my dear friend Jennifer has been doing laundry by hand for years - AND for 6 people!!! it was from reading and re-reading her posts about her laundry set-up that i knew how to set us up here at Framboise Manor with a "by-hand" system that works for us.
so here is our laundry set-up:
first off are the necessary tools of the trade! below is the tool kit containing a washboard, 2 plungers, a bottle of vinegar and a bottle of home-made laundry soap. the other bottle is one quarter bleach and the rest filled with water. i use if for whites although we have learned to get rid of whites - bahahaha!
next up is what we, here at the Manor, refer to as the "washing area". otherwise known as four big bins out in the backyard.
the first 3 bins are for actual washing up, while the fourth bin is the rinse bin. on a normal wash day we only use 2 wash bins and the rinse bin but i always like to have a fourth bin handy in case i mis-count my loads of laundry. never mind.
on to the next necessary piece of equipment: the wringing machine. otherwise known as an old drafting table.
i put our homemade laundry soap in the bottom of a clean bin and start filling the bin with the hose. the pressure from the hose makes the water nice and bubbly-ish. once the bin is half full i add our laundry. and then do the same with the other bin.
once a bin is 3/4 full, we move the hose to the other bin and start plunging. we are really good at plunging and agitation. wait no pun intended.
when a bin is full, we move the hose over to the other bin and plunge the other bin. or the other one. i have confused myself. here is a full bin still being plunged.
next up - time to get the old washboard out. we got this from jambaloney's Dad's wife, Sandy. thanks so much Sandy!
i only use the washboard on heavily-soiled items - the two plungers do well on clothes and other items that have just been worn or used once or twice.
while scrubbing on the washboard - time to fill the rinse bin. i put in a cup of vinegar, drop the hose in and go back to plunging and the scrubboard.
once the rinse bin is almost full, we start wringing the soap out the clothes in the washbin and put them in the rinse bin. we leave the clothes soak in the rinse bin for a good 10-20 minutes depending on what the items are. we also plunge and agitate the clothes in the rinse bin to ensure that they are rinsed out well.
next it's off to the wringing station. small things can be wrung out using my hands, medium-sized things can be wrung out by jambaloney's hands and larger items get wrung out here.
once each item is wrung out, it gets dropped in the "to be hung on the line" bin.
and there's the solar drying station!
we plan on getting a washer in the next month or so as soon it will be too cold to wash clothes by hand. but only a washer. we will still hang the clothes out to dry.
imagine i left a brand new whirpool duet washer and dryer with matching stands back in the city. oh well...i used to hate doing laundry. and now - for some weird reason - we love doing laundry! and we have so much fun doing it!
one last big thanks to Jennifer to teaching me how to do laundry by hand, many years ago!