Earth Justice:  Week 7 of No Laundry Detergent

by Donna Schoenkopf

 

Yup. They're whiter. Whiter than ever.

 

Every single thing that I've washed for seven weeks is now visibly cleaner, judging by my whites.

 

Flashback:

 

I bought a 40 foot long piece of clear vinyl hose that I fit on the outflow of my washing machine. I did this because I wanted to spare my septic system the influx of the 40 gallons of water per load. And I wanted to put that water to good use on my lawn.

 

I draped the hose over the top of the washer across the top of a chair that I had propped against the end of some shelving. From there it spanned the space between the chair and the laundry basket, across the top of the basket, down to the jamb of the sliding glass door, through the door, and out onto the east “yard.”

 

Then I would slide the door snugly up to the hose and stuff my clean, rolled up socks into the tall, vertical, open space above the hose. I'd pack them tightly around the hose, too. This was all because lots of little tree frogs came in through that opening and ended up mummified in the tracks of the sliding glass doors. I would find them, wrapped tightly in spider webs and dog hair. They looked exactly like little, tiny mummies.

 

You could see the outline of their spines and ribs on their backs. They were completely dry and preserved. Their little mouths were all petrified into distinctively different little smiles.

 

I carefully unwound six of them. You could see the outline of their spines and ribs on their backs. They were completely dry and preserved. Their little mouths were all petrified into distinctively different little smiles. I packed them in a little box and sent them to my grandson, Anthony, for his tenth birthday. Anthony likes Nature.

 

Not only frogs got in. Once I had a snake in the house which I suspect came in through that sliding glass door. It slid across the floor and disappeared into the wall. I imagined it having babies in the walls. Millions of crawling snakes pouring out of my walls!! YIKES!! I waited, freaked out, sitting on the edge of my bed, with salad tongs and a towel until it came out, and, on its second appearance, managed to pick it up with the tongs and take it gently outside where I let it go.

 

But I digress.

 

Nowadays, I am back to letting the water go down to the septic tank. I took off the forty foot hose, replaced it with the original black accordion hose, stuck its snout into the opening of the plumbing, and signed off of graywater reuse.

 

I feel a little guilty about not letting all that water go directly on the ground. But peace of mind is important. I am at peace (sorta) knowing the water is as pure as can be and wherever it goes, it will do no harm.

 

And . . . I cannot tell you how much easier it is to just turn on the washer and forget about it until it's run its course. No more hose arranging. No more snakes. Ahhhhhhh.

 

So, unless something bizarre happens, I will stop reporting on my laundry experiment.

 

My work here is done.

 

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