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how to deal with laundry that is a little less than fresh  RSS feed

 
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I have a set of clothes that I use while in doing my daily chores. These clothes get pretty dirty over time and some of it can get chicken, rabbit, goat, etc.. poo on it.

I want to sanitize these clothes as best as I can while washing them, we have been going to the laundry so we could wash these clothes in bleach water but that is just getting annoying, expensive, and just not the direction that were trying to go in.

We plan on using a 5 gallon bucket with a plunger for the washer. We do not have septic nor are we hooked up to any municipal sewage so sanitizing with bleach or other standard chemicals are out of the question. Currently we are using what little gray water we produce to water outdoor plants with so any solution would need to be safe for plant use.

Surly someone else has ran into this same issue before

Thanks for all your help!
 
Mother Tree
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I would try just washing in plain soap and water and hanging up in the sun to sanitize them.

Maybe grow a few lavender bushes and drape the clothes over them to dry - they should *smell* pretty sanitised then, too!
 
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I don't think bleach is necessary, we don't use it and didn't when we had a lot of animals either. Back when we had a lot of livestock we washed clothes by hand with a bit of Dr. Bronners peppermint soap and carried the load to the river and rinsed (and swam) I wouldn't do it that way today but I think the really good rinse is most important and plenty of sunshine to dry. Now I use a bottle of off the shelf 3% hydrogen peroxide if something needs a real freshening up...my understanding is that it leaves no trace, unlike bleach and its manufacturing processes.
 
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We use hot water and oxy-clean and soak the clothes overnight in a wash-tub prior to washing.
 
Nathan Paris
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Great thoughts so far!

Burra - What your essentially saying is to just pretend that germs dont exist, I can not do that nor should anyone else!

Judith - We have a creek running through the property but its not ideally located and I dont want to hurt that ecosystem on our property so the creek is pretty much off limits. Peroxide is great for cuts but not for the environment, also its highly poisonous to aquatic animals so I def dont want that around the land.

Ben - I could draw some inspiration from your suggestion! I could soak the clothes in a bleach solution and rinse them off and save all that water to dump at a dumping station. Its a cheaper idea than going to the laundry, but Id still like to be able to dispose of the liquid here on our property so I think ill keep looking for another option. But at least I now have a backup option now so thanks for that!

 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Kevin Sanders wrote:Great thoughts so far!

Burra - What your essentially saying is to just pretend that germs dont exist, I can not do that nor should anyone else!



Cold water to wash off the worst, then hot water to kill the germs. Hang in the sun or over lavender to make it smell nice afterwards. I wouldn't want to use anything harsher than soap on my skin or my land so I'd rely on hot water to do any germ-killing.
 
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When you pour hydrogen peroxide out of the bottle and it fizzes: it's basically a chemical reaction, decomposing it (H2O2) into water (H2O) and oxygen (O2). According to the illustrious wikipedia:



Some horticulturalists and users of hydroponics advocate the use of weak hydrogen peroxide solution in watering solutions. Its spontaneous decomposition releases oxygen that enhances a plant's root development and helps to treat root rot (cellular root death due to lack of oxygen) and a variety of other pests.



Laboratory tests conducted by fish culturists in recent years have demonstrated that common household hydrogen peroxide can be used safely to provide oxygen for small fish. The hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen by decomposition when it is exposed to catalysts such as manganese dioxide.


source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_peroxide

Actually, I never heard of it being used in the above ways, so I'm going to do some research to see if wikipedia is right on this one
 
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Judith Browning
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My understanding was that 3% hydrogen Peroxide when exposed to air/light turns to water...i wouldn't put it straight out of the bottle on or in anything but the wash water. I believe it is the active ingredient in the 'oxy' stuff. Anyway we use maybe a quart bottle a year of peroxide.
In the end, you might be more comfortable using the town laundromat and whatever bacteria killer you feel necessary. Water, a little castile soap and sun always worked well enough, we thought.
 
