Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Doing Laundry All Year Long Without a Conventional Washer or Dryer

    Whenever someone hears we have not owned a "conventional" washer or dryer for the past 10+ years they always are in awe and have so many questions for us.  I have done posts in the past that answered a few of their questions but decided to answer them all in one complete post.  


    Doing laundry without a "real" washer or dryer is not that hard or time consuming. Not only that, but you save a lot of money on water and electricity by doing without them too. Some are amazed that we line dry all year long, even in the winter time but it can be done. 


    First things first is to make some homemade laundry detergent.  I know a lot of people make their own homemade laundry detergent but mine is slightly different than others.  Instead of Fels-Naptha soap we prefer to use Ivory soap.  Ivory does not cause skin allergies or reactions as much (or at least in our experience) and Ivory is easier to find in stores and is generally less expensive. To read the directions to make our homemade laundry detergent, click here:  link to our homemade laundry detergent.

    I also make homemade fabric softener.  It takes only 2 ingredients plus water to make it and our clothes come out soft and smell fantastic.  With line drying, towels and other items can come out a bit "crunchy" but by using my homemade fabric softener, even the towels come out soft.  To find the recipe for the fabric softener, click here:  link to my homemade fabric softener.  

     Instead of a washer, we use a washtub and washboard, the old-fashioned way.  We heat up water in the house and add it the the washtub and scrub our clothes on the washboard.  Clothes that seem to delicate for this, we use a plunger in a bucket to get them clean.  Our clothes come out clean and our whites are not dingy. 


    We dry our clothes on a clothesline all year long.  Whether it is sunny, windy, or below freezing, we still line dry our clothes.  If we have to wash clothes and it is raining out, we wash the clothes in the sink with the washboard and lay out the clothes on an indoor clothes rack but that rarely happens.  Drying in the winter time when temperatures are below freezing is called "freeze drying" and was done long before there was electricity and absolutely no reason it cannot be done today.  If you would like to read more about it, click here:  Line drying clothes in the winter.  

    Hope you found this interesting and informative.  Do you do laundry this way too or perhaps a bit differently?  Regardless, I'd love to hear how you do laundry.  

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  1. I love your way of doing laundry, especially the washing board!

    We have a regular "European" washer (that is, with temperature indicated in Celcius) but we do line dry. All year long, which is very doable in the dry mediterranean climate we live in. But i do sometimes wash a few items by hand if i don't have the patience to wait until the washer is full- as we only do complete loads.

    In the country i live in, however, it's not uncommon for a lot of people to do laundry by hand and most people that do own a washer have a semi automatic washer. That means that the clothes are washed (and spinned sepetately) by the machine, but rinsing needs to be done by hand, in a large bucket. I think it's the same machine as the one that is used by many Amish people. My mother in law owns such a washer. I quite enjoy doing laundry that way but since i suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome i decided to purchase a regular washer. Fortunately my arms are better now.

    I still try to do my best by washing as efficiently as possible. By not washing hot (unless i have a load of reusable cloth pads/handkerchiefs and things like that), only wash when full and we don't wear new clothes everyday, so we don't have a lot of laundry to do. We like to hang our clothes on the clothesline before wearing it again. The wind and sun will make it smell as if it comes straight out of the washer, without it actually being washed that often.

    1. Hello! Thank you for your comments. I agree that I would not wash unless I had a complete load. It is just a waste of water. I had not heard of the kind of washers you wrote about. Very interesting. What country do you live? We are like you...we do not wear new clothes everyday unless they are really soiled.

  2. Hi Melody,
    I live in Tunisia (northern Africa) but i'm from western Europe originally. Semi automatic washers arent common in the US/EU but in latin America/Africa and some parts of Asia they are used more than "regular" washers. (If you search on Google/youtube you'll find out more about how these machines work.)

    Thank you so much for your wonderful blog, you're such an inspiration!

    1. Thank you so much for your comments and for dropping by. I'll be sure to check it out. Love hearing from friends from all over the world! Have a Merry Christmas.

  3. Haven't seen a washboard for years! We had a washing-machine but my mother would use the washboard for the occasional stubborn stain e.g. grimy shirt collars.


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