In the last two posts we’ve focused on the large challenge of doing laundry for eight on our off-grid homestead without a washer or dryer. If you haven’t already done so, read Part One and Part Two to better understand the following tips about doing laundry by hand, including using a spinner:
~ Use pre-spot on spots or stains the same as with a washer. Scrub spots by hand or on a wash board.
~ Soak really dirty laundry overnight in the soapy water before washing.
~ Make sure there is enough room for clothes to move freely in the water while plunging. Break large loads into several small batches in the washing tub, doing each batch one or two minutes with the plungers, depending on how dirty they are.
~ Use five gallon buckets for rinsing. For dirtier loads rinse twice, using two buckets for rinsing, and squeezing water out in between with the laundry press.
~ The water catching bucket that comes with the Charming Spinner is not large enough to catch all the water that is removed unless you use it after washing with a regular washing machine, so we use a larger tub.
~ After removing clothes from the laundry press, some really wet or heavy items may still need a quick hand squeeze before placing them into the spinner. This makes it much easier to avoid problems with unbalanced loads and having to stop and rearrange the clothes.
~ In the spinner, place heavier items in first, then lighter items on top. Most items should be placed in one at a time to keep the load balanced.
~ We normally have two people plunging and rinsing, another running the spinner and helping with rinsing, and two others hanging the clothes on the line. The children handle it daily now with a little oversight from me.
~ We no longer throw clothing (with the exception of undies) into the wash after only wearing it once or twice. It usually must look or smell dirty.
~ I like clean bed sheets. Especially now we don’t want to wash all of them every week. We have them on a rotation schedule. To keep from sleeping in dirty sheets, we’re pretty strict about any dirt in bed. The younger ones go outside and get dirty till naptime (2:30pm), then take showers or clean up and get night clothes on before nap. After nap they play inside or on the deck. It also saves power to shower in the afternoon rather than after dark because it requires no lighting and less heating of water. Of course when we are on a big project till late we don’t have much choice but to shower late as well.
~ Our weekly laundry schedule keeps things from piling up and washes appropriate things together.
- Monday: cleaning rags, play/work clothes, socks, undies
- Tuesday: darks (jeans, delicate dress clothes, etc), house bath towels
- Wednesday: kitchen towels, hand towels, cloth napkins, pillow cases, night clothes, sheets, camper bath towels
- Thursday: really dirty clothes (Silver Oak’s work clothes, soiled play/work clothes, etc) – this load starts soaking the day before
- Friday: first delicate whites, then cleaning rags, socks, undies
Laundry that needs to be disinfected has been a little difficult. It’s time and energy-consuming to use really hot water, and I am generally not a Clorox user for health reasons (spot treatment only). We use lots of hydrogen peroxide which disinfects and whitens, but I’m wondering how to become more sustainable and efficient in this area. Any ideas?
I’ve shared what we do, now what about you? If you are off-grid or just trying to save on your power and water consumption, what have you found that works successfully with lots of laundry? Hope to hear your ideas!
Linked w/ Barn Hop, Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable, Live Renewed, Our Simple Farm, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, My Simple Country Living, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.