Washing clothes

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How do you wash your clothes? I feel like my washing machine is a water and electricity hog and would like to find a way to use it less. Also, when I hang clothes to dry I have noticed there is a lot more lint on the darker clothes than when I dry them in the dryer. Do you have any tips for this? Thanks in advance for any replies!

-- Jennifer (KY) (acornfork@hotmail.com), May 19, 2000


Wash your clothes less.Don't wash things that have only been worn once unless they are dirty or don't smell clean.Use the same work shirt for several days before washing it,and the smae jeans.Washing clothes too often just wears them out faster.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@transport.com), May 19, 2000.

i absolutely swear and affirm by a device i bought about 2 years ago, called The Laundry Mate. now they are called Shape&Dry. look at www.shapendry.com

this is something that is not appreciated until seen. you really have to see it, to understand it. most of the wear and fading from doing laundry comes from the dryer, not the washing machine. the water acts as a lubricant, when clothes are in the dryer the heat and tumbling is what really fades and wears clothes out. my laundry mate (shapendry) dries my clothes virtually wrinkle free, i seldom iron anything. it is FANTASTIC on sweaters, long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts. it is not designed for jeans or pants, really just shirts and expensive items. they dry almost wrinkle free, and you can dry with a sort of crease already started in the sleeves.

they sell for around $20-$30 dollars, but i swear i would not take $100 for mine. if something happened, i would buy another one in a heartbeat.

just sign me, A Very Happy and Satisfied Customer gene

-- gene ward (gward34847@aol.com), May 19, 2000.

I agree wholeheartedly with Rebekah. And consider wearing the same smelly clothes to work in outside ...maybe some Carharts or something. Wash them when you absolutely can't stand them on your body another second. I have reverted back to my childhood clothes changing preocedure...the minute I get back from "somewhere else", I change into my playclothes (ahem!)

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), May 19, 2000.

also, your clothes come out without shrinking. i hate it when i buy clothes and they shrank in the dryer. i have some shirts that are 1- 2 years old, never shrank, and they are in like-new condition, people can't believe i tell them a shirt is 2 years old, they say it looks like i just bought it.


-- gene ward (gward34847@aol.com), May 19, 2000.

I put darks, towels, socks, and undies in the dryer, for the lint and softness factors. I've always thought undies hanging on the line looked tacky, besides! I only hang jeans and other heavy clothes out. I love hanging flannel shirts, too, because they dry unwrinkled.

-- Shannon (Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary) (gratacres@aol.com), May 19, 2000.

There used to be a law, at least in some states, that said you could not hang men's and women's undies next to each other on the line. Anyway, when our dryer ran out of hot air, we didn't get a new one. We hang everything outside all year around when the temp is above 30 degrees. I hang all the shirts, dresses, etc. on hangers on the line posts except when it's super windy, they dry without wrinkles. I have a system for everything. When it's too cold, what we can't put on hangers, we put on a drying rack close to the wood burning stove. The only time this is a problem, is in the spring or fall during a rainy period.

-- Cindy (atilrthehony_1@yahoo.com), May 19, 2000.

Sheepish, you're too funny! I remember well, coming home from school and changing into my 'play clothes', which we're my clothes for the week, even if I fell into a stream or something! I still have my play (work)clothes! My Nana always said that a washer and dryer were a womans curse! She said to my mom, "You think you're so smart with your machines, you do laundry everyday, I only did it once a week-and we had alot less clothes!" As to the original post-it's easy to get sidetracked here!-we wear our clothes more than once, use the dryer as little as possible, and take everything to the laundry-mat every 6 or 8 weeks or so-yes, I haul it all to those big ole' machines that get clothes clean like nothing else! If I could find one of those commerical jobs cheap, I'd buy it in a second! I've also found that the higher quality fabrics clean up better and last longer. High quality doesn't mean high price-hit the thrift shops, Goodwill and others get last seasons leftovers from the Gap, Old Navy, Express, Levi, etc. So, this isn't about being a fashion deva, but hey, who wants to look like those models anyway!

-- Kathy (catfish@bestweb.net), May 19, 2000.

My Aunt who babysat me while I was growing up had a wringer washer - still using it today in fact. I loved feeding the clothes through the wringer - with lots of supervison, needless to say!! I'd love to have one now, but new ones are expensive!

