note: E.M. Joe, got your snail mail donation of mega generous proportions. Many thanks!
Don’t you just love synchronicity? Okay, it probably has more to do with the song by The Police than the actual concept itself, but you can still appreciate when it happens. I’m on the flip side of disc three in the Survivors TV series ( the original, not the remake that took its cue from a crackhead Muslim feminist, so bad I couldn’t watch it for free ) on the episode about a witch. Not their finest work, but the Green Mountain Dude says the shows at the end are the best ( go to his web site to see the links to the free episodes on YouTube. Yes, my web site that you are all supposed to know about in case I ever lose this Blog page to censorship ).
The one great moment in the episode ( I believe I’m remembering the right one-if not please forgive me as I shan’t be firing up the DVD player just now to confirm this ) was the beginning where one minor character is doing her laundry in the tub. Not by hand, not with a washboard. By standing in the tub and walking in place. Now the synchronicity part. Just days later I’m reading a random webpage that mentions “the grape stomping technique of washing your clothes”. Now, I know I’m probably wrong and it is just a trick of memory, but I could have sworn I’d never come across this technique before in my life and suddenly here are two completely separate unrelated citations.
Surely you’ve seen on film folks stomping grapes for wine making? They jump in a huge vat and walk around lifting their step high every time, stomping the grapes into mush. Now I guess they do the same, or at least DID the same with clothes to wash them. Obviously, you’d need a steady wall or rack to grab hold on to while doing this. Not just because you could slip in the tub but because the clothes underneath could trip you. And you would need at least warmish water because standing in cold water in the winter would be a poor idea ( even inside ).
Soap and agitation are what you need to wash clothes. A lot of the ways to provide agitation are a VERY high calorie consumption method and NOT recommended. Now, granted, in old timey days there were a lot of methods that did use an unduly large number of calories. This was not because folks were stupid, it was that the local natural materials at hand were free and so utilized. Trade used to be very expensive and not something the poor could afford outside the immediate area in limited amounts. Perhaps a metal tool was much quicker and easier to use, but if you didn’t have money, you used an organic material you had to keep replacing.
In case you were wondering how we got the natives to kill each other for us, it was because we had metal they wanted. It was a far superior tool compared to what they used. The European peasant that did without metal in many instances was divorcing himself from that kind of disadvantageous relationship the Indians had with the settlers. Yes, perhaps taking your clothes and beating them against a rock in the creek was a lot of work. You just ate more food ( and, it should be noted, had more babies. Which aren’t JUST about your retirement, but also about young able bodied labor to help you on the farm as you prematurely aged ).
Having a metal tub to stomp your clothes in would have used far less labor. But metal tubs were costly and then rusted out, necessitating a replacement which took more money you didn’t have. The cast iron kettle you used to heat water on the wood stove was a one time investment that lasted generations. A wash tub was too “disposable”. If you have a porcelain coated cast iron bathtub, that might just be the ticket, a secondary use being to wash clothes after you wash yourself ( the weekly bath followed by the weekly wash ). But that is only feasible in water and wood rich areas.
The Grape Stomping clothes washing method is primarily an idea for washing clothes for those that don’t want to buy any extra equipment. But it does require warm water and extra water. You can’t just fill up the bathtub with an inch of water to do this ( which might work for bathing, in a modified Whores Bath with washcloth ). And please keep in mind that clothes washing with any method using your upper body muscles is retarded. Leg muscles are far stronger than arm muscles. So forget the “toilet plunger in a bucket” or similar methods. Use your legs, damn you!
My idea has always been the enclosed bucket on a rocking chair. As far as I’m aware, this was an idea original to me, and I’m proud enough of this rare insight that I must remind you of this fact every time I bring up off-grid clothes washing. Strap the bucket down and sit on something behind the rocker, pushing on the chair as you read or otherwise occupy yourself. Very little effort, and it has the added benefit of not needing warm water if it isn’t available. You don’t even need a real old fashion rocking chair.
