When I was a boy (oh, many long years ago...) my mother and my grandmother would do laundry out in the yard during the summertime with their Maytag wringer washing machines and hang the clothes on the line to dry. I'm pretty sure that Mom's Maytag was electric but Grandma's had a little Briggs & Stratton engine that Grandpa had set up to run the washer. I was terrified of getting my fingers in the wringer and was too little to be much help anyway, but the whole thing left a lasting impression on me. As did the clothesline when I threw a snowball at Dad and during my escape running on top of the snow crust, I managed to 'clothesline' myself!
Mom did the laundry on Saturdays in town at the laundromat the rest of the year. Our weekly trip to the grocery store and to do the laundry was a big contrast to the rest of my week running wild on the ranch or at school. If I was good (or at least hadn't gotten caught lately) I would get a cedar arrow on Saturday and could enjoy archery practice until I lost the arrow. Sometimes I'd make it until Wednesday before losing yet another arrow. I actually kind of enjoyed the laundromat; it was warm and steamy inside and there were those big wheeled baskets to push around if the ladies weren't using them all. But I'm getting side-tracked here - the reason for this post is to ask: How will we do our laundry when the electricity is out or insufficient for running a modern washing machine? Or, even sooner, when there are no parts to repair it with (not that modern washers are made to be repaired; the electronics are particularly fragile and essentially unrepairable)?
I've looked at Lehman's hand powered washers and the price is just absurd, especially considering the many poor reviews: https://www.lehmans.com/product/lehmans-own-laundry-hand-washer-with-wri...
Hand washing in the sink works for underclothes, but what about a filthy pair of jeans after butchering a hog or changing the oil on the tractor? I'm wondering about those old Maytag washers...
Obviously clotheslines are a cheap and easy way to dry clothes during suitable weather, but I live in the Pacific NorthWet; there's about 4 months of the year that an outdoor clothesline will sort-of function here. So... how's this going to work? Wash our clothes in the Spring, whether they need it or not?
In the wintertime we generally have the wood stove going, so a stand-up rack in the living room would work for drying modest amounts of clothing and I suppose I could install lines somehow to handle sheets. But that still doesn't deal with the washing side.
I'm wondering if anyone has restored or found a source for those old Maytag wringer washers that my Mom and Grandma used to use? I also wonder if anyone has tried drying clothes on a line in a greenhouse? My greenhouse plans include a barrel stove and barrels of water for a heat sink, and an earthbermed north wall (I'm at 48 degrees north latitude), so maybe it's possible to include a provision for clotheslines in the greenhouse? Maybe an old wringer washer could live in there too? But how do I run it if there's no electricity? Grandpa figured it out, but as I recall, it wasn't very pleasant to work around a little gas engine. Maybe I just run it electrically until there isn't any more grid power and then use the generator when it's laundry day? Until there's no propane to run the generator... At that point I think we are going to be using a washboard and a tub or we're going to be a pretty smelly bunch of islanders! Funny to think that, one day, wearing clean clothes will once again be a sign of affluence. I suppose it is already a sign now, but only down around the homeless level of poverty.