Reading some older threads here...
My words of wisdom after handwashing clothes for the past 2 years:
Bucket and plunger method works better than the wonder wash.
Spring for the lehmans plunger thing. A regular plunger works, but is only good for a month or two before the rubber part separates from the handle.
Dish soap works better than homemade soap or laundry detergent (I have hard water though).
Soaking makes for cleaner clothes.
Yep! I only have 3 months of handwashing experience, but have found all of that to be true. I would also add:
• Wringing is easy if you do it in sections on heavier items.
• Detergent is next to impossible to fully rinse out. We use soap nuts & sometimes dish soap for bigger dirt (kitchen towels & rags especially).
• You'll never regret putting in a laundry sink in place of a traditional bathroom sink if you are building or rehabbing. We put one in our bathroom when we built our home, and it is used for everything from handwashing laundry to rinsing baby's bottom after a blowout diaper to spraying off a toddler's muddy feet. Ours is the smallest size we could find but it is deep enough for babies & toddlers to stand up in. They make bigger ones that have washboards attached.
• I think it's hard to do more than one load a day because soaking is my key to getting the clothes clean and they often will be in the sink most of the morning in various stages of soaks. So I would get a bucket or a washbin or a sink large enough to accommodate all the laundry you will want to accomplish in a week, broken up over 7 washes.
• If you don't mind some laundry buildup and the occasional laundromat trip, more clothes than you need can be a good thing. If you want to avoid that altogether, scale back on your clothes to only what you absolutely need. For me, success in avoiding the laundromat depends on avoiding getting the clothes dirty, so we try to reuse jammies for several nights, wear aprons if possible, use bibs more often on little ones, etc.
It has become a routine for us now & is not very hard to keep up with, BUT, dh has been traveling quite a bit and doing laundry on the road mostly. Having his big heavy clothes in the wash cycle changes things here and usually ends up with a laundromat or relatives-with-a-machine trip for us. :-)