Thursday, July 23, 2009

Laundry - Kickin' it Old School

Photobucket

The washer stopped working today...and I had three loads of laundry planned. Hubby figured out that it's the switch in the lid, but we still have to find the time to dismantle the washer, possibly get the part, all that. And - I still have all these dirty clothes.

Ever since I started messing with the homemade laundry soap, I have been gathering various things I'd need to do the laundry outdoors. I have everything but a wringer washer (I would LOVE to have a wringer washer!). I even made a little mini washer from a plunger and a 5 gallon bucket! So today, I decided to test my 'stuff' and see how it works.

Photobucket
Most of this stuff serves some other (more normal) purpose. We bathe Little Bit in that blue tub (inside the bathtub in the house - promise!) The galvanized tub is from my own childhood - I used to bathe in it when we lived in the house in Wisconsin (sometimes indoors, sometimes out) and I use it for all sorts of things outdoors. The wagon that's beneath the tubs is a utility wagon, and just made things easier by getting them up off the ground. The mop bucket is for getting water out of the clothing. The bucket that says 'Tidy Cats' is my laundry soap, and the bucket on top of it is my 'washing machine'.

Before I got everything gathered, I put the hoses onto the spigot, filled them, shut off the valves at the ends and left them out in the sun. That's the quickest, easiest way to get hot water.
Photobucket

Then I turned on the radio and got started.
Photobucket

This is the washer - an old 5 gallon paint bucket, cleaned out. A dollar store plunger, and a hole drilled in the lid of the bucket, and that's pretty much the whole deal.
Photobucket

I put in a half cup of laundry soap, filled it about half full of hot water, then agitated to dissolve the soap. You don't want to fill it too full - leave room for the clothes, and to mix things around.
Photobucket

Photobucket

The water from the first hose had turned cold, so I used it to fill the rinse tub.
Photobucket

Water from the second hose (still hot) is used to fill the pre-soak tub. It will end up being warm water (not all hot), but still just fine. I put some clothes in so they could pre-soak - mostly to get them wet and soften up any 'crud' on them.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Then, I put a few of those clothes into the washer. I want them to have enough room to move pretty freely, but enough 'friction' from other stuff to get them clean as well.
Photobucket

Put the lid on, and agitate.
Photobucket

Photobucket

I found that 3 verses of You Are My Sunshine was a good amount of agitation and got most everything clean. There were a few items that needed some extra scrubbing with the wash board, but mostly I got things clean with the little washer.

Take off the lid, take out the plunger, and put the clothing into the mop bucket squeezie thing.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Squeeeeeezzzzeeee!
Photobucket

Then, into the rinse water. I let them 'rest' in the rinse water while I was sloshing more tiny loads of laundry. I just added more clear water with each addition of laundry.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Once you've got the rinse tub full, take the hose and rinse any soap residue from the mop bucket.
Photobucket

Rinse the plunger, and use it to agitate the clothing in the rinse water.
Photobucket

Then, squeeze them again in the mop bucket, put them into a laundry basket, and when it's about half full (they are much wetter, and much heavier than machine laundered clothing) go hang them on the clothesline.

(PS - A while back I made a clothespin bag to match that apron. Cute, yes?)
Photobucket

Repeat, repeat, repeat, until all the clothing is washed, rinsed, and hung to dry. I emptied the washer and/or the tubs any time I felt like they needed it, and started with fresh water. I gave the rinse water to the amaranth and quinoa, and the more 'grey' water to surrounding (non food) trees.
Photobucket

For big pieces that you can't squeeze with the mop bucket, you can put them (one at a time) into a plastic laundry basket, turned on its side, so some of the water will drain off. Set it over something like the rinse tub so that the clothing (or in this case, a quilt) doesn't get dirty. Leave it there a good long while, then squeeze it out by hand as best you can and hang it to dry. These were done earlier, since they were the items that were in the washer when it quit working.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I know. I keep switching into 'tutorial speak'...like anyone else is nutty enough to do this. Truth be told, it was a lot of work...and I didn't have to haul the water from a creek, heat it with a fire, any of that. But compared to what we're used to these days for 'doing laundry', this was a lot more physical and a lot more time consuming. It was kinda fun...and kinda cool...but I'll be really glad when the washer is working, hee hee.

I still had to clean up the buckets, tubs, wagon, all that. And meanwhile, Little Bit was playing with them.
Photobucket

And putting dirt in them. Grr.
Photobucket

But eventually, I got everything cleaned up. The clothes went on the line dripping wet, but by nightfall they were just 'really wet'. They should dry some time tomorrow.

