Homemade Laundry Detergent
Saving in the Laundry Room
Clotheslines for the Frugal Soul
It's hard to believe that a short fifty years ago, automatic washers and electric or gas powered tumbling dryers were almost unheard of. Now, almost every home owns its own. Well, at least, that's true in the USA and in many of the technologically advanced nations.
Not everyone has the luxury of wasting over a hundred gallons of water to wash a half dozen shirts and three pairs of pants once or twice a week, to say nothing of the hundreds more used to rinse them. (We used to carry in water for washday, and believe me, it wasn't hundreds of gallons!)
Just as a personal observation (I've used both, old and new), this is one area where the oldies are truly the goodies. They do make new wringer washers and they're not any more (or less) expensive than automatic washing machines.
New wringer washers have had a lot of the "oomph" taken out of them. The one I had only lasted five years before giving up the ghost. To be fair, I could have had it repaired, but I was frustrated with it at that point. The wringer was narrow and touchy so that it wouldn't handle jeans and heavier things. There were built in safety features that to me simply made drudgery of a chore that could be, if not exciting, at least pleasant.
If you've never used a wringer washer, though, those same safety features would be of value to you. You'll soon learn to not put your fingers through any wringer, but a touchy one will release quickly, whether it's spitting out your fingers or your denim jacket.
Maytag is the name to look for if you decide to go scrounging around garage sales looking for a used one. Sometimes, depending on the area you're in, you can find a wringer washer in the back room of a used appliance dealer. Believe him if he tells you the motor is burned out. Believe him if he tells you the pump won't work. But don't let that stop you. The motors are easily changed from washer to another, since they are outside the washer body. Pumps are extras. You can empty a tub with gravitation if you simply put the hose lower than the washtub where the water is. Use a bucket to catch the water.
Never believe a used appliance salesman who tells you it isn't worth fixing. What to look for:
Pat Veretto is a work at home grandmother who has homesteaded, homeschooled and happily lived frugally most of her life. She currently freelances and is the moderator of The Dollar Stretcher Community.
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