My Dirty Laundry

I like it dirty. I rarely go out of my way to avoid mud puddles. I wipe my hands on my pants when I cook. I generally spill at least a bite or two when eating. No matter how careful I am, I always discover grease somewhere on myself after riding my bike. Suffice it to say that I generally have high expectations of a washing machine. Unfortunately, it turns out washing machines are not the most environmentally friendly method of cleaning clothes. (Imagine that!) Of course, front-loading washers and cold-water washes help reduce the environmental impact of load of laundry, but I wanted to SUPER reduce my impact.

So, I embarked on the glorious journey of bathtub laundry! My goals were to save energy (except my own mighty muscle energy), money ($1.25 per load in my building), and water!

First, I cleaned my tub and then filled it a quarter full with hot water, a tablespoon of homemade laundry detergent, and the dirty clothes. I allowed everything to soak for around twenty minutes.

Clean tub, dirty clothes.
Clean tub, dirty clothes.


Next, I rolled up my pants and hopped in the tub to practice my grape stompin’ skills.

After a few minutes it became clear that my efforts were working as the water was quickly turning a gorgeous, murky shade of gray.

Murky, grimy water.
Murky, grimy water.

When I was sure I had effectively removed the worst of the grime (read: I was getting tired of stomping), I drained the tub while trying to stomp the last of the dirty water out of the clothes.

To rinse the clothes, I kept the tub plugged, spread the clothes across the bottom, and ran the shower over them.  After a minute, I did a final stomp and then drained the rinse water.

To finish up, I simply wrung out the clothes and hung them up to dry.

Just hanging out.
Just hanging out.

Overall, I’d consider this challenge a success. It wasn’t really that difficult and my clothes look, smell, and feel clean. Whether they actually are cleaner than if a washing machine had done the work, I guess I’ll never know.

8 thoughts on “My Dirty Laundry

  1. Man oh man, I love bathtub laundry, if only because I hate going to laundromats so much. (Except now I live beside The Detergency Room, which is perhaps the greatest laundromat on Earth. I digress.)
    People should be careful about how high they fill the tub, because front-load machines use about a half a bathtub of water in each load. Of course, the machine also uses energy to run, so you’re coming out ahead, I’d say.

  2. Good point, Gill! I only did a small load and used a quarter of the tub of water to wash and about another quarter to rinse. In addition to saving water, I also figured that the more full the tub, the more likely the risk of sloshing water waving over the bathroom floor.

  3. I love the image of you stomping laundry in a bathtub. Not only is it an awesome way to be a lean, green machine, but it also reminds me of your other stomping activities. Specifically, how you used to stomp down the stairs at our old place with such speed and abandon that I thought you were going to go straight through the wall at the bottom. So many memories. ❤

  4. We all know I’m not light on my feet. Nor am I very patient. Why do something slowly and quietly when it can be done thunderously and in half the time?

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