Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New anahulu, new view of an old issue ... laundry

The new anahulu, Anahulu Poepoe begins today and Pete and I are back from a short and sweet ferry ride across the Puget Sound.  Whidbey Island, where we live, is 60 miles long with a ferry landing on its south end and a bridge over Deception Pass at its north end.  Our wooded homestead is in Langley, on the south end of the island and just a short drive from the ferry landing.  We don't do this ferry ride, together, very often, but today was one of those times.  We had errands to do and worked in a brief visit with an old friend.  One of the things on the list of do's was checking on used washing machines.  That is a chore not easily managed considering juggling the chemical sensitivity to accumulated chemicals used in machines; and the long-off-gassing time involved in buying new and plastic parts in washers that are less than a year old or new.  The hurdles go on and on, and Pete was once again involved in the hurdling.  His discoveries led to several good-to-know tips to add to our new view of an old issue of doing laundry:

  1. Rubber and plastic parts.  The water-efficient front loading washers are loaded with rubber and plastic parts.  These parts are absorbant and will soak up the chemicals used by previous owners.  Decontaminating these parts is difficult (possible!) but also very time-consuming and/or expensive.  In addition to the chemicals sometimes these rubber parts (including hoses and the gaskets around the door) get moldy.  Decontaminating will need to be done, and there are no guarantees when you're done with the processes.
  2. Handling old machines.  BEWARE!  The scents remain in the rubber and that's what got to Pete when he was doing his washinging-machine hurdles.  We carry a decontamination first-aid spray called PUREAYRE for this sort of episode, and it helped to neutralize Pete's smelly hands (sorta).
  3. Cost.  One galvanized top-loading machine with less rubber and less gadgetry (non-computerized mechanism) was priced at $350 before tax.  It's a scratch-and-dent new washer so off-gassing would be an issue. 
  4. New Washers.  Start at $500. 
I don't often post about the details of our tiny space living, since I closed the door to VardoForTwo (our building the Gypsy wagon blog).  But this new week, and new experience with an issue that most folks consider an everyday 'usual' is just not 'usual' for us.  Seems we are  ... headed in the right and positive direction even with the discoveries made during the washing-machine hurdle event today.  That's always good news.  We may need to reconsider and explore a larger version of my hand-washing approach.  That would be fine, if the message move us that way.  There are options and we have a very cool sheltered space in the making where we can work these options through.  One of those options is called a JAMES WASHER.  It's pricey but maybe a version of it could work for us.  The other possibility is that a perfect-for-us electric top loading machine is out there and we just need to be where it is at the perfect time.  Here are a couple picture of the JAMES WASHER.

James Washer today, around $500 before shipping

Back in the day (date?) when a copper tub version was $150

Laundry Tales:  Any homesteaders or off-grid families with experience using a JAMES?  In the mean time, the sink and hand washing continues, and I am glad I can do the deed.  Know what I mean?  No sense of entitlement here, Alice.

I think it's time for tea? 
Right you are.
Black or herbal?


  1. m, I grew up with a washer that was electric with a wringer attached. It was baked enamel and had little to no rubber except for hose to drain. These wringer washing machines are still around in junk and antique shops. Would that work and be cheaper than the James. ??? Joan T

  2. JT -- me too, we had one of those wringer washers as a kid. I haven't seen any in junk and antique shops, but to be honest I haven't been in those shops. Cheaper? don't know, the wringers are 'sought after' but worth a look or call around to the shops up this way. Thanks. Moki


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