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LRJohnson's Dirty Laundry

June 27th, 2006 at 08:09 pm

That's a misleading title for an entry that really should be called:
Laundry: Washing and Hanging

I think my method of handling laundry is fairly easy and fairly cheap.


•I don’t automatically toss clothes I’ve worn in the hamper. I certainly don’t re-wear stinky or soiled clothing, but often I’m able to wear a shirt or pair of pants more than once.

•I take off my work clothes as soon as I come home, most times. At first it was just because I liked being in my jammies, but then I realized that it was enabling me to get another wearing between washings.

•Sleep clothes especially can take a few wearings. I even re-wear my "sleep socks," since they haven’t been walked around in.

•I only wash full loads, without over-packing my washer.

•I used to wash once a week. Now that I’m doing almost all hang drying, I find it better to wash more frequently, so that I have enough room on my line and rack for all the clothes.

•Since I wash more frequently, I can get by on fewer clothes. I seem to be wearing the underwear at the front of the drawer and not getting to the ones in the back, due to frequent laundry.

•I use to use the cheapest of the cheap powder. I then got a huge bottle of liquid as part of a product survey, and I kind of liked it. (Don’t voluntarily upgrade….you can become discontented with what used to be satisfactory.) I’m now back to my cheapie cheap powder, but I do have a bottle of the cheapest liquid if I feel like splurging. (What a splurge, huh?)

•The cheapest powder is actually not hard on my clothes, because I use a half measure. Our clothes aren’t heavily soiled: we work in offices. In all my time using less detergent, I’ve been perfectly happy with the results.

•When I use the liquid, I drop the cup in the washer so all the soap is used up.

•I do sometimes use bleach on my whites, maybe once a month.

•I never use liquid fabric softener.

•A couple years ago, the hot water stopped feeding into the washer. It probably wouldn’t take too much effort to fix it, but we’ve been happy with just washing in cold. Cold wash, cold rinse on everything. If I fixed it, I might use warm on towels. I don’t have any kids or immuno-suppressed people in the house, so I’m not worried about germs the way other people might need to be. Colors never bleed, either.

•I use the short cycle almost always. Again, mostly light wear on the clothes, and I’ve been happy with the results.

•If I want to soak clothes, I leave the lid of the washer up and my washer stops part way though. I get to soak without using the soak cycle.

•Doing the short wash and cold all the time, I’ve found that I don’t need to sort laundry. I can wash a blouse with undies with a white towel with a pair of jeans. It’s a madhouse.

•I’ve just moved to line drying all the time, instead of just during the summer.

•I re-spin clothes in the washer to get extra water out.

•For some shirts, work slacks, and blouses, I do use the dryer. This way I don’t need to iron. I know I could hang them then use the dryer the last few minutes, but I’m okay drying one load a week.

•If I have to choose what to line dry as far as space or time limitations, I always line dry the big heavy items: jeans, towels.

•I use a half dryer sheet sometimes when I think of it. The last cheapo off brand box we bought has lasted over a year. Sometimes I reuse them. Our clothes smell fine and don’t cling without them, so I guess I could give them up. But hey, sometimes I like to live it up. With a dryer sheet.

Line drying
•I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how cool it can be outside and clothes can still dry. I’ve heard over 60 degrees is outdoor drying weather.

•I’ve been pleasantly surprised that clothes can dry in the house overnight.

•Hanging in the house for me means pinning even jeans to a hanger, so that everything is on a hanger, then finding places to hang the hangers. I could get an indoor clothesline; I haven't ruled it out, I'm just not unhappy with the status quo. Shorter items can go on door knobs. I found more things I could put a hanger on than I expected.

•The first time I hung clothes it took a while. I can now do it quickly. I worked at being patient with myself.

•I bought 2 packs of clothes pins at the dollar store years ago, and they are still going strong. I also love them for other uses (closing food bags, etc.)

•I use a small wooden folding drying rack that I bought at a garage sale years ago; I can’t remember the price. This is what I use for socks, undies, dishtowels, and napkins. Line drying has made my underwear last longer-no fried elastic.

•Outside I have a retractable line: on one side of the house permanently mounted, and can be pulled out and attached to a hook on the opposite side of the yard. We’ll take it with us if we move.

