Types of clothesline poles

Written by duane craig
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Types of clothesline poles
Support poles pick up the slack on loaded clotheslines. (Wäscheleine image by inapf from Fotolia.com)

Clotheslines survive even in today's automated world, and many people prefer their clothes dried in the sunshine and fresh air. The poles holding the clotheslines come in a few types.

Classic T

This pole type enabled the transformation from single-line clotheslines to multiple-line clotheslines. Since T poles could handle multiple lines, clotheslines no longer required a long space in which to stand, but could be used in short, wide spaces. This style of clothesline pole was more suitable to apartment buildings and the suburbs, where yard sizes were small. The T pole also put all the clothes into a compact area, so the clothesline reel was no longer needed. T poles are often made of three-inch-diameter, galvanised metal pipe with eye hooks on the crossbar. The clothesline rope ties to the eye hooks on two T poles facing each other that are set the desired distance apart.

Simply Straight

Clothesline poles can also be a simple straight pole of some rigid material, such as metal and wood, and sometimes in PVC that's at least three inches in diameter. The pole is set in the ground, with the underground portion encased in cement. A hole is placed in the top and the clothesline rope is run through it, with the other end attached to another pole, or a building or a stout tree. Make sure the pole is tall enough to make up for line sag, yet not so tall that you can't reach the line when it's empty.


Clotheslines and clothesline poles have endured their share of disdain. Their utilitarian nature often make them visually unappealing, and they were even banned in some neighbourhoods. Other areas took a more creative approach, however, and required clothesline poles to be decorative. Owners adorned simple T posts with scrolls under the arms of the T and painted them to complement the surroundings. Straight poles were sometimes carved wooden totems with depictions of colourful characters or natural scenes.


No doubt, trees served as the first significant clothesline poles. Simply stretch a line between two solid trees and let the clothes drying begin. For the sake of the trees, consider sliding the line through a piece of old garden hose where it rests against the trees to help prevent nasty rope burns, or worse, killing of the trees or branches.

Line Support

It seems clothesline poles can never be high enough, because the lines stretch with the weight of wet clothes. Clothesline poles placed close enough together solve this problem, though that minimises the line space available. These line supports come in many materials, but they all a notch cut into the end where the line rests. Push the line up, once it is in the notch, then set the other end of the pole on the ground to hold up the line.

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