So, earlier this week in Part 1 we set-up the wash space; now its time to get the soap going. Let us review what our tools are: kettle or pot to heat a small bit of water, soap flakes, large bowl or wash tub for rinsing, and distilled white vinegar. I keep my vinegar in a bottle dropper for doing the wash because it is easier to put just a wee little bit in the rinse water this way.
We have the space set and our tools at the ready, so lets get our soap flakes diluted. In order to do this, I boil some water on the stove and put the soap flakes in a cereal bowl. While waiting for the water to boil, separate your clothes into batches of light colored and dark colored clothes. I normally keep blacks, reds, and new dark clothes in a batch by themselves. When the water is at a rolling boil, I pour about a cup of it over the soap flakes. Use a spoon or fork to stir the soap and mix until they are dissolved. You can add more water if needed. While the soap is dissolving, fill your sink or wash tub with warm to hot water. When the flakes are pretty much dissolved add them to the sink/tub and swoosh around with your hand.
Add the first batch of clothes you want to wash, the lightest colors you have. Sometimes you will just have two batches, sometimes more. The key is to keep the darkest clothes, or the clothes you think will run, to the very last batch you put in the wash water. Mix the clothes into the water and work on any clothes that have stains. Let soak in water for a few minutes.
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When done soaking, squeeze the excess water from each item and place in the rinsing bowl. When the batch is out of the wash, add water from the tap to the rinse bowl and swish clothes around. Dump water, squeeze excess water from the clothes, and put back into the rinse bowl. Add more water and a few drops of the distilled white vinegar. This is to remove any soap residue left behind. It does not leave any odor if you use a little, hence why I use the bottle dropper to prevent spilling accidents. Swish the clothes around, dump water, and squeeze excess water from clothes. Do one more rinse with clean water (no vinegar) and then hang clothes to dry. Before starting the rinse, you can add the next batch to the soapy water and let it soak while you rinse out the previous batch.
The world is your oyster, in terms of hanging the clothes to dry. You can use a clothes line outside or hang on a folding rack on your patio. I put my clothes on hangers and hang them by the shower curtain pole. Ah the life a girl in the city with no backyard.
I hope you found this topic of Everyday Vintage Life useful. Keep your eyes peeled for the next topic in this series, which concerns a luxurious item of clothing that used to be part of a woman's everyday wardrobe.