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Thread: Laundry in the Bush

  1. #1
    Member tabmarine's Avatar
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    Default Laundry in the Bush

    I have never seen a thread on this subject and am curious as to how you deal with
    doing laundry in the bush, especially in Winter. I bet some of you have some unique
    methods and procedures to wash and dry in side a cabin when its -20 outside otherwise
    it would become very ripe inside
    If we all agreed....this would be no fun

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Just hang the stuff inside out a couple of days outside.Dry clean freeze dried.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  3. #3
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    When I was a kid we heated clothes washing water in a big tub on top of the wood stove. We rinsed with cold water. Everything was hung on clothes lines run behind the wood stove. We only did this for one winter before we got a washer/propane dryer and a generator.
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  4. #4
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    Lehman's still sells wringer washers. Very efficient. Most of us take enough to last til we get back to town. In a pinch a sink to wash in and a shower stall for drip drying works fine. Lots of bush folks have septic systems. That makes washing machines more practical. Especially the high efficiency european washers. A little line drying is all you need after that.

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    I was curious about this same question when I went to my property in Alaska for the first time. The way one goes about things in the bush compared to in town is way differant. My solution was a 5 gallon bucket and single use laundry detergent packets. I would set the bucket on the seat of my canoe while standing in the knee deep water at lake shore. Just mixed the clothes and detergent and used canoe paddle as an agitater, rinsed in the lake. I was amazed actually at how clean the my clothes became. Hanging up to air dry....no problems and the clothes smelled nice and clean.

  6. #6
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    I still dry the clothes on a rack near my woodstove. I have a rack that easily holds a washer load full. Some people thing I need to change my smoke colon some days but it is usually OK. Clothes will dry outside on the line as long as it is not snowing or raining out. Not as fast as here in Texas, but they will dry.

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  7. #7
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LIVETOFISH1971 View Post
    I was curious about this same question when I went to my property in Alaska for the first time. The way one goes about things in the bush compared to in town is way differant. My solution was a 5 gallon bucket and single use laundry detergent packets. I would set the bucket on the seat of my canoe while standing in the knee deep water at lake shore. Just mixed the clothes and detergent and used canoe paddle as an agitater, rinsed in the lake. I was amazed actually at how clean the my clothes became. Hanging up to air dry....no problems and the clothes smelled nice and clean.
    laundry detergent and lakes is an undesirable mix. A primer on the subject: http://www.motherearthnews.com/natur...z70ndzgoe.aspx
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  8. #8

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    get yourself a rubbermaid garbage can with a lid drill hole in center of lid to accomidate a broom handle get a toilet bowl plunger & screw it onto the handle add hot water clothes & soap reattach the lid & work the handle as if your churning butter, wring your clothes & hang on line to dry.

  9. #9
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Laundry in the Bush

    Not really "bush living" but I have spent a few years flying around the Middle East for work. Frequently work requirements outdistance clothing and I am forced to hand wash. I use cold wash and a small trash can though a 5 gallon bucket would work. Agitate by hand and rinse/wring 2x.

    I use lighter nylon pants that dry quick but are still pretty tough and wear merino wool whenever possible. I wear merino wool socks for 2-3 days and shirts as least as long.

  10. #10
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    In the summer, I do the laundry at the creek. I fill a Rubbermaid tote with water and homemade soap, and use one of those things Lehman's sells that looks like a metal toilet plunger, but that's made for doing laundry. I think it's called a Rapid Washer. I set a plastic basket in a deeper part of the creek and put some of the clothes in there for the creek to rinse out the soap. I wring things out, hang them on limbs for awhile, then they go on a line outside the cabin. For winter, we have a little portable washer. Requires more water than the boys and I like to haul, so I only wash in there what we absolutely have to get washed. The rest piles up until the creek starts running. That first laundry day at the creek each spring is a doozy.

  11. #11

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    I agree with iofthetaiga, we have to keep the phosphates out of the water systems. Whatever the soap is, we would better serve the environment by letting soil micro organisms consume the soapy waste or lock it up to be consumed by plants. Use the creek water but dump the waste/gray water near or in the garden area and away from your water source.

    Question: How many days does it take to freeze dry clothes??

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