Continued Adventures in Laundry

Back in August, I blogged a bit about my experiences in hand-washing clothes and dishes. Here is the promised update.

Hand-wishing dishes continues to be easy. It’s almost soothing as chores go . . . and it’s not like I really have a choice. I do have a choice about my laundry, however, and while I haven’t come to regret my decision to hand-wash, I have definitely learned a few things:

(1) A little fabric softener goes a long way. For the first month or so I was washing my clothes by hand, yes, they got clean but I definitely noticed some articles were less comfortable than before. Invested in some fabric softener. Problem solved.

(2) No harm in rewearing clothes! I already tend to rewear jeans and overshirts, but really, unless you’re doing some very physical activity or your clothes legitimately get dirty, you’ll save yourself some time and energy by rewearing clothes. Also, repeated washing is part of what wears clothing out, so that’s something to consider, too, before you put some once-worn article in the hamper.

(3) Sorting is way more important. You want your whites to stay white? Wash them separately. Anything darker than light gray does not belong in the load. And you might want to invest in some bleach (I haven’t yet, but I don’t own much white clothing either).

(4) If you don’t stay on top of your laundry, things can get very tricky with the hand-washing. Actually, in this case the problem was not the washing (bathtubs are pretty spacious) but the drying. I don’t really have enough space to dry the double load of laundry I did last week. In fact, without some creative use of chairs and closet space, I’m pretty sure I’d still be buried under a pile of slowly mouldering clothing. That’s the major convenience of a washing machine/drying set-up. Minimal work on your part and little to no interference with daily life. You can put it off if you want. Not so here.

(5) Conditions are important. It’s hard to dry clothes in high humidity. I’m also finding that with no heat or air conditioning running, things take longer to dry. Whenever possible I put heavy clothing/towels out on the porch to get some sun.

One thing that hasn’t been a problem is my clothing getting stretched out of shape. Some people caution against hand-washing for that reason. Now, it may just be harder to tell on hippie clothing, but so far, so good.

This week: a spot of political conversation, reading lists, online arts recs, and a mildly uncomfortable discussion of resuable products for women. Happy Monday!


4 thoughts on “Continued Adventures in Laundry

  1. Reusable products for women? Hmmm, I think I can guess (related to the “rag”). I totally look forward to the discussion regardless of the uncomfortable topic (then again very little is totally uncomfortable/awkward with me).

  2. Fans also help with drying. And open windows. Things will probably dry nice and fast for you once it’s winter and the heat is on.

    :/ delicate cold water washing is definitely the way to go for machine washing. sadly, the clothes i’ve been wearing are in fact wearing out because i’ve had to wash them on higher, hotter levels and then dry them on high heat to kill bugs and bug eggs. strings snap, material gets thin, i end up with lint everywhere… it’s really not the best method of washing things. Soon! I shall return to my normal washing and drying habits. 😀

  3. So, after three months in the Philippines, I’ve got a new perspective on hand washing (yay!). My host family at my training site actually had a sort of washing machine–it agitated the clothes, but as far as filling with water and wringing the clothes out, it was manual.

    The Filipinos wring out the clothes really the same way you’d wring out a dishrag, which is a pretty efficient way to remove water, but is also hell on knits. I’ve had a lot of luck with woven fabrics. I’ve noticed a little stretching in some of my more commonly washed knits (let’s just say I’m really glad I only brought cheap panties).

    Somehow, even though I’m not scrubbing the clothes with a brush (or this other thing they have here, kind of a detergent bar with grit in it), they’re still wearing out pretty damn quickly. I suspect drying in the sun doesn’t help. It probably also doesn’t help that I only have six or seven sets of clothing, so it all gets washed pretty regularly.

    A funny thing is here, even though the humidity is extremely high, things still dry very quickly. Faster than they did in Colorado, even. It has to be the heat.

    Would you be willing to go into any more detail about your methods for hand washing? I might do a blog post on it later myself, once I learn how to do it the Filipino way. (I suspect there will be no washing machine at my new site.)

  4. Pingback: Green Wednesday (Make-up): Reusables, the Girl Stuff Edition « She who sleeps does not change the world

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