I just can't justify wasting warm water and soap so I often plan for at least two loads of laundry and reuse the wash water from the first load to do the second load. (Or even the third) I have a large garbage can and a couple of pails handy that I keep in my laundry room strictly to use as my suds saver equipment. If I wash a load of light clothes like white t-shirts, I will leave the lid up while the washer is washing to prevent the cycle from draining the water. My machine needs the lid down for draining and spinning. When I am ready with the hose in the large container I will put the lid down and set the cycle to drain the hot soapy water into my containers. I replace the hose into the pipe so I don't also catch the rinse water into my saved soapy water. (It would also overflow!) I keep a small sieve to scoop the lint that seems to swirl to the centre of the saved water as my machine has feature that empties the lint with the wash water so I screen it out before I reuse the water. (If there is any lint) I also hang an empty water softener bag on the taps to recycle as a garbage bag.
When the load of laundry is finished and I am ready to wash the next load I use a smaller pail to scoop the water to fill the machine with my saved warm, soapy water. This is great exercise. I also have a wringer washer that I sometimes use if I want to soak something or speed up washing clothes by washing two loads at once. Saving your wash water, if it is not too dirty to use again will save on soap, save on the gas to heat the water and save on water.
I always turn the shirts and sweaters inside out before washing them so the deodorant washes off better and there is less wear and tear on the decals on printed t-shirts. My oldest son actually told me about this. He also said to never dry his shirts because I shrink them so if I use the dryer I always take them out while damp. I also turn the pants inside out for washing.
I mix my soap and water before adding the clothes by setting the level to minimum and after it agitates I reset it to high to finish filling as I add my clothes.
My favourite laundry soaps are Wonderwash, Country Save, Nellies and I often add some Borax or Pink Solution. I recently bought some Ecos from Costco, which is also an environmentally friendly HE laundry soap. In the summer, I hang the clothes outside. Just before the t-shirts are dry, I take a handful of braided hangers to hang them on to make room on my lines for more clothes. The pin marks also seem to disappear. If they don't, a light spritz of water will relax the wrinkle. In the winter, I will fluff them in the dryer and then hang them on my braided hangers to finish drying. I bought foldable laundry umbrellas from Regal Gifts for drying. The t-shirts then go directly into the closets to eliminate folding. I hang the heavy jeans by the bottom of the legs, one leg on each side of the towel rack held by two clothespins. I have two towel racks so there is plenty of room and the bathroom is the warmest room for drying.
I never use fabric softeners as they just coat your clothes and towels and they will not be absorbent. Why wash them if you are going to grease them up again? It also coats your dryer so it is best to "Never" use any at all. Dryer sheets are also the cause of "streaky windows" if you use cloths dried with softeners to dry your windows. My boys have also mentioned that they are not itchy any more since I have quit using dryer sheets. Our family is also healthier and have had fewer colds. Those scented products might hinder your immune system. I know that I cannot sleep if I visit someone's house overnight that has used dryer sheets or scented laundry soap.
In the summer when I am really ambitious, I will even save the rinse water and carry it outside for my trees, grass, flowers and garden. I have also carried out some of the soapy water to splash on the vines on my garage to rid them of aphids. (dishsoap as well)
My house faces north so I tied yellow ropes in the front to use as lines and also in the back of my house. In the summer, I like to mostly be in the front yard and in the fall the sun shines best behind the house so I use my lines in the back yard. Sometimes it is too windy in the front so I'll use the ones in the back. (or visa versa) While hanging clothes I set my basket on a lawn chair so I can shake all of the shirts out, and drape them over the chair ready for hanging. I also have two ironing boards. I keep one handy to give me extra counter space outside for folding clothes. (or even doing vegetables on) You can set it to any height if you are sitting or standing.
As you can tell I enjoy laundry and all of the games that I can play doing it. (My boys tease me and ask me if I am playing my laundry games again, ha ha)
I mentioned "Pink Solution" as one of my favorite products. It can be used as laundry soap, carpet shampoo, jewelry cleaner, added to dish soap to give your dishes a shine like you've never seen and give dishwashing a whole new experience, (it quickly soaks anything off of your dishes) added to dishwasher soap for superb shine again, in the carwash bucket with water to wash a car and have it look like you just waxed it, (I do this often in the rain so the rain rinses the car) (chrome bumpers and hub caps too) wash your white runners to give them that new look again, to wash my boat and boat windows so there is no water spotting, to clean my folding shower doors and marble tub surround, to clean my ceran top stove and other appliances, to clean yellow fur balls off my white carpet, to clean house windows so clean that they are invisible, to make my mirrors glow and my list goes on. It is my number one product that I would not be without! It is safe for any job and the environment.
One last hint of mine is with borax. I dissolve some in a spray bottle with water to use as a freshener for carpets before I vacuum, on the litter box to cut the litter dust and on my furnace filter to freshen the air.
