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The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

Using cloth in the home and soiled laundry

August 4, 2017

After I posted the last post I had some very positive emails and also some questions. 

The last post was about us going paperless.  There were some very good questions.

One question was what to do about grease?  

Instead of using a paper towel now I use a rubber scrapper or a stiff scraper if needed and put the grease in a empty jar and when full toss it out.

Once the grease is cool, it could be put in a empty mayonnaise jar or empty bottles that oil comes in and just throw it in the garbage.

Also certain greasy slush can be put into a plastic bag with shredded paper from your shredder if you have one and a good way to use up that shredded paper.

Junk mail that is not glossy can be used to wick up oil too.

It is difficult to avoid plastic these days and produce bags are good to use to put the oily paper in.  In other words use up the things you are going to throw away anyway for your grease.  We recycle all we can that our city allows so I don't feel bad using some things that would be recycled such as the mayo jar.

Now about laundry.  I did have some questions about laundry and germs that I would like to answer.

Long ago In my past my Grandmother, my Mother and myself washed our laundry with soap and water and we used bleach if something needed bleach.

I am no expert to tell you what to do, I only share what I do.  I did work many years in two hospital physical therapy wound care departments and a outpatient facility assisting therapists and patients and cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and sterilizing, culturing, and making sure we had no germs. We had to be very diligent and careful in what we did.  

We  kept material safety data sheets on everything we used. It was our responsibility to make sure everything was cultured and documented.  I could have been a germ phobic but I was not, I was conscientious, I was trained well, I learned and observed and was practical in what I did.  Before I worked in the hospital I also worked with special needs children, severe and profound and this was also an area where we had to make sure we had a clean environment.  

Later in my life I left work before retirement age to be the caregiver for first my Father then my Mother.  My father needed wound care and stroke care and my mother cancer and dementia.  Before I knew it we had hospital beds in our home, suction machine, lifts and a lot of very soiled laundry. So I have practical knowledge about germs and "soiled" laundry.  

From the time my children were babies in cloth diapers, to them going to school bringing home germs, my working in hospitals, and all the home care for my parents, potent grandchildren's germs, pets in the home,  I can say that up until now I have never known one single time when we got sick from some kind of contamination.  

I have sloshed my hands in many things, been splashed with who knows what and things I cannot even tell you about and I credit that to good hand washing, good soap and water and bleach when needed. Remind you that most of all this happened before hand sanitizer was popular.

Soap and water is the first thing to use to clean and remove the particles or the carrier of whatever it is we are concerned about when cleaning.  That goes for surfaces or laundry.  Such as from sterilizing experience, wash the particles off the object then disinfect.  Such as home tweezers where there might be debris and particles in and around the kitchen sink.   

We don't want to live in a sterilized environment or we would be sick all the time.  We just want to use common sense.  For normal laundry I use laundry soap and water and Sunshine to dry our clothes.

After reading my last post, some people wrote that they have been using cloth instead of paper for several years, some said they want to start using cloth and some have no desire at all to do and that is fine either way.  

But what do we do with the wiping cloths?  I wash them.  Do I worry about germs being in the washer or cross contamination?  No and I didn't when my children were in cloth diapers either.  I never washed diapers with kitchen towels.  It is common sense to wash diapers by themselves.

To be blunt, the wiping cloths (toilet paper replacement) are for patting dry.  We use the bidet/water I talked about in the last article and the bidet or water cleans the area before wiping so there is probably no more soil on the wiping cloths than there is in underwear normally.  Honestly my first reaction to going paperless in the bathroom is why have we been using toilet paper all this time? I now wish we had always used cloths.

In the past when my children were in diapers we always did the swishing the diaper in the toilet before going in the pail and that was common knowledge and how it was done.  We never thought anything about it.  When I was the caregiver for my parents I went through a lot of wash cloths for cleaning them/changing adult diapers, changing pads and sheets and I soaked the soiled cloths first because that was a bit different and that softened and loosened the particles.  I never threw anything away because it was soiled  or that would have been wasteful and very expensive. I soaked, bleached rinsed then washed and rinsed. No one ever was contaminated and the linens were not filled with chemicals and made me feel good about the care that they were being given.

Today many people cannot even imagine using a cloth diaper on their baby or swishing something in the toilet but thankfully there are new Moms finding their way back to the past with what makes sense to use cloth diapers.  I would much prefer to have cloth next to a baby's skin and I don't want to think about all the disposable diapers going to the landfill. I feel sure you could google "swishing cloth diapers" and find that people still do this.

I wash clothes two ways.  Either by machine or by hand in our outdoor wash area.  On my washer I have a rinse and spin.  We all have different washers.  The HE machine like this (top loader HE) leaves us only the options it gives us. The older washers we have a bit more control.  

What I do for germy things that can be bleached is put them in the machine on rinse and spin.  I add bleach and the amount depends on the water level in my machine and I wash it first in the rinse cycle  in HOT water. So in other words I rinse first with bleach, debriding and bleaching at the same time. I feel comfortable with the length of time the bleach is in contact with the material. 

This is just my method and I do not always use bleach, just on laundry that needs sanitizing or disinfecting.

