off grid laundry

Wonder wash
Centrifugal spin dryer
Laundry by hand
Laundry without electricity -- off grid laundry techniques

Preppers have a lot to learn about laundry techniques of the pioneers, the Amish, and even
their own great grandmothers. It wasn't easy to do laundry back in the day! Preppers
nowadays can learn from them all, and yet take advantage of the modern conveniences.

Get the answers to all your questions about off grid laundry techniques in the following
article on how to do your laundry without the convenience of electricity...

  • How did pioneers do their laundry?
  • What secret methods did grandma have for getting out the stains?
  • How do Amish do their laundry?
  • Why is fresh laundry important in survival, anyway?
  • What's the cheapest method for off grid laundry?

    Here's how to do laundry the old fashioned way, without electricity...

How to do the laundry without electricity
Ever hear the expression of being put "through the wringer"? Well, take a look at a
laundry wringer, pictured at the top left of the page, and now you'll have an even
better understanding of the meaning.

"Through the wringer" is an expression of hardship or difficulty -- and, indeed doing
laundry was a difficult and cumbersome task. Doing the laundry back in the day put a
tight squeeze on personal time, because of all the steps involved. Frankly, they didn't
do as much laundry as we do today, simply because it took so much work! They waited
for things to get really dirty before deciding  to wash.

That's a lesson in itself (deciding not to wash), but for

Let's take a look at how to do the laundry without electricity, starting with the Amish,
because they are certainly our best resource for how to take advantage of modern
conveniences and yet stay off the grid.

How the Amish do their laundry:
Are you working  towards self-sufficiency? Are you ready to do your laundry without
electricity to go off the grid just like the Amish people? The Amish have the belief that
"too much reliance on public power ties one too close to the world," according to, so how do they do their laundry?

You may be surprised to learn the biggest secret about how the Amish do their
laundry. The Amish have big families, usually more than six kids, so you can imagine
that laundry day (usually Monday) is a hefty load. What's more, Amish families get
down and dirty working the farm. While the Amish do not live with electricity, they have
found a way around their religious beliefs* and they use a generator to help them with
their laundry!

Off Grid Amish Style Laundry Methods:  
  1. Gas powered washing machine
  2. Hand Wringer and bucket or
  3. Maytag wringer washers
  4. Diesel Generator  -  Here's how to buy a generator for prepping.
  5. Pully clothesline - Here's how to make an Amish clothesline pulley system

If you're looking for an Amish clothes washer, you'll have to scour the vintage market
for a Maytag Wringer Washer from the 1920s and then know how to rig it up to a
diesel generator. (The Amish pretty much have corned the market on these.) Sound
like too much trouble to source one for yourself? No worries! Below are seven ways for
preppers to do the laundry off-grid style.

Seven Ways to do your Laundry Off Grid

Laundry Method #1: Grandma or Great Grandma's way
How did Grandma or Great Grandma do her laundry? Your great granny sorted,
soaked, scrubbed and then hung the laundry in the fresh mountain air! Next, she
folded, starched and ironed. Maybe she made her own lye soap.

To wash clothes without electricity, like Grandma and Great Grandma did, you'll need:
  1. A galvanized metal bucket to soak clothes.
  2. A washboard to get out the main dirt
  3. Lye Soap.
  4. Handwash wringer. (A wringer presses water from washed clothing to expedite
    the drying process and was included as part of the Maytag Wringer Washer
    when it first hit the market in the 1920s.)
  5. Clothes line, rope or a clothes rack.
  6. Clothes pins! Stock up on wooden clothes pins at the dollar stores.

With the luxury of technology you can do laundry off grid with much less manual labor
than your great grandmother did hers. We've outlined several more ways to do your
laundry by hand or without the use of electricity.

Laundry Method #2: Rapid Washer.
The cheapest method for off grid laundry is a plunger and a bucket, but here's a better
way to do your off-grid laundry:Get back to basics for emergency preparedness by
adding RapidWasher to your supply list in case of earthquake, flood, tornado,
hurricane, or other natural disasters. This inexpensive, hand-powered washing
machine, pictured immediate right, can ship to you for around $25. Use this plunger
style laundry solution in the sink or with a galvanized bucket.