I hope.

UPDATE:
The clothes did dry...and it did take part of the next day. Things are a little more wrinkly, but all in all, everything looks pretty good. I was tired the day after - not entirely from the washing, but I did take an afternoon nap. Meanwhile, hubby properly diagnosed the problem (the switch in the lid that tells the machine that it can drain and spin was broken), then he fixed the switch and re-installed it. Yay!

15 comments:

BigM said...

Way to do what needs done!! Fab-a-lus!


BigM

Anonymous said...

Wow! Your laundry looks great, I bet you "melted some butter" doing it as well. If your machine stays broken, laundry can replace aerobics. Pioneer women were tough. I bet you slept well last night if you weren't to tired to sleep.

I have been canning salsa and putting up peas this week. Preserving food would have been much harder without pressure canners and ziploc bags.

Enjoy Little Bit and her "helping", you will blink and she will be grown. I had one get her learners permit last week, seems like yesterday she was playing in the mud.

Take care,
Georgia

ANGIE said...

love your blog. not sure how I found it, but it's so fun to read. I often wish I could live the farm life, but I cant sew or grown anything. Maybe I'll try someday.

Anonymous said...

Now you know how Mom and Grandma and Great-Grandma Conley spent their Mondays, except we drew the water out of the cistern, lugged it to the iron wash kettle (40 gal), heated with a fire, dipped it out and put it in a tub with cold water, scrubbed everything on an old brass washboard, wrung by hand, rinsed twice, and hung out on the line. Of course, then they had to be sprinkled and ironed. That took up Tuesday. Oh, how I DON'T long for the good old days!!!!

Granny Ladybug.

tenthingsfarm said...

Thanks, y'all! I'm glad I did this, but I'm also glad that hubby got the washer fixed! It was a lot of work, but helped me appreciate how good we have it these days, and what a luxury a washing machine really is.

Angie - welcome! Don't be afraid to try things, because none of us are born knowing how to do any of this stuff. If you get stuck, there are always people to help you!

Now...what is this 'ironing'? I'm not familiar with that at all. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ironing is a chore that people dreamed up as punishment for women and young girls before some saint invented permanent press fabric!!!
BE (before electricity) you sprinkled the clothes the night before, rolled them in a ball, wrapped them in sheets and the next day ironed them with flat irons heated on the wood cook stove or, if you were really modern, with an iron that burned white gas in a blue flame, which was fine if you didn't catch the clothes on fire. Life was a HOOT.

GLB

Lamb said...

When I lived in Montana, doing the laundry like this was a weekly ritual...I had an advantage, though, our water came from a hot spring, so there was no need to heat it!

tenthingsfarm said...

I would have to believe that if this were my best or only option, it would get easier, in the sense that I'd figure out some tricks, and make my kid wear her outfits longer (hee hee). It was definitely work, but nice too - being outside, being in the water, doing something that I could do while I am thinking about other things. I did enjoy it, but I will also enjoy using the machine.

I really liked the wringer washer when I was a kid, and I would still like to have one some day. :)

GrammyGoo said...

Terrific Pictures and awesome tutorial on the joys of laundry. I shared it with my 2 little grand-daughters who were here when I was reading your blog and now they want to set up a "washing area" like you have! LOL. I wonder how long that will last once the get into it! Thanks for sharing another fantastic idea Cat.

Hugs & Prayers, GG

tenthingsfarm said...

Thanks, GG! I'm holding my breath a bit today - hubby did an online search and found several wringer washers for sale in my area. There's a chance I might be able to get one - squee!!!!

GrammyGoo said...

Oh my socks I will say a washing machine prayer for you! My Gram and my Mom both had wringer washers I used to love to help them . Course, they scared the be-je-bee's out of me making sure I used extreme caution!

shesleepswithseaglass said...

You are one of the coolest EVER! What a WOMAN ~ you sure got the job *done* and helped Little Bit have a great day! Another one at 10 Things Farm :D

tenthingsfarm said...

My insanity impressed Bella! Woot!
;)

Providence Acres Farm said...

This is a great post! thank you! We are heading out in our camper full time. It's just hubby and me, kids are grown and gone, so we won't have a lot of laundry, but we will have some. I intend to do it by hand so this post is good for me. I already have all except a large plastic mop bucket with wringer. I especially like the plunger in the bucket idea! I just gave away two primary fermenter buckets, Darn!

Anonymous said...

Been doing our laundry manually for over a year now. Lots of work, and not sure how we are going to dry in winter. Definitely need a mop bucket wringer!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails