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Anybody out there get by without owning a washing machine?

(16 Posts)
emsylou Mon 03-Aug-09 10:50:13

Hi there, my washing machine has recently broken and I have had to think of alternative ways of washing our clothes. I was saving for another but have been without one now for a few weeks and we are coping, but it is Summer time, which makes it slightly easier to dry (she says, looking at the rain out of the window)! My electricity bill is way too high at the moment and I am looking at ways of reducing it. My children are 8 and 11 so not babies anymore. I am interested to hear of others experiences. smile

TheProfiteroleThief Mon 03-Aug-09 10:52:46

My instinct is that you could easily use a lot more energy and effort in washing by hand. I think minimising laundry and choosing an energy efficient machine is a good compromise. I remember my mums days of hand washing and how it ruled the household.

emsylou Mon 03-Aug-09 10:56:45

yes, and the last thing I want is to be chained to the kitchen sink constantly. We have done a great job of minimising laundry since not having the washing machine which has been really positive. Will look into energy efficient machines. Thanx TheProfiteroleTheif smile

Fibonacci Mon 03-Aug-09 19:46:49

I wonder whether the laundrette is a more eco-friendly option? depends how energy-hungry and water-hungry their machines are, and whether you have one in walking distance. If you had to drive to get there it wouldn't be very green.

GrapefruitMoon Mon 03-Aug-09 19:54:28

I seem to remember my mum only doing washing once a week (apart from nappies). This was a single tub where you had to put each item through a wringer by hand. We had less clothes though and probably didn't get q change of clothes each day. I think it is very easy to get in the habit of chucking all the clothes worn each day in the wash basket when you have an automatic washing machine, even if they could be worn again the next day. But then standards of cleanliness have improved since I was a child so people might look askance at a child with slightly grubby clothes? And I think people value their time more now so we all want things that will save us time...

emsylou Mon 03-Aug-09 20:00:08

Fibonacci, good idea, unfortunately the laundrette is a long way away.

Grapefruitmoon - I like the idea of washing by hand and putting through a wringer but we would have to change less which we have already started doing. (not smelling yet)! I suppose the bedding and the towels which would be much more time consuming.

Nighbynight Mon 03-Aug-09 20:00:59

Well I have managed without a washing machine, but its not my favourite thing.

my method is to put all in the bath, let it soak for about 20 minutes, then get a good book and walk up and down in bare feet on teh washing for another 20 minutes, thus mimicking the tumbling it would get in the machine.
then open the plug and leave for 30 minutes.
fill with cold water, walk up and down a bit, open teh plug and leave for 30 minutes
repeat.
then check / scrub each item separately.
then put all through a spin dryer.

Nighbynight Mon 03-Aug-09 20:01:59

drat. check and scrub comes before rinsing, obviously.blush

expatinscotland Mon 03-Aug-09 20:03:04

i seriously doubt whether washing by hand is more energy and water efficient than an energy-efficient machine, or using a half cyle or lower temp water, etc.

i've had to use laundrettes for years in my adulthood and they're way expensive.

emsylou Mon 03-Aug-09 20:10:26

Nighbynight - how often do you complete this process? are you on a water meter? How long have you been washing your clothes this way?

I made do for 2 years without a washing machine, only taking bedding and towels to a friend's for a "proper wash" every now and again.
It was annoying, but doable, and I got used to it. I don't think I'd want to be doing a whole family wash like that though. It was def. easier being just 1 person.
If I was in that situation again, I would look into getting an energy efficient w/m, possibly to share with someone else...

Not sure that really helps you, but thought I'd add my experience anyway!

shoshe Mon 03-Aug-09 20:21:00

Good God dont do it, when I had DS 30 years ago, I didnt have a washing machine.

I boiled nappies in a 'copper' washed clothes by hand with a board and then spun them in a spinner.

It took up half my life, and I hated it.

Mum and Dad bought me a old twintub, which was brilliant, washed once a week, it took all morning, but was so much easier, and I would have thought more economical, as you only filled the tub once, you washed the white first, then the coloureds went in, and finally the darks,

emsylou Mon 03-Aug-09 20:24:57

I love the idea of sharing a washing machine. Brilliant, my best friend lives around the corner and hers is on the way out. Brilliant, thanx. I need to be realistic as well, i couldnt cope with the washing situation when the machine was working. My house will be one big washing pile with me filled with dread every morning! I love mumsnet for helping me work through this, thanx grin

Nighbynight Mon 03-Aug-09 21:45:54

emsy - I did it for a couple of years. We weren't metered, and I did one bath-full per week.

I don't think it used that much more water than the machine, actually, because I only filled the water to the minimum, ie just above the clothes when they were squashed down.

but I don't recommend it, as I hated hand scrubbing the clothes, and some things never got really clean. Id rather economise on heating than on the washing machine!
have you got all low energy light bulbs to save on your leccy bill?

onepieceoflollipop Mon 03-Aug-09 21:49:15

I lived with my grandad for about 4 years and he had no washing machine - but he had a fab spin dryer.

It was time consuming, and we each did our own laundry (so no kids' laundry, wet beds etc)

He used to soak his whites in a bucket (incidentally an old nappy bucket) overnight in a solution of ariel. His washing was always beautifully clean tbh.

However I could not face doing this with a whole family's laundry.

I think unless you soak items, then it is very difficult to get cuffs/collars and other problem areas properly clean.

Mousey84 Mon 10-Aug-09 16:59:55

I used to use a non-electric washing machine - similar to this and it was great. I was given an electric one, so I gave my non-electric one away. Wish I had kept it, even just for smaller loads.

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