Showing posts with label laundry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label laundry. Show all posts

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hoss USMC Video plus Laundry Soap Recipe

 Saw a video on making your own laundry soap by Hoss USMC. He does it essentially the same way we do except Wifey just grates the bar soap and does not blend it. In any case here is the video:

Awhile back Wifey did a post on making laundry soap. Showing an excellent video someone else did that shows step by step how to do it was an easy decision. I will re post the recipe we use for those too uninitiated to follow the link.

Laundry Detergent
1 bar soap, finely grated (I use whatever is cheapest but make sure it's white or it could color your clothes)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup baking soda
Mix all ingredients together. Use 1-2 tablespoons for each load.

Please thank Hoss USMC for taking the time to make this video and generally having an excellent YouTube Channel.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reader Question: SHTF Hygiene and Clothes Washing

I have an idea for a blog article-or several- that I think you may be uniquely qualified to expound on. There are a vast majority of us that have never, or are unable to, serve in the military.
You're active duty military; what I and many others would like to know, is how you do your day to day maintenance while out in the field, away from all the comforts of home.
I think it would make a good read if you could tell us the necessities of our life if TSHTF and we are suddenly without water, electricity or heat. We know much about sponge bathing, washing in tubs with a wash board and making our own soap, but how do you do it while trying to stay out of the field of fire/ being discovered?
How do you wash your personal clothing(skivvies, socks, BDU's, etc.) when out in the field?
If you do these things, what do you use to wash them in and what do you use for detergent? How do you clean yourself, and with what?
So please give this some thought and see if it is an idea you would be willing to tackle.
Iron Tom Flint
TOR here, I wrote a couple posts that give us a place to start. This post on field hygiene covers part of the topic pretty decently. Also this post on Dysentery, while a bit light hearted is worth checking out. Also here is one on primative laundry.  Now onto the specific questions.
Q: We know much about sponge bathing, washing in tubs with a wash board and making our own soap, but how do you do it while trying to stay out of the field of fire/ being discovered?
A: Staying out of the field of fire is easy, if people are shooting at you or immenently going to shoot at you it is not the time to do laundry. Sorry if that was a bit short, from here forth I will try to answer the questions as I believe they are intended, not word for word.
For short term stuff I would use my field hygiene advice from above. Typically military operations are short enough in duration that laundry isn't a huge issue; though that is a relative term as I have worn a single uniform for a month without washing it. Another option is that things are so crazy that you have bigger stuff to worry about. Delaying washing is easier when weather is relatively cold. You would be pretty nasty after wearing the same clothes in the South or Middle East in the summer.
As to avoiding being discovered. If I was really worried about someone discovering me I wouldn't be doing laundry. I definitely wouldn't do laundry in some sort of escape and evasion situation, a hide or a patrol base.  That being said a really small fire made of dry wood (especially in the woods or down in some micro terrain) is pretty hard to see from beyond 50-100 meters. All you would really need is enough to heat up some water which doesn't take a bonfire.
However to make it easier lets say you are in a fairly quiet but non permissive enviornment. Maybe you and the spouse are trying to get somewhere on foot or using forest service roads and obviously don't want any attention. Maybe you are some sort of G and folks are sort of passively patroling your area, doing recon patrols to check out movement, signs of people like fires, etc. Whatever, it really doesn't matter. The point is that you aren't imminently worried about people trying to kill you but do want to keep a low profile.
One simple and old school option is to take a bar of soap and your clothes into a body of water and wash them. This has the benefit of washing your body. Obviously your situation would have to be reasonably secure and this is a lot more fun in 80 degree sunshine than 30 degree snow. I have seen socks washed in canteen cups, I suppose the same could be done with underoos. Also the good old bucket or a dedicated water jug (the military ones have pretty big mouths) works.
Q:How do you wash your personal clothing(skivvies, socks, BDU's, etc.) when out in the field?
A: Often the answer is to stash the dirty stuff and wash in after the operation is over. Other times we scrounge up some big tubs or whatnot. I have seen organizations where leaders bought some old school type laundry stuff to fill urgent needs.
Q: If you do these things, what do you use to wash them in and what do you use for detergent?
A: I have seen and used normal commercial detergent and plain old bar soap.
Q:How do you clean yourself, and with what?
A: Baby wipes are a great way to go. If heating up water is practical a washcloth and a bar of soap is nice and makes you feel a bit more human. As to how it is pretty much laid out here.
Anyway I hope that is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. If you remember one thing take care of your feet.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What's Worrying Me

