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Hello <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hearts.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hearts"><br><br>
Currently I haven't got a washer or dryer in my house. This is the first time in my life as a parent that I've had this situation, and a lot has changed since I last used a laundromat. After trying a few different ones in the area I have decided it's not a satisfactory solution.<br><br>
This is probably partly OCD, but I don't feel as if I'm coming home from a laundromat with actual clean clothes. And I hate being in a laundromat for so many reasons ~ the lights, the people....<br><br>
Like everything else I suppose, it also has become very expensive compared to before. IMO not worth it.<br><br>
So how is it done? I have always had hand-wash-only items of course, but I'm talking about things like jeans, sheets, boys' socks, towels, etc. etc. ~ the entire household laundry.<br><br>
When I was really little, my grandparents didn't have a washer at their summer house... I remember they washed the clothes on a washboard (well, the aunts did) and I helped out with putting the wet clothes through the wringer, turning the handle (which was like over my head at that point).<br><br><br>
This house is really small so I'm trying not to have to obtain any special equipment... however, it may be a while before I can get a washer (need to feel more comfortable with the septic system before I can do that). So I would be willing to get some gear if need be. Anyone doing this? I would love to know your system!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LilacRhodes</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15798483"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So how is it done? I have always had hand-wash-only items of course, but I'm talking about things like jeans, sheets, boys' socks, towels, etc. etc. ~ the entire household laundry.</div>
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Check in the country living forum, I've posted my former routine there several times.<br><br>
I would actually recommend, if you have the money to get a washer that hooks up to your sink. My aunt in NYC has one of these and it works great and honestly nobody minds the fact that it takes up the entire bathroom because otherwise it is out of the way and very convenient for doing a load a day. She dries on a fold out rack.<br><br>
I used to wash DH's and my clothes and then Ladybug's clothes and diapers when she was a newborn (everything but the sheets, which were king size). Then I was able to use my mom's machines and haven't hand washed regularly in over a year. I found that either I had to do one load a day or be completely swamped: even with the bare minimum amount of clothes for each of us. I had a Wonder Wash, but found the tub easier actually. The thing that is a must is a wringer or a spin dryer because the hardest part about doing hand laundry is the wringing.<br><br>
Again, it may be a better investment for you to just get a hook up to the sink washer. It would still save you money over the laundromat (when we've done our laundry at the laundromat, it costs us around $50/month! the machines cost around $200 and could be paid for in four months).<br><br>
HTH!<br><br>
ETA: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FHaier-HLP21N-Pulsator-1-Cubic-Foot-Portable%2Fdp%2FB002UYSHMM%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dhome-garden%26qid%3D1283432830%26sr%3D1-1" target="_blank">This</a> is the sort of thing I was talking about. I have <a href="http://www.laundry-alternative.com/products/Wonderwash.html" target="_blank">this</a>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ltlmrs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15799147"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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Again, it may be a better investment for you to just get a hook up to the sink washer. It would still save you money over the laundromat (when we've done our laundry at the laundromat, it costs us around $50/month! the machines cost around $200 and could be paid for in four months).<br><br>
HTH!<br><br>
ETA: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FHaier-HLP21N-Pulsator-1-Cubic-Foot-Portable%2Fdp%2FB002UYSHMM%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dhome-garden%26qid%3D1283432830%26sr%3D1-1" target="_blank">This</a> is the sort of thing I was talking about. I have <a href="http://www.laundry-alternative.com/products/Wonderwash.html" target="_blank">this</a></div>
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Thank you, ltlmrs! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/treehugger.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Treehugger"> That little washer looks great! Gets really good reviews as well.... and you certainly can't beat the price.<br><br>
I'm thinking that may be more my "speed" than hand washing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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I have seen a lot of people do it in a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet plunger. Then you just need a wringer.<br><br>
One option might be to wash all the clothes at home, and pick up a few extra sets of sheets at the thrift store. Then just go to the laundromat when you have 4 dirty sets of sheets.<br><br>
We use these "European" bath towels. They are like waffle weave kitchen towels, except big like bath towels. I have no idea how much they cost as my g'ma gave us ours, but since they are not big and fluffy, they would wash and dry much easier than regular bath towels. Of course you could also just minimize bathing, and do a sponge bath at the sink instead. Then you don't really even need a bath towel.
 

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If you have the option, consider buying a portable washing machine. We had one for awhile in our apartment and it worked really well. We mostly did lighter weight items and diapers but it was genius. Seriously, I cried when we lost it.
 

