I realize that this might seem a bit basic, but washing clothes by hand is no joke! I do it every year for two weeks, and every year, I’m glad I did a lot of research on the initial end! I’m also very glad when I can come home and use the washing machine again too!
Here’s my set up. I’ve got the following things in order to make it all work;
- A portable, folding clothes line
- A breathing washer
- A metal wash tub
- A commercial salad spinner
- A basket
- A bucket
- Clothes pins
Please note that in the pictures, I was lucky enough to have a hose this last year, though it was very low pressure and would periodically turn off on its own…In past years I’ve had to do this with the bucket and expect that will be the case in future! Here’s how you put it all together.
- Fill your wash tub, using the bucket for transporting water
- Put in the soap
- Use the plunger to make bubbles. If you do not do this step, the soap never mixes well with the water and you end up with cakes in the bottom of the tub. Not so hot if you really want clean clothing.
- Sort your laundry – do your whites first, with the exception of stinky socks! If you do the dirty, stinky clothing in the beginning, everything that follows will be dirty and stinky. Progress thru the clothing, light to dark, to the exceptionally dirty and stinky.
- Put half of what you think will fit into the wash tub.
- Plunge – the idea is to use the plunger like an agitator, and it can’t work if there are too many clothes. My child model is six, and able to easily do this, though her stamina gave out after 2-3 minutes of plunging.
- When you feel its clean enough, put into basket of commercial salad.
- If you have very dirty or stinky clothes, put them off to the side for scrubbing on the wash board at the very end. (A great job for kids to do, as they love playing with water!)
- Let the clothing drain.
- Spin the spinner to get as much soapy water out as possible.
- Use the bucket to pour water on top of the clothing in the basket. Pour slowly and gently – don’t soak it all at once. The idea is to do like a washing machine would and force the clean water thru the clothing so that the soapy water and dirt moves out.
- Spin. Even the two year old can do this – it’s a fabulous time to get kids involved!
- Rinse and repeat as necessary.
- Make a final spin and remove the clothing out to the laundry basket.
- Finish the load of wash.
- Hang to dry.
This typically takes longer to dry than a load washed in a home machine because machines are much more efficient at removing the water from the load. It will drip. But, this method has the advantage of using a mechanical advantage (the salad spinner) to do the work that would otherwise need doing by hand, (wringing) and which is very hard work!