Freeze-Dried Laundry

Freeze-Dried Laundry, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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The Amish Cook has an indoor gas-powered washing machine, much like the ones most of you reading this probably use.  Amish in more conservative communities still use the wringer washers, just depends on the local customs and church rules. Lovina does line dry her clothing, often on basement lines during the winter and outside when it is warm.  Many Amish in the conservative settlements outside of Berne still wash using the wringer washers (Elizabeth Coblentz, the original Amish Cook, used to jokingly refer to the machine as her “Armstrong” because of the strength needed to run those machines for a long period).  The Amish in the Berne, Indiana area – and other conservative churches – still endure frozen fingers to line dry their laundry during the winter.   With the coldest season just about upon us, many Amish in the Berne area will be hanging laundry out in the winter chill.This is a photo (thank you, Dave Shaner) showing some laundry hanging outside on a cold winter’s day near Berne.  Freeze-drying does apparently work if you leave them on the line all day. Lovina says she appreciates having a nice warm basement to line dry her laundry in in her Michigan home. She says drying them outside on a freezing day will leave the clothing “stiff as a board.”  When they thaw out they’ll still be a little damp, but not as wet as when you hung them. Some people say that freeze drying your clothing makes whites whiter.  Anyone else have freeze-drying experience with laundry?

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The Discussion

  1. Cindy Linn says:


    I’m used to helping my Amish girlfriend with her laundry. And yes, it is exhausting! While hers does run off of gasoline, she has the wringer type. And she too hangs her laundry out in the winter. Although due to health reasons, I think her husband may have finally hung line up for her in the basement. But yes, I have found that her laundry is whiter when we freeze dry it. I’ve hung my bed sheets on her line in the winter and love the results!

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    • I went back to hanging laundry on the outside line, I no longer have a dryer, the clothes smell so nice, much nicer then they do in the summertime when it is so hot out, yes they get stiff as a board, but if it is windy out they do dry all the way and are naturally soft too.I had a wringer washer several times during my life, one was a gas model.

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  2. My mom used to hang clothes out in the winter before she got her dryer. Not Amish just farm people back in the depression. All I remember is how my fingers got totally numb and stung bad when I came in the house. It was as bad taking them down and was double awful if the wind was blowing. Because they didn’t totally dry, they were ready to be ironed without dampening. Household chores are not for the weak that’s for sure.

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  3. Yes I line dried diapers and sheets when my kids were young. Love the fresh smell when they were brought in the house. Those days are long gone now. Lol

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  4. Barb Wright says:


    As I am typing,I have laundry on the line,,it is 27*. I have a dryer,but don’t use it,as I prefer to line dry my stuff. If the weather is real bad,I use racks by the wood stove. I love the smell of clothes hung outside,especially in winter! The whites are whiter,too!! My fingers don’t freeze..I wear shooting gloves..they have the finger tips removed! (I think I shared that awhile back). I have always felt that dryers ruin clothes..think lint and stretched out elastic!!

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  5. Years ago when my kids were babies, I hung out clothes, diapers in freezing weather. Just somthing you did then.
    Now 60 years later, I still hang out my clothes. Like Barb, I uses racks in the winter. After they dry, I put them in dryer for a few minutes to fluff up.
    I think dryers ruin clothes.
    jodie

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  6. Karen Schulz says:


    For years, we had a wringer washer but no dryer. We had clotheslines in the basement at one place, but at another, we had to hang outdoors. I always loved the frozen clean things! My job was ironing, and I loved to not need to sprinkle them! In fact, when laundry was dried DRY, we sprinkled them, rolled them up in a dishtowel, and stuck them in the freezer til we had time to get to the ironing! Good memories of days long ago!

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  7. My mother-in-law used to hang clothes upstairs in the winter. I would see them frozen like a board and they would be damp when brought downstairs to be by the warm stove to thaw and finish drying. While I love to hang out my clothes in the summer, I haven’t ever done winter hanging. I also used a wringer washer until 1986. We bought a Maytag automatic washer that year and I’m thankful it still runs so well and never needed any repairs all these years. Wish they still made products to last like that today.

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  8. i remenber my Mom hanging out the laundry in the winter–it smelled wonderful when she brought it in the house. Luckily she had clothes lines in our cellar to hang it on after she brought it in from outside–as we did not have an electric clothes dryer. The clothes were stiff as a board–no fabric softner back then either. I guess I’m giving away my age. Oh well, great memories though!!!!

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