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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    Amazing but true laundry stories!

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    Did you know there are message boards like this one for laundry enthusiasts?

    (I didn't.)

    I fell into the wonderful world of laundry because I was looking for cheap, small washer and dryer ideas for my apartment. There is a community laundry room here, but I'm not fond of the expense and the mental cooties and the pain-in-the-butt logistics involved.

    Previous tenants took their W+D with them (or sold them to incoming tenants).

    My search lead me to the wonderful world of laundry... it's so cool! People really get into it! I discovered there are whole bunches of people who do their laundry by hand, just because they like to! Which seemed odd until I started thinking that there are people who look at us and say "Those crazy cyclists go places under their own power, just because they like to!"

    It's a big ol' world...

    I found threads discussing different plunger-devices for smooshing laundry around and thoughtful reviews of various tubs. Here's a cool plunger-thingy that it turns out one of my coworkers used to have: http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Go..._1138390?Args=

    There were recipes for home-made laundry soap.

    One of the topics I read (and didn't believe until... well, you'll see) was a discussion of how machines don't really get your clothes clean and a lot of dirty water and soap residue is left in the clothing and then dries into the clothing in the dryer. I figured that couldn't be true, I mean don't machines make clothes CLEANER than handwashing? Machines are sleek and powerful and do everything better, right?

    There was mention of the evil gray water that clothes produced the first time someone switched to handwashing. Hearty proclamations of the miraculous cures of dermatitis and eczema. Rhapsodies on the way clothes smelled so much better.

    I can't get a washer for a couple more weeks. Don't wanna trek down to the laundry room or drag my laundry to a friend's house, and really the weather is so good I can dry it all outside anyway. I read all the tips and tricks about washing large amounts of clothing by hand.

    I got me a kitty-litter bucket and a sink plunger and set to work.

    Omigawd.

    Instant disgusting filthy gray water. Like the devil's teabag dropped into my kitty litter bucket.

    Now, I know I'm not that grody. Even though some of those things in that load got worn twice, I'M JUST NOT THAT GRODY!

    I might just become a handwashing laundry enthusiast.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 08-07-2011 at 06:42 AM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,645
    What's the difference? Using soap instead of detergent? The temptation to put too much detergent in a machine? The method you use to agitate the clothes can't make that much difference, can it??? How long do you have to agitate them to get them clean? Honestly, the few things I have that really can't go into a front-loader, I get bored agitating them after about two minutes.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 08-07-2011 at 06:52 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    It appears to be (from my experience, which is quite limited) the way you rinse the critters.

    Doing the laundry in a white kitty litter bucket, I can SEE when the water runs clear and then I know the clothes are clean. In the machine, it runs its rinse cycle without a witness to holler "Whoa! Wait, do it again and smoosh the clothes around some more!"

    I'm using the same laundry detergent I always use, so it's not the detergent. I really think it's the rinse.

    And the gunk coming off my clothes the first time I handwash them is really impressive. I swear, I'm not Pig Pen! That dirt was *IN* the clothes already!

    I'm not agitating the clothes much. Dab of detergent in kitty litter bucket, fill with water. Toss laundry in (small load, cuz the bucket I'm using is very small). Smoosh up and down with plunger for about 15-30 seconds. (this is when the grody stuff is appearing in my water) Leave to sit for a while (I'm making coffee, reading, playing on the internet). When you remember, go back and plunge it another 15-30 seconds, pour off the cruddy water, refill with clean water. Repeat the plunging and soaking and pouring off until the water runs clear.

    I'm diggin' the neglectful approach. "Ah, just let that soak some more. I'm in an exciting part of my book."
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 08-07-2011 at 07:07 AM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    I also read somewhere (long ago) that running an item of clothing through the washer and the dryer puts it through the equivalent wear-and-tear of 60 wearings.

    Dunno if that is true, but the plunge and soak handwashing routine is bound to be gentler on the clothes.

    It's an amusing curmudgeonly way to get an arm workout. Like most red-blooded Americans, I'd rather "work out" than do actual physical work. Drive my SUV right up to the door of the gym and commandeer the handicap parking spot, so I can go inside to walk on the treadmill; you betcha! Throw my laundry into the washing machine and then pick up my handweights and wave my arms around while the machine chugs away; oh yeah!

