[permaculture] Alternative/traditional methods of doing laundry w/o a machine (how?)
cedecor at gmx.net
Sun Mar 10 14:49:13 EDT 2013
Yesterday 03/09/2013 08:17 PM, Lawrence London wrote about doing laundry:
> ... you suddenly realize you are going to be washing all your laundry by hand for
> the rest of your life (driving to laundromat is not an option).
> What are effective ways to hand wash laundry?
> cold water OK?
I don't wash clothes often (I have plenty) or by hand but the system I
use may be worth repeating:
I don't buy automatic washers (those with cycles) and have purchased 2
G.E. back-&-forth rotor type machines, one in 1982 and one 15 or 20
years later that still works fine (except for very large items, which is
where you need that front loader you mentioned, with the vertically
rotating cage and no rotor).
The back-&-forth movement of the rotor creates a vertical flow of water
and that is what cleans the clothes (sheets etc.) if you don't load the
machine too much and have plenty of water in it, because without that
vertical current the clothes just slosh around from right to left and
there's not enough water flowing around them to loosen whatever has
stuck to them.
These machines are not expensive and have few parts to break. I haven't
seen one with a wringer for a while and personally I don't like them
since they stretch elastic and break buttons. I use a centrifugal
device that are not being made here anymore (except for Easy, which
includes a little one with some of it's rotor washing machines), AFAIK.
(Hoover used to make them in the USA).
To back up that statement I went to the ge.com website and discovered
that these simple round machines with no timer, pump or wash cycles
(they are either on or off and drain with a hose) are no longer being
offered in the USA:
The least expensive model in the USA is $550 and I know they can be had
new for less than half that here in Mexico.
The Cinsa clothes centrifuge (16,00 RPM) only lasted for 28 years, at
which time I had to rewind the motor and later, install a new on / off
switch. (I bought it in 1982 and it still works perfectly)
The other item I use is a tub, big enough to soak a load of clothes in.
I wash the cleanest clothes first, so I can re-use the soapy water
(using mostly ACE detergent), capturing the output of the Centrifuge, so
the clothes from the washer go first into the centrifuge and from there
into the tub with a minimum of soap. IAC I change the water in the tub
enough to get rid of the soap not extracted by the centrifuge, before
running it through the centrifuge again.
I googled on "centrifuge for drying clothes" and while the spin-x
company wants $600 + from Canada, the alibaba.com people have one from
China for much less:
This $100 item (FOB USA) will save you a lot of work. (Sometimes I even
carry one with me when I travel in my 95 Ford Ranger).
If I remove shirts and pants (things that could be ironed) from the
extractor before almost all of the rinse water is removed, I can shake
the wrinkles out before hanging the clothes out to dry on clothes
hangers hung to the clothes line up on the roof (under cover during the
rainy season) and don't have to iron, much or at all.
If I'm traveling without the centrifuge I use a cord to tie one end of
whatever I want to wring (unless it's a small item) to something
immovable and turn the other end around and around until almost all the
water is wrung out. It works but is still a hassle.
Success or failure in Life is due to the details taken into account.
IOW, everything has it's own Zen, including doing your laundry. (If you
have a stream running nearby you can enclose your clothes in a basket
and throw them into the stream, where the water running through them
will remove much of the foreign material, but don't forget to tie the
cage to a rock or a tree, unless you intend to send your clothes to
While in the house I wear mainly sweatshirts and pants anyway, and had
the no-springs mattress I bought in 1982 recovered with an impermeable
furniture covering which can be cleaned and therefore used with or
I also found I can purchase new mattresses from the manufacturer for far
less without their cover and do the same as above for less cost and
I worked on a trail crew in Sequoia National Park one summer and have
lived outdoors for extended periods on other occasions, sharing space
with wild rather than domestic animals, which make good company. (Wild
doesn't mean out of control. Civilization is out of control, or at
least needs to be reoriented).
Sunday March 10 in Guadalajara
> plenty of large plastic buckets and barrels to use, wheelbarrow?
> biodegradable soap
> agitation methods?
> beat them against rocks or concrete patio?
> are there any recipes for laundry soap that might work better than
> commercial biodegradable liquid detergent,
> i.e. get more dirt out quicker and with less agitation? borax, salt, baking
> soda, Bon Ami, vinegar, other household product?
> Anyone do their laundry by hand?
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