Laundry, the light footprint way

We were visiting some friends this weekend who live in an apartment in a good-sized city. They are quite noble in their laundry habits: They hand-wash their clothes in a plastic tub in the bathroom, saving power and quarters. Then, weather permitting, they dry outside—though they have no outdoor space available except their roof. This isn’t your idyllic scene of hanging laundry on a clothesline in a lush green yard. It’s climbing out a window and spreading out your skivvies amidst the sound of sirens and traffic.

I admire their commitment. Personally, I’ve been a laundromat user for the last several years. It’s efficient as far as time is concerned, but those heavy-duty machines probably aren’t the most energy-efficient option in the world. Soon we’ll be getting a washer and dryer at home, and I must say that hand-washing our clothes is not something I’m prepared to take on. I will be happy to line-dry stuff whenever I can, though; I’m thinking about one of those nifty retractable clotheslines. (My place comes a lot closer to that verdant ideal than my friends’ apartment.)

Anybody here hand-washing their clothes? How about bigger stuff like sheets and towels? What’s the time commitment like?

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