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Saturday, May 7, 2011

No cooking yet! Amazing cleaned clothes

No editing or spell check.

I was cooking when the tornado hit. I have yet to clean up all that! I did put a load of dishes in the dishwasher. It takes me a long time with my several problems to empty it. So, I am not going headlong into my regular routine of cooking.

Oooops, I lied. I did manage to wash a Corning Ware casserole dish and put in a bag of baby carrots, two peeled and diced potatoes, and sliced cabbage into it. With the addition of frozen, diced onions, cooking was all that was necessary. The ONLY reason I did that cooking was because exbf is diabetic. I was going to treat him to lunch at the Civic Center and dinner at the Church of Christ. Thinking they might be heavy on foods he should not have, the vegetables were for a backup. He took two cups home, and I have eaten from the rest.

The CoC has full meals, not just meat, bread, and sweets like many of the other places have had. This is not a complaint by any means. Fresh fruit was scarce, but I took it and consumed it.  There were usually the little fruit bowls like the ones sold in the store. Only one time other than CoC did I find vegetables other than fries.

Sheer exhaustion still reigns in my body!

I was in a minor dilemma. Dirty clothing (panties, wash cloths in hamper and dish cloths in the kitchen)  were sometimes damp. The wash cloths I used for my twice daily ablutions  were damp and not drying. Dirty panties were sometimes damp from being with the wet wash cloths. Usually, the wash cloth would dry on the towel rack or on the side of the tub. I could then put it in the hamper without fear of mildew. Now, I had no heat, no air, no means to encouraging drying.

Finally, I just hung on the clothes line panties, wash cloths, and dish cloths used before and during the power outage. I left them out for a day, then they remained overnight. It rained on them during the night, and part of the next day. So, I left the soggy items on the line for a third day, all hanging by one clothespin. On the fourth day, I finally had power and part of my sanity back. I went out and took down the dirtyt items. The wash cloths no longer smelled of Dove. The dishcloths did not have the dirty dishcloth odor. Amazingly, the panties smelled as fresh as if laundered with detergent.

Yes, I actually stuck my nose in my panties to make sure I was not missing an odor. The panties were rained on for 14 hours, at least. The sun shone on them, drying them once, and drying them after the rain. If I had the opportunity and anyone had the interest, I would have loved to see if these items were as sanitary as they seemed. Being a civilized person who finally had electricity once again, I did wash with vinegar, detergent, and borax.

The three pair of gray pants I washed/sloshed in vinegar in a pot on the table outdoors were fresh, and so were the black ones. I usually only give them a rinse in vinegar in the washing machine and hang them.

But, drying the wet, dirty clothes to prevent mildew was my only goal. Hanging them on the line outdoors was just to dry, not to clean or sanitize. That was a happy surprise when they smelled so fresh.

To all the preppers and survivalists, is this a technique recommended for "washing" clothing? If I were desperate with no electricity, little water and less motivation for washing, I might try this as a last resort. I suppose the rain and sun took away ammonia smell and deodorized the panties.

Your turn
It is sort of embarrassing reporting on this finding. But, what is your opinion on this "cleaned, sanitized,  and deodorized" by the sun and rain event?


  1. I don't use any soaps to wash clothing. I use an old twin tub washing machine, cold water, spin the clothes and hang them on the line. Sunshine is a great disinfectant. And germs aren't all bad.

    I sometimes wonder how I'd cope with no power long term. In my head I *know* I could but really? Could I?

    You are doing great under great strain. Take care.



  2. Do you mean tne vinegar washing method? I've not heard of it. I agrre with Barb that the sun is a good disinfectant. In days of o,d, just boiling a pot of clothing in water sufficed. I think your stove is an electric one though. A good product to have on hand is Zote soap. Its not as lathery as detergents so needs less water to rinse. Can be used to wash dishes, hands, body, hair and laundry.

  3. LindaM, In the washing machine, I always wash my long knit pants that are not dirty but need freshening in a rinse only with vinegar in the washing machine. My pot outdoors on the table with the long pants and vinegar soaked about an hour before I half squeezed out the water and took them dripping to the line. Only the dirty panties and washcloths that were damp and in danger of mildewing (no electricity for ac or anything)in the hamper received the sun and rain treatment BUT no vinegar. I only meant to dry them so they could go in the hamper.Did that answer the question?

  4. Barb, Thanks. The only thing I really needed was a wringer. At Lehman's I found a hand-operated wringer that is a stand alone outfit. I need I think soaking a sloshing clothing would get it clean enough. Maybe you could post a picture of your outfit on your blog. It would make an interesting post, especially since you don't use soap.

  5. When we moved into our first house, years ago, after years of apartment buildings with on site laundry rooms, we didn't have a washer and dryer. To save money, and trips to the laundromat, I used a 5 gallon pail and a new toilet plunger to wash clothes, then hung them on the line. It worked pretty well. Took a long time to dry on the clothesline though.

  6. That is why the old-fashioned wringer would come in handy. I vote I get one some day. I have been in many a tornado or in close vicinity and this is the first time one has affected me so profoundly. The next worse was 12 hrs without electricity. I lost nothing. A plunger was at the back of my mind this time.


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