type retractables), it really depends on your home layout.
The abovementioned installation configurations can give you the freedom to utilise your available area and maximise it for laundry drying without permanently sacrificing your living space for that purpose alone.
You can have it drilled onto an existing wall or post – indoors or outdoors or you can order an installation post with the product for a free standing version.
Or, you can opt for portable versions which can be hooked on over the edge of a rail or window.
Indoor or Outdoor Use
This might already seem obvious but much emphasis must be said on the fact that not all types of clotheslines can be used as such.
A retractable clothesline is such an adaptable laundry drying device that it can literally be used however you please!
As long the product won’t be compromised even when carrying maximum load capacity, you can position it anywhere within your home or property.
To follow the sun, in a place where it can receive indirect solar heat, for discreet/private drying, or even during outdoor trips!
The innovation that is now called retractable clotheslines was borne out of the need for a clothesline solution that can provide the same amount of hanging space that any type of clothesline can provide.
A retractable clothesline will take up not more than 40 inches in wall width (retractables with multiple lines) while a single-lined compact retractable with a round casing is only a third in size of your regular screwdriver!
Can you imagine how much ground space you can save and all the clothes you can hang to dry with a retractable clothesline?
A retractable clothesline with multiple lines can provide as much as 50 to 60 metres of total hanging space.
At 16 metres per laundry load, it can take on between 3 and 4 full loads in just one go.
Needless to say, you’ll have the luxury to hang king sized sheets and duvets without scrunching them up.
And depending on where the retractable clothesline is located, you can easily enjoy fully-dried items by the end of the day.
For Quick or Light Loads
A single-lined compact retractable clothesline is an ideal laundry drying solution for anyone dealing with few items on a regular basis.
Those who need a separate line to hang delicate pieces in private, or for homes that require a secondary line for emergencies or bad weather conditions.
This type of retractable clothesline comes in fixed mounting position or portable versions.
The former can be installed in the bathroom, laundry area, or garage while the latter is perfect for pool parties, beach holidays, and camping trips.
Either version is highly recommended for space-challenged residences such as apartments and condos.
Types of Retractable Clotheslines by Brand/Manufacturer
There are plenty of retractable clothesline products available online or in physical stores near your home.
Let’s take a look at some of the best products that famous brands/manufacturers offer:
Austral Retractaway 50
This heavy duty retractable clothesline provides maximum drying capacity at minimal space requirement – a whopping 50 metres of hanging space with its 5 PVC coated lines (2 metres minimum and 10 metres maximum).
Daytek 6 Line
This 6-line retractable clothesline is backed up with a 10 year structural warranty and a 2 year line warranty and provides 42 metres of total hanging space.
Each line can extend 2 metres minimum and 7 metres maximum and has 896mm line spacing.
And you need not worry about tangling or knotting because it has independent spooling while sagging or drooping of lines are remedied by its individually-installed spring tension.
A totally adjustable indoor outdoor retractable clothesline solution with 15 metres of overall line length when you’re short on space and you need to hang those last few pieces from the final load.
When your out-of-town trip requires lots of re-washing of the limited clothing items you’ve brought; and when you need a reliable hanging space for your beach towels to ensure no sand or moisture won’t touch it if you don’t want it to be.
It comes with a Twin version – same space-saving form but double the hanging space.
This hideaway line has 15 metres of total line length to offer and comes with wall fixings and screws (for brick wall surfaces and timber posts).
Hills Everyday 6 Line
An impressive 58 kilograms of total load capacity from its 39 metres of overall hanging space is what you will get from this product.
Each of the 6 high quality lines can be extended for a minimum of 4 metres and a maximum of 6.5 metres.
Sunbreeze Retractable 4 Line
With 4 lines extending between 4 metres and 6.5 metres each, its 26 metres of total line length is practical and affordable version of its Austral counterpart.
It has the same quality but at a pocket-friendly price.
Minky Homecare Outdoor Retractable Clothesline
A UK-manufactured single-lined retractable clothesline, it is a heaven-sent for any homemaker lacking the ground space for a conventional umbrella dryer (or rotary hoist).
