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Rinse Cycle


Nothing says lovin’ like clothing scrubbed by hand on a washboard.  I mean it.  Laundry is one of the surest ways to get to know someone.  Think about it.  On CSI, what’s the first thing they get court orders to search for?  Shoes and clothing.  Why?  Because your clothes and shoes tell a story about who you are and where you’ve been.  As I walked Westville Village, I couldn’t help but notice the laundry paraphernalia and feel comforted by its presence.  The surest sign of hard working people is a full clothesline.

We could all stand to learn something from the pre-industrial era.  Perhaps the idea of stepping back in time doesn’t hold any lasting appeal to you or it holds lot’s of appeal (as in my case), but the simple living aspects of life in the 1850’s are a lesson in conservation that we should not ignore.  Even if the very idea of living off-grid, butchering your own chickens, or washing clothes with a wringer washer sends shivers up your spine — know that there are thousands of ways to conserve energy, water, food, and other resources which can be done within the confines of suburbia.  Perhaps the first place to start is the heart of who you are: your laundry.


Use a clothesline. Many home owners associations ban the use of clotheslines but often the fine print reveals that clotheslines are only banned if they can be seen from the road.  This means that a clothesline may be erected in the backyard without any hate mail getting tacked to your front door.  Even if you only use your clothesline for linens — you are conserving energy.

Make your own laundry detergent.  Whether you are on septic and must use liquid laundry detergent (like me) or you prefer powdered laundry soap, the recipes are straightforward and easy to do.  Not only will you save money but you will not be continuing to pollute the earth or the air by supporting the shipping of commercial products.  You will also keep your family from being exposed to skin-irritating chemicals.

Wear clothing items at least twice before washing them. Okay, not underwear and socks.  Jeans, t-shirts, pjs, shorts, sweatshirts, etc.  You get the idea, smarties.

Take the time to treat stains before putting them in the washing machine.  Using a bar of soap, just lather and scrub the stained areas to avoid rewashing clothes which can come out of the wash still stained.


Use vinegar or baking soda instead of commercial fabric softeners by adding 1/4 – 1/2 cup with the rinse cycle to avoid chemical fabric softeners.  This simple tip saves money and the environment.

Steer clear of chlorine bleach by using safe bleach alternatives in the oxi-clean family.  Soak clothing with stubborn stains overnight in a bucket with 8 parts cold water and 1 part peroxide.

And the easiest way to conserve water and energy when it comes to tackling laundry?  Wait until you have a full load before starting the wash.

Any other tips and suggestions?  How do you conserve resources in the laundry department?

Want to try one of my favorite cast iron skillet recipes?  I know you do.  Cane Syrup Cake will make you a believer.  Trust me.

  • » Rinse Cycle - […] Nothing says lovin’ like clothing scrubbed by hand on a washboard. I mean it. Laundry is in many ways the surest way to get to know someone. Original post […]ReplyCancel

  • Sally Ferguson - I use net bags for laundry sorting. It helps to separate the darks, lights, towels, and items that need bleach. And that enables the loads to be full and ready to go in at any time!
    I like the pictures. They do remind me of a simpler approach to life. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • chocolatechic - You just about summed it up for me, but….

    Those clothes pins……oh……..how glorious are they?!?!?ReplyCancel

  • Julie at Elisharose - I’ve never used a laundry board, but my dad and I actually had a conversation about them recently. He was telling me about the different kinds they had when he was a kid. He started this life very humbly. It was so cool to hear what he had to say about them.

    And for us, never a small load (like there would ever be one!), you know my detergent recipe, and I have a fresh batch of safe bleach alternative sitting over my washer. I can’t wait to use it.ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - Nice pins! Yes, clothes tell a lot about a person…



  • Matriarchy - I love those clothespins! The modern wooden ones (from China, of course) are so flimsy and non-repairable. I have them stockpiled, but I was wondering what I would do when I ran out – and now I know! We would sit near the fire in the winter and whittle new ones to bind together with a strip of scrap tin.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Lacy- I love your ideas- What beautiful pictures, I love the clothes pins! I need to get brave enough to make my own washing soap… I’ll do it next week- *wink wink*

  • marye~ - I love your pictures Lacy! Great ideas too. You know I’m always looking for ways to save ole Mother Earth.ReplyCancel

  • Ang in TX - Those Clothes pins! I have never seen. I need. I want. I covet. Oh my.