•I hang t-shirts and knit shirts and nightgowns on hangers; this gives me more room. If I didn’t have space considerations, I might hang them by pins upside down (under the arms seems to dry faster that way).

•I don’t mind stiff clothes. If I did, or had guests using the towels, I might throw them in the dryer for a minute to soften.

•Line dried clothes smell fabulous.

Whew. I’ve mentioned my unmentionables.

I know there are other methods and strategies. This was not meant to be a comprehensive list. This is just what I do, a gal who has a decent income but who has chosen to live on CA Minimum Wage for a year. A lot of things I had already been doing. On The Challenge I have become much more consistent and paid much more attention.

6 Responses to “LRJohnson's Dirty Laundry”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I waited to hang my clothes tonight until just before dusk...there was a warm breeze...and the load included sheets for my bed, a couple of towels and my nighties....Hanging laundry in the slightly cooler weather seems to keep them a little softer and it helps hold the scent of the fabric softner..(I splurge on the cheapest brand of softner because our water has so many minerals in it)..so tonight I will go to sleep in soft, line dried sheets and jammies!! Nothing like it!

  2. ladymiller Says:

    I really enjoyed reading every word of your laundry posting. It was very interesting. I have to use a liquid laundry detergent call "ALL", it is free of additives, because of our skin. So, I do buy it on sale and with a doubled coupon. I also always spurge on Downey fabric softner, there again bout with double coupon and sale price. I am learning also to hand a lot of my clothes on hangers to dry. Don't shrink near as much either!!

    Mary Ann

  3. elgin526 Says:

    I often re-wear jeans between washings, they seem to do the best with multiple wear's between laundry days. So don't feel weird about it. Smile And my pj's get washed once a week.

    I also wash everything on cold except for my sheets and towels, those are washed on hot to sanitize. But being it's just DH and I so we don't have a lot of towel/sheet loads anyway.

    Having a gas dryer rather than electric, it's so cheap to run the dryer that I don't bother to hang dry unless it's on the item's care instructions. But I do have laundry lines in my basement and a wooden drying rack if I ever change my mind or need to hang dry a lot of stuff for some reason. It's nice just having options.

    I have no loyalty to laundry soap. Whatever is cheapest when I need to buy it is what I get. I used powder for ages since it's cheaper than liquid most of the time, but right now I'm on liquid because my grocery store had it BOGOF a few months ago so I stocked up. They were huge bottles, too!

  4. LuckyRobin Says:

    We live in the watershed of our aquafer so I use Bi-O-Klean for the laundry, both the powdered (for towels and sheets) and the liquid (for clothes). The instructions call for 2 tbsp, whether I use the liquid or the powder. I only use 1 tbsp. The clothes still get clean, they still smell good, the organic cleaner lasts longer and turns out to be cheaper than if I did the same with 1 tbsp of name brand. In fact, I've found it takes at least 3 tbsp of name brand to equal 1 tbsp of organic detergent. If something is particularly soiled, I will use my humongoid container of Wisk liquid detergent that I got at the scratch and dent store, but fortunately that is seldom the case. I think I will try to look into whether Bi-O-Klean has coupons to make it even cheaper to use.

  5. Homebody Says:

    Since I work at home, I wear the same clothes 2-3 days before washing, except panties. I don't wear anything to bed so that cuts down on that laundry, neither does DH!

    Unfortunately I can't use any laundry detergent. I have found Kirkland brand liquid is the only one that doesn't cause me to have itchy owey skin.

    I need to get into the habit of hanging more. We have a line in the garage so I can hang in the winter too.

    I also toss the cup into the washer to get all the liquid out and use about half the cup for a full load. I save my cups so sometimes there are a couple of cups in the washer at the end!

    I use bleach occasionally for whites and Oxyclean soaks for stains. I got dried chocolate out of YD's white communion dress after it hung in the closet for about 7 years with the chocolate stain. I filled the washer with smallest amount of hottest water, about 5 scoops of oxyclean and let is agitate a few minutes then soaked overnight. The stain was gone the next morning. I figured the dress was ruined so I might has well try and get the stain out. That made me a real believer in Oxyclean for stains.

  6. Casper Says:

    I am also a huge fan of Oxyclean. And you definately caught into the key to remove tough stains. I let mine sit a minimum of 4 hrs and presto they are gone

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