I have quite the collection going on “semi-rocking chairs”. I have three wooden rocking stools ( no backing ) and a strange aluminum rocking chair that folds up like a lawn chair ( but the slats are not the cheesy strips the lawn chairs use, they are solid ). That one should last a lifetime. All were from the thrift store and cost zero to nominal amounts. I think I paid $3 for the folder. In an area lacking much wood for fires, I can wash my clothes with little calories and no fuel. Clean clothes are important for two very important reasons. First, it cuts back on vermin such as bedbugs ( I also stock bags of diatomaceous earth for that ). And second, clean clothes actually keep you warmer. Something about the fibers being fluffier without grease and dirt flattening them ( obviously, I’m not recalling exactly ).
But if you don’t have access to an affordable rocking chair, but do have plenty of water and fuel, the grape stomping method is a great way to correctly ( with your legs! If I see any minions using a washboard I‘ll beat them with it ) wash your cloths with no or little cost.
END ( today's related link https://amzn.to/2JS45m8 )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
I've read a couple times about a few folks out west who put their clothes and wash water in a 55 gallon drum with a sealable lid, lay it down in the back of their old beater pick-up and then make their weekly drive to town 50 miles away over bad roads. Of course you'd still have to rinse them when you got home.ReplyDelete
Steinbeck ( "My travels with Charlie" I believe was the title ) wrote on this, but with a smaller buckets obviously.Delete
From what I understand a washboard and brush is just for ground in stuff or stains. Just like current washing machines tend not to get all the stains etc clean off clothes requiring 'prewash' and spot treatment so to does the wet, soap and agitate method of cleaning. With just spot cleaning you can keep outer clothes (shirts trousers jackets etc)clean enough to wear for several days in a row before having to wash more thoroughly - IF you don't sweat through the under layers.ReplyDelete
Laundry IS an important part of ones hygiene preps. One that is often neglected and seldom practiced. Our current availability of dirt cheap clothes *vs historical norms* means that people far underestimate its importance for the future.
Ah! I had no idea the washboard was for spot washing/stain removal. I wonder how few actually know this. Thanks!Delete
Think about grass stains that kids grind into their clothes- does the washing machine ever actually get that stuff out? or does mom have to sit there and scrub it? (finding a way to scrub with foot power is a good idea IMHO).Delete
We have a wash board and an antique clothes wringer.Delete
Also a galvanized tub made for this purpose.
If you're getting older or already are it's probably a good idea to have several options available. The grape stomp method would work for me for awhile but my knees ain't teenagers any more, and they're the only ones I got. There is a toilet plunger in both baths so they are an option as long as my shoulders and arms hold up. If you have an old metal and wood washboard that would be an option with the added benefit you could moonlight pretending you're in a rock band like Black Oak Arkansas. shikka-tikka-tikka-tikkaReplyDelete
My knees haven't gone, yet ( knock on wood ). So I'm guessing here. Could you sit on the tub, taking the weight off your knees, and still grape-stomp?Delete
After a certain age we will need somebody for some menial tasks anyway, collapse or not.Delete
So the question is : what can we trade for that ?
I guess something like teaching would do. Even if it's just teaching how to write & count.
Don't dismiss this, folks, because writing and counting are not being taught successfully anymore, as can be witnessed daily (I'm a History teacher and we never had it that bad as now).
So even if we do some menial teaching, that might pay for someone to wash your clothes.
(That's a different perspective than to pay with cartridges or gold coin, isn't it ?)
Yeah, good idea. I'd figure it out some way.Delete
Point is to have alternatives.
Someone above reminded me of another way.
Put the garments and water/soap in a barrel and roll it down a hill. Overall, I try not to get my garments very dirty in the first place. In the summer I rarely wear a shirt here on the compound, I don't wipe dirty hands on my britches, etc. Lots of little things can add up to bigger things.
