Washing dirty laundry is a necessary chore in our society. The earliest washing machines were invented in the 1850s and, although they’ve been around for some time, it’s easy to forget that having a washing machine inside your home is a luxury that not everyone has access to. Knowing how to wash clothes without a washer helps alleviate the stress that a homeowner or renter may feel.
Sometimes the washer in our home breaks or people move into a home without one. Fortunately, there are many ways to wash clothes without a washing machine.
Because traditional washers are so expensive, and laundromats can feel like a hassle, this article provides information on using cheap alternatives to washing clothes without washer machines.
- Prepping for Washing Clothes without Washer
- How to Wash Clothes without a Washer the Old-Fashioned Way
- Washing Delicate Fabrics without a Washing Machine
- Alternative Ways to Wash Clothes without a Washing Machine
- Using Fabric Softener when Hand-Washing Clothing
- The Simplicity of Washing Clothes without Washers
Prepping for Washing Clothes without Washer
Before you learn the ways to wash clothes without a washing machine, you first need to understand the importance of prepping a load of laundry. Individually shake out each clothing article to immediately start the process of removing excess dirt and lint.
Look for the tag on each piece of clothing and remove any delicate fabrics such as wool, silk, or linen. Reading the label is important because improper care for these materials could cause the clothes to either stretch or shrink.
Separate the remaining clothes into individual piles for whites, dark or bright colors, and all other colors. Are you wondering if you should wash darks in hot or cold water? Or what temperature should you wash whites with?
It is usually safe to use hot water on whites, cold water for dark or bright colors, and warm water for the rest. Before you start washing, here’s a tip: use detergent sparingly. Too much laundry detergent lengthens the process by requiring extra rinse time.
Stain Removal without a Washing Machine
Look for stains while separating your clothing. If there are any spots, you can create a DIY stain removal recipe. Using pure white vinegar for cleaning clothes is safe on fabric and works as a strong stain remover.
In a clogged sink or basin, combine salt, vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Add lukewarm water, leaving extra room at the top to allow clothing to fit without overflowing. If washing whites, you can add ¼ cup of laundry safe bleach to the solution.
Place stained clothing in solution and let it soak for no more than 30 minutes. Once soaking is complete, gently squeeze the clothes to remove excess water and place back into the properly sorted piles that you prepped. Now it’s time to wash.
If you need a degreaser for clothing, try the solution above or use a soft-bristled brush to rub Dawn dish soap into the stain.
How to Wash Clothes without a Washer the Old-Fashioned Way
One of the simplest ways to wash clothes without a washing machine is by learning how people washed clothes before technology became so advanced. You can have clean clothes within an hour by trying out these techniques.
Washing Clothes by Hand
Fill a tub or large basin with lukewarm water until ¾ full. Add detergent until you see suds form and soak dirty clothing for up to 45 minutes. To imitate a washer’s rinse cycle, use your hands to swish the clothes around for two minutes.
Drain water from the basin and refill with cold water to rinse. Swish clothing around for another two minutes. Remove each piece of clothing and squeeze out most of the water. Hang your clean load of laundry on a clothesline with hangers or a drying rack.
Not only can you wash clothing without a machine, you can also hand wash clothes without detergent. Gentle dish soap, vinegar, baking soda, and Borax all clean and disinfect clothing just as well as homemade or store-bought laundry detergent.
Using a Maid-Rite Washboard for Washing Clothes without a Washer
You’ve probably seen a washboard used in movies with a historical setting. Maid-Rite is a famous brand that creates galvanized washboards that many people used before today’s electronic washing machines.
To use, soak clothes in a tub of lukewarm water and mild detergent for 30 minutes. Place the washboard in the tub, scrubbing each piece of clothing against it.
This scrubbing imitates a wash cycle and moves the suds through the fabric and helps to carry away dirt. Once finished, drain the dirty water and rinsing clothing with new cold water. Gently squeeze out water from clean clothes and hang to air dry.
Washing Delicate Fabrics without a Washing Machine
It is crucial to check the tags of all your clothing. Delicate items include things like wool sweaters, lingerie, ties, silk shirts, or cashmere. These items can be easily damaged if not given the proper treatment.
