Independence Day and The Best Clothes Drying Rack

  What does Independence Day have to do with literally, The Best Clothes Drying Rack? Well, I’ll tell ya.   Independence Day is my husband’s absolute favorite holiday all year. It also happens to be the time when I get the most homesick because in comparison to what is available here in Utah—fireworks displays that you have to fight crowds and PAY you watch—ugh!—there’s just nothing like Central Ohio. You can see masterful arrays of fireworks in a different, nearby city 3 nights in a row and actually end up getting 6 displays in throughout those 3 nights as some of them will launch at dusk and some of them as late as 10:50 p.m. Then of course there’s the family barbeque with all kinds of crazy games that my oh-so-creative uncle comes up with each year. Yep, I miss Ohio. So, when I talked my husband into taking a roadtrip aka vacation with me for the first time in 12 years to go back and visit Ohio, I had visions of being able to enjoy all of these great things that I miss. But boy howdy, Mother Nature and I have got to get our calendars in synch, because I had no idea what kind of mayhem was going on in that neck of the woods until after we left for our trip.   If you haven’t heard, there were hurricane force winds that swept through the Atlantic coast as well as more inland states such as Virginia and Ohio. These powerful, up to 100 mph winds came through with NO warning. Millions of people lost power but the majority of them lost it for over a week!! Ironically, some survived the bigger storm only to lose power the next day when a smaller microburst came through. The hotels were packed, hospitals were crazy with people needing access to oxygen and comfort to endure their illnesses, the shelves were cleaned out, gas pumps didn’t work,  ATM machines were out of order, and there was an overall feeling of panic in every place we stopped once we got to our destination. (It’s a good thing we packed to be self-sufficient and always fill up as the car gets near the half-way mark.). You would think that all of that mayhem is what I was most inconvenienced by, but no, I have a much stranger radar than worrying about ice, fast food, etc. No, my problem is dealing with smells—lots of nasty smells because no one was showering or washing their clothes in the crisis. 100 degrees with a heat index of 115 is no picnic if you have a sensitive sniffer. Just assume that I’m right here, unless you too want to try it out for yourself and be surrounded by 5 nephews ages 2 to 17 who know how to clear a room with their nasty odors. “Use a wet wipe for crying out loud, Son—in fact, use the whole box of wet wipes until you smell nothing like a decaying rat carcass! I’m trying to eat my 4-cheese Italian Risotto and you’re eau de jour is definitely ruining the enjoyment!”   Wet wipes only solve part of the problem though. Most folks rarely think about what’s necessary to clean their clothes—that is until I explain to them that the body gets rid of toxins/waste three different ways: perspiration, respiration, and urination. I’m sure that no one would dream of not changing the pants of a 4 year old’s “accident.” But the fact is, clothes that have been used all day in 100 degree weather also contain a whole lot of toxins—toxins that you don’t want to inhale, roll around and bask in. So yes, having alternative means of doing laundry really IS critical. Just as critical though, in my opinion, in having a way to do laundry without killing yourself, using unnecessary energy, and doing it in such a way that you know that the toxins are getting cleaned out of the clothes. Well, that’s where my friends at the company called Best Clothes Drying Rack come in. They take the hard, exhaustive work out of the equation and even incorporate forward thinking that even allows a person to maintain Operational Security if necessary. Oh how I love it when a product really “gets it” like theirs do!   For starters, let’s talk about the arduous task of washing clothes. Homemade laundry detergent IS the best way to go in a crisis AND every day in your home. It gets the clothes cleaner without all of the fragrances, it’s more easy on the sewage system, and it’s pennies to use as opposed to those astronomical prices the folks at Proctor and Gamble charge.   Here’s a recipe for homemade laundry detergent without having to expend energy grating anything. Yay!  Use about ½ to 1 cup of soap per standard dishwasher load and about 3 tablespoons when using the bucket/plunger method.

Easy Homemade Detergent 3 Tablespoons Borax 3 Tablespoons Washing Soda 2 Tablespoons Dawn Dishwashing Soap (it's necessary because it cuts through the grease at all water temperatures) 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil (grapefruit, lemon, dill, or clove bud etc. are great.) Place all ingredients in a one gallon jug. Pour 4 cups boiling water into the jug. Gently swish all of the ingredients in the jug until they are completely dissolved in the liquid. Set aside while you let the mixture cool. Once cooled, fill the rest of the jug with cold water. Don’t worry. You will get bubbles coming up and out of the jug, but keep an eye on the actually liquid level in the jug.

