Spring Cleaning: Do Your Laundry in a Trash Can

We have all heard in the media that it is very important for everyone to go green and help save our environment, but what can we do if we don’t have thousands of dollars to install solar panels? Now, don’t get me wrong I am all for alternative energy, but I live in an apartment and am on a very tight budget so for me this would just be impossible. So, for me I have chosen to do small things that I can afford that will help our environment and save energy. This was especially on my mind this year during my spring cleaning because I have come to realize that I use way too much energy during this season because of all the laundry I end up washing. Each year as part of my spring cleaning I pull out all of my clothes and anything I don’t think I will ever wear again I donate, but if I will wear it I wash it all. Some people say that this is unnecessary but for me I have allergies and you have to think about the fact that you don’t wear t-shirts in winter so those items have just been sitting there gather dust.

Keeping this in mind I realized that my apartment’s washing machine was using too much electricity and water, then there is the old gas dryer which costs about $130 per year to use. For me this was just unacceptable, so I set out to do something about it. I began researching and reading everything I could get my hands on and decided on an alternative way of doing my spring cleaning laundry.

To begin with I found a very simple and cheap way that would both get things clean and fit in my bathroom. I started by taking a large trash can and I had my boyfriend install a small spigot at the bottom by drilling a hole the same size as the spigot and keeping it in place with washers and mighty putty, which allowed me to easily drain the water out. I then got a round laundry basket that fit perfectly inside my trash can, which would serve two purposes. First, it would allow me to spin the clothes easily, and second, it would allow me to pull the clothes out while the water is draining. Then, I installed hooks around the edges that would hold the basket out of the water while the water is draining. The last component in my trash can washer was a plunger. Now I know a lot of people will be skeptical but this really works. I have done all my research and have found that the plunging action on the clothes will push air though them and agitate it, getting my clothes sparkling clean.

I start every load by using a washboard to pre-treat any spots, then I use my shower to fill the trashcan about 2/3 full of water and add my detergent and some OxiClean, I use my plunger to agitate the water and disperse the detergent. I then add my basket of clothes and let it soak for about an hour (the OxiClean package says 1-6 hours so it just depends on your clothes and preference. I use this time to get some of my other spring cleaning projects done. When it is done soaking I just plunge away, when done I turn the spigot handle and water comes out. I lift the laundry basket and place them on the hooks so the water will drain. When it is drained I add more water and fabric softener and let it soak for about 15 minutes. I then use the plunger again to circulate and plunge the clothes and drain the rinse water. To wring out the clothes I use a Rubbermaid bucket wringer to make the job go faster. Then, I put the clothes on hangers and hang them on a retractable clothesline that I have installed in my shower. You could also just use the shower curtain rod or if you have a yard on an outdoor clothesline.

All of this took a lot of testing and different prototypes before I finally came up with the perfect combination but now that I have figured everything out washing my laundry is now easy and much more green. I have developed an easy way to wash my clothes that will same money and energy that was affordable for me. This has made my spring cleaning laundry easy and in the process I am saving energy and the environment.

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