Summer is the perfect time to wear vintage dresses, but how does one care for them after wearing? I went over some basic history behind wash day in the Laundry post of the Everyday Vintage Life series and mentioned that many of us wonder how we can translate this history into something useful for us today. So here is the post I promised to you then about how I do my hand washing.
Thankfully, we have washing machines nowadays, so most of the hand washing we do are for delicates, woolens, or our vintage items. I keep a separate laundry bag just for all my hand wash items. This way they are separated from the beginning and nothing gets accidentally washed in the machine and possibly ruined. Take the machine out of the equation and we have ourselves some new tools of the trade...
• kettle or pot
• soap flakes
• large bowl or wash tub
• distilled white vinegar
As I said earlier, I am going to go through how I do my hand washing. You can certainly use Woolite or some other liquid soap, but I use soap flakes, which require some extra steps. I use Marius Fabre soap flakes (5th item down) because I like that it is natural, has no fragrance or color, is biodegradable, and that the packaging is recyclable. There are plenty of other soap flakes to choose from (1, 2, 3) and you can also make your own (one recipe here, scroll to bottom). I do keep a liquid soap for really quick, small batches of hand washing, but when I do my normal washes, I use the flakes.
We've gone over wash tubs in the Everyday Vintage Life posts on dish washing; I use one here to rinse the wash. Actually, what I use a very large mixing bowl (think industrial size) that I got from Target. So, see what you have around that house that you can re-purpose for this use. With the tub/bowl being used for the rinsing, I use my sink for the actual washing. If you are going to be doing washes that are too large for your sink or you have a problem with the stopper, then get two bowls or tubs; one for washing and one for rinsing.
I do my hand washing in the bathroom, with the rinse bowl in the tub near the bath tap. If you have a large or divided kitchen sink, you can definitely do this in your kitchen.
So now that we have all the tools and the set-up, what do we do on washday? I'll explain my hand laundry process this Friday in Part 2.