    I always use my bath towel two to three times before tossing in the hamper. If you scrubbed well, you won’t be dirty when you use the towel. 😉ReplyCancel

  • gingela5 - I love those clothes pins. I don’t think I have a use for them but I love them!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - How do I conserve? I always hang my laundry (except socks and undies) on the line when it’s not rainy. The socks and undies are too tedious and it doesn’t take too long in the dryer. I hate, hate, hate, spending money on electricity that is unnecessary. I’m all about cutting costs and spending in any place I can find.ReplyCancel

  • CrossView - All great ideas- EXCEPET for that washboard part! LOL!ReplyCancel

  • CrossView - *ahem* “EXCEPT” =/ReplyCancel

  • farm mom - great post!!! I love making our detergent and hanging out the wash. LOVE the pics of the laundry clips, beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • ellyn - I have out all of our clothes in the summer except underwear and socks. In the winter I hang clothes for drying on a sunny porch.

    Your pictures are stunning. Loved them!ReplyCancel

  • jayedee - i am so dadgum lazy. i truly need to get with the program and hang my laundry. i’m the first one to preach about conserving our resources and simplifying our lives, yet i totally drop the ball on this one. thank goodness for gentle reminders from good friends!ReplyCancel

  • rue - Hi Lacy 🙂

    I have the waiting for a full load of laundry down pat… in fact I have several LOL

    Thank you for the support about Annie’s issues at school 🙂


  • the farmers wife - “wait until you have a full load…” Hahah that is funny! I always have a full load. Most times I have at least 3 full loads. Laundry time is the only time I really miss my single college days. Only have to wash clothes once a week and only have 3 loads to wash. Man I miss that! LOL!ReplyCancel

  • jayedee - psssssssssssssssssssssssst!

    there’s some linky love for you over on my blog……in other words, TAG!
    you’re it!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - One of the best things I’ve learned about laundry was to try and to it at night in the summer. The dryer heats your house so the a/c works harder and using electricity during non-peak hours can save you money.

    If you can afford it, switch to He (high efficiency) washer and dryers. They only us just the bare minimum amount of water to wash and the cycles are highly customizable.

    Does anyone know of a homemade detergent that will be ok to use in the He washer?ReplyCancel

  • Tipper - Neat tips Lacy! Love the old pins!ReplyCancel

  • Ann - Love those old pins. I don’t know if I could do the washboard…oh my…although it would probably make my arms really sexy. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - I think drying on the line is the biggest one for saving on laundry, especially with a big family. The drier is a big suck of power. Those are good tips. Love the old fashioned clothes pins.ReplyCancel

  • Applie - Those are some cool looking clothes pins! We have a front loader, that conserves water. Other than that, I don’t do anything. I use to hang clothes out, but they don’t dry here in the shady, humid south.

    Love the post. Very interesting.ReplyCancel

  • Laura’s Laundry Tips — Save Water and Money! : Razor Family Farms - […] also use white vinegar instead of fabric softener. The vinegar helps to keep the washer clean and makes clothes very soft.   I do add a little bit […]ReplyCancel

  • Noreen - In researching for information on clotheslines I found your site. I am putting together a presentation to share with activity directors on getting discussions started with the elderly, particularly the ones with dementia. Would it be possible for me to include your picture of the hand made clothes pins? Love the aprons as well.


  • patricia - et bien de quelle époque date ces pinces a linge ? on en trouve plus beaucoup de nos jours .
    patricia de FRANCE
    je vous invite a visiter mon blog .ateliersouvenir.canalblog.comReplyCancel

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