#3: Alternative Mini-wash.
You can't beat the price of the Laundry Alternative Miniwash Portable, a compact mini
washing machine! Pictured immediate right in blue and in pink, the alternative
Miniwash is the most basic type of mini washer. It requires a little more babysitting
than similar models with computer controls; however it is less expensive, and offers
great flexibility. You can pour water in manually or using the inlet hoses. You can also
manually choose the washing time and number of rinses, with computer control
models, you don't have this option.

The Laundry Alternative Miniwash has a 5-lb capacity, enough to wash larger items like
jeans.A very simple machine, there are very few places it can break. Upgraded to a
higher quality, longer-lasting, all copper motor.

#4 WonderWash.
Now you can wash a 5-lbs.-load super clean in just a couple of minutes with
WonderWash. WonderWash uses far less water than even hand washing, and it uses
no electricity either. You turn laundry by hand and therefore economically sound, and
great for environment. When you put warm or hot water into the drum, fit the lid in
place and seal the machine, the air inside the drum will absorb the heat of the water
and expand. When the air expands it creates pressure inside the drum. The pressure
forces the detergent into and through the fabric about 100 times faster than you could
by hand or machine.

No washing machine? Use Wonder Washer. BIG BUCKS OFF! No more quarters! Just
plug it in, fill with laundry, add soap and water and close the lid. Swish, swish... Things
are better already! Won't wash as much as at laundromat, but it'll get a load of socks
and underwear fresh and clean fast. Holds 7 liters (1 3/4 gal.). Great for dorms,
apartments, boats and RVs.

#5: Laundry Pod.
Much faster than hand washing your laundry, the Laundry Pod, pictured immediate left
in green is easy to use, and costs around $99.99 and ships for FREE with Super Saver
Shipping. This powerful spinning, washing and draining system will clean clothes in less
than 10 minutes! All you need is fill it about 6 Liters of water and 1.5 teaspoon of
laundry detergent.

It's great for light loads, but if you're going to be washing heavy jeans most of the
time, then this is not the laundry option for you. Get ready to put in some muscle
power because this isn't going to be easy.

#6: Mobile Washer.
Pictured immediate right, this hand-operated clothes washer with a blue base, uses a
technique of pushing and pulling the water through clothes to clean them well without
wearing them out. Uses minimal water and less soap (because of the agitation
motion). Use the mobile washer in a bucket (5-gallon suggested), sink or tub. Can also
rinse your clothes using fresh water. A great item to have with your emergency and
outdoor supplies. Great gift item for Military, Peace Corp, Church Missionaries to
remote world locations. Perfect for Preparedness focus or Green enthusiasts, and Off-
grid and RV use.

#7: Amish Washing Machine.
Amish people today, use a generator to power their laundry. (Go figure that the Amish
do not live with electricity, but apparently have no problem with diesel and other gas.)
In the old days; however, the Amish used a washboard (pictured upper left-hand of
the page) and good hot and soapy water! Families who live off the grid invest  in the
post-war era style wringer washers generated by diesel. Pictured right, the Diesel
Laundry Washer will run you around $250. That's the ultimate in luxury! It's the Amish
washing machine!

  • Amish-style Spin dryer. This a centrifugal clothes dryer, pictured at the bottom
    of the page, removes water and detergent from the clothes using a fast (3200
    rpm) spin speed. It doesn't blow hot air on the clothes nor get them 100% dry;
    however it extracts much more water from the clothes than a regular washing
    machine spin cycle, and is much gentler on clothes than a conventional tumble
    dryer. In an off grid world, this will be a luxury.

More Considerations for Off Grid Laundry

Why is fresh laundry so important?
It's interesting to note that dirt compromises the integrity of clothes in terms of
warmth. Dirts and oils degrade clothing and can have a significant impact on survival in
select situations, so it's important in uncertain times to remain as clean as possible.
Also, cleanliness has a role in mitigating disease.

