Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Laundry Instructions

Have you ever thought what if?  I know I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, WHAT IF?

 … What if there is NO Electricity, or Natural Gas, or whatever it is that I’m doing at the moment, then … How will I be able to do this?
So, have you ever thought …. Just how are you going to do your laundry?

My brother Michael Barr actually sat down and wrote out the instructions. I just thought, made notes, and used the knowledge I already had and experimented. Same thing, but he wrote it down in a nice handout. So, I’m just going to post his nice handout instead of my extremely short notes. This way you can simply print it out and put it in your preparedness notebook. 

Have you ever thought about making yourself a preparedness notebook or two? They are great to have, because you simply open it up to the desired subject, and proceed. Remember you just may be without all the utilities you are so very used to today. Our prophets have prophecied on that also. Their thoughts to us, are not just fun stories, or mere dribble to fill time at conference. It is information vital to our survival. So, a notebook is fantastic … remember your computer, internet, phones, etc. are going to be down, and printed information will be your lifesaver. But, not if you didn’t bother to take the time to actually print it out. Saying someday, I’ll try … just won’t be good enough it that situation.

I like to organize my notebooks into themes, and into sections, and put tabs between the subjects. Notebooks for similar subjects is even a better idea. For oft used pages … laminate them, or put the pages in page protectors. Remember you may be outside in the snow or rain trying to follow the instructions, and you don’t want to be dealing with wet paper, and running ink. 

As you will see from the instructions you need to prepare now, and purchase the needed items, before you need them. Also practice will make the going so much easier. It will be just second nature, and you’ll have the items that YOU know you will need for your family. You can also calculate how much you really need or use, in the quanities needed.

So, onto the Laundry Instructions….   A simple pictorial is at the bottom of the post!

Laundry Instructions:

·        The night before washday, inspect each article of clothing for stains
·        Sort your clothes by similar fabrics and special handling – and sort the clothes according to their dirtiness.  Always start with your least dirty clothes and proceed to the dirtiest if you are going to reuse the wash or rinse water.
·        Pre-Soak garments overnight in soft water (rain water). The ideal is soft/rain water, but ... water, is water at this point. If clothes are heavily soiled, add one cup of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) or ammonia - the water should feel slippery when you rub your fingers together.
·        With three large zinc tubs (Zinc would be the best choice, but large plastic tubs are more affordable, but remember they do split, crack, and break over time) - one for soaping, two for rinsing, set them on a bench to save bending over.  (However, many women did the family wash for years with just one tub.  She would wash each article one by one, setting them aside, then get fresh water and rinse each article one by one, then get more fresh water to rinse each article again.)  Owning three tubs is much nicer because a wringer can be placed between them and speed up the laundry process.
·        Wash – Fill the washtub 2/3 full of warm water and place your washboard into the tub.  Standing behind the board and lean over and rub with an up and down motion working the dirtiest areas.
·        Place the white clothes into a kettle of clean water for boiling.  Pour in soap over the clothes and fill the kettle with enough clean water to cover everything.  Heat the kettle of water and boil for ten - fifteen minutes, poking the clothes down in the soapy water from time to time.
  • Dip out the clothes with a stick and wring, place them into rinse water # 1, agitate / swirl and wring – then place them into rinse tub # 2, agitate / swirl and wring.  Then place the clothes into a laundry basket and hang them on a clothesline.
  • For white clothes add bluing in the final rinse water to whiten, the water needs to be blue enough that you can see your hands, but not so blue that they are hidden. 
·        Scrub the colored clothes in warm soapy wash water, but do not boil them, for the colors will not stand boiling.  Rinse them with two rinses and hang them out on the line if you do not plan to starch them.
·        Starch - Dip the clothes in the starch water thoroughly.  Wring them out and hang them up.
  • Hang the clothes on the line until they are completely dried.  Fabrics will be damaged if they are left out in the sun and wind too long.
  • Tools required: 3-4 tubs $30 each – washboard $20  - wringer $190 – clothes pins $2 @ 50 - clothes line $7 @ 100 ft.rubber gloves $5 - scrub brushes $5 - agitator $16 - toilet plunger $10 – irons $3 at DI - spray bottles $3 – bleach – bluing $4 - ironing board – soap $1 – starch – dipping stick – bench – floor mat (stay out of the mud) – water proof apron – apron with pockets for clothes pins – hat – laundry basket – 5 gallon pail $6 with Gamma lid $8, solar shower $12 – Washing soda Macey’s $3 – Borax $3.
·        Try adding water to 5-gallon plastic pails you have painted black, with lids - leave the buckets in the sunshine and the water will heat up. You cannot use the buckets that are already black because they reflect the sun back, and do not absorb the heat. You must use white buckets you have painted black with flat paint.
·        Bucket and plunger:  Place dirty clothes, water and detergent in a bucket, cut a hole into the lid and use a plunger to agitate about 1 minute.  Use a “special” plunger made just for hand washing, available from Lehman’s Non –Electric catalog $14 - this plunger has internal baffles to help get water and soap into the clothes. - 877.438.5346 , sometimes the plastic type can be purchased at Macey’s or Parleys Hardware on occasion. But Lehmans always has them in stock.
  • Tip -Wash clothing inside out so that lint does not collect in the corners.
  • All of your laundry tools can be purchased at Macey’s, Home Depot, Lowes and Lehman’s, Cal-Ranch, just shop around for the best prices.
·               Washboards are made in Brass, tin, bronze and glass.  Glass is kinder to your hands and clothing.  Amish women always use glass washboards.  
·        To keep the iron from sticking to fabrics, a piece of beeswax held inside a scrap of cloth was rubbed across the iron's hot surface. Just keep in mind, you don’t have electricity. You are using the iron with the cord cut off, and placed on a hot surface to heat the iron. The best iron to use would be older irons from the 50’s and 60’s that do NOT have the teflon or non-stick surface on the bottom. Those surfaces release toxic fumes when heated, they will bubble and then flake off and stain your clothing when exposed to the heat of a hot surface to warm the plate up.