The most significant piece of advice we can give for hand-washing your delicate items is to double-check the tags. Most clothes contain specific instructions on how to handle them properly and should always be followed. If there isn’t a label on the article of clothing, it is usually safe to use a very mild detergent and cold water.
To properly wash your delicates, fill a tub with cold water and add one tablespoon of baking soda. Adding baking soda softens any hard water and is gentler on the fabric. Add a small amount of detergent until you have soapy water.
Gently press on the clothing under the water. Drain and run fresh water over clothing articles, squeezing out remaining suds. Do not hang dry your delicate pieces to avoid overstretching.
Press each item between a dry towel to remove excess water and lay flat on a water-proof surface away from any heat. If you want to go the extra mile, you can measure the size of your wool and cashmere pieces before you wash.
That way, when you go to dry, you can lay out each piece and reshape your clothing to the exact size that it was before. Doing this ensures that your delicate fabric consistently remains the same shape without causing any damage to the material.
You will no longer be disappointed when you pull on your favorite sweater and discover that it shifted three sizes.
Alternative Ways to Wash Clothes without a Washing Machine
We think the best way to hand wash clothes is by knowing all of your options and choosing what works for you. When learning how to clean clothes without a washer, don’t think that your choices are limited. There are plenty of washing machine alternatives that are affordable and efficient.
The benefits of many of these products are that they are portable and inexpensive to replace. Whether you need to wash clothes in the laundry room, on a road trip, or camping, these products make a great replacement to the traditional washing machine.
Using a Wonderwash as a Washing Machine Alternative
Wonderwash is a much cheaper alternative to purchasing a washer. This product is a small, portable device that only requires a little bit of arm muscle.
To use, add warm water and a few teaspoons of liquid detergent with your clothes. Crank the handle on the side of the machine for five minutes and drain the water. Refill the Wonderwash with freshwater and crank the handle for five more minutes.
Washing Clothes with a Mobile Washer and Bucket
Learning how to wash clothes without a washer can be frustrating, but there are even more solutions you may have never heard. A MobileWasher is affordable for any price range and only takes a few minutes to clean your clothing.
This plunger shaped tool contains a design similar to an agitator commonly found in today’s front-loading and top-loading washing machines. The spindles in the design begin agitating the clothes as you plunge, rubbing against the fabric to break down grime.
To use, fill a five-gallon bucket with warm water and add dirty clothes. Place the MobileWasher on top of clothing and move it up and down for five minutes. Rinse clothes under clean water and squeeze to remove excess liquid or use the MobileWasher as a wringer. Hang to air dry.
Washing Clothes with a Bucket and Gamma Seal Lid
Although a Gamma Seal Lid has many uses, this product can transform a bucket into a makeshift washing machine. This lid can turn a bucket into a washer with its airtight, leak-proof qualities.
Place the lid on top of a five-gallon bucket. Unscrew the top and fill with warm water and washing powder until suds form. Place clothes in a bucket and let soak for 30 minutes. Slowly shake the bucket back and forth for five minutes.
Remove the lid and drain the dirty water. Pour in fresh rinse water and repeat. Wring out wet clothes and hang them up until dry.
Using Fabric Softener when Hand-Washing Clothing
Fabric softener is an excellent product to add to a washing machine. Not only does it help protect your clothing’s color, but it also reduces drying time and static cling. However, be careful when using fabric softeners if you’re stuck washing clothes without washer machines.
Adding too much can leave clothes feeling scratchy from leftover residue and make colors appear dingy. When hand-washing your clothing, only add about two teaspoons of softener while your clothes are in the soaking stage.
When you add the right amount, you’ll have added benefits like easier ironing to get out any wrinkles from air-drying. If you’re wondering how to stretch out clothes, fabric softener is ideal for making jeans bigger.
The Simplicity of Washing Clothes without Washers
A washing machine may be a convenient appliance to have, but they aren’t as essential as the world makes them out to be. These strategies and products are only some of the ways to wash clothes without a washing machine.
As long as you’re willing to put in a little bit of extra work, you can have fresh-smelling clothes that are properly disinfected and stay vibrant in color.
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