There are websites for all of my favourite products. Easy to search and find. All well worth your while. I can't say enough good things about them.
My favourite dishcloth is the micro fibre cloth with mesh on one side and micro fibre on the other side. It is great for scrubbing or wiping. Their matching tea towels are also the best. I keep some for dishes, windows, and dusting and for the car. I sew two together to make a big one for drying dishes. They are cheap and available at Giant Tiger. Some people don't like them because if you have rough hands or nails they tend to grab.
To keep my hands soft I use rubber gloves to protect them and Beeswax skin cream for a moisturizer. (Beeswaxskincream.com) I use this on my face as well. After many products this is my one "must have". Great for my face, lips, hands and I have even given this as baby gifts for diaper rash prevention and cure. I am getting off topic but this is to keep in line with all of the other products that I use that are healthy for sensitive skin.
I could go on about my pots and pans, mixers, waffle iron, steam iron and flour mills. I will try to find another thread for those. Thanks for reading and I hope that I have given you a few ideas to try or research. I'd be glad to help you find websites or more info anytime. I braid my own hangers and crochet my own pot scrubbers and have hints on those too.
By Joyce from Regina, Sask. Canada
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o my !!!well your family must not get that dirty then because to me thats washing clothes in water thats already dirty!!!my kids get pretty dirty outside and i would never wanna rewash in that water sounds like it works for you
I would love to know more about your "pink solution".
I have a question for you, how do you get your Pink Solution to dissolve in the water? I have it & tried some but was concerned about putting it in the microwave for very long or on the stove top. I just used hot water but it didn't dissolve that good. As for washing clothes reusing the water, that's how I grew up. We only had a wringer washing machine & you only had one wash water & one rinse water. Start with the cleanest clothes & work down to the dirtiest or darkest. The water was hauled in by the bucket & out by the bucket, never wasted! The clothes were hung on a line outside, even in winter. Amazing how freezing can dry!! I still line dry, saves power, & smells so nice. My hubby doesn't like stiff towels, so I do have to use some softener at times.
Those who grew up with either the wringer washer OR the SudsSaver washer were most fortunate to handle GREENING laundry. My family had both.
After 2 washers from auctions and 1 new SS Sears of my own--I purchased the last model available of the sudsaver models. Maytag was the last to make them, they DO NOT any more.
I do 4 washes per use of water. You start with clothes needing the lightest washing-minimal rinse--to make them fresh again. Sometimes they just need a rinse cycle, not a full wash. This includes things you would send off to the dry cleaners if you read the tags. Sorry, most of those are simply wash gentle. Move to the towels (who's towel is dirty after taking a bath/shower needs to get back in the water) or bedding, or maybe sweatshirts and every day shirts. Pants or Jeans is another choice to put next and anyone from a manufacturing or farming community can attest to the fact of how many loads of work clothes can be washed. With my household family, family daycare and "foster-type" kids who stay--I used to do 20-25 loads a weeks. As it is with husband, 2 grandchildren here 3-4 days/nights, there is still about 10-12 loads a week. I keep a laundry tally-helps me to know how much detergent/soap is used, I use AMWAY BIO only. Used to be SA8. 30+ years. My skin and allergies demand this. The work clothes and outer wear/rugs, etc get ERA.
For an additive, I use the Amway TriZyme--again for 30+ years. Many people stop over and tell me about their stain on whatever, I just add it to the next load of similars and nothing to it.
My sudsaver was a $14 laundry tub from Menards. Plug/drain, pipes, etc. I have 5 20 foot clothes lines in the back yard. My neighborhood checks with me to see if I am going to use them at a certain time, then they use them. (They bring their own pins.) Nothing smells better than fresh laundry off the line (except during high pollen days).
Family friend from up at your address--and have visited there, lovely country--lots of fresh air to breeze your lines dry!
I have a dishwasher and find I use less water with that than sink/dishes. We have no water restrictions here, but mightly limp on the rain this year. No yard watering allowed in our household, veg gardens only.
When helping "grandma" do laundry, the end wash water would go to the flower beds before filling the washer again. Can't reach mine, would if I could. (NOT VEGIE THO)
My, you are totally dedicated. My husband is a contractor and I don't think I would dare reuse his water. Also, I don't have the time to extend to doing laundry this way. But I think it is good that you are devoted to greening. I like the idea of saving the rinse water but I can't imagine the effort to transporting it to the gardens. However, I would think this would be a wise choice for people out west experiencing some of the worst drought. If it meant saving my gardens from drying up I would definity make the effort!
What a great article! When we used wringer washers we always did clothes that way. Anyway do you have a blog?? I am in Florida and I don't know what pink solution is. Could you let me know, or let us know. And I would love to hear about anything else you have to say. karen
Editor's Note: We have our My Frugal Life blog site where any of you can have your own blog: http://www.myfrugallife.com
Thank you Thrifty Fun friends for your comments, replies and questions! Out of my three sons, the two youngest are at home and attending university. So their clothes are just sweaty, not dirt dirty. My husband does the gardening and changes the car's oil but his are not too bad. (Except for his jacket that just made a mess for Me. Lol).