GS-I'm the same way, I keep reminding myself to wipe my fingers on the shirt, not the sweat pants ( shirt goes two to three days, the pants two to three weeks ). And I always lick my fingers first. Drives the NOL crazy, since I do it loudly.Delete
Ave-good point. Skills increase, they don't deplete like "approved" prepper barter items.
Hand rub-scrub stains of most likely soiled-fouled-exposed areas of garment article with your bar of zote/fels naptha/soapy water and small brushes. That will break up the major problem then use a combination of agitation for short period of time (1-2 minutes is all) followed by a soak period (5-10 minutes)to allow the detergent to break up your skin oils and funk and or any externally occured stains-soilage. 2 or 3 cycles of agitation by whatever method and soakings should suffice. Do other chores during the intermissions. Those plastic party tubs or old school galvanized tubs for outdoors or patio,garage external areas will free up a messy task from being done internally in house unless security considerations require you to launder your colorful lacy underwear in secret.ReplyDelete
You might also need to hide your tighty whities as they are on year seven and you simply can't get them back to white from grey or yellow or brown :)Delete
How to get 4 days out of 1 pair of underpants.Delete
Day 1: Put em on as normal.
Day 2: Put em on backwards.
Day 3: Turn em inside out.
Day 4: Put em on backwards again.
Day 5: Put on a brand new outfit and go find a new mate cause the old one left your stankin' ass on Day 3. heh
White (or, originally-white) clothes washed together avoid grabbing dye from other clothes, then soak in weak solution of bleach for a while, then rinse. I've recovered nasty kitchen grease-saturated cloths with high-concentration of soap + time/occasional agitation followed by rinse/hot water bleach/rinse. Stains fade after a few cycles of this, but the tacky grease feeling is gone in one cycle.Delete
No problem in 60" annual rain land, at the mouth of the Willamette River/Mighty Columbia. Water so cheap, it's a problem to be rid of it. Sewer bill 8x the water charge quarterly, but no-fluoride!
Fluoride. I wonder if that's what's wrong with me?Delete
GS-remember that joke where the Marine and Navy guy are in the restroom. The Marine pees and leaves without washing his hands. "In the Navy, we are taught to wash our hands after urinating" "In the Marine Corps we are taught how not to pee on our hands". To wear underwear for four days, just don't crap yourself! :)Delete
I started using water because of hemmeroids. Helps save on Shout, also :)Delete
i can't remember the novelist's name- he wrote 'travels with charlie', but i think we were forced to read one of his books in high school.ReplyDelete
in travels with charlie he rigged up a sealed bucket on a bouncy cord, secured it to something in his vehicle. the soap, water and clothes were sealed inside. the rigors of the road provided enough agitation to get the laundry clean.
in a secret lair situation this doesn't work but shows your rocking chair idea to be a probable success.
Steinbeck, Grapes Of Wraith.Delete
Collapse Laundry. Need to get me some girls to scrub the underwear stains for junk silver coins. A shtf employment opportunity.ReplyDelete
Then you run out of silver. Better if they are slaves or you practice polygamy. Come on, dude. Logistics!Delete
I recall your mentioning the “Jim Washer” before, and think that it was a clever idea. If you have kids, you could set a drum on its side, and balance it in the center of a teeter totter or a seesaw, and let them have at it. Use as little of soap as practical, so that you use less water to rinse.ReplyDelete
With regards to underwear, I phased them out 30 years ago, because I’ve always felt that they were damn uncomfortable, particularly in hot weather when they tend to climb up your butt crack. I also wear my pants more than one day. How do I do this in a sanitary fashion? Simple, I wash my butt crack after every #2 (Yes, I know, more details than anyone wanted, but a necessary detail). I also do this even in a low water situation, such as when I had to haul water to my waterless cabin in the woods. Performed correctly, it uses practically no water.
The see-saw update is pretty darn good.Delete