Monday, July 7, 2014

What If...

I couldn't get down to the basement where the washers and dryers are located.  Or what if there was no electricity and I ran out of clean knickers.  How would I handle that?

I've been experimenting with several "What If" situations lately.  For a few weeks I couldn't get to the basement and I've been washing by hand what I needed, but what if there was a prolonged period of time where hand washing of clothes was necessary.  Rinsing out items in the sink isn't good enough.

I think at one time or another we've all seen the videos of various methods of doing laundry in a grid down situation.  I have buckets.  I have a new - never been used plunger.  So I gave it a shot.  I cheated by using tap water as I didn't want to mess with my stored water.  And I found the bucket - plunger method works.  The clothes came out as clean as if they had been washed in an automatic washer.

I've been making my own laundry soap for years.  I can make 3 gallons, enough for 60 washer loads, for about a dollar.  The only drawback is storing 3 gallons of laundry soap.  I found a recipe for powdered laundry soap that I decided to try.  It is basically the same ingredients as the liquid, minus the water.  Here's the recipe:

2 cups finely grated Fels Naptha bar soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup Borax

Combine and run through a food processor or blender to break the grated Fels Naptha down into powdered form and further combine.  Use 1 Tablespoon per washer load or 2 Tablespoons for extra dirty clothes.

One recipe will fit into a quart jar.  That works better for me storage-wise than does 3 gallons of liquid, and it works just as well.

I need a better way to wring water out of the clothes.  I'm thinking that one of those yellow janitorial mob buckets with the attached piece that is used to wring water out of a mop might work.  I could probably use the bucket for washing and rinsing and the attachment for wringing.

Now all I need is one of those wooden drying racks - the ones with a framework on each side with dowels running across.  I think I know where I can get both the bucket and the rack.  Seems to me it is worth a try, especially when stairs are my enemy.

I love it when an experiment actually works.


  1. They have those racks in the motel I've been staying in for the last few months. If you were closer, I'd borrow one for you to use. They probably wouldn't even miss it.

  2. Jess...Thanks for the thought. :)
    There are a couple of stores close by that I think carry them, and I'm going to check the antique/junk shop two doors down. I have seen them in there before. Might as well find a solution before there is a problem!

  3. I think you need to open a window tonight and get some fresh air. You have been indoors WAY TOO long. LOL I'd be careful with the mop bucket and ringer, I see you falling or having your back go out. By the way this is a great idea with the bucket.

    Now try washing clothes without any hot water. Our water is so cold you can lose feeling in seconds. LOL

  4. It is because I have been indoors way too long that I'm looking for alternative methods of dealing with every day chores. I priced those apartment-sized washers and dryers and even used, they cost more than I can pay or am willing to pay. They wouldn't be much use in a grid down situation, anyway.
    I remember having ice cold water like that from the well on the farm. Dad always said it was so cold it would freeze your gizzard! Sure tasted good, though.

  5. I've got a galvanized wash tub, a wash board and a wringer. I bought them from Lehmans Nonelectric supply. I haven't used them and I hope I don't have to because it looks like a lot of work.

  6. Harry...It just makes sense to me to have alternative, non-electric ways of doing things like laundry. And you are right. It is a lot of work. The equipment you have is the same as my grandmother used to wash clothes for a family of 11 people. She was one tough lady.

  7. Are you OK? You are not usually off the air this long.

  8. Harry...Thanks for checking up on me. I appreciate it. I'm OK, but my computer isn't. If I can't get it working properly over the weekend, I may have to replace it next week. Tried to post, but no go. Dratted machines!!

  9. If you need a new one check Walmart or Pawn America. I have never bought from PA but it maybe a place to check out. I think they sell refurbished computers from the factory. Google has one called Chrome for surfing the net, but has no dvd player on it. My oldest had one loved it until she stepped on it by accident.

  10. Rob...I'm checking out several possibilities. Thanks for the ideas. Also have kids checking for me, as I am sure I will have to replace this computer. I do need DVD capabilities, as youngest son makes DVDs of dance competitions and family photos for me. I won't be posting until I have a new computer, as this one will let me comment here, but not post. Grrrrrrr!