We had very little water one place we lived, had two wells, one used for us and one for the stock. I had two laundry tubs in the basement and a 55 gallon barrel. I hooked a hose up to the stock well and filled the barrel slowly over a day or two. The hubby unhooked the fill and drain hoses on my (20 year old maytag) washer. I would originally fill the washer from the barrel (sometimes heated it on the woodstove 1st if things needed hot water), and begin the laundry with the lightest color, least soiled items 1st (usually sheets). While they were agitating, I'd fill one of the laundry tubs with water. When the drain cycle started, I'd run the water in to the other tub, then rinse with the water in the first tub, saving it after the rinse cycle. I could usually do at least two loads with the same wash water, then I would switch and use the rinse water for washing the next two loads, drawing new water for rinsing. In the summer, I used an old sump pump we had been given (broken, Hubby repaired) to pump the water up and out the basement window, into some old guttering from the dump and thence out to the garden and fruit trees. Winter, I let it go down the basement drain. I'd do whites, lights, coloreds, towels, jeans and then dirty work clothes. When I had diapers, I'd do them on a load right before I dumped the water - for example, sheets, lights, then diapers, then discard the wash water. I'd have time to go hang the previous load on the line while the next load was agitating, and move the gutter to another part of the garden.

Ah, neccesity - the mother of invention!! We used to have a lot of fun (really!!) by seeing how low we could cut our electric use each month. We read our own meter - and we actually had the elec coop come out and replace our meter one time - said they didn't think it was working right cause our kilowatt hour use was declining each month!!

-- Polly (tigger@moultrie.com), May 19, 2000.

This doesn't exactly answer your question, Jennifer, but I have a somewhat different way of hanging out my laundry. I don't know how we accumulate so many dirty clothes but we do, despite my efforts to get DH and DD (darling daughters) to cut down on the number of clothes they wear. Anyway, every week I have more clothes to hang than I have clothesline to hang them on if I hang them the standard way (side by side). Now instead of hanging t-shirts, etc. side-by- side across each line, I hang them between lines (one corner of t- shirt on first line and the other corner on the second line). I can fit way more shirts on the lines this way as each t-shirt only takes up a 2 inch stretch of line instead of a 1 foot stretch. Works great on all but really humid days when the clothes might need a bit more air circulation room around them to dry well. I also keep a clothespin holder on each end of the line and use an old-fashioned apron with a big pocket that I can stick clothespins in it when I'm hanging. Cuts down on the number of times I have to stop and get clothespins and also the clothespin holder doesn't get in the way while I'm hanging.

-- Sandy (tripletreefarm@hotmail.com), May 19, 2000.

Kathy, I agree with your Nana! Now if only I could change the world back to where it was acceptable to only have two or three dresses! (Or jeans!)Wouldn't life be simpler and less cluttered?

-- Jennifer (KY) (acornfork@hotmail.com), May 19, 2000.

I love Polly's post. I can just picture her and her husbands Rube Goldberg setup to make an automatic washer more water efficient. Love creative engineering. Depending where you live, there are still old wringer washers that come up at auction for super cheap. Unfortunately, many have spent last years in some open shed or even out in the weeds. Many times the gear box is still good. The motor can be replaced with one off junk dryer or even with little lawn mower engine. However sunlight and weathering and age tends to destroy the rubber rollers in the wringer and the dolly(agitator) tends to break up. Anybody know if replacements are available and sold for a reasonable price?

-- Hermit John (ozarkhermit@pleasedontspamme.com), May 20, 2000.

Jennifer, Amen to that. We don't have a lot of clothes now, and I remember a time when we had just enough clothes for 3 or 4 days. It wasn't as hard as it sounds. I used to clean for folks in the big city. Some of those women had 40 pairs of shoes or more, closets full of clothes and everytime they went shopping they had to buy barettes for their kids. There's not enough places to go to wear all that stuff.

-- Cindy (atilrthehony_1@yahoo.com), May 20, 2000.

Jennifer, I have two wringer washers, and one modern washer. My drier broke about six months ago, and good riddance.

One of my wringer washers was $5, and I got it from a grove of trees on someone's back 40. The motor was lying below it on the ground. I got a new belt from the auto parts store, put it back together, and have been using it for almost a year for the families laundry. I rinse and spin in the modern washer, but capture the rinse water for the next load to wash in the wringer. I did have to replace the cord on the wringer once, because smoke was coming out of the cord!

I hang everything. I ran lines in the basement for the winter, and I have a big clothes line outside. I prefer the one piece clothespins, btw, because they don't break.

For the fuzzy stuff that looks like you washed a kleenex, wrap your hand in masking tape, sticky side out, and pat it all over. This only really matters on a few items, like a dark fleece pull-over, and for jeans and stuff, I let it slide.

I really like this set-up for clothes. I like the extra humidity in the winter inside the house, and I honestly don't miss the dryer. When it rains for a few days in a row, I have an excuse not to do laundry.

A common phrase in my house. "If your throwing that down the chute, it had better be really dirty!"

-- Rachel (rldk@hotmail.com), May 20, 2000.

