doing laundry without electricity

Red Wringer for off-grid laundry.

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 the
great outdoors.

Happy endings...
No matter how you do the laundry, your work is never done! Be
thankful for modern conveniences including washing machines
and dryers. If you plan to live off the grid without electricty,
look into getting a generator to help you do laundry the way the
Amish do it. That way you can whistle while you work (as the
buzz of the modern convenience does most of your work).

Learning how to do the laundry without electricity will help you
prepare for an
ElectroMagnetic pulse (EMP).

Related articles on self-sufficiency...

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? Have you found a better off-grid washing
method? We're looking to connect with like minded preppers
and hear your ideas. Write us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Laundry Method #4: Easy-Go-Wash.
The Easy-Go-Wash manual handwasher, pictured above in a
yellow shading, operates much like the Wonder Wash #7. It
has a hand crank and holds up to five pounds of clothes. After
finishing your washing cycle just attach the drain spout and it
will automatically drain into the sink or bathtub. Then fill again
with clean water for rinse cycle.

Laundry Method #5: Rapid Washer.
While the video above is helpful, there's a better way to do
your off-grid laundry using the same principle as the hand
plunger method: the Rapidwasher. Use this plunger style
laundry solution in the sink or with a galvanized bucket.

The Rapidwasher, pictured right, is the easiest and least
expensive way to get back to basics for emergency
preparedness. Add the RapidWasher to your supply list in case
of earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane, or other natural
disasters. This inexpensive, hand-powered washing machine,
can ship to you for around $25. Note: there are two versions
(one with the handle and one without).

Laundry Method #6: Alternative Mini-wash.
You can't beat the price of the Laundry Alternative Miniwash
Portable, a compact mini washing machine! Pictured  below 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.
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: The Amish way.
Amish families get down and dirty working the farm, and they
have big families with more than six kids, which means they
have lots of laundry. You can imagine that laundry day
(typically on a Monday) has a hefty load with farm dirt and kid
dirt, but they do laundry without electricity. According to, the Amish have the belief that
"too much
reliance on public power ties one too close to the world." So
how do they do their laundry? You may be surprised to learn the
biggest secret about how the Amish do their laundry.

How the Amish do their laundry
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!

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.

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.)

This video features a 1950's era Maytag washing machine with
ringer, powered by a gas engine that uses a belt connection.
Laundry by hand
Laundry without electricity ~ off grid laundry techniques

Doing the laundry without electricity.
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

Doing the laundry off the grid
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
  • 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

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 immediate right
and now you'll have an even better understanding of the

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

Laundry Method #1: Great Grandma's way.
How did your 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. It was hard work.

To wash clothes without electricity, like  Great Grandma did,
you'll need:
  1. A galvanized metal bucket to soak clothes.
  2. A washboard to get out the main dirt, like the one pictured
  3. Lye soap
  4. Handwash wringer.
  5. Clothes line, rope or a clothes rack and clothes pins
Laundry Method #3: Hand-plunger method.
The cheapest method for off grid laundry is a plunger and a
bucket - it's the hand-plunger method. Conventional wisdom in
the prepper world is to do things as inexpensively as possible
and this is it. To take advantage of the hand plunger method
and make a camp style bucket, you'll need to gather the
  1. Two five-gallon buckets
  2. Lids for the five gallon buckets
  3. Liquid detergent
  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)

To make the camp style bucket with a lid, you'll also need a
drill. The video below shows how to make a camp style bucket.
Drilling a hole in the lid not really necessary, but it is a nice
way to keep the water contained.
Off grid wringer in red
Off grid laundry machine -- your hands
Laundry method #7: WonderWash.
Get cranking! The WonderWash, pictured right will help you
wash a 5-lbs.-load super clean in just a couple of minutes.
WonderWash uses far less water than even hand washing, and
it uses no electricity either.

You turn laundry by hand which is 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.

Laundry method #8: WonderWasher.
Pictured immediate right, Wonderwasher (not to be confused
with the similarly named WonderWash). The WonderWasher in
blue, also right, will swish your clothes clean.

No more quarters! WonderWasher is ideal for apartments,
dorms, boats and RVs. 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.

Laundry method #9: 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.

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
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 food!
  • 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.
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