You may wonder why you would ever want to do your washing without electricity, but there are some very good reasons for this. The number one reason, of course, is to continue getting your clothes clean even when the electricity goes out. In some cases, severe weather can knock out electricity for over a week, requiring you to use a generator, if you have one. In cases like this, you want to use the generator as little as possible to preserve fuel. Washing without electricity is not that difficult, once you know how. Here are some pointers.
When you have to do your washing without electricity, you probably need to change the detergent you use. Most laundry soap does not make much in the way of suds. That’s really just fine because the suds are just there to make you think the soap is working in the first place.
Usually, to get clothes clean, you need to work the detergent into the fibers of the fabric. That’s one reason electric washers are so great – they do all of the agitating for you. Without that agitation, visions of the old fashioned washer-board come to mind, where homemakers would scrub relentlessly to remove stains.
However with today’s detergents, this type of scrubbing is not always necessary. You can still pre-treat stains, just as you would with access to a washer. Then, fill your kitchen sink with lukewarm water and dissolve and thoroughly is your laundry soap in the water. Once the soap is fully dissolved, add some laundry boosting detergent to the water and mix it in.
The next step is the more tedious one. You have to take each piece of laundry and individually soak it in the water. Gently agitate it in the sink, and make sure to work the detergent infused water is worked into all of the fabric, especially the stains. Push this item to the side, or even lay it in the other sink, until you have several pieces soaked and agitated. Then, leave the items in the sink full of water, adding warm water if they are not floating. Let them soak for about 30 minutes, agitating them every now and them to keep the fabric equally wet.
Once the clothes have soaked for a while, take each piece and agitate it again in the water. Areas with stains should be scrubbed from the “wrong side” of the fabric to push stains out the way them came in, rather than driving them deeper into the fibers. Scrub gently with a toothbrush where necessary.
Rinsing and wringing are the next step. Rinse with cold water to deactivate the soap, and gently squeeze excess water out.
Drying Without Electricity
This is the easy part. Just drape the freshly washed clothes across a hanging clothes drying rack. They will drip if they are too wet, but the rest will evaporate. Your clothes will be surprisingly soft. If you want them a little softer, spray them with a mixture of liquid fabric softener, water, and a little rubbing alcohol.