a humble life


I need to have someone teach me how to wash clothes.  I’ve washed clothes by hand before, but that was when I had a whole bathtub, so had no idea how to proceed here.  My first attempt mixed some soap powder with water in my little basin, but it was too much soap and couldn’t rinse it out enough…

I went and bought some bar laundry soap!  Works much better!  And I love the way it smells, too.  And a brush to go with the scrubbing board. For rinsing, I just spread the clothes out on the bathroom floor and hose them down a long time.  The problem is wringing.  I can’t do enough of it and then the clothing is permanently creased and no amount of flattening or ironing seems to get the creases out.  I was drying the clothes on my rack in the walk-in closet, but now I’m wondering if I should just dry it in the bathroom instead, and not wring it at all…The traditional method of Korean culture was to beat the dried clothes with sticks on a flat board.  I wonder if they wrung or didn’t wring first?

The clothes are cleaner than machine washed, but I also imagine they’ll get pretty beat-up looking fast and wonder if I should wash them inside-out…I know in the Caribbean they hung their clothes inside out due to the sun bleaching, but did they wash them inside out as well?  T-shirts don’t look so great after being hand washed.  In fact, I don’t think I’m going to buy anything made out of t-shirt material in general from now on:  they just pill up and get out of shape and get dingy too fast.  Comparing them to my one warm woven shirt after hand-washing, and the difference in looks and ease of cleaning is amazing.

It feels anachronistic, this hand washing, and that’s kind of fun.  If only I knew what I was doing!

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4 thoughts on “a humble life

  1. The whole time I was washing the clothes and squatting in discomfort I thought “man, Koreans must have the strongest legs and backs in the world.”

    And then while watching a Korean movie today, I noticed the hand-washing was done from a little plastic stool. A light bulb went off in my head! Amazing what 7″ can do for a person’s stamina! And here I’d thought those stools were for little children to sit on while getting scrubbed down…

  2. your apartment is so warm… i wonder if you can just squeeze out the water so that you dont stretch out the material so much, and lay it out on the ground to dry? do you think leaving wet-ish clothes on the floor to dry would damage the wood floors?

  3. hey! this is almost IM!

    Jane came up with the exact same idea – great minds must think alike.

    My floor will become a mine field to tip-toe through, but that’s the plan. I’m about to mop the floor and then try it out…

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