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All I can say is, I have done this and it took about four hours every couple of days and that was just DH and I. If I had been paid even below minimum wage I could have easily, EASILY made that money by babysitting, and babysitting was a lot less taxing, physically. Especially if you already have kids.<br><br>
That said, pre-soaking in oxy-clean works wonders, but don't pre-soak new bright colors as they may bleed. Ikea has indoor clothes dry-hangers (actually they're all over) for hanging clothes in winter. I strongly recommend them. Hm. What else?<br><br>
Godspeed to you, woman. You shall need it.<br><br>
(OTOH it's a great calorie burner... LOL!)
 

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I wouldn't waste money on the Wonderwasher.<br><br>
You can get the same results with a big plastic bucket/rubbermaid container, with a lid and a toilet plunger (new and only for this purpose)<br><br>
Pretty much, cut a small hole in the lid, enough for the handle of the plunger to go into. Fill with hot water, some detergent and dirty clothes. Let soak 20 min. Then put in the plunger, slip on the lid on top and plunge like crazy for a couple minutes.<br><br>
Drain, wring.<br><br>
Fill with clean water. Put in plunger and lid and plung like crazy. Drain. Wring.<br><br>
Repeat once more.<br><br>
Much cheaper and you can do bigger loads if you have a big bucket. You can even get them for free at the grocery store's bakery area, if you ask. That plus a $store plunger and you are set. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Ami
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JTA Mom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15800908"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I wouldn't waste money on the Wonderwasher.</div>
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This is what I was trying to convey to the OP and failed. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> The Wonderwasher is great, but it really is cheaper and just as easy with the bucket/plunger method <b>JTA Mom</b> mentioned.<br><br>
But, I most strongly second <b>JudiAU</b>'s suggestion of the portable washer, it really is the best solution unless you're planning on living off grid. Remember that when people did their laundry by hand a lot of time they had help: either hired or family and they had fewer clothes. I'm not saying this can't be done: I did it for over a year, while pregnant and with a baby and I don't regret it for a moment and will do it again some day. But, it sounds like OP might be better off with a portable automatic washer.<br><br>
BTW, I actually really enjoyed laundry by hand despite the difficulties. I felt that I was actually *doing* the laundry and found it quite satisfying. When I go back to being SAH full time and especially when we have land I will definitely be washing by hand again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks ... I'm definitely not looking for a big workout, just trying to avoid the laundromat.... Probably I will get a little portable washer. I didn't realize I could get one that small. I don't think it would even tax the septic at all, even if it never gets any better (which may be the case, there isn't anywhere to expand the leach field because most of the property is solid rock, except where the septic is now).
 

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I have washed clothes in the bathtub using my legs/feet to agitate them.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hey Mama!</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15804755"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have washed clothes in the bathtub using my legs/feet to agitate them.</div>
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yep, this. throw some clothing into the bathtub with a little detergent and warm water and turn on some tunes. throw some naked kids in the tub and tell 'em to dance.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> gets the clothing clean in a flash! And the tub stays nice and shiny as well! The hardest part is wringing them out. That'll raise blisters within the first few days. And what stinks is that wringers are WICKED expensive, but they are cheaper than a washer and dryer I suppose.
 

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I also second NOT getting the Wonder Washer. I have one and it's just sitting in my attic. It was a total waste of money and did no good when I had to use it for a few months. I ended up washing our clothes in the bathtub and it was just horrible. Just horrible. I hope I never have to go without a washer again. One modern amenity that I totally worship.
 

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Horse supply stores sell a little plunger-type thing for washing bandages and stuff in a bucket. We used one on the track everday, it was pretty handy.<br><br>
I have also washed clothes in the tub and used my feet <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Hand Washing Pro!

I have the hand washing laundry thing down to a science! We had a Haier portable washer that I purchased used off craigslist for $50 for 2 years. It was amazing...until it broke. Of course it broke about the same time that WE were broke. So I took up hand washing our clothing while scrimping to save for another "portable" washer. Small changes to your clothing routine will have you hand washing and never looking back. We never did buy another washer and we aren't planning to until I go back to full time work.

Clothing that is worn but not "dirty" (for example church clothes) should be taken off as soon as everyone gets home and hung up to be worn again. Unless your Husband works in the trades or on a farm, jeans and work pants cam be worn 2 or 3 times between washing. Shirts can often be worn twice. Underwear and undershirts should be washed each time they are worn. I like each member of my family to have 10 "sets" of underclothes. Our exterior clothing is minimal.

Get yourself a light colored toilet plunger (new and clean, of course) and an adjustable pole like the painters use. Screw the plunger onto the extendable pole and adjust the pole so that you can comfortably stand and work the pole up and down (like you are churning butter).

I like to make laundry day a bit of a production and get it all done once a week rather then set up and do laundry everyday. If you and your family don't have a weeks worth of clothing, you will have to have two wash days a week.