Next, you need to conserve water and physical energy by using the Best Clothes Drying Rack  company’s patented plunger washer that pushes the water through the fabric on the plunging motion and pulls water out of the fabric on the pulling motion.  You provide all the energy necessary—not the power company.  Even better, it will not degrade your clothes as quickly as a modern-day washer and dryer will—I can’t think of a more important feature if I’m using it during a crisis. The last thing I need is to have to learn how to make new clothes! The less than $30 investment is well worth my while!   So, how do you dry them without giving away valuable information such as “how many people are living in your home, giving away how well off you might be while others are suffering because you have the ability to actually wash and dry laundry.” My solution is definitely the Best Clothes Drying Rack for so many reasons—not the least of which is that I can use it inside, away from the prying eyes of my neighbors and yet it’s sufficiently well made with treated maple wood that I can use it outside just fine. (Confession, after seeing a picture online, I also used it to dry large amounts of homemade pasta! I loved that idea! You can also dry herbs and flowers on there nicely too!) Here’s something cool about it that even my semi-trucking friend will appreciate it. In spite of it’s large capacity for drying my king size sheets and large towels (with 24 feet of drying space), it then easily breaks down into a size small enough that will fit in my laundry basket. I love how the rack rotates for me instead of walking around it. But the kind of cool thing is that I don’t have to use all of the racks if I’m short on space or trying to confine it to a small corner. This is some smart craftsmanship that is well thought out and intended to last a lifetime. I’ll be purchasing at least 3 more since I’ve discovered so many uses for them. (They are a heck of a lot cheaper than the official pasta dryers which won’t give me anywhere near the space. The size of the pasta dryers now barely give me enough space to do enough pasta for 4. I like to cook for larger groups than that!)  I love that there’s not a single piece of plastic on this unit and it’s all made here in the U.S. I love the price (only $40 bucks) and I love how smoothly it sets up. See this in action on this YouTube video.  I also love that they have good old-fashioned business values.  They will refund, replace, or repair anything that you might find amiss with the product. As such, this handy-dandy unit definitely qualifies as one of my favorite gadgets of the year!   One other thing I think I should mention about with this drying rack--being able to use it in the home--is that in the event of a serious crisis such as nuclear or pandemic scenario, I wouldn’t want my clothes out in the open. Yup, that gives me a little peace of mind.   Here’s another thing to share with you in case you want to stop using the electric dryer now. You may want to check out their improved design on the old outdoor clothesline hangers that you may remember from Grandma’s yard.  It only requires a small 14’ footprint and can even be folded up and covered when not in use. I was astounded that it held 4 loads of laundry (132 feet of drying space)! Holy cow!  And you won’t have to mow around it as it removes easily from the ground. I love this feature since I ran into my grandmother’s in the backyard because it was always open and waiting for any foolish kid to run into it. While I love the wooden unit that I can use indoors, there is virtue to drying clothes out under the sun as the sun's rays help kill bedbugs, germs and bacteria.   I have to say that I love the company’s website as well. It’s a great resource. They aren’t just about selling their wares, they give any reader some very helpful tips on doing laundry by hand. They are conscious of time and money used for this very thankless and underestimated task.  The fact of the matter is, having clean laundry is critical to maintaining good health—especially in a pandemic scenario.   O.K. so I’ve talked about all of the great stuff and in the interest of being impartial in my review of this product I think that it would only be fair if I did share the one thing that I don’t care for with the company, but it could easily be changed. I don’t care for much the company charging a “restocking fee” if you return a unit. Ugh. You just know that some feeble-minded attorney thought that idea up and far too many small businesses are falling for it in a knee-jerk response to the injury of having a product returned. Such a fee never leaves a customer with warm fuzzies and good will; in fact it kind of adds insult to a customer’s injury—especially when you know you’re dealing with a small company. It’s not like it costs them money to put the product back on the shelf. However, in discussing this with the owners, they shared a couple of instances with me in which people ordered the outdoor clothes drying rack and in spite of all of the measurements being on the website when they ordered, they still ended up sending it back. I'm sure that was frustrating to the owners to have to pay to get it back (it's a 9 foot long package) then inspect it and then put it back. Just to clarify though, as is usually the case where restocking fees are applied, I did confirm with them that they never charge a restocking fee when a product is defective or has a problem. On the good side though, I find it very doubtful that I’ll ever return a unit—unless they were to ever lower their manufacturing standards. In fact, I’ll be purchasing a couple of others. And I love their commitment to using only American made, sturdy parts. (By the way, they are presently looking for American made clothespins with no luck. Apparently they just don’t exist here in the U.S. but I was fortunate enough to find some that went into production recently. You can find them at http://classicamericanclothespins.blogspot.com/)

