The Chester River: Nature’s Washing Machine

By Gabby Rente
Morning Wood Staff Writer

It has happened again. It is Sunday night, and your laundry card is out of money. Instead of spending more dollars on overpriced laundry services, there is a simpler solution thanks to Washington College’s convenient location along the Chester River, nature’s washing machine.
Tyler Robinson, a first-year student, often takes his wash down to the river when the weather is nice. He said, “I save roughly $48 a semester this way… It’s totally worth it.” Robinson is excited for the warmer weather to come so he can take advantage of the river’s convenience.
All you need is two big buckets (ACE Hardware has a nice selection for the average price of $10), laundry detergent, and a nice, big rock with a flat surface along the riverbank. Make sure to use an environmentally-friendly detergent to prevent pollution. Some suggested brands are Molly’s Suds, Biokleen, Method, Bright Green, and The Honest Company. Also, check the weather report before you begin your journey to the river. Temperate weather is recommended for this process.
Step One: Once you have identified your washing stone, put one of your buckets aside for your clean clothes. In the second bucket, add the same amount of detergent required for a washing machine. Add water to this bucket and then your clothes.
Step Two: Swish the bucket with your clothes in it around to spread the detergent. Next, take one item of clothing out and dunk it into the river.
Step Three: Now, using your washing stone, massage the grime out of your clothes, paying attention to any stains or excess dirt. This requires exertion of the forearms and hands, so not only are your clothes getting clean, but you also get a perfect upper body workout.
Step Four: Dip your clothes back in the river to rinse the soap. Now, holding onto a corner of your clothes, slap it against the stone several times. This releases any stubborn grime or soap from the fabric.
Step Five: Time for the final rinse. Pinch two corners of your clothing to spread it out as you gently dunk it in the river again. Now ring out it before adding it to your bucket designated for clean clothes, and now you are done washing.
To prevent your clothes from becoming stiff while drying, the best technique to use is adding half a cup of white vinegar to your bucket with detergent in it. The vinegar acts like a natural fabric softener. Don’t worry about your clothes smelling. The scent will disappear when your clothes dry.
For the actual drying process, you will need clothes pins and 50 feet of twine, which can be found at the dollar store. You can set up several clothing lines in your room, this way your clothes can dry without being exposed to the elements, and the moisture from your clothes also makes a great humidifier. Command Hooks can be used to secure your clothing line to your wall without creating damage.
Once your clothing lines are set up, shake your clothes out and then secure them to the line with clothes pins. To speed up the drying process, keep your window open to let a nice breeze come through. Within a few hours, your clothes should be nice and dry.

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