How can I make a washing line cover using recycled materials?

washing-lineBecause nothing particularly interesting has happened in my life over the last few weeks – I mean, aside from us moving house after nearly a decade in the old place and my best friend Katherine giving birth for the first time (*hello 14 day old baby Joe!*) – I have been unduly excited by the discovery of covers for outside rotary washing lines.

They’re big plastic covers which sit on rotary washing lines, preventing the clothes from getting re-soaked every time there is a sudden but brief downpour — there are some clear ones that can be left on all the time, ideal for the UK where it goes from blistering sunshine to torrential rain and back again constantly throughout the day. I tell you – unduly excited – I can’t believe I lived three decades without knowing about them. It’s like the broccoli stalks revelations all over again.

The basic concept seems simple enough to make myself from scrap materials – I need a sheet of heavy-duty but flexible waterproof material, ideally clear, in the shape of my rotary line, some extra length to be sides (to stop sideways rain) and possible some cane or piping at the edge between the “roof” and the sides to give it some structure. We got a new mattress when we moved in here and I’ve kept the giant plastic bag that came in, which is a good start, and I’m tempted to befriend a local carpet fitter for some more similar stuff, which they get wrapped around the rolls of carpet. An old tent or gazebo covering would probably work too. Any other suggestions?

Has anyone made something similar for non-rotary washing lines? Once my eyes were opened to the concept, I started Googling around and found these Isle of Mull dryers which combine the cover and the hanging space in an inverted V-shape. Any other ideas?

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8 Responses to “How can I make a washing line cover using recycled materials?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    This is exciting. Winters in east Texas typically consist of cold, rainy days. We have a pergola that could be converted to a winter clothes drying station. All I would have to do is cover it with (recycled) material and I have the perfect thing, an old tarp that had its’ grommets pulled out and can no longer be used on our trailer.

  2. Alice says:


    Sorry, but it’s the outdoor plastic thing again. If you make a cover out of that matress wrapping, it will degrade in sunlight in a few months, crack, and fall into tiny bits that will get all over your garden.

    Only plastic designed to be used outside is any good, as it’s chemically altered to make it resistant to the UV rays of the sun.

    Tarp would work as it’s usually UV resistant, but it’s not usually transparent. Polytunnel plastic is great if you happen to know anyone with a broken polytunnel cover.

    • louisa says:

      That’s a very good point Alice, something I’d completely forgotten again in my eagerness to both make a cover and get rid of the mattress plastic.

      I think I’ll keep my eyes and ears open people for getting rid of a torn polytunnel cover or broken tents…

  3. I saw the inventor of the idea you are discussing on Dragons Den, young lad from the Wirral (and good for him – he seems to be doing very well) but frankly I can’t see that it would really work as there was no side protection or much overhang to provide protecion from driving rain.

  4. Lizzy says:

    This reminds me a bit of the ‘how can I recycle bits of an old tent’ suggestion – maybe you or someone you know has a broken old tent or you could somehow get hold of one? Not that I’ve seen a seethrough tent, but if the suggestion helps…

  5. Fergus Brogan says:

    My polytunnel cover just ripped, straight up the side – very disheartening.
    Now I am going to make a clothesline cover with one half and a teepee cloche with the other.

  6. maggi says:

    What a good idea. I am going to try with a green gazebo cover I kept. The poles always seem to break first and I was wondering what to do with the cover!

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