    If I had to do more than just a smidgen of laundry for a couple weeks, I'd probably not find this plunger-and-bucket experience nearly as amusing...
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    124
    ha ha i could see me trying it. My BF is BIG 6'7", I would only fit in one pair or jeans and maybe a tee shirt per load! I made the homemade laudry soap. I liked it, BF didn't care for it. Now i mix it in to Tide to stretch the buck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    129
    I love this forum. Learn something new everyday!

    By some strange coincidence, the electronics on my machine have just packed up. The pre-set programmes have had it but the rinse and spin cycles still work, so I'm being creative. This will probably give the people on the laundry forums nightmares.

    Knotted, even though I see you as the bikefit guru, I'm not buying handwashing. Too old and lazy for that.

    May your grey water run clear..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Sillycon Valley, California
    Posts
    4,869
    I know myself too well, I'd end up with all my clothing sitting in a sudsy bucket...for days. I tend to forget things.....

    My washer has a double rinse cycle, maybe I should use it regularly.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Mrs. KnottedYet
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    8,975
    Quote Originally Posted by Sardine View Post
    May your grey water run clear..
    Is this the laundry forum version of wishing a fellow cyclist "tailwinds"

    I'm looking at my washer to see if it has a double rinse/spin option ... and sniffing my clothes. I have drier but often use an LL Bean indoors clothes drying rack/shelf thingie instead.

    Since my dishes often sit and wait days I know I'd do the same with laundry.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,560
    I found the laundry forums the same way you did. Aren't they wonderful? I simply adore the internet.

    I've had the same experience with weird gray water showing up after I hand wash things. I decided not to think about it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapdragen View Post

    My washer has a double rinse cycle, maybe I should use it regularly.
    That's my plan for when I get my washer.
    Double rinse!
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,972
    You just dump the water down a sink or bathtub drain?

    I was wondering if there's a gentle enough soap that I could dump the dirty water in the yard and it would be some sort of weed killer or pesticide reducer. Like soapy water for aphids.

    Maybe I need to check out these laundry forums too!

    "I never met a donut I didn't like" - Dave Wiens

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    UK
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    129
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek420 View Post
    Is this the laundry forum version of wishing a fellow cyclist "tailwinds"
    Something like that

    Trek420, I'm going to ask because I've been curious and can't work it out due to size - what is the dog doing in your picture/avatar? Sniffing a bag of laundry? Apologies for going off topic momentarily.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessmarimba View Post
    You just dump the water down a sink or bathtub drain?

    I was wondering if there's a gentle enough soap that I could dump the dirty water in the yard and it would be some sort of weed killer or pesticide reducer. Like soapy water for aphids.

    Maybe I need to check out these laundry forums too!
    I've got the kitty litter bucket in the bathtub. Every once in a while I go in and do the plunge/rinse dance. Just dumping it down the bathtub drain.

    I've always used biodegradable laundry detergent in the machine and I'm using it now in the bucket, which I assume would be fine dumped out on the yard. Not sure if it would nuke aphids, because by the time you've done a bucket of laundry the detergent has pretty much pooped out. (according to my research, if the water is still foamy when you dump, you may have used to much detergent)

    Oh, and I learned the hard way that a kitty litter bucket is NOT big enough to wash TWO pairs of jeans at a time.

    There is a nice satisfying sense of accomplishment putting away a neatly folded stack of clothes (that smell fabulously clean) which you washed, wrung out, and dried without using any electricity or powered machinery. But again, I probably wouldn't enjoy this so much if I had to do it ALL THE TIME.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 08-07-2011 at 08:47 AM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sardine View Post
    Something like that

    Trek420, I'm going to ask because I've been curious and can't work it out due to size - what is the dog doing in your picture/avatar? Sniffing a bag of laundry?
    That's our mutt, Mae sniffing a gopher hole right before diving in to dig at it.

    Now back to our sponsor; laundry by hand.

    And thanks Knott, I do have a double rinse setting on the machine. Who knew?
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    I grew up without a washing machine, in a cool, wet climate, and am definitely no fan of handwashing clothes... but I guess I should read the tips on handwashing larger amounts. Scrubbing jeans on an oldfashioned scrubbing board just got me sore knuckles and determination to own a washing machine when all grown up.

    But we don't have a drier and don't miss it, except very occasionally when we have lots to wash and have to stagger it so that the livingroom slash drying room doesn't feel like a sauna.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

 

 

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