Well I guess I will tell you what is worrying me. I am not particularly worried about power outages or storms or natural disasters. Not to say that all those can't happen. The risk of a storm or whatever is more or less the same as it always has been. Also it helps that I am pretty prepared for that sort of thing. Of course some tin horn dictator or totalitarian state could blow a couple nukes up in the sky and cause an EMP then it would be One Second After. I think those sort of low probability high impact events are worth paying a bit of attention to but I don't think the odds of such occurrence are any higher than a decade ago. I sort of look at them like if I happen to be in line at a coffee shop and 5 guys with AK's roll in and start mowing people down. You do the best you can and that is that.

The economy and inflation are what is worrying me these days. My income is secure. That is quite an intentional choice but still a blessing. I know almost to the dollar (somehow it is always a bit different) what I will get paid on the first and the fifteenth. However I am not entirely sure what it will buy me. If you start talking about 8, 10 or even 15 percent inflation that can reek havoc on any budget.

More concerning than tightening our belt a bit and lowering our standard of living are the second and third order effects of that kind of ruinous inflation. Very quickly banks would realize that the interest they charge needs to not just factor in risk and their profit but that the money they are repaid will buy less than the money they loan out. I recall a friend talking about 15% home mortgages in the late 70's. That would mean the cost for a business to borrow money would be ridiculous. Businesses would be less able to grow or expand. Good luck with a start up. This in turn means more unemployment so fewer people are buying less. Short of the debt trap you don't see many more vicious cycles.

What can I do about this? I think a lot of conservative financial advice suits these times well. In particular stuff like living below your means, saving and avoiding debt is so important. A person with a few dollars put away, reasonable bills and little debt can ride out a decrease in standard of living (from inflation or job loss). The exact same family with the same income disruption but a bunch of bills, a visa card and no savings will be in deep trouble.

We have some money put away and few bills. Between slashing our discretionary spending and going to minimum payments we could live on a lot less than we bring in. If need be we could live off savings for some time. In several months we will have paid off my student loan and will be debt free. 

A small but regular portion of our income gets turned into silver and gold. I buy them as an insurance policy. If they go up 100 or even 300 percent in dollar denominated value I wouldn't sell. If things go beyond ruinous inflation to outright hyperinflation. Some of our precious metals would give our family a little bit of help in adjusting to the new reality and the rest would be our proverbial nest egg.

If we were 20 years older and better established real estate that can produce income would be where I would park money. A little paid off house you could rent would be better than some cash in a mutual fund. However since we aren't at that point in life yet it is a moot point.

Slowly but surely we are preparing for slightly darker scenarios. Argentina and FerFal's blog in particular are of a real help here. I am not so concerned with a full on Mad Max scenario but am working on self contained ways to maintain as normal of a life as possible no matter what disruptions we face. Little things like being able to do laundry easily or brew my own beer or listening to stations far away on the world band radio aren't huge but they start to add up.

There is a higher than normal risk of theft and violent crime. This doesn't worry me so much right now. I live in a pretty small safe world right now. When elsewhere I am pretty cautious about where I go and carry a handgun. However if you aren't a fit young guy who is reasonably trained and carries a gun it might be a good idea to worry about this. Get your body into some resemblance of shape. Get trained with firearms and start carrying one. Be aware of what you do and where you go. Not a lot of people get robbed while buying groceries at 3pm but going to the ATM at midnight is dumb. 

