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Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line review: a clever laundry solution for all types of garden

There's nothing quite like line-dried washing. If your garden isn't the right size or shape for a rotary washing line, a retractable model is the answer - we put Mumsnet's favourite retractable washing line to the test.

By Poppy O'Neill | Last updated Mar 27, 2024

Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line

Price on writing: £19 | Buy now from Amazon

Our rating:
What we like
  • Lockable lines at any length

  • UV stable protective case

  • 30m of drying space

  • Lines can be used independently

  • Comes with everything you need to install (except a drill)

  • Self-retracting

  • Can be fixed to a fence post or wall

  • Bracket means you can put the case away when not in use

What we don't like
  • You'll need a prop to keep the line supported

  • Requires DIY

Key specs

Drying space: Up to 30 metres (Two x 15 metres) | Weight allowance: Up to 25kg 

How we tested

Mumsnet editor Poppy installed and tested the Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line in her garden in Sussex over the space of a month in early spring. She used the washing line to dry her family of four's washing, testing out all the features of the line and taking detailed notes on the ease of installation, user-friendliness and quality of the washing line.

Our verdict

In my previous house we had a big lawn and a rotary washing line, so I was keen to find a solution to drying washing in our new garden, which has a small lawn lots of shrubs and trees, and not enough space for a rotary line to dry washing without dragging it, quite literally, through a hedge.

With no tumble dryer, we'd been getting by with a heated clothes airer and dehumidifier over the winter, and I was more than ready to start drying washing outdoors when the Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line arrived.

The DIY element was straightforward, with four wall plugs and screws included with the washing line, all you need to do is drill four holes into a suitable wall or sturdy post, then do the same with hooks at the other end of your garden.

Once up and running, the line couldn't be easier to use. I happen to have a well-placed bay tree that acts as a prop for the line, but I'd definitely recommend a prop (here's one for under a fiver) to prevent sagging. One of the 15m lines easily fits a load of washing, and the best part is you can stretch the two lines out in different directions, to get the most out the drying space, whatever size or shape garden you have.

Once the sun's gone in and your washing's back inside, simply unwind the washing line from its locking hooks under the case, unhook the other end and let the mechanism reel it back into the case. I found it much less effort to set up than my old heavy rotary washing line.

Read next: The best budget washing machines, as recommended by Mumsnetters

How easy is the Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line to install and start using?

Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line

The washing line comes complete with everything need to install it, but you will need an electric drill. We used a hammer drill to get it onto the wall of our house, but it can also be installed onto a sturdy post or the side of a shed. The washing line case slots onto the bracket you fasten to the wall, and you'll need to install hooks at the other side of your garden for the lines to fasten onto.

I'd recommend installing the washing line as high as you can (while still being able to reach it) so your washing has plenty of clearance.

When you come to use the line, stretch it out to your hook, then pull a bit of extra length to wind around the rubber hooks - this will make sure the lines are good and taut.

Although the rubber hooks do a good job of locking the washing line's length in place, a prop is essential to prevent sagging as you add washing to the line.

Read next: The best washer dryers for families

What's the Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line like to use day-to-day?

Having used a rotary washing line for about a decade, I wasn't sure how I'd get along with a retractable. They're generally pitched as a good enough alternative if you can't fit a rotary in your garden, but I actually think I might prefer it. With a rotary the washing in the middle doesn't get as much airflow as the outer layers, not so with a retractable. Plus I like how quick and easy it is to store away when not in use, taking up practically zero storage space.

The washing line itself is great quality, with a sturdy, UV-stable case and strong lines. Reviewers say that with good care the lines can last years and years. the instructions advise retracting the line and bringing the case inside when not in use, or at least during bad weather and over winter, to prolong its life as much as possible.

The routine of getting the line out and putting it away does take a little getting used to, as it involves walking up and down the garden to hook the line and lock and unlock it - but once you get the hang of it, it's not a problem.

The washing line can take up to 25kg (about 3 loads) of laundry with both lines fully extended. I've only needed to use one of the lines so far for a single load, and had no issues with weight, even when washing towels, trainers and dog harnesses. Once the washing's dry, I can easily move down the line un-pegging everything and popping it into my laundry basket.

Read next: The best steam generator irons, tried and tested

Does the Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line offer good value for money?

While there are cheaper double retractable washing lines out there, the Minky is the one most highly recommended by Mumsnetters and reviewers, thanks to its sturdiness and quality. It has a chunky case to protect against the elements, and has the highest maximum weight of the retractable washing lines in our round-up, and I for one think it's a worthy contender against a rotary design.

At £19 at the time of writing, it's one of the cheapest ways to dry your washing. The versatility of two lines mean it can be installed in a garden, balcony or courtyard, maximising the space you have available.

About the author

Poppy O'Neill is a Content Editor at Mumsnet and a mother of two. She's been researching and reviewing baby and child products for 2 years, with a particular focus on baby essentials, toys and books for toddlers and outdoor play equipment. From potties to paddling pools and bunk beds to bedtime stories, she loves to deep-dive into research and find the best products out there.

Poppy is also an award-winning, best-selling children's and parenting author of books such as Don't Worry, Be Happy, The Extraordinary Book That Makes You Feel Happy and Mother Power. She specialises in children's mental health and her books are used by therapists, teachers and SENCOs across the UK. She won a The Week Junior Book Award in 2023, her books have been translated into several languages and she's been featured in The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The Sun.

After earning a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Leeds and a PGCert in Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism from University of the Arts London, she worked in fashion for most of her 20s. When her children were young, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester and re-trained as an author and freelance writer.

About Mumsnet reviews

All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage.