Washing Clothes by Hand

The boys washing their clothes on a Sunday afternoon.

We originally looked into old fashioned laundry methods when we realized that we had kids making piles of laundry and then wandering around the house with nothing to do.  The washer and dryer ran 24/7 and it was Mom’s job to collect, wash, dry and put away everyone’s clothes.


We started manual washing knowing that it had been done for 50 bazillion years.  Obviously, it’s not a big deal.  Water, soap and a big tub…wash the clothes…let them dry.  Done.

It is that easy.

The way washers work is that they agitate the clothing and force water through the fabric of the clothes.  The detergent lowers the surface tension of water the water becomes “wetter” and is more effective in cleaning.  All of that replaces…rubbing clothing against a washboard.  No, clothes washers don’t magically remove soil from clothing…they just push water and soap theough them and then rinse them…just like people did by hand all through human history.   We’ve got lots of hands around here that could make good use of time pushing soapy ater through clothes.  We’ve also got clean clothes and no laundry piles.  We’ve also got kids who are more careful with their clothes…because they don’t want to have to wash them.

As for the dryer, God has given us a giant fire up in the sky and free wind to dry clothes quite efficiently.   Ring ot the water over the tub, hang it on the line and…dry clothes in a little bit.  Go out, grab them off the line, fold them and put them away…

But aren’t washers and dryers  easier?  No, not when you factor in the work the kids have to do, the responsibility they learn and the burden removed from the household servant (i.e., Mom).

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6 Responses to Washing Clothes by Hand

  1. Theresa Squire says:

    Egades! On a Sunday? Doesn’t washing your clothes by hand classify as unnecessary work? Then again, if they only have two outfits…but who am I to talk? hehehe But you of all people, really, Mr. Michael!

    • villapacis says:

      It’s a rest day…and this is restful. In the afternoon, throw on a pair of shorts and flip flops and wash your clothes. I bet you cook on Sunday…it’s no more necessary than washing clothes. Could have cooked on Saturday for Sunday, you know. haha.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Dear Mr.Michael

    I very much admire the way of life you have created for your family. I myself have a farm ‘soul’ but was raised in a Catholic row home neighborhood in Phila. We now live the suburban ‘dream’ i.e. complete dependance. My two boys do loads more chores than any other kids in the neighborhood and with no allowance either. But I still feel that they have too much free time. What kinds of projects or work could you suggest they do other than the normal household chores that they are already doing.

    Thanks, Stephanie in NJ

  3. This is definitely becoming part of our summer routine!

  4. jessica hannon says:

    I showed my children the pictures and they were so excited to begin washing their own clothes. I never would have thought…
    We had to wash clothes in our bathtub before during a two week power outage. It was backbreaking work and by time we got the job all figured out the power was back on.

  5. My kids too! “As long as we don’t have to do it that way in the winter,” they said in chorus.

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