What's worrying you?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Laundry Fun and Wonder Washer Product Review

To be honest up till just recently laundry hasn't worried me much. Mostly I think the Army has really broken any beliefs I might have that unless you put on clean clothes every day the world will end. Think my record for wearing a single pair of clothes (may have swapped socks) is 6 weeks. However we have a kid on the way. Aside from screaming little babies major pastime is spitting up or pooping on themselves. Needless to say 6 weeks in a pair of clothes would not be realistic.

Somehow or another Wifey and I got to talking about laundry in the context of preparedness about a month ago. I vaguely recalled a guest post on laundry by our pal Sam in the trailer park which has successfully evaded a tornado so I searched till I found it. I got to fiddling around on the Emergency Essentials website and came across the Wonder Washer. Wifey did some research and this seemed like a quality product which fit our needs.

This brings us to a very valuable micro (or small or even big I guess) business lesson. If there is some sort of deal you would like to make always ask. I am not going to even guess what percentage of the time you will get an unexpected "yes" but I can say if you don't ask the "no" rate is 100 percent. Anyway I wrote the folks at Emergency Essentials and they have an ad on our site and I have a Wonder Washer. It came in the mail earlier this week and I just got to really fiddling with it today.

"Assembly" is quite simple. Take the handle and put it onto the square post that sticks out of the side. The directions are pretty simple and take up just part of a standard piece of paper. I decided to test it out by washing a few random pieces of clothing; a pair of shorts and two shirts to be exact. Onto the review.

The Good:
1. It works
2. It is readily affordable
3. Quite easy to use. Just put the clothes, deturgent and water in, screw the lid on and then turn the handle which rotates the unit around in the frame washing your clothes.
4. Pretty compact, about the size of a normal BBQ propane tank

The Bad:
1. The lid seems sort of touchy. You have to get the grooves in the lid to match up with the grooves in the unit and then rotate it till the thing locks into place. Then you have to tighten the lid down with the hand screw on top.
2. If you do not get the lid all the way tight it will spill water while you "wash". Not a big deal, just screw it down until it pretty much won't screw on any more (no visible threads).
3. I followed the directions but the amount of detergent needed seemed a bit too high.  I had to really rinse the clothes to get them non soapy. Not a big deal if you are rinsing with warm water in the sink but if water conservation was important it might be. Next time I will use more like 2/3rds of what is advised.

The Ugly:
The part I found most disappointing was that the unit seemed to bounce around as you turn it. The frame is small and narrow while the washer thingie is relatively big and heavy. In order to wash I basically had it on the floor with one knee on the near side of the frame and my spare hand on the other side. If I were to be doing a lot of laundry with the Wonder Washer I would look to clamp it to a table or something so it would be a one handed operation.

All in all I found this unit to be simple, affordable and useful. Sure beats the heck out of dragging our laundry to the river to bang it on some rocks. If we planned to do laundry for a family of 6 on a normal basis then some sort of bigger and more complex washer would be worth procuring. However to just wash an outfit at a time or for emergency use this fits the bill perfectly. We could do some sort of home rigged thing but with the Wonder Washer at the very reasonable price of $49.99 I see no reason to bother. We do need to pick up a mop wringer to help with getting the water out of our clothes after washing but that is an easy fix.

Also included was an Emergency Essentials catalog. They have some really cool stuff so please go check it out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Writing Contest Winner: How To Wash Laundry After TSHTF

 Laundry is an evil necessity of life.  Your clothes are going to have
to be washed even after TEOTWAWKI.  Prepare now!

Back in July, my husband and I bought a single wide trailer that
included all of the appliances.  After a week of living in the trailer
the washer broke.  I refused to get another one because I was sick of
buying modern appliances that broke 6 months later.  I decided to wash
clothes by hand.  My family thought I had lost my mind.