It can hold up to 58 kilograms of wet washing from its 49 feet of overall line length, and comes with a special bracket that is attached to the wall so you can remove the reel when you’re done for the day.
Gideon Indoor Clothesline
Instantly add 40 feet of hanging line for your home without the need for any ground space for installation.
This fully-assembled product, which comes with a tightening knob for secure adjustment, can carry 5 lbs. of wet washing for each of its 4 lines.
Designer's Image 40
The freshness of sun-dried or air-dried laundry is yours for the taking with this easy-to-clean, vinyl-coated single line that comes with a total 40 feet of hanging space.
Its rust-resistant material makes it ideal not only for outdoor drying but in a high-humidity location such as a bathroom or shower area.
Its UV resistant compartment and lines makes the product safe for long sun exposure and such a hassle-free device to bring while camping out or for beach holidays.
Wherever there’s vertical space, you can have an instant 40 feet of total line length to hang your items onto.
Whitmore Retractable Clothesline
Its 40 feet of overall line length can hold up to 20 lbs. of wet washing. It comes with a hook-on bottom where you can place a clothespin bag.
BESy Retractable Clothesline
Whether you’re short on space, want to avoid the tumble drying process, or have no access to any type of ground space for a traditional rotary hoist.
This single-lined retractable clothesline comes with an adjustable 9.2 feet long cord so you can adjust it to fit your laundry area conveniently.
This clothesline boasts two 15m drying lines and a compact body for easy installation and maximum space efficiency without being an eyesore in your laundry space.
It boasts a protective case that clips off of the bracket for winter storage--a nifty feature to protect your investment!
Daytek Micro indoor Retractable Clothesline
This clothesline is perfect for tight spaces, sports a humble 3.5m hanging space and available in two colours, the Daytek Micro works great as an accessory to your existing clothesline.
This is also adequate for those who are living alone or simply need a clothesline to hang your towels dry--ready for use the day after!
The included wall mount fixings included make installation a breeze and the ABS plastic body is designed to provide you with years of worry-free clothes drying experience.
Sunfresh 4 Line
The Sunfresh 4 Line unit is great for those who require a space-saving clothes drying solution with limited depth from wall-to-wall.
Sporting four lines with 6.5m of total drying space each, the total of 26 metres is adequate for two wash loads which makes it a great addition to a single dweller's/couple's home.
The powder-coated steel construction is a good thing if you plan on having this unit install outdoor, it'll easily last for years to come no matter how harsh the outdoor conditions put it through.
Brabantia Indoor 22
This compact indoor clothesline is designed to fit in tight spaces like bathroom and showers with its width of just 0.75m metres.
With 22 metres of total drying lines, it will easily handle the job of 3-4 people's laundry without much fuss!
It also has a nifty automatic locking system which will conveniently keep the lines taut all the time unlike other models that require some lever or knob of some sort to adjust the line's tightness.
Wayinz 3.2m Washing Line
The Wayinz is a simple, no-frills kind of retractable clothesline suitable for use indoors.
It has 3.2m of drying line space for small households and the minimalist white enclosure blends seamlessly with the background minimising the distracting look typically associated with indoor clotheslines.
The price is really affordable too so it's a good option if you're living in a rental.
BESy Drill-Free Washing Line
The BESy is one of the bast bang-for-the-buck options if you are looking for a clothesline that has adequate space, supports up to 20kg worth of wet laundry--all without having to drill into a wall!
As simplistic as it sounds, the ABS-plastic clad retractable clothesline boasts a metal cord/wire that is easily reeled in or out of the main body.
With 4.2m of total drying line space, it may not be an option suitable to most but if you live in a cozy home, rental, or RV then this is a really good option for you to choose.
Better Dri X2
The Better Dri is your typical two-line retractable clothesline in a compact body that can easily fit in your palm.
This funky little gadget boasts a whopping 30 metres of drying space that's perfect for small families and can make short work of up to 15kg of laundry.
The Vileda Cordomatic is a single line automatic retracting clothesline that instantly provides you with 15m long of drying line space suitable for single dwellers or couples.
It has been highly praised for its great overall value and build quality so if you need an accessory retractable clothesline or simply require one that's easy to install yet will last a while then the Vileda Cordomatic is the clothesline for you!