Replacing rollers. Might try an older appliance repair shop. They occasionally have some new or used rollers. A couple things we've considered are rollers sold to go on boat trailers and rollers from certain janitorial scrub buckets. Don't know if either would actually work though. You might have better luck finding boat rollers the proper length, but I'd think that scrub bucket rollers would be more likely to work.

Lint (and hair). My "new" washer is the most miserable washer I've ever come across. I swear it gets up at night and searches the house for even more hair and lint to put on the clothes. A lot of times before washing I'll step outside and give the dirty clothes a good shake to get some stuff off. It makes a tremendous difference in the spring when I can finally start hanging laundry outside in the wind again. If it looks like rain or there is some other reason I don't want to hang all the laundry outside, I hang out just the troublesome stuff: sweats, towels, washcloths, blankets. Mostly we just live with it. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), May 20, 2000.

Don't own a dryer by choice. Hang out even in the winter--there are enough over 32 degree days to do it. Inside if we HAVE to. And I have 5 loads a week minimum from just my work. Never a problem and always smells good.

LINT bothers us too. Our solution is to put things we don't want lint on into pillow cases (not flannel) and tie them before putting in the washer. That black shirt or favorite slacks stays virtually lint free this way. And we clean the lint trap in our washer regularly. The pillowcases have made a huge difference. ALso, try using liquid soap, or be sure to put the soap in and let it dissolve before adding laundry.

Good luck.

-- Anne (HealthyTouch@hotmai.com), May 20, 2000.

Jennifer, I love the good old wringer washer. You know you wash the white stuff first and end up with the really dark stuff last. Never had a problem with lint, maybe I was just lucky. You are right about how much water those automatic washers use, they can really take a lot of water. I had a cistern so a wringer was the most efficient way to go.

-- Karen Mauk (dairygoatmama@hotmail.com), May 21, 2000.

A friend gave me a Maytag wringer when she was moving to a smaller house. There were no markings on the controls and my friend couldn't remember the adjustments over the phone. On a whim, I called Maytag's customer service department and asked if it would be possible to get a photocopy of instructions for the controls and how much would it be. I was just flabbergasted when the lady said that they keep printed booklets in stock, that they were free of charge and then asked for my mailing address.

That old washer gets my laundry cleaner than an automatic with less water and detergent. I too start with lightly soiled light colors and progress to the darker, heavily soiled things, ending with barn clothes. I use about 25 gallons in the washer and a like amount in each of 2 rinse tubs. It doesn't take as long although I do have to stay nearby to listen for a separate timer.

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), May 21, 2000.

I'm in town, and have the usual set up of washer and dryer, however, the dryer is only used in the winter. We have too much rain at that time for me to use the clothesline. From spring to fall out on the line it goes, underwear and all. For emergency loads, and when I have the time, I use the presure washer you can get at Lehmans. No lint, gets things really clean, and is a pain to drain. If you all ready have a rinse tub with wringer, this is the way I would go. Double tubs would probably work best.

Add your clothes (least dirty first if you are going to reuse the wash water) your detergent and then the hot water. (You will be doing smaller loads, but they are done a lot faster, and if you have a wood stove going you can heat the water there, so no electricity and less water.) Screw down the top, and turn the handle for appr. 2 mins. Dump into rinse tub, and wring out water. Add clean rinse water and repeat. Dump into second tub, and wring out water. Hang on clothes line. Repeat until laundry is finished.

It will cost at first to get the equipment, but in the long run it is probably the cheapest way to go. GL! annette

-- annette (j_a_henry@yahoo.com), May 21, 2000.

I use a "Wonder Washer" -- purchased from Lehman's, though I've seen them in other catalogs, too -- that uses the pressure built up inside a sealed chamber to force the soap and water through the clothes. It takes just a couple quarts of warm-to-hot water, a very small amount of laundry soap and one or two minutes of handcranking. Then the clothes are ready to rinse, wring and hang.

It works very nicely, but if you're washing for a family, it might not be practical as your only option. The washer holds 3-4 shirts, a couple pairs of pants or one sheet.

Hope this helps -- Christine

-- Christine Trowbridge (cytrowbridge@zianet.com), May 21, 2000.

I would love to have a wringer/washer!!! (sigh) maybe when I get my own house :o) We don't use our dryer in the Summer, Spring and Autumn and we put very large loads through our washer. We can't hang our clothes year 'round, because of the coldness of Winter and the snow we'd have to climb through to get to the clothesline. We hang everything on the line! The dryer helps warm up our house in the Winter, but I understand your point about the electricity. So long!

-- Abigail F. (treeoflife@sws.nb.ca), May 22, 2000.

