How to quickly and easily clean the clothes line

I don’t know about you but my washing line get’s grotty. There is construction work going on around our house so coupled with the dust from that and spiders spinning webs, I find I need to wipe down my washing line every couple of weeks to prevent the clean clothes picking it up.

Does your washing line get grubby? Read my quick and easy guide to give your clothes line a clean to prevent the clean clothes picking it up.


  1. Get a dry cloth and wipe away any spider webs.
  2. Fill a bucket/bowl with warm water and a squirt of dish detergent.
  3. Using a sponge (or a scourer for stubborn marks) wipe over each line removing all dirt build up.
  4. Allow to dry.
  5. If you do have spiders sitting on your clothes line, spray some of my natural spider repellent onto a cloth and wipe over each of the lines to help prevent them coming back.
  6. Finished – as easy as that!

Have you ever cleaned your washing line?

note: this post was originally published on 1st March 2011, republished with new photo.

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Felicity March 1, 2011 - 4:48 AM

Now why haven’t I ever considered doing this?
Of course we must clean our clotheslines, they live outside exposed to al manner of grit and grime and then we place our freshly laundered clothing on them – what’s that about?

Thank you for the ‘heads up’.

Felicity x

Denika March 14, 2019 - 11:43 AM

And this method is perfectly safe when it comes to baby clothes to right ?

Casey March 1, 2011 - 7:18 AM

I cannot believe this has never occured to me! Great tip! Thank you xo

Melanie Graham March 1, 2011 - 7:25 AM

Same here! It has never occurred to me to wash the clothes line. But what a good idea. Thanks 🙂

Michelle March 1, 2011 - 7:26 AM

Mine is due for another wipe…moth eggs …yuk!

Thanks for the reminder

Yvette Walker March 1, 2011 - 7:47 AM

For once I’m one step ahead of you Katrina…… I did mine on Sunday after it rained and I had to hang out my white doona cover 🙂

melzeiher March 1, 2011 - 8:02 AM

I alwyas ‘think’ about doing this (as we live on a farm) but hardly ever gets done!!!

Natalie March 1, 2011 - 8:55 AM

Well….. you are exactly right and sometimes we just can’t see the forest for the trees! I have washed my clothesline today – i do regularly de-spider it but just hadn’t done the most obvious thing 😀

Nacelle March 1, 2011 - 9:09 AM

Great idea! I’ve often thought of it but just another thing that never gets done! Pitty it’s raining out!

Dannielle March 1, 2011 - 9:34 AM

I too just did mine on the weekend as just like Yvette i too have to hang out whites and we have been overtaken by spiders at present and there webs look great in the morning with the dew on it BUT they also hold alot of dirt and it gets sticky. I keep a little packet of baby wipes in the laundry and sometimes take them out with me when i hang the washing out and do a quick wipe over. Also i wash the pegs as well ( just pop them in the laundry sink with a little dishwashing liquid and let them sit and then swish them around and rinse of and put them back in the peg basket.

Steph April 3, 2018 - 10:08 AM

I often put pegs in a laundry bag and throw in the washing machine with the next load.

Kellie @ThreeLi'lPrincesses March 1, 2011 - 12:12 PM

Brilliant idea – why haven’t I thought of that! Now to go out and brave the wind! 🙂

Tracy Williams March 1, 2011 - 7:29 PM

hmmm may have to tackle this when it’s not dark and the spiders aren’t out! I actually need new line too, maybe I should finally get around to doing that at the same time!

Christine March 6, 2011 - 12:55 PM

AND once it’s clean, put lemon oil on a tissue and run it along each line and the 4 poles. You will deter spiders!! 🙂

Katrina March 6, 2011 - 12:58 PM

Great idea!

Michelle D-T September 10, 2014 - 12:27 PM

Christine, I like that idea. I will do that over the weekend. We have lots of little spiders on our line. I don’t like killing them so if the lemon oil works to keep them away, its win/win for us all….. 🙂

Denika March 14, 2019 - 11:56 AM

Those spiders are attacking me omg

Shannon Gallaway May 31, 2011 - 6:26 AM

I have to do this every week as we have a resident spider!!!!!! And yes I’ve sprayed but I can’t get the nozzle in far enough to get him, he likes to hide in the metal tubing (we have a wall mounted line). Very annoying 🙁

Shannon Gallaway May 31, 2011 - 6:28 AM

Ah and i should read the comments first! I’ve got some citronella that I’ve used successfully around windows to stop the dreaded webs, I’ll put some of that out there this weekend! Thanks Christine!