Pre-Soak:  Soak dirty clothes in luke warm water for 2 hours, add one cup of baking soda or laundry ammonia - the water should feel slippery when you rub your fingers together.  To remove oil stains, add 1-cup ammonia. 

Fels Naptha or (Ivory) Powdered Soap:
1 bar
Fels Naptha soap, grated (comes to about 2 cups) cheese grater
1-cup Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda)
1-cup Borax (20 Mule Team)
Combine grated soap with washing soda & borax. 
Use 1 tablespoon for light load, 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled load

Fels Naptha or (Ivory) Liquid SoapGrate 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha Soap.  Put in a pan with 6 cups water, and heat until dissolved.  Stir in ½-cup washing soda and ½-cup Borax.  Mix and heat until all ingredients are dissolved.  Cook for 15 minutes.  It will look similar to honey.  Remove from heat.  In a large bucket (3 or more gallon) put 1-quart hot water, and then add the soap.  Mix.  Add 5½ quarts cold water (or enough to make 2 gallons total mixture).  Mix until well blended.  Set aside for 24 hours.  It will gel up. Use 1/2 cup for each load.
  • Stir before each use as this soap does separate, I suggest a Wisk.
  • This detergent will not suds up in the washer, but it is still getting your clothes clean.
  • If you have extra hard water the soap may not clean as well.  Add ½-cup borax or washing soda to the load and that may help.
  • Fels Naptha soap is a fantastic stain remover and pre-treater.  It works especially well on oil-based stains.  Rub the stain with a wet bar.  Let it sit for a while and launder as usual.  It works great on baby clothes, which have formula stains.

Laundry Starch makes ironing easier - 3 different methods:
1) In a large bowl or pot, stir 1/2 cup of cornstarch into 1 cup of cold water.  Stir in boiling water (2 quarts for a heavy solution; 4 quarts for medium and 6 quarts for a light solution).  Dip the clothing into the starch solution and let dry.  To iron, sprinkle the garments lightly with warm water, roll up and place in a plastic bag until evenly moistened, then iron as usual.

