Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Clothesline Clique

Like Katy at The Non Consumer Advocate, I like my clothesline a lot. However, I confess that before my dryer decided to stop heating, I didn't use the clothesline as much as I could. (BTW, my husband offered to have the dryer fixed, but I chose to put that money toward repairing the A/C in the van instead. Staying cool is VERY important to me.) After all, it's so easy to just chuck clothes from one machine to the next - and line dried clothes get so stiff and crunchy!

So now I hang all the laundry, and it's making me rethink some of my laundry habits. I already switched from prefold diapers to flour sack towels, because the FSTs wash and dry so well, and the prefolds were drying hard, scratchy, and they took a day and a half to fully dry. But after a few rounds of washing and line drying, I began to notice that the FST diapers - and all the laundry, for that matter - were drying really stiff and crunchy.

So I thought about this for a bit. I did a little reading about moms in the 1940s and 1950s, and the ads from that era would tout Ivory Snow Soap Flakes as THE laundry soap to use when you wanted your clothes soft. Ah ha! They didn't HAVE tumble dryers back then - so that meant that those soaps were meant to leave line dried clothes soft to the touch!

Sadly, I learned that Ivory Snow is no longer being made (at least not that formula - there's a new Ivory Snow that doesn't perform the same way). So I thought about this further, and realized that I needed a laundry soap that was meant for people who hand wash their clothes, because they also hang those clothes to dry - it would be formulated to wash clean and dry soft!

Then, my DUH moment - I already had that in the house! I had part of a bar of Zote Soap left from pre-treating some stains. Zote Soap is made in Mexico, where more people presumably wash their clothes by hand. It is gentler to my hands than Fels Naptha (which is also good for laundry, but a bit harsh), and has a pleasant Citronella scent, which makes sense if you think about it. If you're hand washing your laundry and hanging it outside, it would be nice if the scent scared away the mosquitoes too! And if you're washing by hand, of course you'd want to use a bar of soap rather than liquid or powder, so you could see just where it's going. Soap flakes, powders, and liquids are all more convenient for machine washing, but our great grandmothers would have lathered up their clothes against a big bar of soap before scrubbing them on the washboard.

So I shaved a bit of the soap into the next wash load instead of using my Tide free and clear, and lathered up a few items in the wash tub for good measure. And to my delight, the clothes came off the line noticeably softer - even the diapers!
So I bought another bar (the Indian Grocery next to my house sells them for only $1.29). Just look at the size of that thing! I plan to shave it up and make the powdered laundry mix that includes borax and washing soda.

Yes, it's upside down. Oops.
Some people don't care for Zote because it has optical brighteners and citronella oil, making it less than all natural. In that case, Dr Bronner's soap (either bar form or liquid) would be a great choice. It's even good to use if you have to dump your wash water outside, since Dr Bronners is all natural and non-toxic. Charlie's Soap is also a good, all natural, clean rinsing laundry soap - i just can't afford Dr Bronners or Charlie's right now! But any of those options will leave your line dried clothes softer than "standard" detergents.

What, you say? Just use fabric softener? YUCK!

Not a fan of fabric softener - it leaves the towels non-absorbent, and everything feels and smells chemically-sticky when I use it.

And since Katy challenged her readers to share their clothesline selfies, here you go!

Forgive the frizz - it's humid here!

1 comment:

  1. Good to know. Zpte. Better stock up. Armageddon is on its way.