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Homeschooling The Well Prepared Child: Washing Clothes The Old Fashioned Way

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Washing Clothes The Old Fashioned Way

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    There are so many pictures, it was hard to choose which ones to share with you all! We really had a good time doing this project. It was hard for me to keep my hands out of the washtub. So hard, that at one point my daughter told me, "Get your own laundry!" We are currently on the look out to get our own washboard

Here is why:
  • A typical top loading washing machine uses 40 gallons of water. That is roughly 20 cents a load.
  • Washing on a cold/cold setting costs about .26 cents a load in energy.
  • Laundry detergent per load is about .10 cents per load for a lower costing brand.
  • Total cost for washing a load of laundry is around .56 cents. 
That does not seem like much, but, my family of 4 washes about 10 loads a week. 

  • .56 cents per load
  • $5.60 for ten loads per week
  • $22.40 a month
  • $291.50 a year
What it cost us to hand wash a load: 

  • 6 gallons of water is about .03 cents total
  • no electricity used 
  • Fels-Naptha Bar was $1.49. I cut about a 1/5 of it off, melted the crumbles, and used part of the bar for scrubbing the stains. Most of it still on the 1/5 piece we used and I can't imagine we used more than .03 cents worth. 
  • Total cost for washing a load of laundry by hand is around .06 cents
That is a .50 cent difference PER LOAD! So how much would we save by doing all of our laundry by hand?
  • .06 cents per load
  • .60 cents per ten loads a week
  • $31.20 a year
     Now compare $291.50 per year vs $31.20 a year... WOW! Will we be doing all of our laundry by hand from now on? Well heck no! Nobody got time for that! But, a few loads a week by hand will still save a significant amount of money. I am not even factoring in the amount saved by hang drying clothes vs machine drying. At this time, we already hang dry our nicer 'leaving the house' clothes. If we started hanging most of them to dry, that would incur even more savings! (But, we will do that comparison at a later date!)

So no more wait! Here are our photos and 
steps to washing clothes the old fashioned way! Enjoy!


     Our Fels-Naptha bar. That is how much I cut, and how much was left when we were finished. Good possibility we used less than .03 cents. We put the crumbles into a small sauce pan with water and melted them down. This mixture was added to the wash tub.

Our Set Up 

She chose a nice shady spot under the tree in the front of our house. The tub is actually sitting up on top of an empty milk crate so she would not have to bend over as much. 

We needed a table for the soap dish and hangers. We never use a clothes line and clothes pins. It is easier to put clothes on hangers and then hang them up under our tree.

All Ready!

 Agitating The Wash

 Her First Shirt
(Yes, she is using her chin to hold the washboard while she is scrubbing. The board was not long enough to secure itself between the sides of the tub. If we get our own washboard, we will either buy a larger one, or have Dad help us rig something to it to keep it in place.)

 The concentration in her face is amazing!

     She is now finished with the washing portion. As she washed, we placed the clothes back into the clothes basket. If you couldn't tell, she really concentrated on getting the clothes as clean as possible. Scrubbing, using the bar soap, looking, turning, and scrubbing some more. She was completely serious! 

At one point, I told her to smile so it looked like she was enjoying herself. I got this look instead and a response of,              "Mom, are you serious?               I'm working here!"

On to rinsing her clothes! 

 Agitating The Rinse Water

 And Wringing Them Out

Hang Drying

 And She Is Finished!

     Why do we hang our clothes in a tree? 
     Well, we just do. When we moved here, we had a trailer house and I hung clothes in the laundry room or off of the front porch. (I am cheap and really don't want to spend the money on setting up a clothes line.) When we built our house, we put laundry room in the kitchen. There is no room to hang them in the kitchen/laundry room. (Big house with tiny living quarters and a large garage area. But that explanation is for another post.) 
     Instead I have hung them from a large cedar tree in the front yard. At first, I thought the sap and bugs would get all over the clean clothes, but we have never noticed any problems. If the weather will not let me hang them outside, I use the bathroom and inside of the garage. All options work great. But I have gotten off topic... Back to my daughter washing her clothes.

How did my daughter like washing her clothes 
the 'Old Fashioned Way?'

     Well, she is on the fence about it. I think she enjoyed it, but she does not want me to know. My theory is, she thinks if I know she liked it, I will have her do it regularly. I asked her if we did it together, would she want to do it again. Her eyes flashed gleeful and with a smirk she said, "Maybe..." I think someone is tricking me on how much she liked washing the clothes. 

What do you think?

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