Thanks to these great products, stinky men and boys won't get to use the whole "power outage" excuse for smelling horrible. We all know a lady never stinks, right? *grin* Let me know if you find any other great uses for these. You know how I love, love, love multi-purpose items!

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Comments

I meant to say ask the janitor for the OLD tubs....not the new ones..LOL!

When I first saw the umbrella clothesline rack the construction immediately sparked a way to solve another prepping concern. Fresh water is a very large concern here in the mountains. While rain barrels are OK for collecting roof runoff for gardens, clean water would be precious. I have been looking for a support mechanism to hold a 12' x 12' plastic tarp to collect rainwater. The tarp would have a hole in the center with a 6" tailpiece for a sink drain, and grommet holes in the corners to tie onto the four tips of the umbrella rack, forming a catch basin for the rain and the drain tube to direct water into food grade buckets to collect fresh water. (looking at the construction of the "umbrella", I may now consider a slight modification but it would basically work the same way.) The drying rack becomes serviceabe for drying clothes on sunny days an a collection basin on rainy days. (love dual purpose). One other laundry prep I have made is the purchase of a big yellow plastic floor bucket on casters. It has a ringer attached for the string mops and will save my slightly arthritic hands and clothing due to the force of twisting. Water can also be conserved starting with the least dirty items progressing to the filthy. I did buy the plunger you feature quite a while ago, but the dirt catcher is new to me. Thanks for the post and a feasible solution for my catch basin.
I kiss my washer and praise God for its blessing everytime I imagine washing clothes by hand. Hanging them won't be as bad as the drudgery of washday! Pray for the best, prepare for the worst.

The assembled drying rack reminds me of one that my mom had when I was little. My mom and grandma always hung the laundry outside to dry. I can still remember the wonderful smell that the clean clothes had. It's one of the luxuries that I have to live without though in our trucking lifestyle. We are never in one place long enough for laundry to dry on it's own like that. (Sigh) Maybe when we get the extra storage boxes on the truck, though, I could add the laundry setup so that we have it in case we ever get stranded and don't have access to a laundro-mat. And by the way, haven't those nephews of yours ever heard of bucket showers?

Ah, I can't believe I didn't think of that!!! wow!

See the previous post in which a gal mentions where Made in America clothespins exist. yay!

I got mine off of Amazon cause I get free shipping. Once you start looking for it, you'll find it easily now that it's on your radar. Most of the grocery stores, wal-mart included, have everything you need for this recipe.

the outdoor unit that Best Clothes Drying Rack sells has an awesome feature. When the line loosens when you're hanging wet clothes on it, you can to a very simply tightening of the line in the center. It's wicked easy--after all, I am the laziest preparedness person you'll ever meet. :-)

Oh how fabulous! I'm sure you made them happy, Wendy!

Again you amaze me. I have a wash board that I purchased because once, while camping with my kids, one of them got sick (funny how when they sneak to much sweets, what happens). It was awful!!!!! I swore from that time on, that I would never have to find a way to clean clothes using rocks, water and a bucket. I had to use dish soap, as I had never thought to bring a bit of laundry soap camping... *sigh*. But, now seeing the Washing Kit and the drying rack I am going to have to get them both. The drying rack I have, I hate. It is not well built and falls down all the time when I use it while camping. Not to mention it is pain in the you know what, trying to put it up. grrrrrr

