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This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes

Updated on September 20, 2012
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Clothes and Dirt

Nowadays, especially with teenagers who change their clothes multiple times per day, we wear an item once, and boom! it does into the dirty clothes hamper. Back in our parents’ day, it got washed when it was really dirty. With these newfangled dryers, it takes a lot out of our clothes. If you look at that lint trap, you’ll see what used to be part of the clothing that you just washed. Our parents folded the clothes that they wore the day before, and they were worn again the next day. I remember having to fold my night clothes and put them under the pillow. They were washed on wash day.

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Hand Washing a Few Things

I wash a few things out by hand, when I am running low on socks or underwear in the bathroom sink. It sure doesn’t take long, and I don’t have a washer or dryer, but even if I did, I wouldn’t waste the water, detergent, or the electricity for a half hour. I get most of the water out of the socks and underwear by rolling them in a towel, then hang them over the shower rod all night, and are dry in the morning.

Washing an Entire Load

The bathtub has more than one use for those that want to stop depending on that washer so much. An agitator is easy. A sink plunger works very well, but it is only used for the wash, nothing else. I use the plunger for about 10 minutes to wash and change the rinse water twice. Wring out the clothes by hand, and hang on a line in the sun, or on a folding rack that is placed in the tub after the washing. The sun naturally bleaches your clothes, so the whites will brighten. Washing soda is especially good for that, but more about that in a minute.

For Those with a Car and a Bumpy Road

Get a five gallon bucket with a tight lid. Put your clothes, detergent and water in it, then go do your errands. The ride is enough to properly agitate the clothes When you get back home, rinse your clothes, then hang on the line or on the folding rack in the tub.

Here’s a detergent recipe and one for fabric softener, if you like to use that. This is a lot cheaper than the commercial product and not filled with chemicals, especially for you folks with sensitive skin:

http://moonlightened.hubpages.com/hub/Go-Green-Lavender-laundry-detergent-you-can-make-yourself

http://rtalloni.hubpages.com/hub/Can-You-Really-Make-Homemade-Fabric-Softener

Unconventional, you Say?

Granted, in these modern times, this is a little unconventional, but I will guarantee you clean clothes, and your clothes will last longer without the high heat from the dryer breaking them down. If you doubt, give it a try and report your findings to me. You’ll also save some money on that electric bill and get a little exercise in the process.

If you’d still like to conserve, but don’t want to be so drastic, you can order a non-electric washing machines from Lehman’s. There is a James Hand Washer with a wringer. You agitate with a 16-gallon tub with a rod that you push back-and-forth, and a hand crank will operate the wringer.

This is truly getting back to basics and some of you would like to do that, I know.

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks,Johan. It won't be easier, but if you are on the grid, it will sure help keep the electric at a more manageable level. We could be using the sun a lot more than we are now, and after all, it is a free commodity. Maybe just doing things a little more wisely will help us keep a few extra dollars in our pockets.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      We need to be much more efficient in our use/abuse of our natural resources. Good article!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, hyphen. It sure makes a lot of sense. When I finish with this green detergent, I shall make my own.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I like this article. I am a simple girl and make my own laundry soap. I will follow the link you have here to see what she does. I have and do wash in the tub or sink also. Our tiny family does not generate much laundry so it is convenient to do by hand. I have a line in the basement so I can hand laundry and dry it on rainy days by using a fan. Thanks for the great tips and suggestions.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, precy anza. It is a lot healthier to dry clothes outside in the sun, and they will last better, too. Hand washing isn't easier, but it is better with chemical free soaps.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 years ago from USA

      A really good hub about this way of washing clothes. And we also still prefers drying the clothes outside under the sun. And I had watched my mom in my childhood hand washing clothes, dabbing lime on the stains and putting the whites under the sun less than 30 minutes to get rid of the stains. And we do hand washing on the sink as well :) And I prefer hand washing dark clothes so they won't wrinkle. Voted up and shared!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Good for you, CC! I grew up with parents that were pretty green, so it was a natural thing for me. My dad was one of the original organic gardeners in town, so I saw a lot first hand.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, kashmir. I love the smell of the fresh air in my clothes from the line.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, thelyricwriter. Glad that you liked it, and yes, we have become very dependent on the washer and dryer.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I don't think anyone likes washing by hand, but for some of us, it seems like a better plan.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Scribenet, that is correct. Our clothing needs to last as long as possible. Have you been getting any organic clothing?

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      shiningirisheyes, I have missed you and glad that you're back. Yes, our earth needs some good care, as it has been abused for too long.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Oh, I like the way you think! You could put a cat in the tub with the clothes...hehehe...that will get 'em agitated. LOL...just kidding. We have a washer and dryer, and generally wear clothes until they're stale (which might actually be a few or more times wearing them!) and then wash. Using the clothesline has reduced our electric bill so much! My parents didn't teach me to be "green" b/c they were in the generation where people didn't really "want" to do that. But in these times, getting back to "simple" and getting closer to the land is not only smart, but essential. I've had to teach myself a lot of what I know now, and lots of my friends think I'm "funny," but I wouldn't live any other way. :)

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very interesting and inventive, i remember those times before washers and dryers . Well done !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Aviannovice, very cool article. You know when we was living at the apartment, I never thought of putting the clothes in the vehicle. That is a genius of an idea. We were renting, so of course they had no washer. I could do without the dryer, but we could have used a water. We lived by those same standards. We use to wear our clothes a few times. We just sprayed "Brut" on them to take away the smell. LOL Washing clothes this way is a chore. Makes you appreciate the washer and dryer. Voted up, useful, interesting, and awesome.

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      I must say I have hand washed in my younger days; I did not enjoy it; I hated it. I would not recommend it to anyone. Having said that, I will probably end up washing by hand again, if this government we have in over here has anything to do with it.

      Great hub though, nice photos

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      It is amazing that washing clothes is really a simple process. We often forget that a washing machine is a modern convenience used to save time.

      I often wash colors I love separately by hand to keep them from fading and picking up other colors and loosened dirt from other fabrics! It also minimizes wear and tear from machine cleaning and drying! They remain like new much longer!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Aviannovice! So glad to be back and reading your always informative hubs. I share your opinion that our parents generation found economical solutions for problems. This sluggish economy shows no sign of improving any time soon and coming up with insightful ways to save money is wonderful. I also commend you for giving suggestion that help our beautiful earth. It can use all the help it can get.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Jeannie. With the economy the way it is, we may well have to do this in order to live like we need to.

    • profile image

      Jeannie Dibble 4 years ago

      The Simple Life. Great information...