Even if you have a tumble dryer at home, using it is expensive, bad for your clothes and bad for the environment. Basically, you want to air dry if you possibly can, but that isn’t always easy. Your outdoor space may be too precious for you to want to give up any of it to a washing line, or you may only be able to air dry clothes indoors.

That’s where retractable washing lines come in. Basically, they’re there when you need them and tucked away out of sight and out of mind when you don’t.

Dry Your Clothes with the 5 Best Retractable Washing Lines

Choosing a retractable clothesline

When it comes to choosing a retractable clothing line, probably the single, most important requirement is robustness. You want to walk away feeling confident that when you come back, your washing will still be on your clothesline rather than on the ground. After this, the next consideration should probably be capacity.

Finally, you want to think about what kind of retractable clothesline is best for you. We’ve stretched the definition of retractable clothesline a little to include wall-mounted rotary washing lines and foldable (concertina-style) washing lines. Our logic is that they both do the same essential job and they can be really handy if you only have one available wall.

Siting and installing a retractable washing line

Most retractable washing lines can be used indoors and outdoors, even if they are only advertised for outdoor use. There are, however, some retractable washing lines which are only intended for indoor use and these will be advertised as such.

In either case, you will need a load-bearing wall to hold the main part of the retractable washing line. If you are using a standard retractable washing line, you will also need another wall to which to attach the extending end and if the retractable washing line is intended to hold a lot of weight, it’s usually best if this is also a load-bearing wall. Ideally, you want to avoid having your retractable washing line cross a path.

Once you have found a suitable wall (or two), you then need to choose the right height for your retractable washing line. Basically, the sweet spot is low enough so that you can reach it easily but high enough to keep long items (such as bedding) off the ground.

After this, you will need to secure your retractable washing line to the main wall. You might want to use a spirit level (app) for this, although it’s unlikely to be a disaster if you install your retractable washing line at a bit of an angle. You will definitely want to drill pilot holes before drilling the main ones.

What comes next will depend on the exact type of retractable washing line you are using, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions. There is, however, one key point which is common to all retractable washing lines (and anything else mounted to a wall), which is that you will need to double-check that the fixings you have are suitable for the surface. For example, if you want to put a screw or hook into brick or concrete, then you will almost certainly need to use a Rawl plug first.

If you’re installing a retractable washing line indoors, then the obvious place for it is over a bath, however, this is not the only place for it, which is just as well given the number of modern flats which only have showers! Bathrooms are still good drying places since they tend to have hard floors, but really you can install a retractable washing line anywhere in your home, if the flooring underneath is carpeted, just put some clothes down before you hang up your washing.

Installing your retractable washing line near a radiator will allow you to take advantage of the heat and hence speed up the drying time, but it will also increase the humidity, so you will want to have a window in the vicinity as well. In fact if you have to choose between siting your retractable washing line near a radiator or near a window, we’d definitely recommend the window.

Making the most of your retractable clothesline

Aim to wash “little and often” so you can give your clothes plenty of space making it easier for the air to get between them. Even if you are renting, you might want to consider swapping out your standard light fitting for one with an integrated ceiling fan. These are widely available, very affordable and easy to fit.

A good washing machine should get a lot of water out of clothes via the end-of-wash spin, but if you’re stuck with one that doesn’t and you can’t persuade your landlord to change it (or you don’t have the money to update it), then you need to give it a helping hand. Many washing machines have a spin-only option and if you’re doing a full load, you might want to split it in half and run the spin twice. As a last resort, you could try wringing out your clothes by hand.

Hang your laundry in a well-aired room. We know we’ve mentioned this before, but it’s impossible to overstate how important it is. Not only will it help your clothes to dry more quickly, it will also prevent mould from getting on your clothes or on your walls. If you must try clothes in a room without decent ventilation, for example in winter, invest in a dehumidifier.

Best Retractable Washing Line Reviews UK

Retractable Clothes Line Reviews

Here is our pick of the best retractable clotheslines on the UK market.

Minky Retractable Reel Washing Line

Minky Retractable Reel

The Minky retractable washing line provides a total of 30m of drying space over two washing lines (of 15m in length). The lines are coated with PVS and can support a maximum weight of 25Kg or approximately three loads of laundry. In addition to retracting neatly when out of use, the Minky can unclip fully from the bracket if you want to bring it indoors between uses. There is a quick-release mechanism to make this very easy.

Dryzem Washing Line


The Dryzem offers 30m of drying space over two 15m lines, which can be extended and retracted independently. Although it attaches firmly to the wall via screws and hooks, the housing unit retains the flexibility to move through 180°, meaning it can be set flush against the wall when out of use. The washing line is retracted via an automated mechanism, which has a flush-fitting clasp to keep out the dirt.

Metaltex 30 m Retractable Clothes Line

Metaltex 406378

The Metaltex offers up to 30m of clothes line. Simply extend it to the length required and secure to another surface. When your washing is dry, retract the line into the housing bay, which attaches to a wall with two screws.

Artmoon Long Retractable Outdoor Washing Clothes Line


The Artmoon retractable washing line only offers 12m of drying space, but this is quite enough for a full load of laundry and if you’re a small household living in a small space, it will quite possibly be all that you need. One of the bonuses of this retractable washing line’s smaller size is that it makes it feasible to attach the extendable end of it to wooden structures, such as sheds, which may be handy. The main body of the unit should, however, be fixed to a load-bearing wall.

As this retractable washing line is so compact overall, it only projects slightly from the surface to which it is attached and it has the flexibility to rotate through 180° so it can rest flush to the wall when out of use.

Brabantia Retractable Indoor Washing Line

Brabantia Retractable

The Brabantia retractable washing line offers a total of 22m of drying space, spread out over a total of five lines. In other words, it is much broader and shorter than any other the other retractable washing lines in our list. This is because its natural home is over a bath. Each of the lines can hold up to 2.5Kg in weight and the auto-locking system keeps them taught while your laundry is drying. Then when you’re finished, the simple retraction mechanism makes everything (almost) disappear, so you can enjoy your soak without any risk of becoming tangled in your washing line.

Brabantia WallFix Retractable Washing Line

Brabantia WallFix

This collapsible washing line offers a total of 24m of space. It is aluminum construction keeps it nicely light and eliminates the problem of rust. The folding mechanism is very simple to use and only needs one hand.

Denny International Rotary Airer Multi Hanger Free Standing/Wall mounted

Denny International

This foldable, rotary washing line is available in four-arm and five-arm versions. The four-arm version offers 16m of washing line and the five-arm version offers 26m of washing line. Both are made of aluminium, which means they are lightweight and weatherproof. As an added bonus, the folding mechanism can easily be operated with just one hand.

Best retractable washing line

Each of these retractable washing lines has different characteristics, so the best retractable washing line for you is the one which best matches your needs and wants. For example, the Artmoon may be far too small for some people but the perfect size for others and, likewise, the Minky may be a solid workhorse for larger households, but far too big for others. We like to think we’ve created a list of the best retractable washing lines on the UK market and that we’ve given you enough information to decide which is the best one for you.

Best heavy duty retractable washing line

If you’re looking specifically for a heavy-duty retractable washing line, we’d suggest the Denny or the Dryzem as their structure promotes robustness.