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How Do I Choose the Best Clothesline Pulley?

Solomon Branch
Solomon Branch

Pulley clotheslines represent a popular and effective way to dry clothes outdoors, without a gas or electric powered dryer. A rope, usually made of nylon or cotton, is threaded through a pulley in this type of system, and wet clothes are attached using clothespins. If you are looking to build your own pulley clothesline system or replace a damaged clothesline pulley, you will need to find a pulley that is durable, functional and, if you are concerned about appearances, matches your inner or outer décor.

A clothesline pulley can be made of one of several materials, including wood, aluminum, cast iron and plastic. If you want a more old-fashioned look, a wood or cast iron clothesline pulley would be a good choice. However, wood can be tricky because it will be getting damp frequently, which can make it warp, break or splinter. If you choose a wood pulley, make sure it is waterproofed and is made of a good quality wood that will last.

Shirts on a clothesline.
Shirts on a clothesline.

Cast iron pulleys are heavier, and you will need a strong support to hang them. They are durable and give your clothesline a classic, antique look but are a little more expensive than other types of clothesline pulleys. Pulleys made of other metals are lighter than cast iron pulleys but are equal in terms of durability; however, you should ensure they are rustproofed before purchasing one. Plastic and aluminum clothesline pulleys are the cheapest but are not as durable as metal pulleys.

Regardless of the material, a good quality clothesline pulley will roll effectively and allow for multiple uses, as well as support the amount of weight that you will be putting on it. A good pulley will have plenty of space between the wheel and the bracket that holds it to allow for smooth movement. Clothesline pulleys with ball bearings are effective but might get rusty and stop rolling.

If you are replacing a broken or damaged clothesline pulley, it’s often best to get a replacement that is the exact same as the one you had previously, or at least the same size. If you don’t want to bother with finding a replacement, many kits are available that have the pulleys and the clothesline included. This can make it easy to set up, and you don’t have to worry about a mismatch.

Clothesline pulleys are available in a variety of locations including online and in department stores and hardware stores. Cast iron antique pulleys can be found in antique stores and estate sales, as well as online. If you are concerned about price, you may wish to check yard sales and thrift stores, although be sure you fully inspect any pulley you find to make sure it is not defective.

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    • Shirts on a clothesline.
      By: Michael Flippo
      Shirts on a clothesline.