The Laundry, The Laundry!

Anyone remember that great Charlotte Diamond song about the laundry?

 Watch the video, especially if you need a solution for overflowing laundry problems.

Watch the video, especially if you need a solution for overflowing laundry problems.

So fun. I actually don’t mind doing laundry all that much although if someone invented clothes that would put themselves away after they’ve been washed, that would be awesome.

does anyone have a laundry room with huge, deep laundry sinks anymore? i wish i had that.

does anyone have a laundry room with huge, deep laundry sinks anymore? i wish i had that.

I grew up living in an apartment where we shared laundry with two other tenants. We had a ringer washing machine, an outdoor clothesline and an indoor drying rack. It makes it sound like I was living like a pioneer in some backwoods place, doesn’t it? But nope, this was Vancouver in the 1970s. I learned how to do laundry on that contraption, terrified that I’d get my fingers stuck in the ringer. That never happened but I did flood the laundry room once when I forgot that I was filling it and the water did some fair damage to the make-our-own-wine supply place that was below us. Ah the good old days.

I also wore an apron and high heeled shoes. every time.

I also wore an apron and high heeled shoes. every time.

As time consuming as it was, doing laundry with a ringer washer and hanging it do dry was somewhat environmentally friendly –at least the drying part was. Ringer washers use a lot of water compared to high-efficiency washing machines that we use today.

This was taken in December but it could have been taken today. It's beautiful outside.

This was taken in December but it could have been taken today. It’s beautiful outside.

But I still have a clothesline, in fact, it was a selling feature of our house when we bought it 20 years ago. I love the way my laundry smells coming off the line, especially sheets and towels. It always baffles me why there are subdivisions where clotheslines are not allowed – it seems crazy to me that we prohibit the use of something that is so environmentally friendly just because we don’t want to look at our neighbour’s underwear. I think clotheslines tell a story – I knew that my neighbours behind me had had a baby when little onesies started showing up on their clothesline. I watched those turn into toddler clothes and pre-schooler clothes. I knew their boy had a love for Buzz Lightyear by his sheets. I knew that the neighbours next to them were South Asian because of the brilliantly coloured saris hanging on theirs. When a Mexican family  moved in next door with their 15 children (not a word of a lie) their TWO clotheslines were filled with clothing of all sizes!

you kinda want to eat them, don't you? would it be like washing your mouth out with soap?

you kinda want to eat them, don’t you? would it be like washing your mouth out with soap?

So while I love my clothes line and use it all the time, I’ve been exploring other ways to be more environmentally responsible in this area. I’ve discovered green washing detergents and non-chlorine bleach that I’m pretty happy with but I’ve also heard about these little guys: soap nuts. Has anyone out there tried these? I first learned about these via Queen of Green. They’re actually a tree fruit that you throw in with your dirty clothes and they act like soap and clean them. I’ve never tried these but am curious about them. You can learn more about them here and also see the Queen of Green’s recipe for her own liquid laundry soap.

What’s your green laundry tip?

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4 Responses to The Laundry, The Laundry!

  1. Erna says:

    When you use soap nuts or a washing ball, they go through both the wash and rinse cycles, so they get ‘worn out’ more quickly. Have used both and still have, should try them again.

  2. Terri says:

    I haven’t had a drier in 10 yrs. Clothes are hung outside in the summer, inside in the winter. Its such an easy way to be less wasteful and your clothes last longer. I often hang shirts on plastic hangers but I hate the ‘dimples’ you sometimes get on the shoulders. Any suggestions?

    • It is definitely a challenge to keep hanger-dimples off of your clothes. One thing that works for me is that most of my hangers are covered hangers – by that I mean, hangers that my Oma covered by kind of macrame-ing two of them together with a nylon material (i should blog about that!) it makes the hanger thicker so you have less of a chance of getting that hanger mark. The added bonus is that the clothes don’t slip off of the hanger and you can hang pants on them without them creasing. It’s still a challenge though if you’re hanging larger men’s shirts when the shoulders are wider than the hanger itself. maybe someone needs to invent hanger extensions! Dry cleaners sometimes have those foam covers on their hangers which make them extend out a little further. Anyone else have ideas out there?

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