Terry and I once returned from an estate sale with our "treasures": an old wash tub and a well-used washboard. Stephanie was a young teen then and asked, "What is THAT?!" "Our new washer!" I said with so much enthusiasm, that for a second she thought I was serious.
I remember from my childhood, a neighbor lady using an antique ringer-washer and how her hands always seemed to be red and chapped. I am thankful to be living during a day of modern convenience!
If you are thankful for modern conveniences as well, but desire to save money while using them, perhaps you would like to try these suggestions in the laundry room! Make & use homemade laundry detergent for a fraction of the cost of regular detergent. The soap that we make costs around 76¢ a gallon!
Eliminate the use of chlorine bleach. It is an extremely harsh chemical and damages the fibers of clothing. Use hydrogen peroxide instead!
Use white vinegar in place of liquid fabric softener. The vinegary smell dissipates as the clothes dry.
Make your own spot remover:
2 parts hydrogen peroxide
1 part Dawn dishwashing liquid
We mix 2 cups of peroxide with one cup Dawn and store in a canning jar. This is great for treating and removing nearly all stains (in many cases, even if the stain has set in!). I also use this as a detergent "boost" for heavily soiled clothes (think boys' play jeans).
Use baking soda as a laundry detergent boost for stinky clothes (such as icky diapers, smelly socks, boy's clothes, towels, etc.).
Assign towels. Each family member has their own color-coded towel, which they use (and re-use) throughout the week (c'mon; think CLEAN bodies after a shower!) then wash with their clothes on their laundry day.
Wash laundry in cold water.
Wear clothes more than once before putting them in the hamper. Frequent laundering shortens the life of a garment.
Dress before eating breakfast to ensure that pajamas stay clean. Wear jammies 3X before washing.
Make use of a clothesline when the weather permits (especially cloth diapers, towels, sheets/bed covers, and jeans). Place sun-dried "crunchy" clothes in the dryer for a few minutes to "fluff". We LOVE crisp sheets dried on the line!
Don't allow clothes to sit in the washer overnight, where they tend to "sour" and need to be re-rinsed before drying.
Fold clothes as they are dried, rather than leaving them for later when they will need to be "re-heated".