I also agree, that nothing worse when power is out in the summer is the smell of stinky people. My husband works outside all day every day. In this heat here in Arizona, well I am sure you can guess what he smells like when he gets home. My youngest is 4 and he tells my husband, "Daddy, you are home, wahoo, now go take a shower and I will hug you, after you smell better". :-) I even will take his clothes in a basket and sit them outside until they dry out a bit, before I wash them. He has to do his laundry on a different day then I do all the rest of the family's. I will run towels after his clothes b/c I bleach my white towels. Being with out a way to wash clothes or ones self is not an option in my opinion. It is a MUST! Thank you for sharing! I just found another tool to help make a time that would freak others out, a lot more livable. Not to mention I think my kids may enjoy washing things with the washing bucket kit. ;-)

Just wanted to let you know (and I contacted the drying rack people and told them too) there are made in the USA clothes pins, the spring loaded type. They are made by Skilcraft, Industries of the Blind, Inc. out of Greensboro, NC. I buy mine in a bag of 36 at the military commissary.

I called Skilcraft as soon as Wendy told me about this. I was really excited about finding US clothespins! But unfortunately they are not really made here :-(

Skilcraft employs blind people, and I encourage people to buy their stuff for that reason. But the clothespins are actually made in China and then they package and label them at their workshop in NC.

Thank you Wendy for the tip - another workshop associated with them makes a laundry basket we are going to checkout :-)

You know what Kellene said about not wasting time grating laundry soap? We found a solution. Freeze your soap first - it crumbles like you won't believe! Of course we discovered this after making our Homemade Laundry Detergent. (edited for possible spam)

Thanks Kellene,

~ Sandy Taylor

Washing Soda and Borax can both be found at WalMart. It is a great thing to stock up on as price point is great! I have begun making my own laundry detergent and am loving the price point. Enjoy. It really does clean the clothes better and you will also note, not as much of the soapy feeling.

You can get both Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda at Ace hardware. If they don't have it they'll usually order it for you for no shipping charge.

I ordered one of these hand plunger type washers about a year ago as one of my preparedness items. But I was always a bit in the dark about the laundry soap. Couldn't imagine stocking up on 500 pounds of Tide. Thanks Kellene for a simple, cost effective recipe.

I love outdoor drying, in fact I've done it all my life and so did my parents and grandparents...there were no other options. I have a 5 strand clothes line, home made of course with wire and wood out in the back of the yard and 3 strands of clothes line string on the inside of the roof of my large covered porch for when it rains. I prefer the wire line as it doesn't stretch when it gets weighed down. I have found that items like permanent press will come out wrinkle free if you shake them when you get them out of the washer, toss them in the dryer on tumble for 5 minutes with a dryer sheet then hang them on a hanger and put them out on the line on the hanger. Sometimes a good shaking is all they need if there is a breeze outside. I have also learned that wood hangers are more expensive but a better buy especially for shirts and blouses as they are curved more like a natural body and the clothes hang much better, plus they last a lifetime.

Great post and I think I understand your feelings about Independence Day here in Utah but...we have all these city celebrations that most often include fireworks so they are just spread out all through the summer instead of on one day. LOL
Thanks for the info on homemade washing soap as I have been meaning to make some for quite a while. Funny thing about that drying rack, I attend auctions all over the place when I can and one of my buys quite a few years ago was a vintage piece very much like the one that you like to use. It may have a few scars and a couple of coats of paint on it but it has been very useful to me in my laundry area so I can agree that its a wise purchase.
Always great to read your posts

I'm with you on the odor phobia! My husband doesn't understand but I don't care. I love the idea of the indoor drying rack. That is a great detergent recipe also. Thank you! I hate paying big prices for something I use a lot of when I can make it myself for much less. I am always looking for clothespins made in the USA. The imports are so flimsy. I think I'll check out the antique stores for any of the old USA pins. I've found those stores are good places to get bowls and other china pieces that are actually made in the good old USA!

I have only found washing soda at Walmart. Borax is available at most groceries.

Love the article and like the simple solution for hand drying the gently used dressier clothing that we buy from Goodwill for very little money, but that need special laundering (hand washing) with no electric dryer. This sure beats washing just a few items at a time and then hanging them in turns over the shower curtain on top of a towel.