I know you folks are gonna think I'm crazy, or worse but....I wash clothes by hand, on a rub board if necessary. My dh made me a laundry bench thats on the back porch. Its tall enough I dont have to bend and has a hand wringer attached to the end. The only thing I wash in the machine are overalls. They are just too big to go thru the wringer and they take too long to dry wrung out by hand. I wash 2 loads in one tub and then use the rinse water to wash the next 2 loads. The last wash and rinse water gets the porch floor washed and rinsed. I guess the biggest problem is trying to convince friends that I choose to not have a dryer and enjoy washing by hand. Most of them thought I was decorating my back porch to look like an old timey wash room. Gave them quite a start to find me using it. Peggy

-- Peggy (wclpc@cookeville.com), May 22, 2000.

I hope it's OK for a man to write. I help my wife at the laundrymat. I'll tell you what I really wish. I wish my wife would throw everything away of mine and hers except clothing for two changes. We could wash one set while wore the other. This would really help simplify our lives. Our closets are crammed and there's alwsys lot of dirty clothes around. We have a washer but still go to the laundrymat once a month or so. My mom had a ringer washer when I was a kid and a "wash house." It was real hard on her on "wash day" and it really helped her when she got her first Maytag washer & dryer. Eagle

-- eagle (eagle@alpha1.net), May 23, 2000.

I use my automatic maytag extra large load capacity washer & dryer! And I praise God I don't have to haul water & heat it or use a wringer washer!!!!!! (I remember doing that in my childhood & never enjoyed it one bit!). Sonda in Ks.

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), May 24, 2000.

Applause Applause for Peggy!!!!

-- Abigail F. (treeoflife@sws.nb.ca), May 24, 2000.

I washed a big, thick, king-sized comforter in my wringer washer, and hung it on the line, it was dry before sunset. I've never seen the automatic washer that could do that. And the wringer gets the clothes WAY cleaner.

-- Rachel (rldk@hotmail.com), May 24, 2000.

Regarding wringer washers: I bought one in almost perfect condition at a church sale "up North" for $5.00. Called Maytag and got both operating instructions and service manual for $8.00. Now I live in northeast Tennessee where lots of people still use wringer washers. There is a Maytag repair shop in most towns, and they repair and stock parts for old machines.

-- teresa (otgonz@bellsouth.net), May 24, 2000.

Just another male in the tub...so to speak.

I do all our washing. We don't use the dryer for anything but the underware and towel-stuff. All the outerware is air dried. Sometimes inside, sometimes outside. But not in the dryer.

It is incredible how long clothes last when they are not put in the dryer.

Looking forward to the day the current washer/dryer dies and we can get a nice front-loading washer. Front-loaders clean the best IMHO.


-- j (jw_hsv@yahoo.com), May 24, 2000.

My washer died 6 years ago and sold it for scrap. Sold the dryer the next day as it was RARELY used. Been doing most wash in the deep kitchen sink with hot tap water. Larger items are done biweekly in a clean trash can outside on a bench in the flower garden. This works perfectly for me.I LOVE line drying-- it's a spiritual thing! In the winter I hang in the basement. I use free laundromat coupons when available for large items and bring them home to dry naturally. There is a neat website--www.laundrylist.org. Enjoy!

-- Sandy (smd2@netzero.net), May 24, 2000.

I grew up with a Grandmother that used a wash board. She got her first automatic washer at 75yr.old. She lined dried allthe alundry. My mother wash by hand in the bath tub even sheets. Got a wringer washer and used for years and then when she got to be 60 got a washer and dryer. Still lined dryer the towels and sheet. When I was first married 1966, my husband was in the Navy I washed his DUNGREES in the bath tub, Starched them on the stove, lined dried them, dampened them and rolled themup in a towel put them in the Refer. over night and Ironed them the next day. It took 5 hrs to Iron six pairs of Dungrees. I have had a wringer washer and tubs for several years and when I got my first washer and dryer I thought I was the richest woman around. I think there was an ART to doing laundry in the old days. I remember my Mother and Grandmother had an orderliness to doing the laundry, washing and Ironing. When the High FI. Phonographes first came out she had a 331/3 long play recored for Washing and Ironing by. The music was beautiful I have those records now and a player[several] to listen to them. Here in California there are some new housing Developments that forbid the use of clotheslines. The more our culture becomes modernized the more we loose emotionally and spiritually. I have to admit I do appreciate most of our modern appliences, but I think we have lost something of real value by not doing things or even knowing how things were done in "THE GOOD OLD DAYS"

-- Rebecca Wold (lvnbkw@pacbell.net), July 14, 2001.

Hi there,

-- -L (alternatives11@hotmail.com), December 24, 2001.

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