The electric washing machine and dryer are time and labor saving devices, but they’ve only been around for the masses for about 60 years. For thousands of years before that people had to do their laundry by hand.
If you’re ever in a survival situation and don’t have the electricity or other resources needed to do your laundry by machine, then you’ll need to do laundry by hand. It will take extra work, but you’ll find you can get your clothes very clean.
Laundering clothes frequently is especially crucial in the event of a pandemic that’s viral in nature. You want clothing kept free of germs so that you’re disinfecting and cleansing each item.
First, you’ll need some supplies – including a large wash tub (could be a bathtub, sink, or separate bucket), detergent, clothesline, and clothespins. In the past, people used washing boards to help scrub items, but that’s not necessary.
Once you have supplies ready, fill up your wash tub with the cool water. Add detergent – the amount will depend on how much water you’re using. If you’re using a large bathtub you can use the same amount you’d use for a washing machine.
Place your dirty laundry in the large tub – as many as you can fit loosely in the tub. Allow the clothing to soak for a few minutes. Then swish them through the sudsy water gently.
Keep swishing until the items are clean. You may need to scrub stubborn areas. Drain the tub and then add cool clean water. Raise and lower each item until you feel that all the soap has been removed.
You may need to rinse twice if you find that your clothing still feels soapy. Then drain the water from the tub. Gently squeeze each garment in the laundry to remove excess water.
You don’t want to twist the fabric as that can stretch it. Once you’ve removed the excess water, you can then hang your clothes to dry. If you’re able to hang a clothesline outside in the sun, then this is the best method for drying and disinfecting.
The sunlight acts as a natural dryer and can sanitize items at the same time. If you’re not able to hang clothing outside, you can use areas over tile or bathtubs to allow the items to dry.
You can remove even more excess water by laying items on a clean towel and then rolling up the towel to absorb excess moisture. This will shorten the drying time. When you’re cleaning items such as towels and sheets, you may want to use warm or hot water if it’s available. However, even if you have to use cold water, the soap will help break down soil and get them clean.