BTW - stores do incur costs with returns, even in good, salable condition. Not everyone is honorable about returning goods in a new, unused state and most people are suspicious if a package has been opened, so it takes labor to check and perhaps repackage an item for resale. That is addition to the original labor to process, charge, and pick the order, especially if it was mail order. Also, most people are using credit or debit cards - ever wonder where that "1% back" comes from? Yes, the merchant - they are charged extra for doing the transaction (your rewards) and there is even another fee for someone using a "business card", so I agree with a "restocking" fee in most cases to cover those costs, UNLESS the return is because the merchant did not give enough information to make an intelligent choice in the first place.

Thanks for the recipe. I've not heard of washing soda before - where can we find it? I would assume Borax is stlll available in the stores.

Thanks Kellene. I have one of the mobile washers for washing and a clothesline but as it's raining now and predicted to rain throughout the week, could not dry clothing outdoors if Ineeded to. I'll certainly be adding one or more of these drying racks very soon.

Thanks for the easy detergent recipe also.

Oh. P.S. I think that drying rack would work great for hanging my yogurt cheese! I usually have to hang some sort of contraption onto each of my kitchen cupboards when hanging my cheese...and on a day when most of my family isn't around attempting to get into those cupboards which is often! What a pain. So this rack would be perfect!

I'm assuming you meant "Clothes washer" not dishwasher. Right? ; ) {The recipe.}

Anyway......I have been making homemade laundry soap for quite a while now. But I LOVE the idea where there is NO grating to be had. {Although, I do use an electric food processor for now.} HA ha. Going to try this recipe of yours for sure. Also have a plunger. Works great. I also have used a toilet plunger {clean unused brand new} when I didn't have the commercially made one.

I also have my wonder washer. Have you seen or used one? Let me tell ya....I LOVE MINE! So handy! Especially when my washer broke down and I had to wait for a week for parts. This little portable washer is awesome in a pinch. And uses hardly any water. {Great when needing to conserve water during an emergency.} Perfect for small dorms, apartments, or when gone camping. No more coin operated expensive {eating} machines that don't work on a camp ground. ; )

The clothes rack idea looks great! Thanks for the links!

I'm just starting to do my clothes drying via rack and line. 1 person can use 1 or two small racks but that one of your would be a great one to have on hand and I love multi-taskers. Plus using an electric clothes dryer adds 5000-6000 watts on your electric bill!
I got a good score on Dawn dishsoap at Family Dollar $2.75 for a 48 oz. bottle with no coupon!

I lived for two years without a washer or dryer in the Amazon, after one month of hand washing clothes I developed rashes and fungus on my hands that didn't do away until we moved back to dryer climate. So consider this if you are going to be doing a lot of hand washing I was lucky to hire someone local to do this for me.
Now I live in the wet rainy Northwest, so outdoor drying isn't possible a lot of the year, I have to hang clothes up n the garage or basement, your rack looks nice. A cheap alternative is a retractable line, costs about$15.00 at hardware store. Or I still have my Christmas stocking holders up and I use it to dry my bras to my husbands dismay.
How does your home detergent work in washing machines that require. HC detergent? anyone know?

You could do the easy thing to do and just be sure you use high frequency essential oils in your detergent. That will prevent such reactions.
I have a HE washing machine and have no problems with this detergent.

Yes, lehmans does have one but it's a bit pricey. I'm sure it would hold up well though. Not sure if it could handle real thick items. The ones I have seen in antique stores definately would not and I'd bet that lehmans is similar.

I too have heavy insulated carhart overalls. Definetly can not hand wring these items and the mop bucket wringer I have doesn't do enough as far as I am concerned. For smaller items (light weight) I have two options: the larger oxo salad spinner (used only for this purpose) works for shirts and smaller items but can only do a couple at a time; the other is the spinning bucket that came with my hurricane mop. It too is not as large as I would like but it can do a pair of jeans or two at one time. My heavy weight and insulated things go into the mop wringer but like I said it doesn't get out as much water as I would like. It takes a few days for these items to dry so I have "spare" so I have one to use while the other is drying (in preparedness redundancy is a must). I also have to use a larger tub to wash them in. I use one of those large, heavy duty plastic tubs with rope handles like you buy at mass retailers and the plunger like apparatus. It works well for all but the worst stains, a washboard is a must for these The dawn dishwashing liquid instead of bar soap in the homemade laundry soap recipe does a better job on removing grease and manure stains.

