Using Laundry Discs
Homemade 'Dye Magnets'
I'm in an apartment without a washer and dryer and the complex laundry room is acres away and costs $1 a wash and $2 to dry! What I usually end up doing is packing all my clothes to the laundromat once a week, spending a fortune there and taking up a whole Saturday. What's the Stretcher solution?
Rachel in California
Here are some suggestions to the woman who spends all day on Saturday doing her laundry:
There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of laundry you have to haul. Back before kids when I only had laundry for myself, and no machines either, I took a great deal of pride in how little to tote to the laundry. All your panties, bras, socks, slips, nylons, and camisoles can be sink or bucket washed. I kept a 5 gallon pail with a very mild detergent solution in it, and put those items in at the end of the day. Every couple days or so, I washed them out by hand in the bathtub and used string and clothespins to hang them over the tub. You can even buy the over-the-tub clothes dryer thing at Wal-Mart, with 4 strings that stretch across the tub the long way.
My mom, also a single gal for a time, simply did hers at the end of each day eliminating the need for planning time to do it.
People tend to think that towels are dirty when you use them after a shower. Not true. You just got yourself clean, and as long as you didn't wipe the floor with it, a towel can last at least three to four showers. These days the kids get one assigned twice a week to keep track of and turn in for the next. Using towels this way, you can usually add them into you plan with the skivvies if you use a 5 gallon pail. You can also use this hand wash method on your sheets once a week.
Let me mention the bucket method has some tips that make it easier. First, start with a clean, 5-gallon pail with a handle, and get yourself some type of stick or rod to stir with (agitate). I used a huge old wooden spoon that came from an old restaurant. Get yourself a good sturdy plastic bristled cleaning brush, like you'd use on the floor. As I mentioned earlier, you start the bucket with a mild mix of laundry soap (liquid works best), and maybe a touch of color booster (Clorox 2 or something). Let everything sit in there, and when you're ready to 'wash' dump everything into the tub, water and all. Fill you bucket with water and fresh soap. You'll only use about 1/5 capful or less. Stir with your stick to ensure the soap and water mix. Then begin to add the clothes. You can do an item at a time, or put them all in, and pull one out at a time. You use the stick to mimic the agitation of the washing machine, stirring round one way, and back around the other. Use the brush to get any stains or marks off (even grass stains have come out this way for me). From here you just rinse using water from the shower or tub, ring if appropriate and hang up. It's a great way to curb outside laundry expense, and is also, in my opinion, more water conservative than a machine too.
Taking really good care of washable fabric starts with immediate spot treating. "Shout" has spot remover wipes in individual foil packets. Carrying a few of these in purse or briefcase can really help.
If you can obtain a boating or RV catalog, (or even search on the Internet) there is such a thing as a counter top clothes washing machine (and spin dryer combination). It does run on house current, and is about the size of a large portable TV. It can be moved easily by one person. It uses a lot less water; however, you can't wash a lot at one time. I purchased one for my mom, when she moved into her retirement housing apartment, because she had the same problem. It does not fully dry the clothes, as there is no heating element to blow hot air. But it does give you the option of doing small loads at home, at your convenience.
I too was an apartment dweller who had to drag my family's laundry to a laundromat once a week. Here's how to cut the costs and better utilize your time.
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