In today’s world it is almost unheard of to wash the family laundry by hand, but when you don’t have access to a washer and dryer and you don’t have a lot of funds for coin-laundry, then washing by hand becomes a necessity. Despite what you might be thinking, washing laundry by hand does not have to be a back breaking chore if you have the right equipment. In this post I will show you what you need and how to effectively and quickly wash clothes by hand. To get started here is what you will need:
A LARGE plastic tote for washing
A brand new, STURDY toilet plunger
A medium size mop buck
A commerical mop bucket w/wringer
Homemade laundry soap
Clothes line or collapsable drying racks
To start with, you want to use a decent size plastic tote. The tote needs to be large enough to hold at least five gallons of water AND a medium size load of laundry. The toilet plunger is used to “agitate” or wash the clothes, so you want to make sure that is is ONLY used for laundry. If you are just starting out with hand-washing and don’t have any extra money then just get the cheap plunger but as soon as you can get a sturdy $10-$12 one.
You can use store bought or homemade laundry soap. I will give you a recipe for laundry soap later in this post. A commercial size mop bucket w/wringer is essential for hand washing the laundry. It saves so much time and energy so you don’t have to wring the laundry by hand. I had to do this for several months before my hubby and I could afford the mop bucket/wringer. We were able to get one at Home Depot for $60 plus tax. I am now able to hand wash, rinse, wring and hang five loads of laundry in about an hour and a half since I got the wringer! The reason is because you can wring several items at one time in the wringer and you don’t tire as easily as you would if you are hand wringing the clothes. Ok, so here are the instructions:
Fill a LARGE tote with very hot water
Add 1/3 cup of homemade laundry soap
and let it sit in the water for a couple of minutes until the soap starts to dissolve in the water.
Fill your medium size mop bucket (not the one with the wringer) with very hot water and a little bleach.
Add your WHITE clothes (socks, underwear, bras, etc.) to the water and let it soak while you wash the rest of the laundry.
Add a medium size load of laundry to your large tote.
Using your clean plunger, wash the laundry by plunging the plunger in and out of the water. Do this for at least five minutes a load. You can let the laundry soak for 10 minutes or so if you want before you start washing it.
Here is what my mop bucket with wringer looks like:
After you have washed the laundry place 2-4 items in the top of the wringer.
Press the handle forward to wring the laundry. The dirty water will go straight into the bucket.
I have found that the wringer works best if you only place about three to four items in it and then wring out the items, rearrange them in the wringer and wring them again. You may need to rearrange and wring them a few times to get the most water out, but this is fairly easy and sure beats wringing them out by hand!
If you are wringing large bath towels you may only be able to fit one towel in the wringer at a time or if you are washing tee shirts you maybe be able to fit four or five. I am able to fit most of my whites loads in the wringer all at once.
For rinsing, I have a detachable shower head so I put all of the washed and wrung clothes into the bathtub and rinse them with the shower head and then repeat the wring cycle. If you don’t have a detachable shower head, the when you have a load or two washed, empty your large plastic tote and fill it with cold water and rinse your clothes by dipping it in the water and then wring them and repeat this process.
Here is the order that I wash clothes:
Light clothes: shirts, shorts, dresses, my work scrubs, night clothes, etc.
Heavier clothes: jeans, long pants
Under garments and sock, etc.
I wash towels and wash cloths and dish clothes on a separate day apart from my other laundry.
You can change the washing water as often as you like but I usually only change it about every other load unless I am washing a heavily soiled load.
After you have washed your laundry you can hang it out on the clothes line or on indoor clothes racks or if you have an extra shower rod or two, hang them in your shower for clothes. I use a combination of two shower rods and two clothes racks. Clothes racks are inexpensive and can be bought at Wal-mart for about $15. If you are using the racks indoors put a couple of towels under neath them because even though you are using a wringer the clothes will still drip some.
Love life and be well,