We had a failure with our hot water heater. So today’s post is all about domestic chores, and how I do them without things like hot water heaters. I’m sure this will please certain readers, who often seem worried about my proficiency in the traditional womanly spheres.
If you’ve ever spent any time living without access to running hot water, you’ve probably taken a bucket bath. This is a regular occurrence in places like India, where Hippie In Heels explains how it’s done.
For those of you who have never had the pleasure, here are a few tips:
- Keep your shower bucket clean. Don’t use it for household cleaning or construction projects. You’ll regret it if you do.
- Try to take the chill out of the water. This is as simple as leaving the bucket in the sun for a couple of hours, or heating up a few cups of hot water on a rocket stove. It really does make the whole experience much more pleasant.
- Have a small scoop or cup that can be used to pour water from the bucket. This way you don’t have to pour the entire bucket just to rinse soap off of one arm.
- Rinse off, soap up, rinse off.
Doing Laundry by Hand
I’ve had to do laundry by hand before, so I’m sure I could do it again. Here are some tips for that one, for those of you who have yet to venture beyond the washing machine.
- Some simple tools will make your (laundry) life a lot easier. Work smarter, not harder!
- I highly recommend one of these hand washers. Pictured in blue to the right.
- A 7 or 8 gallon tub is about the size I like to hand wash with. I can make do with anything from 1-10 gallons though.
- Consider changing your wardrobe. Unless you are going to be in brush or thorns or whatnot, think about switching your pants to something made of cotton or linen. That washes a lot easier than heavy jeans or canvas.
- Do more, smaller loads.
If doing laundry by hand is going to become a regular thing for you (think homesteading), it would be wise to invest in something like The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash. It’s a non-electric compact washing machine. Very cool!
This topic has nothing to do with electricity or water heaters, but it might matter to some of you who are looking to be more self-reliant when it comes to cleaning tasks and the related products.
This makes a full gallon of laundry soap, which will last 64 loads. It involves the great Dr. Bronner’s soap. Hippies love and and preppers should, too.
Dr. Bronner’s Homemade Laundry Soap
- 1 cup Dr. Bronner’s pure castile liquid soap
- 1 cup baking soda
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup salt
Mix the water with the salt and baking soda. Pour into a one-gallon container. Add the Dr. Bronner’s and fill the remainder of the gallon jar with water. Use 1/4 cup of laundry soap per (washer sized) load.
Rain Water Collection
“How far do you have to go to get clean water?” Well, I personally live in Iowa, where we (usually) get 34 inches of rain a year. Right now I have 55 gallons of rain water on hand. I can easily double that in less than an hour with materials on hand. There is a river that runs through town, it’s not real close though, we’d probably have to drive or bike. I don’t know what people are going to do in other places. You couldn’t pay me enough to move to someplace like the desert SW.
Since my rain water collecting is done outside, I take advantage of solar heating already. If I want to, I have a black shower bag that can heat a few gallons to a toasty temp, if there’s enough sunlight.
I suppose I should mention drying your clothes with the sun if you don’t have electricity or don’t want to pay for it. Surely y’all know that one though. If you’re not already doing it, you’re wasting money. Speaking of, don’t waste your money on those rotary style dryers, the design puts way too much stress on one central pole, and every one I’ve ever seen has eventually bent that central pole, and most fail at that point. Laundry lines are a tried and true. Bonus points if you put the line on a pulley system so it moves instead of you and the basket.
Just some thoughts to get you thinking. Now’s the time to consider your options folks, don’t wait till the grid fails on you.
– Calamity Jane