Laundry Liberation

Laundry is a subject I often revisit, in my own life as well as in this blog. Why? I think because optimizing this task offers so many opportunities for households to save water, money, and time. (Dishwashing is another operation that keeps me engaged for this reason.)

Manufacturing shutdowns from the pandemic are causing people to have to wait longer for delivery of new appliances such as clothes-washers. People are having to wait for weeks, even a month. This news just gives me one more reason to be glad I don’t own a washer or dryer.

In my book and elsewhere on this blog, I give hand-laundering tips. I’m not saying everyone needs to do laundry by hand and forgo washing-machine ownership. But I will say, knowing how to hand-launder in a resource-efficient manner is incredibly liberating. It means you don’t have to freak out if your machine breaks down (or if your new one is going to take weeks to arrive).

“Resource-efficient” is an important qualifier. If not done mindfully, hand-laundering can use a lot more water and other resources than a washing machine.

Appliances are convenient; no doubt about it. But if we get so we think we can’t function without them, they’re ultimately a source of stress.

Are you without a washing machine but really don’t want to hand-launder? Or have no laundromat nearby? In that case I suggest a laundry service. Many of them offer various eco options. And since they’re a business, they are oftentimes quite resource-efficient. When I’ve had massive piles of other people’s laundry to do, a laundry service has been a lifesaver. And I like supporting a local person’s livelihood.

I do encourage you to also try hand-laundering though. I’ve got lots of tips in my book and elsewhere on this blog.

Here’s a new tip I just made up today. I usually wash clothes with plain bar-soap and sometimes a touch of baking soda. The bar of soap gets wet (of course). Today, before putting that wet bar of soap back in its resting place, I wiped it off with a DRY hand-towel that was my last item that needed to be washed today. That allowed me to put back the bar of soap in a DRY state rather than wet. (Fussy detail maybe, but I don’t like the goop that forms when a wet bar of soap is returned to the soap dish. Also I think the soap lasts longer if it’s put away dry.)

To wash that last hand-towel, which now had soap in its fibers, I simply dunked it into the washtub, rubbed it, swished it around.