Although I retired three years ago at 49 years old I worked fulltime, ground my rye, wheat, Kamut and flax to add to the white flour, (I have a Grainmaster flour mill, a Nutrimill flour mill and a Bamix) baked my own bread and buns, picked berries, made all of our jams, jellies, syrups, salsa etc., (I have a Bosch mixer!) ran my boys to hockey and baseball and many out of town tournaments and still loved to organize my wash to recycle when possible.
It really is not too much extra effort or time. The thing that takes the time is hanging everything. Sheets and blankets are the best place to start. White t-shirts then the socks. If you have two dark loads coming up you can use half of the saved water for one load and half of the saved water for the next load and just add some fresh water and soap. I never use water again from the darks or the shorts and socks. You don't want to stain the lighter colors or pass bacteria to your next load.
I guess that with four people in our house there is enough laundry to make this work. Sheets, mattress protectors and quilts are safe recyclers. On each bed I have a mattress protector, two bottom sheets, top sheet and then blankets so I create a little extra wash. My pillows are all multi-layered as well. Our Shitsu sleeps on our bed so I always wash our quilt.
To have soft towels, bring them in before they are totally dry and fluff them in the dryer. You will have saved a lot of dryer power. If you don't use softener you'll never know there ever was such a thing. It will also help the towels do their job. I don't miss it at all.
Here is my information about the pink solution. Their web site is http://www.pinksolution.ca When I make the heavy solution for laundry I make around 4 gallons at a time. I melt it in a pot on low heat and make sure it does not boil. This is necessary to melt it and mix it into hot water to break it down from the original firm state. While it is heating I fill the jugs with hot tap water. When the Pink solution is melted I pour 2/3 of a cup into each gallon of hot tap water. (I save the heavy juice jugs for this.) For light solution I use 1 tablespoon per gallon. Give them a shake and leave the caps off until they are cool. The heavy mix will resemble thin Jell-O. I also label the jugs. I keep some in a ketchup squirt bottle for spot treating my cat's fur ball stains.
I also add some to my dishwasher, dish detergent, carpet steam cleaner or car wash bucket. Besides giving your car a nice finish it will soak the bugs off of your windshield. I put some heavy mix in a pail of warm water and use a floor mop or washing mitt to do the car. I keep a spray bottle of light mix and water to dampen my micro fiber cloth for dusting. It will leave your TV screen static free and everything else shining. There is also a courser product of theirs called "Mother's Helper" which I use to clean my oven. I bought my Pink Solution at Costco (one week show) and at our Agribition farm show.
I recently posted on how to clean Marble. I have a marble bathroom and the product that I use there is called "Gel Gloss." Gel Gloss cleans, shines and protects. It leaves a protective wax coat that will made the water in the shower just pebble down. I use that about every 6 months. Our bathroom was an expensive upgrade and the company recommended it to me. It is also good for chrome, acrylic and plastic. It is also fog resistant finish on the mirrors. You just apply it with a clean damp cloth, let it dry and buff. Great for the shower doors as well. It makes the surface slippery; so do not do the bottom of the tub. When the soap builds up it is time to wax again.
Please e-mail these web sites to me at mbwright120 AT yahoo.com
Joyce I really enjoyed your article.
I bet U R the lady that would know how to make a rug out of bread bags. Do U? I got one from an older lady years ago that was made by an even older friend that I think their church sold. It really kept dirt out of my house. Would love to NO how to make one. DO U? Thanks, if U can't, I still enjoyed your article Sincerely, Judith Walker judyajudy AT yahoo.com
I have a front-loading washing machine which saves water anyway, so there's no way to keep water, but I've found a way to reduce the number of loads that I do. I do a load of dark clothing and a load of whites, and there's no reason all the light blue shirts that my husband wears can't go in with the whites. If they were to fade, which they haven't so far, it would be okay because a blue-ish tinge is what we want in whites anyway.
Only white undies get washed in hot water and bleach. Towels and sheets on warm. Everything else on cold.
I realized that I was wearing our sheets out by washing them, so when I got a new set off overstock.com, and saw it came with 4 pillowcases, I stopped changing the sheets once a week. I change the pillowcases weekly and wait two weeks now for the sheets. We are very clean people--we always shower before bed, so the sheets weren't dirty at all. If we worked outdoors or really got dirty/sweaty, I'd probably change the sheets twice a week, but we don't, so this works for us.
Anyway, I figure I've cut my laundry down by 3 or 4 loads a week.
The part about soapy water for your vines brought back a lot of memories. I had an elderly neighbor who made her own lye soap. She washed her laundry in a cast iron pot with a fire underneath. I remember her splashing wash water on her roses for aphids. She had pretty and healthy roses.
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