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Ok To Wash Clay Clothes In Washing Machine?

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I use a separate washing machine outside under kiln roof-cold water from hose for supply and no soap it all drains into plants in summer (raspberries and into rain gutter drain to daylight in winter. What haoppens over time is clay will settle in any low spot such as your water pump in machine-I know this as I have cleaned mine before. I keep clay out of house plumbing period. I'm running a full time studio so the volume is a lot more than most.I still would soak the clay off then wash in machine on a smaller scale.

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So maybe another solution could be to hang clay encrusted towels outside during a rain storm? I guess that only works in an area that gets rain.

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My washer is on the second floor. I don't run my aprons or towels through the washing machine. My studio clothes I do but they have very little if anything on them since I always wear an apron. For my aprons and clay towels I take them outside during a rain storm and let them hang over my fence, then I move them around after the storm passes to get them to dry. With really caked stuff this doesn't always work so I put those towels in one of those plastic dish wash tubs and let soak until the chunks are gone then rinse in my studio sink and hang outside to dry. I haven't been using soap on these and so far they haven't begun to smell or anything doing it this way.

 

I have a claytrap in my studio sink and when I am doing something really dirty I put a plastic pipe in the drain hole. It's only a few inches tall. It allows the heavy stuff to settle out in the sink bottom that I can then scoop out so it doesn't go into the drain at all. It's sort of a double jeopardy set up for really nasty pottery stuff to protect my drains as much as I can.

 

Oh and this system only fails when like last year we had a drought and it didn't rain for months!

 

T

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As others have said here, there should not be much of a problem with clothes that are soiled from a day of throwing. However, I have used a pair of insulated pants for several days, that I have soaked to remove a majority of the clay in a five gallon bucket. Most of the time I use a towel in the shop to cover my legs when throwing, and to wipe my hands on when pulling handles etc. I usually just put them out in the rain outside in Spring, Summer and Fall to let them clean and dry naturally. Wash them in the Winter. I guess what it all boils down to is how extreme do you want to go in your washer. I think the pump seals are more of a problem than the drain itself, as years ago, I had a pump go out on a washer that was quite new, when I replaced the pump the old pump had sludge of clay in it that had slowed the movement of the "impeller". In the end, I think that clay in the washer is more of a problem than going down the drain.

 

best,

Pres

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Guest JBaymore

In my case.............

 

I try to work very cleanly for health and safety reasons.  Haven't done the Charles Schultz "Pigpen" bit since the 60's (when clay covered clothes used to be a badge of honor").

 

I throw pretty dry...so not a lot of clay gets on my clothing when I am doing that activity.  When doing glazing work.... I also try to keep it very "clean" ......apron....studio towels...etc.  So

 

All really clay covered or glaze covered stuff gets washed in the studio sink by hand.  I have an old restaurant multi bay stainless sink.  One sink "bay" has a stand pipe, and that is where messy stuff first gets washed off.  97%-99% of the stuff gets washed off clothes and towels there.  The whole studio sink then also goes into a large custom built trap before heading to the outgoing sewer lines.

 

The sink with the stand pipe gets cleaned out of sediment periodically, as does the main trap.

 

In the summer, sometime I hang clay covered stuff up outside and hit it with the garden hose.

 

So the clothes that go into the regular house wash sometimes have a tiny bit of clay or glaze material on them.... but VERY little.

 

best,

 

....................john

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For you, I like Oldlady's soloution. It's a simpler version of John's setup, but that one is set up to handle more volume than yours.

I don't have a clay trap because when I put my studio together, there wasn't any budget for things I didn't already own, so in terms of waste water, I treated my studio like it had no access to a sink. (I bring water in from the basement bathroom that's adjacent). If you're not making huge volumes of work, don't have to settle things out in huge buckets if you can't manage them. Smaller ones work fine. Just siphon off the water when it's clear.

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Well here's the problem - I live in the desert.  Leaving things hanging out makes them dirtier with all the sand blowing around all the time.  And there is no rain to speak of.

 

So that won't help me here.  But its certainly a good idea anywhere you get rain, LOL!

 

The other issue is that I need to bring the washing machine in from the garage as it freezes out there all winter meaning I have to run a heater constantly to keep the water in the pump from freezing. Also I tend to put off going out there to actually do laundry because its freakin' COLD.  I find as I age I am much less willing/able to put up with things like that, and more likely to procrastinate over it.