Now get a 5 gallon bucket (or two) and a large plastic bin (or two). I found 3 large clear plastic storage bins at a garage sale for $1 each and I have 2 buckets. Each bin is for sorted colors, one for whites, one for light colors and one for dark colors. I wash my towels and sheets after my clothing. Fill the bins with water at the temperature you want to wash your clothing in. You can attach a hose to your kitchen or bathroom sink or fill a bucket and pour the bucket of water into the bin, then refill the bucket and repeat until full.

Use hot water for more soiled clothing, sheets, towels, and underwear. Use warm water for less soiled clothing. The bucket (or buckets) are used for new clothing that "bleeds" color or clothing that shouldn't be washed in a large load. For example, my daughter has a butterfly tee shirt that is full of glittery butterflies...if i wash it with the light colored clothing, I would have glitter on everything!

While the bins are filling with water, sort the laundry and add it to the correct bin. Set aside any laundry with stains that need to be treated or grimy sleeves or collars. Where I live the water is very "hard" so I add a cup of baking soda (buy in bulk from costco) in each bin. Swish it around to dissolve it and add your laundry detergent. I have used both powder and liquid detergent and both work well when hand washing. You can use home made detergent if it saves you money.

Let your clothing soak while you work on stains and grimy clothing. I fill a 5 gallon bucket about half full and get the stain wet, then use a dollar store scrub brush to gently work out the stain. For greasy stains (especially collars) I use a tiny bit of dish soap, it really cuts through the grease. Once you have worked out most of the really grimy parts, add the clothing to the color sorted bins.

Now to really get clothes clean, you grab your plunger and agitate the clothes in the first bin. Really plunge the heck out of them! Push down and smoosh the clothing around. I like to "agitate" our clothing for "2 songs" (about 5 minutes) per bin. When you are done agitating the first bin, move to the second (leave the clothing to soak in the first bin), and finally the third. Then go back to your first bin of clothing and lift out a few pieces to check to see if they are clean. I like to spot check the knees on our child's jeans, and the necks and cuffs of hubby's shirts. If those areas look clean, great! If the laundry doesn't look clean, plunge away for another few songs. The water in the bins will get pretty dirty looking, don't fret this is normal. If you have ever looked into a top loader washer mid cycle the water is fairly dirty there too. Once you have agitated your clothing clean, it is time to rinse.

I take the dripping clothing out of a bin and set it into the bathroom sink, then I dump the bin (and dirty water) into the bathtub. I quickly rinse the tub with the hand shower sprayer. Then put the wet clothing from the sink into the bottom of the bathtub and walk on all the clothes to squish out most of the wash water. If you can find a used "spin dryer" inexpensively, I highly recommend it! I love ours. But I did laundry for years without one. Once you have smooshed out the water (or spun it out) put the clothes back into the bin INSIDE the bathtub. Fill the bin about half full of warmish water and agitate with the plunger, swishing the clothing around in the clean rinse water. You are going to rinse several times, so you don't need the water level as high as when you wash. Pour out the soapy wash water while kind of holding back the clothing with your hands. Then fill the bin half full with cold water, agitate, and rinse again. The water should be running almost clear. On the third rinse, I like to add a small amount of vinegar to the wash water as a fabric softener. Then rinse a fourth time. Your clothing is now CLEAN! Wring out each item separately (or use a spinner). To wring out clothing, I like to stomp on it in the tub first, then individually hand wring (or spin). In the summer, spring, and fall, I use an outdoor clothesline. In the winter I have a folding drying rack for each room in the house that I set up directly over the heating vents in the floor. We are paying for the heat anyway and it dries our clothing and humidifies that air too!

Then move onto the next bin! You are now hand washing laundry!!! When all your clothing is done, I set up two final bins and one bucket. One bin for sheets and one bin for towels. The bucket is for your kitchen towels and napkins. I like to add a touch of bleach to the bedding and towels as an added disinfectant. Oxiclean works well too if bleach scares you. Wash and rinse the bedding like your clothing. When it is time to wash the bath towels, there are a few extra steps since they really absorb the water. You have to wring out (by stomping on it in the bathtub or spinning) each towel between each rinse. However, since you are clean when you get out of the shower to use your towel, you can use the same towel for a week. Make sure you get your family in the habit of rehanging their bath towel after each use and you will only have to wash bath towels once a week (so for a family of four, you would have four towels). Kitchen towels and napkins, I usually wash just like clothing (in a bucket separate from clothing) since they are thin. In our home, each family member uses one cloth napkin for all three meals. That way if you have four people in your family, you only have four small cloth napkins per day to wash (or 24 for 6 days, the 7th day is wash day). We use the smaller "cocktail" size napkins and they work just fine for three meals (really how messy are your hands and mouth if you are eating with silverware...)

I know this is an old thread, but I hope this step by step info helps someone save the laundry money for something else!
 
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