It’s my back to basics: How to clean your laundry after a disaster. Mark and I started making our own dry laundry detergent about six years ago when my friend, Kendra showed me how easy and inexpensive it is to make. I decided not to make mine liquid because of how much storage space it would take up in my small home.
Kendra and I actually got the giggles a few times because we had laundry soap/detergent everywhere. I never do anything small, I make three five-gallon buckets worth of laundry soap at a time. We had to let the equipment cool down and go back and make a little more. We made it for Christmas gifts for all of my daughters. They love the homemade laundry soap because it saves them lots of money, takes up a small amount of space and keeps their clothes really clean.
We all still use the product Gain fabric softener because we love the smell of it. Keep in mind that this recipe for laundry detergent or soap has very few “bubbles” when it’s in the washing machine. It has zero fillers like the commercial detergent products we buy at the store.
I use it in my HE washer because I only use 1 teaspoon per load. That’s it, one teaspoon. Be sure and verify your HE washer can use it. We have been using it for six years now, first with our Maytag front loader and now my Electrolux front loader. I’m sharing several ways to do laundry today, not just inside the house with our washers and dryers.
How To Clean Your Laundry
- 1 Fels-Naptha Bar-grated either by hand (food processor, or salad shooter)
- 1 cup Borax Detergent Booster
- 1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (not regular baking soda)
Put these 3 ingredients in a blender to blend and grate the Fels-Naptha even more. After doing this, it will look just like the store purchased detergent, but will not include all the “fillers”. You will use less product per load and will have less “bubbles”. Remember, just having bubbles doesn’t mean clean. I use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per load. I have an HE-High Efficiency washer, and it works great in regular washing machines as well. ***Please note: I now use only 1/2 teaspoon per load in my large capacity HE washer.
Here’s the deal, I could go a few days and not wash my shirt or pants. Its the underwear. Yep, let’s just say it how it is. We all want to wear clean underwear. It’s no secret. I remember growing up and my grandmother would always shout “be sure and wear clean underwear” if we were getting ready to go somewhere.
Heaven forbid if you’re in a car accident and you end up in the hospital wearing dirty underwear. Enough said. This little washer bucket set can wash clothes very well. Oh, we could only wash clothes a little at a time, but that beats bending over the bathtub.
No Laundromats To Wash Clothes
If we had an unforeseen emergency the local laundromats will more than likely not be working, unless the power outage is confined to a very small area of our city or county. Another reason we need to keep up with our laundry is that we don’t know when the disaster might happen, and it’s hard when life gets hectic and we are running kids to ball games or lessons. If we keep up with it and don’t let the laundry build up we will be much better prepared. I did learn something from one of my daughters about our washing machines. She tried washing her clothes in the short cycle. It’s like 15 minutes and the clothes come out just as clean, in most cases.
Why didn’t I think of that? I would use less water and my clothes would be done in half the time. Keep in mind we don’t have anyone in our family at the moment that has a very much grease on the clothes when they come home from work. Therefore, the 15 minutes works great. Now I have a washer that washes my clothes in 15 minutes, this will certainly save me money on my expensive city utility bills.
Emergency Washing Machine YouTube
I want to share my YouTube Food Storage Moms I did a couple of years ago showing how to use this beauty shown below. Remember, it now has two buckets instead of one, but you’ll get the idea.
Two Six Gallon Buckets
You will need two six gallon buckets, the five-gallon buckets are just not big enough. I use Gamma Lids for the top because it holds the plunger in place. Yes, I am color coded with my Gamma Lids. The color green is for the laundry. I had my friend, Wally drill 2-inch holes in the top of all the green Gamma lids. I have several sets of these.
Here, my husband is drilling the four holes in the bottom of the top bucket. This is my new technique to give the emergency washing machine a little more friction with the water going up and down with the plunger. There is about a three-inch area to give the water to swish around a little more when we wash clothes. Plus, this added feature will be great when we need to rinse clothes as well. I have two sets of these, one for washing and one for rinsing.
The four holes drilled inside the inner bucket will let the soapy water drain from the clothes after washing them. You will then put the soapy clothes into the second set of my washing machine design and “plunge” the soapy clothes in the fresh water to “plunge” and rinse the soapy water out of the clothes. Now the clothes are ready to hang on a clothesline, clothes rack or a fence.
The Blue Washer Plunger To Wash Clothes
Here is the washer plunger. It is totally different than the usual toilet plunger. It has four parts as shown and can really move the water around in the buckets. Please note when I purchased my mobile washer plungers they each came with a handle. Blue Mobile Washer Tool.
Easy To Store & Ready To Use
Here I am assembling the washing machine for storage until needed. I place paper towels between the buckets because they are so hard to get apart when they have been sitting in the heat in my garage for an extended period of time.
If you have this ready to use you will be ready for the unexpected emergency or disaster. All you need is water and about 1/4 teaspoon or less of my homemade laundry detergent to wash and rinse clothes. I hope I never have to use this, but I am at peace knowing I have this ready to go. Just add water, detergent, and clothes. Woohoo!
Galvanized Tubs to Wash Your Laundry:
Growing up, I don’t remember our clothes being stiff, but I am thinking they must have been. We used good old detergent in a washer and we hung the clothes and sheets outside to dry. We didn’t have a laundry room or closet with a washer and dryer inside. As I think back we had very few sets if clothes and that makes me now realize why. I am sure it was the cost, but I’m also thinking we wore our clothes more than one day.
I can’t imagine that today, but I am just thinking that was the case years ago. I did grow up with a washer and dryer by the time I was eleven. We only had a washer before that and hung our clothes to dry. Wow, I am starting to feel really old right now. LOL!
