One of the tasks that I get the most groans about from others is when they realize that I wash our laundry by hand. They see it as drudgery, but I love it. I get to spend the morning outdoors with the laundry tubs & hand crank wringer near the clothesline. The kids play in their little pool nearby. It is a fun time. I can see where others may not think so. One dear friend of mine readily admits that she is a slave to technology. She could do laundry my way if she had to, but she prefers to use the machines. She is such a doll. 🙂
There are some things that I do to make my laundry day go more smoothly. The first thing it to be consistent. Never let the laundry go past what you can comfortably do in a morning. Here at the homestead, the days heat up pretty quickly in the summer months. The heaviest work needs to be done prior to 11:00am. After that, the hot temperatures are absolutely draining if you are doing very physical work. I have washed laundry as late as 3pm in the afternoon some days, but I found that it took me longer and I became tired faster. Now, I wash first thing in the morning. The kids wake up by 7am, so after breakfast, we go outside while I do laundry. I generally will wash laundry 1-2 times per week. It takes me about a half-hour to an hour to wash everything and hang it up on the line. The only exception is when there is large bedding to be washed. Quilts are done at a laundromat for now. Once laundry is washed and hung up, we homeschool. The time outdoors is good for getting the “wiggles” out of the kids before setting down to their schooling.
I always wash the lightest soiled clothing first. Unlike machine washing where you have to separate laundry by whites, colors, and darks, in hand-washing, you separate by how soiled the laundry is. The main reason being that you won’t have to change out your wash water as often. Another tip to make it easier is to have a soak bucket for heavily soiled items. I have a recycled plastic coffee container that I use to soak cloth napkins after a meal such as spaghetti. The kids’ socks also are soaked prior to washing.
Recently, I was pleased to find Fels-Naptha laundry bar soap in the store. Previously, I had to mail order it. This soap is wonderful! With it, I am able to scrub out most things that typically would have stained the laundry. It is well worth the purchase. Even if you do laundry by machine, I would keep a bar of it handy to pretreat laundry as needed. Dampen the soiled area and rub a bit of the Fels-Naptha onto the area. If you have a scrub brush, use it to help loosen the soil. Then wash as usual. I have taken axle grease out of jeans doing this & washing by hand on a washboard.
There will be more tips posted in an upcoming blog.