Here are the steps to wash clothes by hand.  There are several
methods, this is just one:

1.) Buy three 6 gallon plastic buckets from Emergency Essentials (or
some other company like them.)  My preference is to do 3 buckets at a
time.  Other folks may want to only do one bucket.
2.) Buy Free and Clear Ultra Laundry Detergent (or some other
detergent like it). I buy mine at Costco's.  It's cheap, it's perfume
free (no scent to give away your location!), it's relatively compact
so you can buy a bunch and not take up too much room, and it lasts
forever because it's HE (high efficiency) which means a little bit
goes a long ways,
3.) Buy a Lehman's rapid washer.  (More on this topic later).
4.) Place all 3 plastic buckets into the tub, next to the lake, or
some other sources of water.
5.) Fill each bucket about 1/3 - 1/2 full with dirty laundry.
IMPORTANT: Pre-treat stains with something like Spray and Wash of
6.) Pour laundry detergent over laundry.  Remember!  A little bit goes
a long ways of it's HE!  If you put too much detergent in then you'll
be rinsing forever.  I suggest starting with about 3 - 4 tablespoons
per bucket of wash.  Adjust if necessary.
7.) Fill each bucket with water to about 3 - 4 inches over the top of
clothes.  If possible, wash light colored clothes in hot water and
dark colored clothes in cold water.  If heating up water is not a
possibility then oh well.....move on.  There are obviously bigger
issues to cope with.
8.) Take out plunger.  Plunge each load of wash in each bucket 20
times vigorously.
9.) Pour out dirty water from each bucket. Wring out clothes loosely
to get out dirty water.
10.) Put clothes back into bucket.
11.) Refill each bucket with clean water. Plunge 20 times vigorously.
12.) Pour out dirty water.  Wring clothes out loosely. Put clothes
back in bucket.
13.) Refill each bucket will clean water.  Plunge 20 times vigorously.
 Repeat this cycle until clothes are clean and free of suds.  I have
found that one "wash" cycle and two "rinse" cycles do the trick.
14.) Dry off Lehman's metal plunger thoroughly and immediately.
(Again, more on this topic later.)
15.) Wring clothes by hand with everything ya' got.  If it's the
summer time then dry clothes on a drying rack outside.  If it's winter
time you can either dry clothes on the rack while the rack is standing
in the tub (major hassle) or throw them in the dryer (if electricity
is still available.)
16.) Dry out inside of buckets to cut down on possible mold and mildew.

So more on the Lehman's plunger issue........I found that the Lehman's
plunger rusted extremely quickly (approximately after one month) even
though I dried it off religiously.  There are so many nooks and
crannies in the Lehman's plunger and they are virtually impossible to
get to. Overall, I love Lehman's as a company but I suspect that this
washer/plunger was meant for emergencies only - not daily use.  I even
coated the Lehman's plunger with three hefty coats of clear Rustoleum.
 It didn't help.  My husband recently purchased a similar looking
plastic plunger from Emergency Essentials company (
but I have not tried them yet.

Happy washing by hand!

Sincerely,  Samantha in the Trailer Park

TOR here: First I want to thank everyone who contributed. It was really a hard decision! In the coming days I will put out the second and third place articles. Samantha, please send me your address so we can get a Go Berkey Kit sent to you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Walmart Trip

Had to get to Walmart to pick up some stuff today. As usual they had no ammo I could use. They did have boxes of generic saltine crackers for 98 cents and cake mix for 88 cents. Got some quarters to dry my laundry (the dryer is on the fritz) and saw something new. Apparantly now they use clear plastic to roll quarters. Got to love how walmart will find any way to save .0003 cents. No 90% silver in there as I can see the ugly edges of the new crap quarters. I really think the odds of stumbling onto 90% silver change through normal commerce are somewhere between slim and nill. I remember Rangerman saying that once as an experiment he got a hundred dollars in dimes and found one that was silver, that is .001% odds.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

quote of the day

"Going to the Laundromat is akin to going to a whore house, you always leave feeling dirty, sticky, broke and unsatisfied."
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