|( Drawing: sau53.org )|
Just after 9-11, my husband and I had a prescheduled trip to Russia. We spent a month in Far Eastern Russia, five thousand miles East of Moscow, near Vladivostok, and then ultimately in Moscow. Although there was a laundress at our hotel when we were in Vladivostok, there were no laundromats. In Far Eastern Winter, you are wise if you pay for your hotel only one night at a time. Power outages are frequent and if you have paid for a week and the power goes out, and you can locate another hotel, then you will not be refunded the balance from the original one. For this reason, we were reluctant to send laundry to the laundress and then lose it when changing hotels might be necessary.
In that setting, I washed laundry in our hotel bathroom sink daily. All underwear and shirts were washed by hand with a small amount of bottled generic Woolite I had brought from the US. Once a week I washed skirts and larger items. (I did not wear pants to go out, as this would have identified me as an American, and after 9-11, you were wise to dress as a Russian.) When the clothing was washed, rinsed, and ready to dry, I either placed it on a coathanger in the shower for the day, or placed the underwear or shirts on the heated towel rack in the bathroom, which I was told was connected in some way to the boiler. We established a routine in the first week, and this kept the extra errands to a minimum. We also came home with everything we intended to bring home with us, and this is always a plus !
Doing larger amounts of laundry with limited water, limited power or tough weather conditions can be more difficult. After Hurricane Isabelle, we were without power at our original farm for about two weeks. Large families generate huge amounts of laundry and sometimes, it simply needs to be washed.
The way I did laundry post Hurricane Isabelle was to prepare a bucket of tepid water and place a smaller than normal amount of conventional liquid soap in it. Then the clothing soaks in it for about an hour. Then I would remove the clothing, wringing it out, and place it into a second bucket with plain water. After about thirty minutes, I would move it on to a third and final rinse bucket. Then, I would do a final wringing using a clean and new wringer I had purchased some time earlier from Sam's Club, which actually had been intended as a mop wringer and bucket.
Wringing out the clothing had been essential during the weather conditions which occurred during Hurricane Isabelle. The conditions were extremely damp, and without having all the moisture possible removed during wringing, the clothing would just hand indoors remaining wet even after a day, and potentially molding if simply left that way. I was glad I remembered that I had bought one of these for this exact purpose some time earlier. Sometimes, the best strategy is to fashion a clothesline and hang your clothing outside. However, during the days that followed Hurricane Isabelle, this was not an option. In a great many other scenarios, it might not be either. My mother used to hang Winter laundry in our garage during the coldest parts of of the year. My parents, who were very early to the sustainability movement from their time in Europe, did not use a clothes dryer unless they absolutely had to.
I use blankets in dog houses during the coldest months within our dogs large commercial grade kennel. In Spring, these blankets need washing, and I am not about to throw them into my washing machine, even if I can run a bleach load afterward. I wash them by placing each blanket for a day in a large washbasin with cold water, liquid commercial detergent. They do need some form of agitation, and I do this by having bought a large sized toilet plunger. The plunger is marked with magic marker and says "Dog laundry agitation only". (This way you can be sure that no one used your plunger in a toilet in the off season !) I soak and wash one blanket per day in Spring. Then, I wring them out by hand and hand them on the back of the fence of the unoccupied kennel to dry. Most are completely dry in about a day, and ready to be bagged in plastic in the barn for next year.
|(Graohic: blog.greendeals.org ) Certainly, you can make your five dollar clothesline as long as you want or need.|
These are the laundry strategies we have used here for the purposes of "laundry survival". Your family size, available storage, the availability of hanging space in a laundry room or outside, all dictate what would be possible for you. What IS important is that you give some thought NOW, before an emergency which adversely impacts how you would do your laundry occurs. Now is the time to gather items needed to do laundry in adverse conditions. Remember that keeping the clothing clean that is in contact with your skin can go a long way in helping to prevent skin issues and potential infections, which often occur during emergency breakdowns in normal water and electricity supplies.
You can buy the Rubbermaid Wave Break here
This post is part of a series on remaining clean and healthy in emergency conditions:
This is my prior post: