Did you know that washing machines use up an incredible amount of water and energy in just one cycle? A standard washing machine uses up to 40 gallons of water to wash just one load of laundry! Not only is this method extremely wasteful, it’s also expensive. To justify using the washing machine, you need to let clothes and towels pile up all week and then spend an entire day as a slave to each wash cycle. Honestly, it’s a waste of time, money, and resources when you consider your options.
There are numerous alternatives that allow you to control the size of each load and the amount of water used. Non-electric laundry methods require a little bit of elbow grease, but they give you nice clean results without wasting so many resources.
Got a bucket, some water, and a bit of washing detergent? Then you can wash your clothes in a bucket! This is the simplest method around which is used every day all over the world for fresh sheets, clean undies, and stain-free clothes. Any relatively shallow bucket will do, whether it is round or rectangular doesn’t matter in the slightest.
- Fill the bucket with warm or cold water while mixing in a modest amount of laundry detergent.
- Submerge your laundry and give it a good scrubbing.
- Allow your laundry to soak in the soapy water for about 10 minutes.
- Drain the soapy water and rinse your clothes with clean running water until the soapy texture is gone.
- Hang dry.
Turn your bucket game up a notch with this genius Japanese invention of a washboard and basin bucket! The ridged platform is used to rub your soapy clothes and help release dirt, sweat, and grime. Follow the same steps to wash your clothes as you would in a normal bucket.
3. Washboard and Bathtub
Turn your bathtub into your laundry machine with this lightweight washboard. Fill your bathtub up with water, laundry soap, and the items to be washed. Then use the washboard to briskly scrub your clothes clean. Just be sure to rinse your bathtub of all the leftover residue as wash soap tends to leave a super-slippery film.
4. Plunger and a Bucket
You read that right: a plunger. Buy yourself a brand new plunger and wrap some colorful duct tape on the end so that it never gets confused with the toilet plunger (that’d be a nightmare). You’ll use the plunger and a bucket to churn your clothes clean.
- Fill a tall bucket (5-7 gallons is ideal) with warm or cool water and laundry soap.
- Submerge your laundry in the water.
- Plunge as you normally would in an up-and-down motion. Use enough force to create a suction effect that will pull impurities out of your clothes, yet be gentle enough so you don’t damage your fabrics.
- Drain the soapy water out of the bucket and give your clothes a rinse with clean water.
- Hang dry.
5. Laundry Pod
When you’re dealing with small spaces, the Laundry Pod is ideal. This portable, non-electric machine fits 9-10 pieces of light-moderate weight clothing and is especially great for delicate items. As you’ll see, it’s a very straightforward process…
- Pop the top and place your dirty items in the basket inside.
- Pour laundry detergent evenly over your clothes.
- Pour 1 gallon of clean water into the pod.
- Put the top back on the pod, and use the built-in handle to churn your clothes in a circular motion for about 1 minute.
- Place the attached hose into your sink or drain, and then release the dirty water by turning the rudimentary nozzle.
- To rinse, pour in one more gallon of clean water, churn for 2 minutes, and drain once more.
- Hang dry.
The Wonder Washer may look like a mini version of R2D2 from Star Wars, but it is far from high-tech. This contraption is simply a well-made, airtight bucket secured on hinges, which allows you to slosh your clothes around with soap and water until clean. It’s extremely straightforward and gets the job done well.
- Using the suction cups located on the legs of the Wonder Washer and make sure the device is secured to your floor or table.
- Place your dirty items, some laundry soap, and the desired amount of water into the container.
- Seal the lid.
- Use the handle to spin the Wonder Washer in circles for a minute or two.
- Drain the soapy water with the attached hose into the sink or drain.
- Repeat the process using clean water as a rinse cycle.
- Hang dry.
Bonus Laundry Trick: Homemade Laundry Soap
- 1 cup of washing soda.
- 1 cup of borax.
- Couple drops of essential oils or one cup of grated all-natural bar soap.
Mix together in a blender or just stir it really well and it will be ready to use. Store in an airtight container.
Once I started washing my laundry by hand, there was no going back. I’ve discovered that fabric pills less and color stays in tact with these gentler methods, extending the life of my clothes. I also love that these alternative washing methods take up very little space.
You can wash your clothes camping, wash your clothes in your dorm room, wash your clothes when the power is out–there are no limits. As long as you’ve got some clean water and a bit of soap, you can stay fresh and clean both on and off the grid.