"After" it rinsed and spun in the rinse cycle I add the normal amount of soap and wash it on a normal cycle. This washes the laundry that is in there, washes out the bleach and bleach smell.

Depending on what it is I am washing and how dirty it is and how much bleach was used I do an extra rinse.  Keep in mind that I am normally washing a small load so this is all done on a low water level.

If I am doing sheets, say someone is sick then I would do a full load with probably 3/4 cup of bleach and after it washes and drains before the rinse I would reset the machine and then do the wash cycle. I hope that makes sense because the HE machines are complicated.

For me I just prefer to wash the bleach out not just rinse it out and then there is no bleach smell and I feel it is better for the fabric.

There is another thing that can be used other than bleach and that is peroxide.  About 1/2 to 1 cup of peroxide depending on the size of the load.  It will also whiten the clothes and I would only use on white clothes.  Never mix bleach or peroxide with each other or anything else other than your laundry soap.

When I wash outside I have full control on what I am washing, how I am washing and the temperature my water because I have a large pot that I boil water in and make the water as hot as I want it.

I make my own washing powder. 

I grate a bar of soap such as kirks castile soap, or a laundry bar soap such as goat milk laundry bar soap, weigh it and then add washing soda, borax and essential oil.  I do this because I am particular about chemicals that touch my husbands skin. 

I make different mixtures of laundry soap.  I know it is sort of my laundry madness. 

I make what I call a sensitive mix using half of the borax instead of equal portions.  I use the goat milk soap or dr bronners for this mix.  Kirks castile is more economical for us for all the other laundry.

Borax has its part in disinfecting and why I do not want to leave it out of the mix entirely.  My normal mix.....

One part washing soda, one part borax, one part bar soap. baking soda can be added if you have smelly clothes. Or by weight, just say, 5 oz, washing soda, 5 ounces borax, 5 ounces grated soap.   I prefer to weigh it.

I use different amounts in the washer depending on the water level I am using because I have a top loading  HE.  A side loading HE I would say one tablespoon of the mix per load.

I work hard on not spending money on things we don't need and putting our money for things we do need.  In other words I find things that maybe we can do without after all such as paper towels and toilet paper. 

We stopped buying drinks and sodas, we stopped buying  junk food and put the money towards things that are healthier options.  We eat less meat than we did before which saves money and is better for us because we were eating meat more often than we needed to. I mend more and patch more often than I was doing.

We save money because we removed our televisions and cut off our cable and that bill  is gone.  So money we don't spend gives us money to put somewhere else. 

Just so you know, we keep a stock of toilet paper and paper towels for if we should have a water shortage in an emergency situation.  Also we keep toilet paper in the bathroom for visitors. 

I use essential oils in laundry soap and lotions I make  such as tea tree or eucalyptus in the laundry soap mix and lavender, tea tree and geranium in lotions. 

There are all kinds of opinions about what works and what does not.  I do believe that the sun will sanitize laundry, I don't know how much but I feel it is very powerful.   I do not hang my husbands shirts in the sun or it will fade the color.  If I hang his dark pants out to dry I turn them inside out so the color does not fade.  

Let me mention dark clothes here.  What do you do if dark clothes are soiled and you cannot use bleach?  Wash and rinse them twice in a laundry mix that has borax. (the equal laundry mix, one part washing soda, one part borax and one part grated real soap)  Not synthetic soap.

To me there is nothing better than sheets that have been washed with homemade laundry soap and hung out on the line to dry.  The smell is wonderful and they feel so clean.  Same for towels.  Some people do not like the feel of towels dried on the line.  I think this is just being spoiled but adding about half a cup of distilled vinegar to the rinse in the washer will help it to be a bit softer and/or pray for a windy day so the laundry is whipped around a bit.  :)

I remember a time when I was working at one of the hospitals and we had a particular patient that had some very bad issues.  We needed to put this patient in the whirlpool. We were questioning which cleaning solution to use after this patient left the room. We called and consulted with a very large children's hospital and what they used and they suggested bleach.  This was probably thirty or more years ago.  

So we did that and cultured the tank and it came back just perfect.  

I checked before I posting this to see if bleach is still used in hospitals and I found a video that I will link for you to watch if you care to do so that answered this question.  This video was posted in 2015 and "very" interesting and really something everyone should listen to.

I do not use bleach for everything and I really do not use a lot of bleach.  I use it only when needed.  I mix a bit of laundry soap, bleach and water and pour over the tub and tile area in the tub/shower area occasionally to keep that damp area from getting mold between cracks.  I use it occasionally in the laundry and I will use it in the kitchen sink at times to disinfect and I will use it when there is contamination or sickness.  it is simply a decision based on if I think something has contaminated the surface or material.

I use peroxide or vinegar or essential oil at times and sometimes I just use soap and water. 

The clorox website has very good information on uses and amounts.  I know a lot of people avoid bleach and that is ok too.  I am not concerned about using bleach because I never over use it.

I have posted three links below, I feel knowledge is power.  Grandma Donna


It may take a minute for this video to load, the video is close to the top of the page.


Also I just love Dr. Axe and his videos.  He has a lot of information on essential oils. 


And what our government says about sanitizing and disinfecting ...


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