Thursday, January 26, 2017

survival guide

All those planning to go into survival mode get lots of fancy things, but actually the best guides are often those of the past.

History of Laundry

Mother earth article on washing clothing the old fashioned way.

here, commonly the laundry is done outside by hand: this is a local commercial on our tv.

Yes, the poor often have TV's (you can buy a used one from Korea for $20 dollars here, and a cheap washer is about that much but will wear out in six months; a good washer costs 60 dollars, so only the middle class have them, and even then often they are only used for sheets etc). No, I've never seen a wringer like the one my mom had on top of her washer in the 1950's, before they had "spin cycles" in the wash machines.

the LOL version on how to wash the clothing.


when we arrived, we had a US style washer, that spun the laundry. Alas, it burnt out from over loading (a problem we still have).

So back to the hand washing, but when we had guests, wringing out the sheets took two girls, and was a very  big thing: so I bought the staff a spinner that spins out excess water, and later bought a wash machine so they didn't have to do them by hand. Why didn't I buy both? Well, that was before I had social security so my income was limited to my savings, and also because buying the washer/spinner should have been done by our stepson, who was clueless to the problem since the girls needed the job and were afraid to complain.

The washer and spinner are bought here separately: unless you can afford a over a hundred dollars for a US imported washer that has a spin cycle. As for hot air driers, presumably they are available, but not used.

Things are hung up outside... or inside during the rainy season. Usually the monsoon rain is in the afternoon, so the trick is to hang it out in the sun and take it down as soon as it dries.

In the humid weather, however, you need to iron clothing to get it truly dry (the real reason for ironing underware, which is often cotton and thick so doesn't dry easily).

Here it is not a problem, but our European nuns in Africa didn't iron their uniforms in the good old days, because of their vow of poverty... until they realized that  blotflies laid eggs in the wet fabric and the sisters started getting boils.

here we don't have that problem, but often you need to use bleach to get the odor out because of the humidity and bacteria grow when you don't launder every day.

Most of my clothing is knit/sports style, so usually it doesn't have to be ironed, but the good clothes worn for business do have to be ironed.

the favorite soap here is a soft white laundry bar that will take your skin off if you do a lot of wash; but now folks buy "sachets", i.e. single dose packets of laundry deteregent which coast 15 cents. Fabric softener is also in sachets, but bleach comes in bottles of various sizes. The old fashioned type is preferred by our laundress, so a lot of my clothing has white spots on it; I've tried buying all colour bleach, but alas this doesn't kill the smell/germs as well.

A lot of stuff is sold in sachets here: laundry soap, shampoo, toothpaste...(and also 3in1 coffee and powdered drink mix and snacks) costs more, of course, but if you are paid 6 dollars a day, who can afford to buy in bulk? but a sachet is only a few pesos, and you can buy it when you have a little extra cash.

The dirty little secret is that folks like to have a little luxury in their lives.

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