Monday, June 11, 2012

TEOTAWKI Laundry Continued

This post is a continuation of yesterday's post on doing laundry after a disaster with no electricity. 

I am assuming that you can figure out that you may have to haul water from somewhere if your tap is not working and heating it on a rocket stove or whatever kind of stove you use. 

The hardest part of getting your clothes dry after you wash them by hand is wringing them out enough so they will dry in a reasonable amount of time. I suggest you practice this ahead of time. It is not something you learn overnight.

I use the bathtub or shower for really heavy items. I put them in the bottom of the tub or shower and bunch them up. Then I walk on them, shifting my weight in the direction of the drain. You want to direct the water out of the fabric and down the drain. Otherwise the water will just soak back into the fabric. Be very careful not to fall. The last thing you need during a disaster is a broken leg or arm or a concussion.

Getting as much water as possible out of the fabric in your laundry is critical in humid areas. If you do not get enough water out, the items could mildew before they dry. It is common for laundry to take over three days to dry even if wrung out fairly well.

You need a plan for how and where to dry your laundry. Keeping the wet laundry indoors may be necessary because of theft. I have had neighbors steal laundry off my outdoor clothesline even without a disaster situation. (This happened in another state.) The chances of this happening after a disaster would be greater.

There are several items you may purchase for drying laundry to keep among your preparedness supplies. One of these is a wooden rack that folds up. They have a whole range of similar items, in various price ranges. I bought one to fit inside my tub, so the dripping water will not be a problem.

If you put your laundry rack in areas where dripping water can be a problem, you can put a piece of plastic underneath it with absorbent material like newspapers or towels under the rack, but on top of the plastic. Without the absorbent material, the water will probably run off the plastic. You will probably have to wring out the absorbent material or replace it several times before the laundry is dry. A lot of water drips off wet laundry, even if you wring it out well.

There are retractable clotheslines that attach to a hook on the other side of the drying area. You can take them down between loads of laundry. I am not sure I see the point in these, because when you do laundry by hand you almost always have wet laundry drying.

Hand laundry usually takes less power from running the machine, but uses more water for rinsing, and maybe washing. The savings from a drier is the largest amount for home laundry by hand.

The good part about practicing TEOTAWKI laundry techniques is that every time you do it, you can use the laundry money you save from the laundromat or washing by hand, for something else. Perhaps you could use the money to buy more preparedness supplies.

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