Your sparkling white sheets are ready to hang but you realize that you don’t have any clothespins. Or maybe you’re making some festive decorations but realize you tossed out the clothespins. What could you use instead of clothespins? 

Clothespins are cheap and easy to find, but there are plenty of other things you can use in a pinch. Here’s a bunch of clothespins alternatives you can use.

Best alternatives for clothespins

Here are clothespin alternatives you’ll likely have lying around the house or the yard:

If you don’t have clothespins, you can use paperclips, binder clips, or even rubber bands to hold your clothes on the line. Just take care if using anything too heavy or metal, as it could damage your clothes. 

Some of the heavy-duty alternatives such as spring clamps used for woodworking may be too strong and you may have to use something between the clamp and the fabric.

Whatever you use, just make sure it can hold your clothes securely and won’t damage them in any way. 

More alternatives for clothespins

Getting a bit more creative you can try these tips:

Use the clothes themselves

Hang a button-up shirt to dry using the buttons themselves. The same goes for trousers.

Trust the weight

If it’s not too windy, your clothes may dry on their own. Trust the process but be prepared to wash them again!

Hang from the care label

You don’t have to be so careful not to damage the fabric if you use the care label as the point of contact.

How do clothespins work?

To understand what you can use instead of clothespins, it’s worth it to consider how clothespins work.

A clothespin is a fastener used to hold a piece of fabric in place. The fabric is inserted between the two halves of the clothespin and the tension of the clothespin keeps the fabric in place. 

A clothespin is made up of two pieces of wood that are connected by a metal spring. The spring is what allows the clothespin to open and close. 

When you squeeze the clothespin shut, the spring is compressed. This causes the two pieces of wood to move further apart. When you realize the spring, the cloth is pinched between them. The tension of the spring keeps the clothespin closed, and the tension of the fabric keeps the clothespin from opening.

So, in a pinch, use anything that has some pinch!

Do you have any other tips for drying clothes without clothespins? Let us know in the comments below.