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the dirt on preppin’

As I continue my research on the Darby Adult Ed class that may not happen (adult ed class: preparedness), I am learning more, and thinking of many things I had not previously considered … Important things that we could really regret not having handled while the gettin’ wuz good.

Laundry without the grid is one of those. Considering the topic, I quickly ran my imagination through times and places for visions of what people have done to keep a modicum of cleanliness and sanitation in their lives.

Compounding the importance of this topic are the things we currently do with disposable paper products that we may wish to do someday with re-usable cloth … that will most definitely need to be laundered.

Visions of our “old west” or “third world” people washing their clothes often has the laundry do-er knee deep in some river rubbing the wet clothes on a suitable boulder. Other choices we can conjure up are even less convenient and effective.

My mind runs to the acme of laundry processing tools immediately prior to electrical appliances supplanting them. Here I came up with two purchases that jumped up high on my Want List, and should be at least of consideration to you.

Well Heck Yeah! A one-foot by two-foot stainless steel and hardwood washboard is a whole lot more convenient that a boulder in a creek. Columbia Washboards, Established 1895, has many to choose from, including some specifically to play the washboard parts in a hillbilly band.

Soak the soiled clothes in a sudsy washtub, work them against the washboard, then move them to the rinse-water. I haven’t tried this, but know these tools were hugely popular before rural electrification provided the next technology.

Getting to the point where we have clothes saturated with cloudy rinse-water is good. Wringing that rinse-water out not only speeds drying time by a factor of 5 or more, it gets a most of the residual debris squeezed out of the clothes, making them a whole lot cleaner and softer, not to mention greatly extending their lifespans.

How did people do that? How would we do that?

Clever folks developed tools for that very task. Wringers are many times more effective than hand-wringing and oh so much easier on the body. The people over at Get Prepared Stuff sell that particular state of the art for $150.

You might notice your electrically-powered washing machine spins the clothes to wring some of the excess water out before you transfer them to the drying machine. You might even have observed the stiffness in a towel, swimsuit or other things you have saturated, then air-dried with little or no wringing. Pre-grid and non-grid people figured this stuff out.

With the above two tools, a couple of tubs, washing powder of some sort and water, we could live grid-less without the absolute necessity of constantly staying upwind of ourselves.