DIY · Homemaker

Guest Post: Trad Wife Laundry Days

Happy Wednesday all! I’ve been so busy with a few things including the birth of my niece (#3) that Bridget has offered to write up a guest post for me. Bridget is one of the wonderful wives who make the WaifView Show podcast. Hand washing clothes, especially line drying them, does wonders to maintain the quality and integrity of the fabrics.

If you’re like me and are not, how shall we say, rolling in dough, you look for any opportunity to save money. One way that we do it is through doing our laundry old-school style. We use a bucket, a Mobile Washer, washtubs and wringer.

Things you should know:

  • Like other washing machines, you will have to up front some money to start. We bought a bucket for $5, the Mobile Washer on sale for $15, the wringer for $170, and $150 for the washtub, then a drying rack/rope, all coming to about $340 – $350. This is significantly less than you’ll spend for a washer and dryer, but if you can’t spare all that in one go, your best bet might to be to buy pieces of your setup in chunks (this is what we did). For example, you might purchase the bucket and washer one month, then the wringer another month, and finally the tubs.
  • THIS IS A DAILY CHORE. Unless you have time to have a designated “wash day” (traditionally, that was Monday), you better off doing a little every day. Perhaps every other day if you don’t have children. On the bright side, it’s a nice little workout to do every day.
  • That being said, be realistic. Normally, I only have 3 people to wash for. Having a small family, I can get the necessary laundry washed and hung up to dry in about 30-45 minutes, depending on the items. Add another 20-30 minutes if you decide to do your sheets, whites, or towels as well. If you have more than 4 bodies, it might take longer.
  • A good chef’s apron will keep you from getting too soaked in the process of doing the washing.

This is the Mobile Washer. This helps you avoid using the time and labor intensive washboard method.

Start with putting your laundry in the bucket, and about a spoonful of detergent on top of it. (I can give out my homemade detergent power recipe to anyone who wants it).

PicMonkey Collage

Fill the bucket with the desired temperature of water to the level you think best. (I fill it so that it’s about 3-5 inches from the top and the water won’t splash out when I use it). Then you’re going to move the washer up and down. Think of it like plunging a toilet – it will sound like it. Keep at it for about 3-5 minutes minimum, longer for very dirty clothes.

You can try to pour the whole bucket, water and all, into the first tub, or just pull the clothes out of the bucket and carefully put them into the tub.

Slide the clothes through the rollers, and then turn the crank. Make sure the water-catcher is pointing in the direction of the “washer side” tub.

PicMonkey Collage2

The knob on top will loosen or tighten the rollers depending on the thickness of the piece of laundry. Do this until all your clothes are thoroughly wringed out.

Next, empty the “washer side” tub. Your tub should have a hole with a plug in the bottom (or in my case, a siphon hose) that you can drain the tub with.

Put your clothes back in the bucket (making sure it’s empty of dirty water), fill it (without soap), and use the mobile washer again. This’ll rinse off the soap. Put it back in the tubs, and wring it again. If the clothes are very dirty, you might have to have to do this one or two more times. I don’t have boys (or babies), so I usually only have to do this once. 😛

PicMonkey Collage3

Once you’ve done this, hang them up outside or on a drying rack. Outside, they’ll be dry in about 2 hours (longer for thick clothes, obviously). Indoors, it could take up to 24 hours (especially if you don’t have good air circulation).

It might take a week or so to get the rhythm down, but once you do it goes by fairly quick.


Good luck!




Mountain photo credit

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