Winter LAUNDRY Off Grid - Getting HOMESTEAD Clothes Clean

in homesteading •  9 months ago

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I think my wife has seen more women snear at her because of laundry more than anything else. Not out of hatred but because they could not imagine themselves doing laundry by hand.

It's one of those things that we forget about when we understand that doing laundry by hand is something that was very common until very recently in history. The first electric washing machine only first launched in 1908 and it was called the Thor. Ladies from all over America brought this machine named after a Norse god into their homes in order to save on effort and time. Hey I get the draw to something that will save time and effort. It only makes sense.

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We almost made the decision to get a washer for Jaimie and Joann and Jaimie decided against it because she enjoyed the exercise. And sure, it was more work but not really if you keep on it every day or every other day.

The winter presents a challenge though with cold weather bearing down on you and water lines freezing and not being able to use the outdoor laundry building we have constructed. This week Jaimie did a big load and hung more laundry in the house around the fire to dry more clothes than she has ever before. This is Jaimie after finishing her hanging of the laundry around the wood stove.

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Getting laundry dry in the winter when the weather is cold and wet most of the time requires you to utilize your home hearth. The fire becomes your clothes dryer.

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It's quite a sight seeing all the clothes take up space in your living room. It's ok, the dry heat from the stove will have them finished in no time.
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The curtain rods make a great spot for hanging shirts up to dry by the window not far from the stove.

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I think there is value in working by hand. I'm not saying that we will never have a laundry machine on the homestead that can be powered by solar. But it's good, healthy and wise to never forget the work that was done by people in the past and to not take that valuable hard work for granted.

What about you? Have you ever had to do laundry by hand? Did you have the appreciation of the more modern conveniences? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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To see some of Jaimie's other posts about laundry, check out these links.

18 Tips For Doing Laundry By Hand

How To Make Laundry Drying Racks From A Baby Crib

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When I was as single mom years ago, and gas prices were OUTRAGEOUS... I wouldn't use my gas dryer. I would hang clothes, bed sheets, towels... EVEYTHING everywhere- just as you have pictured.

My teenage daughters would run through the house grabbing their unmentionables whenever someone pulled down the driveway. I still chuckle at this.

Tell Jaimie to ignore the haters!
When my babies were born I also had folks who thought I was off my rocker crazy because I used a rub board and did them all by hand.
Age 7 or there abouts I received a gift of a washer (it sat unused for over a year) to me they just swished dirt all around and did not clean them and don't get me started on the rinse cycle!
Your wife is a wise woman for using the heat to not only dry the clothes but add moisture into a dry house during winter!

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Yeah, it can get dry in here in the winter. Sometimes we will just boil water on the stove to put moisture steam back in the air.

Nothing is as sweet as your machine doing the job but, trust me it is more beneficial doing it manually. Its a form of exercise that helps the body. I must say a big "well done" to Jaimie, because its actually not so easy going manual. I like your improvisational sense on the spreading of the cloth. Nice post, detailed pictures!

We call this practical intelligence and it's awesome! Don't let anybody to drop your mood Jaimie!

We just had our sewage snaked, but before that, we had a lesson in appreciation of modern convenience. I was washing clothes in the kitchen sink with Bronners and hands. It was amazing to see how much dirt we had actually accumulated. Immune boosted!

My Great Grandmother lived to be 105 3/4 years old. When she turned 100, a local newspaper interviewed her. One of the questions they asked was what did she think was the best invention she saw happen in her time. Her answer "the clothes dryer. No more rewashing because of bird droppings and no freezing in the cold during winter."

She looks so thrilled to do laundry. She must love the exercise! 🐓🐓

When my sons were little, we were poor and couldn't afford a washer. Diapers were much cleaner done by hand. Winter was fun. I did as my mother had before me, hang the wet clothes outside, then bring them in frozen solid and hanging them to dry all around the house. We had wood/coal furnace and the extra moisture in the air was an added bonus.

We did this when I was a youngster. We had a very basic washing machine, but clothes were wrung by hand (or us kids jumping on them) and hung throughout the house and garden.

Wow! Impressive! Other than spot treating, and delicates, I haven't done much laundry by hand. We do like to hang our clothes to dry though (synthetics in the winter and everything in the summer). They end up on the shower rod, closet rod, and even the bathroom towel rack. Humidity ended up being a major issue in our tiny house though; windows would actually freeze shut. We ended up needing to get a dehumidifier. Well done Jaimie! I bet those clothes are squeaky clean. -Aimee

I am always impressed with folks who can genuinely homestead. I am too old and set in my ways. If there comes a time (let's hope not) where I have to learn to do it, I know I will be behind the curve. But I like to read posts like this so I have a frame of reference in case that ever happens.