2)  Dissolve cornstarch into water and put into spray bottle
1-pint cool water
1 tablespoon corn starch (light), 2 (medium), 4 (heavy) tablespoons
For a pleasant aroma add 6 drops of lavender essential oil

before each use to redissolve the starch.   If you don't plan on using it often, make small amounts or refrigerate the unused portion; let the mixture return to room temperature before you use it.
3)  Slowly pour boiling water over a smoothly mixed paste of one cup of cold water and one-half cup of white flour while stirring constantly (1:1/2 ratio).  For a thinner paste, add more cold water.  Dip the clothes in the starch water thoroughly.  Wring them out and hang them up.
Rinse # 1:  To soften clothing and eliminate soap residue, if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to soap reside add 1 cup of white vinegar to the washer's final rinse.  Vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics but strong enough to dissolve alkalies in soaps and detergents.  Vinegar also breaks down uric acid.  To get wool and cotton blankets soft and fluffy as new, add 2 cups white vinegar to a full tub of rinse water.  Do not use vinegar if you add chlorine bleach to your rinse water, it will produce harmful vapors. 
Rinse # 2:  For white clothes add bluing in the rinse water to whiten, the water needs to be blue enough that you can see your hands, but not so blue that they are hidden.  Hydrogen peroxide will also whiten clothes, add 1/2 cup to the rinse cycle
  • Temperature Selection:  Hot water is at least 130 degrees F.  Warm water is between 110 and 90 degrees F.  Cold water is between 80 and 60 degrees F.  If cold water is below 60 degrees F clothes are unlikely to be cleaned very well.
  • Hot water is needed for greasy or heavily soiled items.  Hot water doesn't kill anything in your laundry, however it does help release dirt.  To disinfecting - Hot water needs to be boiling or use bleach or dry your clothes with the sun.  Hot water tends to make some clothing shrink, wrinkle, fade and set stains.
  • Use Cold wash / Cold rinse for colors, and Warm wash / Cold rinse for whites.  Warm water makes soap more effective in dissolving dirt and certain stains.  Many laundry detergents don't work well in cold water.  Cold water doesn't set stains, prevents bright or dark colors from fading as easily, and prevents wools and other natural fibers from shrinking. 
  • Warm water is usually the best choice for permanent press and jeans. It allows good cleaning action without as much fading, wrinkling, and shrinking.
·         Cold water is usually used for delicate items, or items with instructions to be washed in cold water.  If your cold-water items are heavily soiled or dirty, be diligent about pre-treating for stains.  Wash the items for longer, or them to soak before washing.
·         Check the tag - Choose the Right Temperature - Pre-treating the stains before you wash – Soak - Turn clothing right side out - Check all pockets - Make sewing repairs Loose threads, rips, button repairs, or other sewing repairs, repair them before you wash the clothes, washing them with problems will only make the problems bigger.
·         Baking Soda Fabric Softener: add a 1/2-cup to the rinse cycle.  It acts as a natural softener and is gentler for those with sensitivities to chemicals in their laundry.   Also it helps remove odors from clothes.
·         To remove grease from clothing, rub chalk on spot, let it absorb the oil, then brush off.
·         Stains: can eventually be removed, however, some stains are stubborn and may only be lightened.  Promptness – Treat stains as quickly as possible before laundering.  Age and washing prior to pretreating can set some stains.  Persistence – Because some stains are difficult to remove, it may be necessary to repeat a procedure several times.  Some stains are not easily seen when the fabric is wet.  Air dry items to be sure that the stain has been removed.  Machine drying might set the stain permanently.  Work on stains from the reverse side to prevent them from spreading.
·         Hypochlorite Bleach may be used on all fabrics except silk, wool, spandex and noncolorfast fabrics.  Follow manufacturer’s instructions.  Non-chlorine – Identify by the words “all-fabric.”  This type of bleach may be used on all fabrics and colors.  To achieve maximum effectiveness, use regularly in warm or hot water with an extended soak or wash time.
  • Ammonia comes in two types: sudsy, which contains a small amount of detergent and non-sudsy, or regular. Non-sudsy is usually used in the laundry.  Ammonia comes in unscented, lemon and pine.
·         Ammonia is alkaline and works to remove stains that are acidic, like fresh perspiration, urine, and fatty or greasy stains.  It also works to freshen laundry by neutralizing odors, rather than masking them.  Most unpleasant odors are either highly acidic (spoiled milk) or highly alkaline (like ammonia).  Using something that is the opposite neutralizes the odor.  It also takes out latex paint, as it dissolves the latex. Don't use ammonia on latex fabrics or latex blend fabrics.
·         Ammonia works in all temperatures of water and can be used with excellent results in cold water with delicate clothes.
·         Using Oxy clean as a substitute to washing soda makes “Styrofoam” and wastes your resources.
Sources: Whittier Historical Society, Coin laundry Assoc., and (Fort Scott KN)

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