How do we do a simple task like laundry? Is there a bucket and washboard involved? No, we are off grid, not in the 1800s. We purposely bought an older electric Kenmore washing machine with no computer, just plain old knobs and dials. At first that was not our intention, we went shopping for a brand-new model, but the energy saving models all seem to have computers and these machines generally use power whether they are on or not. Why waste electricity when not using an appliance? We also read many reviews and learned the newer appliances are not made to last. Krista and I both remember our parents had the same machines not for just a few years, but for decades. We shopped around and found a gentlemen whose business was to restore old discarded washing machines. We decided to purchase an older model that was rebuilt, has no computer, and can wash huge loads of laundry when putting laundry day off for that next sunny day in the winter. The energy efficiency isn’t the greatest, but we find the 1200 watt per hour expense acceptable.
On a side note, we also take the gray water from the laundry and separate it from the black water of the toilet. The gray water from washing our clothes is diverted to a cistern that we can use to water our garden. Hooking up a series of filters, a pump, and sprinkler system is another project to be completed in early summer.
Now drying is a different situation. The picture shows all the parts I purchased at our local Co-op and the tools required to build our clothes dryer. From the picture, you probably guessed we built a clothes line. I used a plastic coated 1/8 inch cable. This cable can hold some serious weight without stretching or breaking. It may be overkill, but if I am going to build something, it will be right the first time and built to last. The clothes line is also built with a turn buckle to adjust the line’s tension and for easy removal, so guests don’t have to wonder why there is a cable stretched across the room.
This was also a personal request from Krista. However, once I put it up, Krista hasn’t taken it down. The two ends of the clothes line are connected to eye-screws attached to the wall studs on opposite sides of the room. I built two clothes lines, one across the open hallway and the other in the battery/laundry room. This is for fall and winter clothes drying. During the spring and summer, we use an outdoor clothes line. Our drying time on the clothes in the house is about 8-10 hours. Drying time outside on a sunny day is about 3 hours.
Yes, hang drying clothes takes longer, but we have also realized some weird and beneficial side effects. Since we started hang drying, my clothes have been growing not shrinking. My t-shirts that have always shrunk are actually about an inch longer than the day I bought them. My pants are not getting holes in the knees as fast. My shirts are retaining their colors and not fading. My sweaters are not shrinking either, but now I wish they would. If you want your clothes to last longer, hang drying is the way to go. Plus, the electricity I save is between 3,500 to 5,000 watts a load.
On a side note, we don’t buy laundry detergent anymore. Krista makes her own laundry soap for about 1/10th the price found in the stores. She will be posting her recipe soon.