Katrina May 31, 2011 - 9:04 PM


Claire February 5, 2012 - 11:03 AM

I have always cleaned my clothesline since long ago when I noticed it was so dirty that when I removed a shirt hanging on the line to re-position it, it had black marks on it from the dirty line – I was surprised and have been wiping it ever since with a solution of water and 1000+ Stain Remover (diluted in spray bottle 8-2) cuts through the greasy dirt every time!
Claire from Canada
PS I think in Australia and New Zealand 1000+ is called Winning Colours!!!!

Siobhan Ewing September 4, 2012 - 6:03 PM

What a great idea, I always thought I should clean my washing line but never knew how. Thanks Organised Housewife! x

Catherine Hicks September 4, 2012 - 6:55 PM

When we moved from Canberra to Brisbane I was intrigued by the black clothesline in the backyard of our new house. Thn I realised every single line was covered in thick, black mould! Yuck! Whoever lived here before must have put everything in the dryer and nver used the line!! I make sure I keep it clean.

Kym September 6, 2012 - 6:39 AM

I thought I was being a bit anal washing my line, so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Love the lemon oil idea too; I’ll get on to that when it stops raining.

Shari March 5, 2013 - 7:38 AM

I always take a damp rag and run it down the lines, when I go to hang up clothes.

Katrina March 5, 2013 - 3:11 PM

great idea!

Mandy September 10, 2014 - 9:54 AM

I always clean mine before I hang out my washing, usually just a quick wipe over with a tea towel, you would be amazed how much dirt comes off …. every time! Next time I will use soap & water as you suggest.

Katrina September 12, 2014 - 9:57 AM

Great routine to get into, Mandy!

Keri September 10, 2014 - 2:00 PM

I wipe over my clothes line before hanging out clothes every single time I use it. I use a damp paper towel with Orange Power sprayed on it and you should see the dirt that covers the paper towel!

Katrina September 12, 2014 - 10:01 AM

Great idea, Keri!

marelize September 10, 2014 - 3:09 PM

Mine gets a thorough wipe down before we hang the washing – every time. Living on a farm right next to a busy dirt road makes it neccassry.

Katrina September 12, 2014 - 10:06 AM

Oh absolutely, i would do exactly the same.:)

Shauna April 28, 2016 - 7:06 PM

I too need to clean my line regularly as I live in a really dusty area. I use one of the low cost furry microfibre cash washing mitts – works a treat.
Love the lemon oil idea ?

Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 29, 2016 - 6:25 AM

that’s a creative idea using the washing mit!!

AussiePos May 12, 2016 - 8:45 AM

I’ve actually given up using the clothes line as we live near a railway line with open coal carriages going past. I had been complaining to my husband about a black ‘smut’ that always seemed to be on the line and I would have to clean the lines each time I washed. A visitor had some laundry to do and I explained to her that she would need to clean the lines because of the smut and she said ‘oh no, that is just coal dust.’ I hate to think of when we’ve been breathing all these years, and sincerely hope they do cover the carriages some day, but at least lately there are only half the trains coming through due to the economic downturn. I use a drying rack indoors now and it takes 2 large loads of washing or 3 smaller loads, I’m not hindered on wet days as to getting the washing done and our clothes last a lot longer and no fading.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 16, 2016 - 9:14 AM

Ooh no AussiePos that does sound annoying and can only imagine how it would make your clean clothes dirty. I do hope that your health is OK if it affects your clothing like that.

Organization Junkie April 6, 2018 - 1:36 AM

I love this! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of doing something like this, I’ll be doing your tips from now on! Thank you for the wonderful post!

Katrina De Felice April 6, 2018 - 9:30 PM

Yes I do, not frequently though. Thank you for reminding me. I’m laughing to myself because my 27 year old daughter who doesn’t even know you actually have to clean the house ( not from lack of trying to teach her) would be rolling her eyes if she saw me doing it.

Tammy December 29, 2018 - 6:38 AM

I cleaned mine once when i was nesting with my first child. Everyone laughed at me.

Maria March 10, 2022 - 3:14 PM

Yes, I clean my clothesline periodically. You soon know when it needs a wipe down when your white sheets and white pillow cases have grey smudges on them. We’ve had regular rain and lots of flooding rain very recently so it won’t need wiping for a while. I had trouble with mine a few years back in the drought and during dry windy weather.

Carolyn Dalton March 11, 2022 - 10:52 AM

I have never ever thought of that!! My husband does get rid of the very few spider webs we have as I have a spider phobia. I have never had marks on the clothes
I have to say I do wash the pegs and refresh those every 3/.6mths so I guess that is something!


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