We use a 10kg twin tub washing machine to wash our clothes (and everything else). I find it saves water and is much more flexible than a front loader. It is terribly dry here (and everywhere else) at the moment and we are struggling to save every drop of water. Along with our policy of tipping animal water pots onto deserving gardens or trees before refilling, we also recycle our washing water onto the garden, a twin tub allows us to do that easily (relatively).
The procedure is as follows;
- Sort all washing carefully into piles; first by colour and use, then into cleanest to dirtiest.
- Resort after various family members add their assorted contribution to random piles. Sigh, and try not to swear.
- Fill the machine to it’s highest level and throw in some home-made washing gel.
- Fuel up the generator and get partner to start it for you (or a daughter in a pinch).
- Throw in the first load of clean-ish washing and wash for 6 minutes.
- After the wash is done put the clothes in the spinner, making sure the drain hose takes water back to the washing tub. Throw in the next dirtiest load and continue.
- When all loads are washed, drain the washing water into buckets and carry out to the garden while the tub refills with rinse water (to which I add a cup of vinegar).
- Rinse loads of clothes, being sure to return rinse water to the washing tub for each spun load.
- When all loads are rinsed, drain rinse water into buckets and carry out into the garden to slake the thirst of garden beds and trees.
- Peg out the weekly accumulation of clothes, towels, sheets, dog bedding, cleaning rags, etc.
I know this seems like a lot of work, and it is, but it completes two tasks at once; washing clothes and watering the garden. The machine takes 100 litres to fill for washing and the same for rinsing, so in total I use 200 litres of water per week to do the washing and the garden gets 200 litres of water to help keep it alive and growing.
I don’t enjoy washing; I would prefer us all to wear nothing and air dry after a shower, but it is a fact of life and must be done. Doing it this way means we can live on much less water (which is a valid currency in the bush) and also get my load-bearing exercise for the day to help prevent osteoarthritis (not to mention the water for the garden). Did I mention that I hate to waste anything?
How much water do you use doing the weekly washing?