LAUNDRY-Doing Laundry WITHOUT Electricity

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    <span style=”color: #800080″>(I *hope* this is where this thread goes, since it’s about doing laundry ‘off the grid’). This topic is being considered from this quote over on the ‘Family Cloth’ thread</span>:

    @Alaska Rose wrote:

    <span style=”color: #408040″>Not having running water, a 5 gallon bucket of soapy water with some disinfectant in it, sitting in the bathroom, is handy to place used items in for future washing. No washing machine can be overcome by using a toilet plunger in the bucket to wash the clothes.</span>
    If you are on a rough road, a 5 gallon bucket half filled with clothes or clothes, filled most of the way up with soapy water, and a lid popped on, placed in the back of the truck while you drive, will pretty much clean dirty work jeans, LOL.

    Most of us wash clothes using an ELECTRIC washing machine and dryer. An alternate dryer is easy … hang up the clothes. But what about the use of your washing machine. Alaska Rose touched on an alternate idea above, mentioning the use of a plunger in a bucket. Here’s more info on that idea from the ”GetPandemicReady’ website:; onclick=”;return false

    1. Use rubber or plastic tubs or buckets and a clean Household plunger.

      * Put water, detergent, and clothes in tub.

      * Cut a hole in the lid for the plunger handle (the agitator).

      * Soak the clothes.
      * Insert the plunger handle through the lid on the bucket and agitate.

    2. Use a tub of clear water to rinse the clothes. Some clothes may need hand scrubbing.

    3. Use the wringer of a mop bucket to remove water by hand. If you don’t have a mop bucket, wring clothes by hand.

    EmergencyHomePreparation has more on this here:
    Laundry: How are we going to get it done w/ou Electric??

    Any other ideas?

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by ReadyMom.
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by ReadyMom.

    Can someone tell my how you wash clothes with a bucket and plunger? Do you need a special plunger like Emergency Essentials sells or can you just use a regular one? I am learning so much on this site. Thaniks to all you veteren preppers for helping those of us still new to this. :clap:


    I have been in stuck several times before, for weeks at a time, with no power and thus no washing machine. Few things are as yummy as going day by day after a hurricane or typhoon with the prospect of a shrinking stock of clean skivvies. So, one of the things that I including in my preps is some provision for doing laundry. Even in my BOB I keep some packets of Tide travel sink packets and clothes pins. The packets are small, and the clothes pins that I keep are pretty sturdy and could hold plastic sheeting onto some paracord for a simple shelter.

    So, for my home preps I picked up a “Mobile Washer” from Emergency Essentials about a year ago ( I put it next to a 5 gallon bucket that holds two clothes lines, some cheap clothes pins, and some laundry detergent…and I intend to add a wringer at some point.

    Recently, (last week) I have finally started a new job. Just starting out, as a new grad, it has been heck trying to get someone to hire me and I have ended up getting a job about two hours away from my home, in another state (Mississippi). I have gotten a little studio apartment that is very nice, exactly what I am looking for, but it does not have any laundry facilities. Yep, I can go back to the laundry mat thing but I don’t want to. Saving up/scrounging for quarters, sitting there surrounded by, uh, “alternative individuals” trying to ignore Dr. Phil on the TV while watching for two hours to make sure that no one steals my Scooby-Doo t-shirt… Not looking forward to going back to those days. So, I started to hand wash my clothes daily…and then I remembered the Mobile Washer in my preps and I brought it back with me on my next trip home.

    The Mobile Washer looks like a toilet plunger and functions kinda like one too. It consists of four parts: a handle that has a standard thread on it so that you can swap it out for another handle (like a mop handle, or toilet plunger handle); a grill, a big cone, and a little cone.
    To use, you fit everything together and twist in the handle. The grill goes inside of the big cone and the little cone on top of the big cone with the handle going through both cones to screw into the grill.
    You fill a bucket with water, add clothes and detergent and then shove the Mobile Washer up and down in the bucket. When you pull the Mobile Washer up a suction is created, pulling the clothes against the grill and forcing the water through them. The suction is so great that I pick up the entire 3-gallon bucket, full of clothes and water, that I use for my laundry unless I anchor the bucket with my feet.
    I have been using Woolite, thinking that it would be more efficient (less rinsing). Perhaps it would be if I had not ended up buying the “ultra concentrated” bottle. If I add more than a drop or two I have to rinse many times before the soap is out. What I have been doing is every night when I come in from work is to put the shirt, under shirt, underwear and socks that I wore that day in the bucket, filled with hot water and a very little bit of Woolite. Then I agitate them for a minute or two with the Mobile Washer. Then I wring the cloths out by hand, change the water in the bucket and agitate the clothes again to rinse. After two rinses most of the Woolite is usually washed out. In all, I am using about 6 gallons of water with each wash. Every few days I am doing the same with my pants and lab coat.

    To try and keep everything nice and tidy, I am doing my laundry in my shower (big shower). I got another tension bar shower rod and am using it as a clothes line to initially drip dry the wet clothes after wringing them out by hand.
    After the clothes drip for a bit I hang them on a folding drying rack that I got at Wal-Mart.
    With the rack in front of my air conditioner they dry out pretty quickly. Most of my underwear and shirts are dry the next day, socks and pants take about two or three days.

    This system is not perfect, but it saves me a lot of time, money, and hassle. I have it down to being able to do a “load” of laundry in 15 minutes (unless I screw up and put in too much Woolite, then I have to rinse, rinse, rinse). On my days off instead of dragging a big laundry bag home I usually only have a few articles of clothing, mostly what I am wearing, to wash. I also like using my some of my preps for an everyday chore, instead of their just taking up storage space.


    I foud this on a site that sells items that had gotten their start on – It’s a a different method to doing laundry when your traveling/backpacking which is as we all know really prepperease for bugging out.

    Kinda pricey but if you factor in that it can do double duty as a water container helps ease the strain.


    This is a link to an off the grid laundry machine, has a material list included and it is pretty cool….might be better than stomping them in a tub! 😉

    Off-Grid Laundry Machine


    Interesting concept for those of us who are developing shoulder issues this clothes washer is foot pedaled.


    Merged topics today.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by ReadyMom.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by ReadyMom.
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