Why might a prepper purposely wear dirty laundry?
There may be a time to air your dirty laundry! Indeed, a Prepper may find it necessary,
at some juncture, to camouflage in society by appearing as dirty as the others are, so
as not to attract unwanted attention. That's when wearing the dirty clothes may
become an important prepping strategy.

Prepper's Challenge - Off the Grid Laundry Day.
Try doing laundry off the grid! In the simplest form, doing laundry off the grid requires
a water source, plus, you'll need a family size washboard, a galvanized bucket a
wringer washer, and of course a clothes line. Do a week's worth of laundry without
using electricity. The exercise will enable you to understand your family's needs in the
event the unthinkable happens and we're all forced to
live off the grid.

How are many preppers planning on doing their laundry?
Conventional wisdom in the prepper world is to do things as inexpensively as possible.
Many preppers have simplified their off grid laundry to owning these items:
  1. Two five-gallon buckets (Read 27 things to do with five gallon bucket)
  2. On lid for the five gallon bucket
  3. liquid detergent (biodegradable soap, such as Planet Laundry Liquid)
  4. Toilet plunger
  5. Rope or clothes line
  6. Clothes pins and a clothes pin bag
  7. Net bag (optional to hold and squeeze laundry)

There are better ways to do your laundry off grid, but if you choose this method:
  • Choose a biodegradable soap or you will be polluting your garden foods
  • Be sure to label the buckets with a Sharpie, so you don't mix it up with the food
    grade buckets for your food storage or you will have chemicals leaching into your
  • Mark the toilet plunger as well, so you don't mix it up with the bathroom
    plungers, which would be very unsanitary. By the way, a Sharpie marker is item
    98 on the 99 ways to spend a buck at the dollar stores.

While living without electricity and doing laundry by hand isn't going to be easy for
preppers, it will bring a sense of satisfaction. Self-sufficiency has its own rewards and
fresh smelling laundry is among the treasures.

Laundry Facts
Think you'll have it hard when you have to do laundry without the aid of electricity?
You've got it easy! Get a load of these laundry facts

  • A "Toga-ly" disgusting laundry fact: The University of Chicago confirms that
    Romans were without knowledge of soap for laundry and instead used the urine
    of men and animals, which they mixed with water. It wasn't women's work! The
    Romans did their laundry in large basins and employed boys to stomp the
    laundry clean. (Don't try this at home.)

  • A job that "bites" in ancient Egypt. One of the worst jobs of ancient Egypt was
    the launderer, according to "The Ancient Egyptians For Dummies, a book by
    Charlotte Booth. Like the Romans, the men of ancient Egypt were the
    professional launderers and they complained with more than enough reasons.  
    The work required heavy lifting of linens in collecting them from villagers to the
    water. There, they used natron (hydrated sodium carbonate) and lime to scrub
    their linens clean using stones to crush out the stains. What really took the bite
    out of this job was their "laundrymat" along the Nile, which was filled with
    deadly crocodiles, parasitic worms and biting insects. It was a dangerous job
    that brought along some fatalities.

  • Scent your laundry with Frankincense and Myrrh to repel insects. You can
    repel insects with the scent of myrrh in your clothes. Zum Clean has no synthetic
    foaming agents, chemicals and artificial stuff. Instead, Zum Clean uses coconut
    oil, baking soda, vegetable glycerin, natural borax and 100% pure essential oils,
    including Frankincense and Myrrh.

So now you know a little more about how to wash clothes without electricity, and how
people of the past did their laundry by hand. When you take everything into
consideration, doing off grid laundry isn't so bad. You'll enjoy the fresh scent of

How are you planning on doing laundry off grid? We're happy to hear your prepping ideas
and link to your site. Please drop us a note on Twitter at HappyPreppers.

Remember, our family survival system is free! Learn how to store food, water, fuel sources,
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This article is about How to Wash Clothes Without Electricity, including Amish laundry, Japanese laundry,
RapidWash, Wonderwash, Laundry POD and more ideas for off grid laundry.
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