Unless especially dirty, clothes & linens don't have to agitate more than 5 minutes or so. If using an automatic washer you can stop the washer after it agitates a while & skip to spin. If you really want to save time & money, let this water drain into a barrel or clean trash can to reuse for the next load.
2. Wash in Cold Water
The soap and agitation are what cleans more than the water temperature. Use Borax if you have hard water, it softens the water & helps with cleaning.
3. Use a Wringer Washer or a Hand Washer
With these you can use the same wash water for several loads- saving water & soap! Start with the lightest colored/cleanest loads first (whites or towels), then move on to the darker loads. We add a little fresh soap &/or essential oil to each load. When the water gets too dingy, drain & fill up with fresh water & use this to rinse a load, then add detergent & wash another load. See our Hand powered James in the photos below.
4. Have Task Specific Clothes/Items
Garden clothes, Milking clothes, Going to Meetin' (Church) Clothes, Hand towels, Bath Towels ..... you get the idea- this keeps the nicer clothes/items nice longer.....
Wear aprons & try to keep clothes/items clean.
5. Wear Clothes Over Again
The outter ones that is! This saves a lot of time,energy & money on laundry day! This can be done more in the winter, or when it's not so hot.
6. Use Bath Towels Over & Over Again
After all, you're clean! Each family member can have their own towel & peg to hang it on & use several times, before washing, be sure the towels dry in between use- in the summer we hang ours on the clothesline or railing to dry completely & freshen in the sunshine.
7. Make Your Own Laundry Soap
This is way healthier & saves lots of money. Click here to get our recipe for laundry soap on the previous post.
8. Hang Clothes To Dry
Outside in the summer, on the porch, basement or racks in the house in the winter or rain. We haven't had a dryer in 26 years! Dryers take a lot of electricity (anything that produces heat does) which is $$$$ & all that 'lint'- that is what use to be your clothes! Sun & wind dried laundry is healthier (sunshine kills germs) as is not having a dryer in your house (ever heard of positive ions?) Make & use wool dryer balls, or use rolled up wool socks, if you can't hang your laundry & have to use a dryer, these will decrease drying time, wrinkles & static.
9. Shake Wet Laundry Out
To release the wrinkles- especially if using a wringer- shake items out as you remove them from the washer, or wringer. If it's going to be a while before we hang a load we'll loosely fold the blouses & dresses.
10. Hang On Hangers
Shirts (even t-shirts), blouses, dresses, skirts....hang these on hangers to save room on the line & prevent stretching, wrinkles & creases, then they're ready to put away in the closet. Hang a section of light chain on one end of the clothes line to put the hangers through to keep them from blowing off.
11. Add Vinegar to Rinse Water
White, distilled vinegar is a healthy & inexpensive way to soften clothes, brighten whites & disinfect. It can be added to the wash cycle too. If you don't get an organic brand try to find one distilled from corn & not petroleum.
12. Make Your Own Stain Removers
Lye soap is the best, learn how to make it by watching our Soap Making DVD! Here's a list of others: lemon juice; white, distilled vinegar; hydrogen peroxide & sunshine! All or any of these work wonders for stain removing.
13. Soak, Soak, Soak!!!
This really helps cut the washing time down and makes it easier to get the stains out. Soaking just 1 or 2 hours or even overnight in plain water, or add baking soda, helps to soften and release dirt from the fibers of the clothes.
14. Add Essential Oils
Essential oils, depending on the ones you use, can disinfect, fight grease, stains & odor. Add them to your laundry soap or directly to the wash &/or rinse cycle. Our favorites for laundry are: lavender, citrus, peppermint & tea tree. By using essential oils, you (just breathing essential oils can help alliviate many health issues) & the laundry will benefit, saving time & money!
15. Use Baking Soda
Adding 1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle is a great way to gently clean your clothes & to remove odors and stains. Using baking soda can help soften clothes, boost your detergent's power, & brighten whites. It also helps your washing machine stay clean!
We look forward to setting up our 'laundry room' on the porch of our new homestead! The plans have been turned in to the builder for our 24 x 36 cabin with a porch for the summer kitchen/laundry room! We'll be taking & posting pictures soon!
The West Ladies
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