11 November 2012

Off grid: Washing laundry

This is a washtub, wringer and agitator setup for doing your laundry
without power. All done by hand, and all together in a neat little package.
It's not cheap, and therefore I don't own one.

The next step down on the low tech spectrum is assembling some
or all of these components yourself.

This is a washtub. You can spend the money and get a metal one like this, or . . .

. . . you can do what I did and just get one of the big plastic tubs. 
Mine does double duty holding toys in the meantime, but it's your
choice. You could also use the bathtub, but it wastes water and it's
harder to get the clothes clean when you're chasing them all over.

This is a scrub board. I haven't really found an acceptable substitute,
and it's hard to do any actual scrubbing without one, so I broke down
and spent the money on a dedicated item.
This is an agitator. You can get one, make something similar from a
NEW toilet plunger or you can be really low tech and just stomp on the
wet laundry, which is what I've done the few times I've had to do my
laundry by hand.
This is a wringer. Wringers save water by keeping the washwater in the
washtub, and they save drying time by squeezing the excess rinse
water out of your clothes. They're not cheap either. 
If you want one anyhow, Lehman's has one for about $160:

You can use a mop wringer for some things, but don't expect
to fit a pair of jeans in there. You can also wring your clothes
by hand, but let me tell you from experience that this is
HARD WORK. I figured out that it was easier to add an
extra rinse and then let things drip dry.
Final tips:
Go easy on the soap.
Soaking is your friend.
Prepare for a workout.