Bucket Washing Machine

Washing your clothes by hand can be a Meditation.

I know it’s not the type of meditation that most people find appealing, but if you slow down and do it with Mindfulness, it can be quite satisfying.

You can closely observe your clothes while you handle them and if you’re like me, you can sometimes see what you ate the last time you wore that particular shirt!

Now, if you’re a Hardcore Minimalist, this Bucket Washer may even be too complicated, since you’ll probably prefer to wash them completely by hand. Still, maybe you’ll like to use the two bucket system without the plunger?

Environmentalists will probably love this Super Simple Human Powered Bucket Washing Machine since it saves water, power, and can give you a workout all at once.

There is a post on fivegallonideas.com on this, and if you do a YouTube search you’ll find tons of videos on this as well.

Here’s how I got into this: We don’t own a washer or drier, so for us, washing our clothes meant a trip to the apartment’s Coin Laundry Room.

There were a few things that bothered us about doing the laundry:

  • Hauling clothes back and forth.
  • Going back and forth to move clothes from washer to the dryer, and to pick them up when done.
  • Sometimes the coin machine would be out of coins!
  • Sometimes a dryer would go bad and would leave the clothes wet, so we’d have to re-dry it in another machine.
  • People would leave their clothes in the machines and not come pick them up.
  • Some people would hog many machines and leave none for others to use.
  • It was easier to keep putting off doing the laundry because the mere idea of it would be painful…
  • Couldn’t do laundry on the weekends because there would be no machines available.

I believe this is an awesome alternative for single people or small families of three – four may be stretching it a bit. We didn’t do it to save money, we did it to save ourselves some time and hassle. For us, it turned out to be much easier than we thought and much more fun, and if we do it on a regular basis, it isn’t a hassle at all.

Here are some Bucket Washing Tips:

  • Use two buckets one to wash and one to rinse.
  • Let the clothes soak in the bucket for about an hour or more – plunging a few times in between – rather than using up a lot of energy plunging them repeatedly for a long time.
  • Replace the small stick with a Broom Stick on the Plunger and stand straight to save your back.
  • No need to buy a special Plunger just use a hard plunger and drill holes in it – see more on this below.
  • If you live in an apartment, you can put the bucket in the bathtub to control splashing.
  • We found it easier to not use the lid with the hole. It won’t really splash much if you don’t plunge it too hard, and as noted above, you can put the bucket in the bathtub.
  • Stack the Buckets and drop the plunger inside to store.

I don’t think it’s worth it to buy a specialized plunger:

Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine) – $21.00 (shipping included) at Amazon.com:

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But if you’re handy and own a drill, you can make one yourself for $5.98 + tax. This is a good, hard rubber plunger:

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I cut off the bottom flappy part with a razor and drilled holes in it:

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These cheaper ones are too soft and flop up on you, turning inside out – not good…

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Now, you can also wash your clothes in a bag. thescrubba.com sells a pretty pricey one for $64.95 a bag:

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But you can just use a Waterproof Camping Bag from eBay for $7.99:
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I haven’t tried bag-washing yet, but there are many videos on YouTube that make it seem like a good method if you’re camping or traveling light.

You can haul your stuff in a waterproof bag, and then use that same bag to wash them in. Awesome.

Conclusion:

Bucket Washing isn’t for everyone.

If you already own a washer and dryer, I don’t see why you’d go nuts and sell them off to do this, but if you’re a real Hard Core Minimalist, this may be a step up from washing by hand alone.

Because you can only do small loads, I believe this is an awesome alternative for single people or small families of three at the most – four may be stretching it a bit.

We didn’t do it to save money, we did it to save ourselves some time and hassle, and for us, it turned out to be much easier than we thought and much more fun, and when we do it on a regular basis, it isn’t a hassle at all.

Some people prefer the walking on your clothes in the bathtub method, since there’s nothing to buy at all, but we found it much harder when it came time to rinse since you have to wait for the whole bathtub to empty out. Now, if you let your laundry pile up, you can use the bathtub method, or combine it with the Bucket + Plunger method.

This is a good thing to know though. You never know when you may actually need something like this, like say you’re hit by a hurricane and you have no power for a week, or you’re traveling to a less advanced country.

I’ve been without power for over a week because of a hurricane and didn’t know about this back then.

This is also a great thing to teach your kids so they feel less dependent on gadgets and in case they ever need it some day.

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