Kellene and Greg, I am really upset about the clothes pins being labeled "made in the USA" and not really being made here! I thought that the US government required a product to be made at least 70% in the US to be labeled "made in the USA." I bet if the US military commisaries knew that they were illegally labeled they would not carry them. I support any industry that helps/employs people with disabilities (both my husband and myself are disable veterans) but I do not support the practice of misleading customers. Well,lesson learned.

It would be better if their label just said "Packaged in the USA". But there really are no US made spring type clothespins (yet - talking to someone who may make it happen) - so the Skilcraft ones are the closest that the commissaries can get.

We have an antique drying rack mounted on the pantry door. In its day it was originally used for drying linens (sheets/tablecloths) and for storing them after they were pressed.

It currently holds the mesh bags of fresh garlic, ginger root, apples, oranges, etc. Since the racks at the edges are closest to the wall, the mesh bags hang out of the way of traffic, but are handy to the cook in the kitchen and the pantry door can be opened without taking it down. Just poke a hole in the bag near the top label and slide it on the rod, make it large enough so you can reach in to get what you need.

Yes, Wendy, that is exactly my question! How on earth do you wring the clothes out without having to wring by hand? All this energy you've just saved by making your own detergent & having the handy-dandy drying rack, you now expend on wringing out the clothes? What's an easy, affordable, solution here?

I personally like the standard janitorial mop bucket wringers.

Thanks for the great info! =) The washer and drying rack looks fabulous! I'm wondering if you or any of your readers know of a good wringer to get most of the water out before hanging them to dry? I've seen some out there, but they are around $160 or more for good quality ones. YIKES! And the mop bucket ones wouldn't do so hot with jeans and insulated coveralls (it gets COLD her in the winter!) Anyone have any other ideas for a wringer? We are a family of 6 and I can't imaging hand wringing all those clothes out! Thanks! =)

Yes! Go to the schools in your area and talk to the head janitor. Tell him that when they get new mop buckets with the ringers or squeezers that you would like to have it and leave your number. Most times you can buy the replacement parts or if you get a couple of them you can swap out the parts. Give them a good scrubbing and sanitizing and you have a "new" wash tub and wringer or squeezer. You can use the plunger to wash and the wringer or squeezer to ...well, squeeze! By the way I have a regular plunger (bought it new) with holes cut on 4 sides for a clothes washing plunger.

We were actually out camping when the mircobursts came through the Dayton area. So we heard our roads where closed, no power etc and decided to stay where we were a little longer. The thought of the food in the fridge was the only reason we finally packed it up and went home. We have a generator we could have hooked the trailer up to and been just fine in the front yard. LOL. But the power was back on and we could get to our house by the time we returned so we didn't even need what little preps we currently have anyways.

For my laundry needs, I have been using commercial display racks that I purchased when stores were closing out. I have a mobile four level bin rack that sorts my laundry. I have two large commercial clothes racks like the ones in a retail clothing store. They have rollers for mobility and they are height adjustable so I can air dry anything from undies to long dresses (at the same time.) Not only, do I baby my clothes so they look and last longer, but also save money and electricity by air drying. There is nothing like smelling clean laundry all year round. Less waste and more funds to put towards prepping.

Yes, this has a nice long shelf-life. The essential oil isn't just for scent. If you purchase a quality essential oil, you will also have a source that's an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal as well. This is important in a crisis scenario as an added layer of prevention and protection.

Great. Thank you for your awesome patience with my "not too bright" questions...rofl. I have read some of your articles on essential oils, so guess that is probably next on my list. Thanks again.

Thank you for sharing your recipe for the homemade laundry detergent. I make a powdered version, but can see the importance of having liquid in the event of no electricity. My question (well, 2 actually) are these: Can these be stored indefinitely in jugs as I know the sizes of the ingredients and this will make a ton of laundry soap. My thinking is to make up lots ahead of time and shelve it. 2nd question, and only b/c I don't know much about them, but what is the purpose of the essential oils other than scent? Is this something that is necessary or optional. Thanks for all of the articles.

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