All clotheslines tend to sag over time, but they can easily be tightened and brought back to a usable state. The issue could be caused by anything from faulty installation to heavy, wet laundry pulling on the line over time. A clothesline should receive regular maintenance to ensure it is functioning properly so that you aren't surprised by a snapped line or stained laundry due to rusty hardware.
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Tightening a Clothesline With a Winch
If the clothesline in question is of the pulley variety, then you need to locate the winch, which is the key to getting a tighter clothesline. A pulley system is generally used when the clothesline is attached to two different locations, such as the outside of your home and a telephone pole. You simply pull on the line so it travels along the pulleys to send the laundry farther out or to bring it closer to you. If you do not see a winch on the line, then it is time to install one
The winch connector is installed where the two ends of the clothesline wire meet. Take the winch with the crank facing down and insert one end of the clothesline through separate holes located on each side of the winch. There is a hole located in the center shaft as well and the ends should be fed through this hole, passing each other on the way and coming out the other side. Once the line has been fed through the winch, pull the ends of the clothesline tight. Crank on the underside of the winch and turn it to tighten the wire. Turn the winch as much as needed to get the tension desired. If there is a lot of extra slack, you may want to consider restringing your line through the winch before turning the crank to tighten it.
Tightening a Rope Clothesline
A rope clothesline is a great alternative to a wire line. However, like wire clotheslines, rope clotheslines can also begin to sag. Install a tightener on your rope clothesline so you can tighten your line with a quick pull whenever you notice it beginning to droop. If your clothesline cord is on a pulley system, make sure the rope is threaded through each pulley with the loose ends on the bottom side of the pulleys. Attach one end of the cord securely to the metal eye on the tightener. Feed the other end of the rope through the hole on the opposite end of the tightener and pull it until the line is taut. Pull the bottom end of the tightener until your desired tension has been reached.
This rope tightener can also be used on a static clothesline. The metal eye of the tightener should be hung on the clothesline stand with the rope fed through the tightener system using the same method as described above. Attach the other end of the rope to the opposing clothesline stand tightly and pull the tightener to once again obtain your desired tension.
Tightening While Hanging Laundry
If the clothesline begins to sag while you are hanging laundry to dry, consider purchasing a spreader pulley. These are small, C-shaped metal or plastic pulleys meant for the middle of a clothesline. Insert them halfway through hanging your load of laundry if you notice that the load is getting too heavy.
Another option for supporting your sagging clothesline is to use a metal or wood clothesline prop. The support is placed under the line to prevent the laundry from weighing down and snapping the clothesline. On a pulley clothesline, you can place these only after you have hung the laundry. However, if you have a static clothesline, you can put the support up before you hang your laundry, which may make hanging the laundry on the line easier as well.