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Discussion Starter #1
I have been thinking of switching to just washing by hand for awhile now and was wondering if anyone had any tips or advice.

For the past year we have been using homemade detergent and have been hanging our clothes to dry. Over the last few months I have been downsizing all of our clothes and been getting everyone to rewear their clothes if they are still clean. They use to wear it once and then want it washed even if it didn't need it or if they had worn it for a short period of time.

Also wondering if anyone has any ideas to keep the clothes from getting stiff when they are line dried. I heard that if you hit them with a stick a few times while they are drying that is supposed to help, but haven't tried it yet.
 

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I mainly only wash delicates by hand. But a few months ago I started to wash ALL the small hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom by hand. I find that they get sometimes rough after they dry. If someone has any idea how to make them softer, I'd be glad to know too.
 

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I only wash when I have a full load. I wash some delicates by hand and that is it.

Since I started using Charlie's Soap my clothes aren't as stiff when line dried. They said that would happen! Something about less residue. I also give everything a good "snap" before hanging on the line.

My dryer went out months ago and I haven't replaced it. EVERYTHING is line dried now.
 

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vinegar in the rinse water will help soften. I use it instead of FS.
ive been line drying for about a yr now, ds had issues iwth the softness of the towel but now he's gotten used to them being line dried... turns out they get absorb more water when not dried- the build up of chemicals from the fabric softeners or so it seems with our towels. from what I recall from the firefox method of doing laundry- there was a stick invoved and a flat rock to 'soften' the material after washing in warm water and rinsing in the branch/creek ring out and beat with a stick. but I don't think I would do that with the materials made today as back in the day the clothes were made to last a while.
 

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I did all my laundry by hand for about 5 months before getting a new washer. I took a 5 gallon bucket and a plunger and used that. Then i took a 5 gallon bucket and drilled holes in the sides half way up. Then another 5 gallon bucket with a lid on it filled half full of water to squeeze the water out. Worked well!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Using the homemade detergent, we have found things are not as stiff, but haven't tried vinegar. It is just the towels that dh and the teens are complaining about. It isn't bothering me or my daughter so I told all the boys it was just cause they weren't tough enough. LOL

freebs - I was going to use the plunger and bucket for washing, but wasn't sure of how to wring it out. Thanks for the idea
 

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Danni, you could use one of these to wring.

Yellow 36 Quart Mop Bucket & Wringer Combo

I dry towels with a fan blowing on them. Actually I do most clothes this way in the warmer months, no air, would NEVER run the dryer with no air. Most of the time I hang them on hangers and put on the shower rod blowing a fan on them. Most clothes dry overnight, nothing stiff that way.
 

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polly - Thats a good idea too. I will have to see how much they are next time I go up to the store.
 

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the only thing that i wash by hand would be bras which get washed in dreft and line dried. keeps them in gret shape and they last longer
 

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We have a wringer washer --- not exactly by hand, but I can wash several loads in the same water and rinse waters- then use the water for the garden, flushing toliets, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was looking at the wringer washer and such on the Lehmans site but they are out of price range for right now. Getting debt paid off is the priority for awhile longer.
 

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If you advertised for a wringer washer, you might be able to find a used one. A long shot, I know. Or try Freecycle, better yet.
 

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I've put the word out and have been checking garage sales but so far nothing. Even the antique/second hand store has nothing. I'll keep checking you never know.
 

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At home in New England we machine wash and line dry. We are south for the winter with no washer. I refuse to pay $2.50 for a load so we got one of those plunger breathing washer thingies and I do small loads in the sink. I must say I don't think it gets things as clean as a washer, especially towels.

I actually prefer towels that are line dried, rough and scratchy. Feels good like a loofah treatment on your skin - invigorating.
 

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Here is pics of what i used.

The tall bucket with the plunger was the washer bucket
the 2nd pic is of the bucket i drilled holes in
the 3rd pic is of the 3rd bucket that is filled half full of water and a lid on it setting inside the 2nd bucket for the wringer. Makes it great to set on the top to really wring out the water!


 

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Last year, I didn't have a washing machine or a dryer so I washed everything by hand, including sheets, towels, rugs, clothes, you name it. Now I have a washing machine (still no dryer) and I have to be honest, I'm really glad I have it.

When I was hand-washing, I had to dedicate a certain amount of time every morning to it, sometimes quite a long time, in order to get things on the line when there was still sun, and it had to be every day because unless you have crazy stamina, you can't do a week's worth of laundry in a single 'go.'

I would suggest you give it a try but don't get rid of your machine. When I was sick, had a headache, the flu, had too many other things to do, had guests staying with us... these were all times when I wished even more that I had a machine.

I believe I was wasting water as well. I think a good washing machine uses less water than handwashing, but if you are careful you may be able to improve on that.
 

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freebs- may I borrow your wonderful idea?
those pics have just made my day now I'm off to find some buckets (still waitng on the deli lady to call me- i think she was just blowing sunshine :( )
 

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Bent, no problem! If it can help someone im glad! I was without a washer for about 5 months with 4 of us that was alot of plunging but i was amazed at how much cleaner they were! I got all my buckets except the tall one at Sams club. They were frosting buckets!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the pics freebs, I really like your idea. Seeing it makes me like it even more.

gig- I plan on keeping the washer until I am certain I want to do this on a regular basis. With kids still at home it will be alot of work, so I have to make sure I can fit into my schedule and make it a routine and that I can keep up with it. Right now I am up by 6am and have all my basic household cleaning done by 8, I like that routine so I want to find a way to fit it into that. We will see.
 

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Will you still use a dryer? can you hang dry all year around? I know when i was doing it this way it took several hours to do a few loads but i plunged with laundry soap then changed water and plunged to rinse. I actually had my kids help with this. now i will say the bucket wringer system worked good but the bottom items were of course always wetter than the top items but it sure speeds up the process to have them wrung out. I did on days that i could hang them to dry i would not wring them out and they would be dry by days end. I hated it at first but it got easier and my mind set changed. I did do mine outside and washed all in cold, so on cold or rainy days we didnt wash :)
 
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