17 Gallon Wash Tub
By now you probably know I want to be prepared for the unexpected. This means I need to know how to do my laundry if the power goes out and know that I CAN do it. I am happy to report that I found one new option, and I really enjoyed just filling with a hose the 17-gallon high-grade steel Behrens multi-purpose steel utility tub made right here in the USA! It’s rust free, odor free, rodent free. It’s galvanized and ready for me to do laundry outside!
Now you might be thinking, why don’t you just use the bathtub to do your laundry? Well, if we had water lines or sewer lines severed I don’t want to waste any water. If I use two wash tubs or buckets, I can use my detergent and use one for washing and I can use the other one for rinsing.
Do you want to know why I think you will love doing your laundry outside, weather permitting? You can go outside to wash your clothes and put your feet in the grass or earth and feel the air around you. Just think, we can teach our kids what our grandparents used to do. They may have had a wringer washer years ago, or they had a washtub very similar to the ones above. Clothes like blue jeans are more difficult in these tubs, but hopefully you won’t be washing them too often.
Just get away from the electronics, your cell phone, and other stuff for just an hour or less. Go outside and have everyone in the family take a turn scrubbing their own clothes in a bucket of water. You can have them rinse them and hang them over chairs outside. If you have a clothesline, that’s even better.
You can hang a braided rope and secure it to two walls in the garage, or wherever. Just wash with the washboard, can’t you just picture the kids doing this with their own hands. Please be careful with babies or toddlers around the filled wash tubs. I would not leave the tubs unsupervised until emptied.
Have Your Kids Wash Their Own Laundry Outside
Trust me, the kids will learn to work and love it at the same time. Have them wash their own clothes and hang them up for a week. They will quickly learn what it would be like to live without electricity, at least, when it comes to washing their own clothes. I remember when my girls started doing their own laundry they were about 10 years old. They soon learned that all the clothes on the floor were now their responsibility. They actually enjoyed doing their own laundry.
You can buy galvanized buckets at your local stores, but they were actually cheaper right here on Amazon: Behrens 2, 15-Gallon Round Steel Tub (I think the 15-gallon is a better size than the one I purchased.)
Here’s my YouTube showing how to use my clothesline from Eartheasy.com: Earth Easy Breeze Catcher Clothesline. I love this one because I live in an HOA (Home Owners Association) and this one folds up easily to store. It also twirls gently in the wind to dry my clothes, I love it!
I also bought a foldable dryer I could use as well: Lehman’s Foldable Clothes Dryer. I love items made by the Amish people because they are typically handmade and very sturdy. I still remember my mom having one of these!
This statement is off of the Lehmans website, and I quote:
PREMIUM FLOOR CLOTHES DRYERS – LARGE DESCRIPTION
Upright – 70″Hx23″Wx48″L
Folded – 48″x30″x8″
Dowels – 3/4″OD
Weight – 18 lb. End of quote.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for Your Laundry:
Before I start giving you my ten great ways to use castile soap every day, I want to make you are aware I purchased this product myself. I am doing a review for myself and for my awesome readers. I kept reading about this castile soap. I read that it describes a type of soap that is 100 percent plant oils…no animal by-products like tallow/fat in commercial soap.
So I bought some from Amazon.com and started using it myself. I did contact the staff online through Dr.Bronner’s website to see if I could use their website link on my website so people could read more about it. They appreciated the fact that I asked before I used it. I thought that was very nice. What I LOVE about this product is that is it an inexpensive, environmentally friendly, biodegradable soap without the chemicals present in most other soaps, so we can use it to be green for cleaning and personal care use as well! I love all the essential oil scents!
Okay, so here is the real deal (note the ratios are castile soap to water):
Brush Your Teeth With Castile Soap
1. Brush your teeth, yes I tried it and LOVED it! You only need a few drops and you just brush your teeth without the harsh chemicals in the tubes we might purchase at our local grocery stores. Yes, I got the giggles the first time I tried it, but I am sold on it now!
Clean Your Countertops & More
2. Light cleaning: mix 1:4 ratio. Yes, you will save $$$$ using this castile soap! I am using a spray bottle when I dilute it. I use it full-strength from the original bottle if it is really greasy cleaning. I LOVE all the oil fragrances.
3. Dish soap: I use a 1:1 ratio….talk about a way to save $$$$
4. Mop the floor solution: Add your favorite one (mine is Eucalyptus) to a bucket of water-3 Tablespoons works for me.
Body Wash-Shampoo-Shaving-Pet Care
5. Body washing: Get wet and use a few drops of your favorite full-strength fragrance above….plus you can choose from many more on their website.
6. Shampoo your hair: Mix 1:3 ratio. These are high foaming soaps so they work great. If you had long hair I would recommend a conditioner. Dr. Bronner’s group has a conditioner, I just haven’t tried it.
7. Shaving: you use it as shaving cream…it lathers up really well and because it is made with essential oils your razor just slides…and no I have not talked my husband into using it, yet. It sits beautifully on the bathroom counter waiting to be tried…just saying…..
8. Dog Shampoo: 2:1 ratio, I used the Lavender on my dog, Boston. You just have to be careful with the solution with their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Vegetable Wash Made With Castile Soap
9. Vegetable Wash: add 1 Tablespoon to 2 cups of water…spray your fruit and veggies when needed.
Castile Soap Insecticide
10. Insecticide: general purpose spray for our indoor plants as well as outdoor plants. I use 1 Tablespoon (Peppermint) per 1/2 gallon of water.
I really want to try the lemon next time. I love the smell from all of the fragrances, just so you know. Here’s to cleaning a little more naturally.