Nathan Paris
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Burra Maluca wrote:

Cold water to wash off the worst, then hot water to kill the germs. Hang in the sun or over lavender to make it smell nice afterwards. I wouldn't want to use anything harsher than soap on my skin or my land so I'd rely on hot water to do any germ-killing.



Thank you for clarifying your process. The issue then is you would need to heat water to a temperature appropriate enough to kill germs and parasites and then hold that temperature for an extended amount of time thus allow everything to be killed off but not boiling the clothes in the process.
 
Nathan Paris
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Galadriel Freden wrote:When you pour hydrogen peroxide out of the bottle and it fizzes: it's basically a chemical reaction, decomposing it (H2O2) into water (H2O) and oxygen (O2). According to the illustrious wikipedia:



Some horticulturalists and users of hydroponics advocate the use of weak hydrogen peroxide solution in watering solutions. Its spontaneous decomposition releases oxygen that enhances a plant's root development and helps to treat root rot (cellular root death due to lack of oxygen) and a variety of other pests.



Laboratory tests conducted by fish culturists in recent years have demonstrated that common household hydrogen peroxide can be used safely to provide oxygen for small fish. The hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen by decomposition when it is exposed to catalysts such as manganese dioxide.


source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_peroxide

Actually, I never heard of it being used in the above ways, so I'm going to do some research to see if wikipedia is right on this one




Wow!!! This is news to me!! I need to look more into this!?!
 
Nathan Paris
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William - Alcohol could be allowed to just evaporate, but I dont think thats good for clothes and Im very sure the cost of doing laundry would go up exponentially lol. I have no way of disposing of high acid vinegar and I doubt like the clothes would last long at all in an acid bath LOL.

Judith - After seeing what was previously said about peroxide Im going to do a little more digging into it. I have always thought peroxide was very bad for anything living but apparently I was wrong. I will keep going to the laundry until I find an acceptable alternative. I am sure this issue has come up with other homesteaders and I know there is a solution out there and if not then I guess ill be the first person to figure it out LOL.
 
steward
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Kevin Sanders wrote:
The issue then is you would need to heat water to a temperature appropriate enough to kill germs and parasites and then hold that temperature for an extended amount of time thus allow everything to be killed off but not boiling the clothes in the process.

Actually, UV light is a pretty good disinfectant. Sunshine. Free. Will fade clothes eventually, but so does bleach.

Unless I was working with a sick animal, I wouldn't worry about germs in the clothes. Hand sanitizer in the kitchen, yes, but I live with a biologist who sees salmonella and e coli everywhere. He's threatening to bring home a microscope. I figure we are building up resistance by low levels of exposure, like our great-grandparents had. Modern hygiene and cultural standards of cleanliness that have kept kids from playing in the dirt are now being blamed for all sorts of immune deficiencies and even allergies.

But I still like to put on clean clothes after a shower, one of life's little luxuries.
 
Ben Miller
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I looked up "oxiclean" and the by products are oxygen, water and soda ash. It says it's safe for septic systems. I wear a cover-all over my clothes when doing chores. I hang it in the sun and on a clothes line to air out. My barn clothes never go in the house. They stay in the garage. These "chore" clothes are washed every 2-3 weeks. Seems a waste to wash them anymore often than that. They are just going to get dirty again. We have house clothes, outside clothes and going in town clothes. Crazy?
 
steward
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Kevin, another idea: various plants have very high antibacterial effectiveness,
without the resistance issues of synthetic antibacterials.
I haven't a clue about plants in your part of the world, but my mother grows tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and distils the oil.
She ends up with hundreds of litres of hydrosol (basically tea tree oil dissolved in water) which is great for soaking icky things like nappies etc
I'm with people on sunlight being the best disinfectant
 
William Bronson
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Agricultural vinager is about 20% acid, strong enough to kill weeds but also not persistent in the environment.
I would use it in a spray bottle on dirty cloths prior to wash.
I use 10% with my laundry right now due to difficulty accessing the higher strength version.
Ammonia is another option, one that is relatively easy on the environment.
 
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