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March 26, 2014

Washed Out

An update on washing my laundry in the truck.

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It’s been almost a month now, and I thought I’d let you know my conclusions to letting the trips to and from school wash my laundry.

The quick summary is that I have returned to hand-washing. Why? There’s actually a couple of reasons (this is the long summary).

  1. It didn’t seem to get things really clean. For every load, there were at least a couple of things I had to rewash. Mind you, I have small kids who spill food, wipe boogers on their sleeves, play constantly in th dirt, etc. Plus we work outside a lot, doing all kinds of potentially messy projects. It did seem to work fine for my “town clothes” – I’ll often change out of my work clothes to go and pick up the Leo, and these tend to stay a little cleaner – or other items that look clean to begin with. Hand-washing gets out booger marks, food spills, clay dirt on white socks, etc.
  2. It’s fairly water intensive. We now have more water than we could possibly need, so this is no longer a huge concern, but it may be for some of you. Because you can’t put too many clothes into a bucket if you want to get them clean, you have to do lots and lots of small washes. And of course, you have to change the dirty water out for clean. This water can be reused for plants, so not the end of the world. As a way of illustrating the point, I normally use 20 gallons (3 rinses of a little under 7 gallons each) per week to wash all our clothes (towels and sheets I can add to this wash for an extra five gallons – I use the dirty water from clothes to wash, and then do an extra rinse with clean). I have to do a separate wash for blankets, curtains, etc. but I don’t do them that often. The truck method took about 30-40 gallons for the same amount of clothes (I didn’t even try sheets or towels, as I was sure it wouldn’t work) – usually that was just two rinses instead of three, but sometimes I soaked clothes overnight and changed out the water in the morning.
  3. It ended up taking as much time, spaced out over the week, as hand-washing did (maybe even more). I usually wash on a Saturday or Sunday. It takes me a couple of hours. Doing it with the truck method, I had to do two buckets three times a week. And each time, I had to fill the buckets, load them into the truck, unload them at school, empty the water and put fresh water in, then wring the clothes as usual before hanging them on the line. I think I just prefer to sit down and do it once a week, as it feels like less work.

So, to conclude, I would definitely use this method in a pinch (especially with cleaner clothes), but prefer the hand-wash method overall. It’s a shame really, as there was suddenly a big gap on my chore list – a free couple of hours on Sunday that I hadn’t yet decided how I would fill. Oh well.

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