Ontario residents can now hang their clothes and linens out to dry after the premier lifted the ban on outdoor clotheslines on Friday.

There were restrictions in many subdivisions across the province, but the province's new regulation will overrule the neighbourhood rules, which were put in place because clotheslines were considered unsightly.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said the move is also aimed at curbing the use of energy-sucking dryers, which burn up to six per cent of Ontario's power.

"There's a whole generation of kids growing up today who think a clothesline is a wrestling move," McGuinty said during his announcement.

"We want parents to have the choice to use the wind and the sun to dry their clothes for free."

Energy Minister Gerry Phillips said using outdoor clotheslines instead of electric dryers can:

  • Save consumers $30 a year as dryer use would be reduced by 25 per cent
  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions, as five dryers produces about the same amount of emissions as an average-sized car
  • Reduce demand on the power grid, as dryers use about 900 kilowatt hours of electricity a year

The new regulation, which has angered the province's building industry, applies to detached and semi-detached homes and most row houses.

High-rise condominiums and apartments will not be affected for now, as the government wants more consultation to deal with safety and other concerns.