 

This is also why I need a utility sink and clay trap - I already know I won't (can't) be schlepping 5 gallon buckets around.  If I don't make it as easy for myself as possible, I just won't work.

 

So lets say I NEVER wash anything clay-ey in the washing machine; and it is draining in to the utility sink; and I have the clay trap installed.  Keeping in mind I am one person and don't have that much laundry and when I do they are small loads.

 

I can get long hoses for the dishwasher and drain it into the kitchen sink across the room from the utility sink.  But I have to drain the washing machine into the utility sink.

 

Is THAT doable, to have the washing machine draining into the utility sink and through the clay trap?

 

I am unwilling to take stuff I know will clog up the drains (and apparently parts of the washer itself) to a laundromat.  I don't think that is fair to them. 

 

But I can swish them around in a giant bucket before washing in the utility sink by hand (with the help of a laundry plunger).  But that's a different issue; mostly I just want to have my utility sink and the washing machine inside, and the only place to put them is next to each other over where the laundry fixtures were when they built the house.  I THINK it has been said that this would wash clay out of the clay trap and into the drain I am trying to protect?  The fear expressed was the high velocity of water coming out of the machine?  But since it goes into the sink tub and is not being forced at high velocity through the drain itself, is that really an issue?

 

I just want to get my hands in clay again.  I thought I was FINALLY in a position to have a home studio.  *sigh*

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.... mostly I just want to have my utility sink and the washing machine inside, and the only place to put them is next to each other over where the laundry fixtures were when they built the house. 

 

Do you have room for a double laundry sink ?  If so, you can probably configure the drains so that only one side goes through the clay trap (similar to a disposer under a double kitchen sink).  Then, you do all of your clay cleanup on one side - and everything else, including the washing machine, on the other side.

 

post-19205-0-62914300-1488250623_thumb.jpg

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My plumber objects to that and I think the reason is that it is a 2" drain and should only have one thing at a time draining through there.  I think that is what he said - I will have to check.  So obviously when the washing machine is draining you are not going to be trying to use the sink (when its a single bowl).  But I'll check with him.

 

I didn't think this would be such a big deal.  I've been trying for almost 10 years now to get things set up to where I can work.  Much longer and I'll be UNDER the clay instead of working with it, LOL!

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Are you saying he doesn't think you should have the double sink draining into a single 2" drain ?

 

It is pretty standard for the two sides of a double sink to join together into a single drain, using a 'T' fitting under one of them.  (If you have a double sink in your kitchen, look under it - you'll most likely see something like this (It will look a little different if you have a disposer, but is functionally the same.):

 

post-19205-0-11131500-1488504871_thumb.jpg

 

A double laundry sink would usually be configured the same.  Installing a clay trap on one side, before it feeds into the "T" would be no different than having a disposer on one side of your kitchen sink.

 

 

post-19205-0-11131500-1488504871_thumb.jpg

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I use a separate washing machine outside under kiln roof-cold water from hose for supply and no soap it all drains into plants in summer (raspberries and into rain gutter drain to daylight in winter. ......I still would soak the clay off then wash in machine on a smaller scale.

Thanks for mentioning that Mark - I have been wondering about the use of gray-clay water on plants.  I'm thinking I'll use them on landscape plants instead of edibles .... probably being overly cautious.

 And finding a way of dealing with waste clay slop in my studio is my biggest headache at this point.  I wanted to be all sorts of green and put out the cash for one of those Cinks.  It has been a bit more pain than pleasure for me.

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Spring, summer and fall i hang it all on the clothesline and really go at it with the hose, then into the wash. In winter I wait for spring.

 

If you have a septic field it would be a huge mistake to let clay get into it. That happened to a potter friend of mine. VERY expensive to fix that one (as in backhoe and plumber combined expensive). Sludge eating bacteria additives won't help.

 

I don't have running water in my studio so it's buckets hauled from the house in winter or hose filled buckets the rest of the year. You learn really fast how to conserve water when you have to haul it. So I clean my hands in the wheel bucket and rinse in a bigger bucket. The bigger bucket can go for weeks without changing since the clay sinks to the bottom. An apron is the order of the day (unless I forget). Buckets get dumped outside when they need to be cleaned up.

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