Learn to Make a Manual Washing Machine

Learning how to make this manual washing machine will not only save money but help to conserve energy as well.


| April 2016



Manual Washing Machine

This manual washing machine has the added bonus of being portable.


Photo courtesy Voyageur Press

Five-gallon buckets are ubiquitous and cheap. But did you know they can also be hacked, hod-rodded, reengineered, and upcycled to create dozens of useful DIY project for homeowners, gardeners, small-scale farmers and preppers? The 5-Gallon Bucket Book (Voyageur Press, 2015) contains over 60 ideas that help keep these buckets from ending up in landfills. With simple step-by-step instructions as well as parts lists and images of the completed projects, this book makes certain that you'll have fun and love the results.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Five-Gallon Bucket Book.

Manual Washing Machine  

Eventually, we all need clean clothes. But few people enjoy laundry day. That’s why washing machines are such a wonderful modern convenience. Just throw a load (or, in many cases, less than a load) into the unit, turn it on, and presto — clean clothes. The downside is that these magnificent machines are energy and water hogs. Depending on how new and what type your washing machine is, it can use between fifteen and forty-five gallons of water per load!

Ironically, these machines use amazingly sophisticated technology to perform a rudimentary process that hasn’t changed much in centuries. The basic principle of that process involves agitating dirty clothes in soapy water for a prescribed period of time. Use warm water for colorfast clothing and white textiles, and cold or warm water for garments with colors that might bleed. Rinse in the same temperature. Basically, that’s all there is to it.

Truth is, that process is so simple that it can easily be done with a manual washing machine. The one described here will be highly effective at getting clothes clean without a power source. It’s an ideal convenience in the event that your home loses power for a significant period of time, or if you go on a lengthy RV camping trip. Whether you’re staying in a cabin, a camper, or a tent, or just want to simplify your homestead, having a manual washing machine at your disposal means you don’t have to have quite as many clothes.

The other benefit is exercise. So many people pay for a gym when you can get a decent workout just by saving electricity and water. Even the least fit person in the household will be quite capable of washing a small load of clothes, while burning a tidy sum of calories. You can even operate the washer described here while sitting down if need be, or it can be used on a table or other raised surface so that someone with back problems doesn’t have to bend over.





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