Laundry is not my favorite. It is like an exercise in futility, but for emergency purposes or long term power outages dirty laundry will need to be dealt with.
I bought a laundry plunger thingy, soap and already had buckets. I thought I was covered, but, while reading an article about hand washing laundry in the Paratus Familia Blog which can be found here, she mentioned it took 3 days to dry her laundry when hand wrung. I envisioned hanging laundry dripping on my carpet and wood floors in the winter and set out to find a new plan. This is what I came up with:
The wringer was not cheap. I found it at getpreparedstuff.com. They also sell replacement rollers which made me wonder how sturdy it is. I found the galvanized tub at Lowe’s. The clamps couldn’t quite reach on the tub so I needed wood blocks in between.
I wanted to make sure it all worked so I brought my kids outside to demonstrate because I want them to know how to use the stuff I have. My boys were sooooo uninterested. I could tell by their faces they were fantasizing about their future wives doing their laundry. I shook the laundry soap in a small jar with water to dissolve it before it went in with the clothes. Let the clothes soak for a while so the soap can do most of the work for you. The wringer struggled with jeans I am guessing due to the differing thicknesses from seams. I can see why it took a whole day to wash laundry back in the day.
Don’t forget to have clothespins and clothesline in your storage as well.
I didn’t really want to hang our undies outside to dry so I bought a collapsible laundry rack like this one. I would like to get one more at some point. Also as a fuel saving option I purchased a couple of solar shower bags. They are designed to lay flat on a table in the sun and are supposed to heat water up to 120 degrees F depending on outdoor conditions.
I had heard of making your own laundry soap from a friend so I thought I would give that a try as well. There are a million (I don’t even think I am exaggerating) recipes out there. I chose the powdered option with these ingredients. My grocery store had everything in the laundry aisle, how convenient. This recipe I found at “The Harried Homemaker” blog found here. I multiplied the recipe by 3 so I wouldn’t have to make it that often.
Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap
3 bars Fels-Naptha Soap
3 cups Washing Soda
3 cup borax
1 1/2 cups oxyclean
Directions: Finely grate Fels-Naptha Soap. I did this using a food processor to grate it, then the blade to grind it pretty fine, like cornmeal, kinda. Mix grated soap and other ingredients in a 3 gallon bucket. Use 1-2 Tbs per load.
This is a non-sudsy laundry soap so it works well for HD machines. I have a friend who tried the powdered version in her HD machine and it gunked it up a bit. If this is a concern try a liquid version. Do a search for other laundry soap recipes to see if there are any that would work better for your family
If you love your laundry soap then store that up. I like this because:
- it has less chemicals in it for our overly sensitive skin
- it has a fresh clean scent and cleans really well
- it is concentrated so you can store a whole years supply in one bucket
- it is roughly 4-cents per load
- it literally took 15 minutes to make
- the ingredients have other household cleaning uses as well so I don’t have to store up cleaners, I can just use what I have.
Please share in the comment section if you have any other ideas to make laundry more efficient!