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· The wanderer
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I've been doing laundry by hand since we moved up here 8 years ago. We haul water or collect rainwater. We have two washtubs with a Hand-cranked wringer between them (Lehman's), and a "Rapid Washer" (also Lehman's) to plunge the laundry with. It does a fine job.

We had four kids still at home when we moved here, and they helped turn the handle of the wringer and feed clothes into it, so the big job of all that laundry wasn't so bad. Now its just my husband and I, and it's not a big job.

I have a washboard but don't think much of it. In fact I have two of them, a metal-faced one and a glass-faced one. I have the metal-faced one hanging in our outhouse (we have no indoor plumbing, either) for decoration, and I use the glass one on the rare occasions I use one.

For stains my method of choice is to get the item wet (pants, socks, dish towel, whatever), spread it on a bench next to our washtubs (which are outside built into a handy frame between two trees), and scrub gently at it with a hand-held scrub brush. If you push too hard you just bend the bristles of the brush and wear out the fabric.
 

· The wanderer
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5,544 Posts
Jeans aren't that hard to wash. I plunge them good with the rapid washer, then spread them on the bench and then give them a quick once-over with the scrub brush. Then I rinse them and drape them over the line to drip. I don't try to feed jeans through the wringer.

Here's my laundry room:



Jason, I wouldn't have had time to do our laundry by hand when I had a full-time outside job. I enjoy it now that I have the time, especially out there in the sunshine among the pines!

In the winter we use a 5-gallon bucket in the shower with the laundry plunger (Rapid Washer) and then run out and put it through the wringer! We have laundry lines above the woodstove in our cabin as well as on a covered porch and out in the yard among the trees, so lots of options for drying.
 

· The wanderer
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5,544 Posts
Nice setup Sue! I like to run the jeans and towels through our regular washing machine because they are to much for my hands. But all of the lighter stuff is fair game for hand washing!
If you have a regular wash machine, that's a great way to do it. Ours went with the sale of the house we sold to move up here, and we're off-grid up here anyway.

Towels were the hardest thing to get used to. No matter what, they're just not as soft as they were with a washer and dryer! I've used different things for softness and shook them out when hanging them and again when taking them off the line. They're clean and they smell nice, but not the same 'soft and fluffy'!

Still...it doesn't cost us anything to wash and dry clothes other than what we use to wash and rinse them with: baking soda for the wash, white vinegar for the rinse, bought large and cheap at Costco. Had to stock up, though, because when our card expires in September we're not renewing.

I pick and dry wild rose petals and other nice-scented wildflowers, and toss them in with the rinse to scent the clothes. MY clothes, that is! My husband would probably prefer gunpowder or pineneedles or something 'manly'! :D
 
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