Monday, 26 August 2013

The Greening of the Laundry Room

Getting laundry done around here was quite a hassle for a long time. We had no running water for a year and a half and are on our third year with no power. We were dragging everything to the Laundromat for most of the time until this spring when our local Laundromat closed. Not wanting to face driving 20 minutes each way to the next town to do laundry, I decided to see what I could do about doing it at home.

 I tried washing it by hand with a plunger and washboard, using an old wringer to squeeze it out. I then tried to find somewhere on the outside of my house to hang it to dry. I didn't really want my clothes blowing up against the house and we have coal trains going by all day here so its perhaps not the cleanest air to dry stuff in.


LOVE these clothespins! Best investment ever, they work sooo much better than the new fangled ones!

I ended up moving the drying rack up into our very hot attic where it dries the clothes in no time at all and is out of sight. We will be putting a woodstove in downstairs this winter just under the area the clothes rack is located so this system should work in the winter as well.

We realized that we could run our washing machine on the generator, so have been doing it that way lately.

My other concern with doing laundry at home was the soaps and chemicals that we normally would be using in our wash and what effect they would have on our river. Then I found the most amazing thing ever! The Non Detergent Laundry Ball!!

I love this thing. I still don't understand it, but our clothes are clean and have a nice light fresh smell to them. I save water because I don't need to do a rinse cycle, there is  no harsh chemicals, I  save tons of money not buying soap and there is no garbage from soap containers, fabric softeners etc.

Here is some information from the creator of the laundry ball on how to remove stains without bleach or chemicals :
We have tried 2 different methods of using lemon juice to whiten clothes:

Method #1 Instructions:

1.Place your white clothes in a large basin.
2. Fill the basin with very hot water.
3. Add a generous amount of lemon juice, and allow your white clothes to soak overnight.
4. The next day, remove your clothes from the basin and place in your washing machine with your SmartKlean Laundry Ball or whatever product you’re using to wash your clothes (we hope it’s green!)
5. Wash as usual, and your whites should be brighter than ever!
Tips & Warnings
-Try it twice if the first time does not work to your satisfaction.
-Don’t let the mixture sit too long in the lemon juice!

Method #2:
For an easier, milder version of this technique, you can wash your clothes in your washer as normal, and during the rinse cycle, pour in about a cup of lemon juice. Then hang in the sun to dry.
Additional cleaning uses with lemon:
Lemon juice is a viable alternative for cleaning jobs requiring acid, such as hard-water stains, tarnish, dissolving waxy buildup, and cleaning wood. It can also be used a rust remover. We’ve had some success treating rust stains on clothes and other fabric with lemon juice and salt. Squeeze lemon juice directly onto the stain, then sprinkle on a generous amount of salt. Rub the fabric together until the stain starts to break up. Wash away the loosened rust with soap and water. Repeat the process until the stain is entirely removed.

 This ball lasts a year (365 washes) and the plastic is recyclable. Pretty soon we should have our solar power system here and set up, and then our laundry will really be green without the generator running.

I am really enjoying hanging the laundry to dry. Its almost a meditation, a time to slow down, the fresh smell of clean laundry in the air, the care and attention to hanging it up properly all give a sense of satisfaction that you just can't get by tossing it in the dryer!

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The Eclectic Ark