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.