Washing Laundry By Hand Just Got Easier
Submitted by Kathleen from New York
One of the biggest challenges for me living off-the-grid has been doing the laundry. Not having a large enough solar system has made running a washing machine impossible for the present time. At least the machines that are not energy efficient are impossible. I have a brand new super efficient one waiting to be used but that is a whole other story. So for the most part I have been washing by hand for eleven years now. Many times I take it to the Laundromat but not all of it, mostly just towels and my husband's jeans.
For most of those eleven years I have been washing with a plunger to agitate the clothes in the buckets. I scrub the garment with soap if it is badly soiled. Then let them soak a few hours in the soapy water. After that I rinse them in the rinse water. I do not wring them out. I have found that to cause wrinkles. Instead I let them drain on the side of the bucket as you see in one of these photos. Then hang them on the line.
My plunger did an okay job. Then one day I left it outside on a night that had freezing temperatures. It cracked. I managed to use it very gently for the past couple of months but knew I had to replace it. I found the Mobile Washer at Emergency Essentials. It looks like a plunger but is completely different. It only costs $14.95 and is a bargain in my opinion.
The normal way people hand wash is by rubbing the garments together, using a washboard. Of course we are all familiar with that method. My husband was in the Philippines and they washed the laundry by rubbing them against rocks. Friction is good for removing dirt but it also ruins the clothes. Here is the Mobile Washer instructions that came with it: "This washer uses a technique of pushing and pulling water through the clothes which reduces much of the wear and tear that would come from the friction method."
Because of this agitation method, less soap is needed to do an effective cleaning job. Minimal water is needed too..........that is a plus when you are pumping the water from a pitcher pump! The directions say to use only four inches of water and a teaspoon of detergent in a five gallon bucket or pail. But wash fewer garments at a time. Works great. Makes my job seem much easier. And the clothes I took out yesterday seemed so much brighter too.
You can see it is made special for creating the vacuum. I found it very easy to use and am quite happy with this!
---Kathleen, New York