Doing laundry in the old days was no easy task, and it involved heating the water, using a washboard and overall, it was an intense labor. If you live off the grid or if you worry that one day there will be no more electricity, you should learn how to make an off grid washing machine. This DIY project will show you how cheap and easy it is to make one.
Following the “How to live without electricity” article, a few people asked me about how would I handle laundry in a world without electricity. The solution is quite simple and it involves making a nonelectric washing machine. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make an off grid washing machine and it should cost you around $5 to complete this project.
You will need to buy the following:
- A simple plunger from the local store (it should cost around $3)
- A five-gallon bucket (around $2)
Additionally, you should have a drill and a saw hole drill bit at hand. You will have to drill some small holes around the base of the plunger. This will help push the water through the clothing without causing a vacuum effect. Drill some holes through the plunger as shown in the video bellow.
Once you have the plunger ready to be used on your off grid washing machine you will need to prepare the bucket. It’s really easy and all you need to do is to drill a hole in the middle of the lid. The hole should be wide enough so that the handle of the plunger can pass through the center of the tight-fitting bucket lid.
Once you’re done with this operation, you’re pretty much done and you can put your off grid washing machine to the test. You will need to adjust the quantity of clothes based on their type and it’s better to start with only a few articles of clothing at first.
Here is video showing you how to do it:
Some tips to make laundry easier using your off grid washing machine:
- It’s likely that the handle of the plunger is too short and this will require for you to bend or to sit on a small chair. To avoid this you can unscrew the short handle and replace it with a broomstick handle. You won’t have to bend over and work as hard, and it gives you more leverage.
- Always dust the clothes with a soft brush to remove dirt. It will help with the washing and you will use less water.
- Use about 1 ½ gallons of water for each wash. Your off grid washing machine should work just fine with this quantity.
- For each washing stage push the plunger in the bucket for up to five minutes. Dump the dirty water, add clean rinse water and repeat until the water comes out clean.
- Make your own liquid detergent to make washing more efficient. Homemade detergent washes faster than the ones containing chemicals and you will use less water.
- Ask your kids to give a helping hand. Using this off grid washing machine will be fun for them.
I hope that this DIY washing machine will help you when there will be no more electricity and that it will save you time. There are many other ideas available on the internet, but I find this one to be the quickest solution.
Stay clean and God Bless!
Other Useful Resources:
The LOST WAYS (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Drought USA (A DIY project to secure unlimited fresh, clean water)
Bullet Proof Home (Learn how to Safeguard your Home)
The magic saw (Turn any woodworking project into reality with this DIY solution)
8 thoughts on “DIY Off Grid Washing Machine”
this device is nice for delicates. but for big family work clothes washer we used a 30 gallon steel drum. a 55 works too. we’d put it in the back of our pickup, layed down crossways, and half fill it with clothes and water and make our weekly trip into town. it was winding roads so the clothes got well sloahed. we’d empty it in town and half fiil with fresh water at the gas station. when we got back home the clothes were rinsed.
I too have two tubs from Tractor Supply–bigger loads save water.
I live in a small fishing village in Baja Mx, we are off the grid and have been using this method to wash clothes for years. The only thing I use to dry my clothes is a solar dryer……clothesline
First, its nice to see such a report yet, when I hit print I got 3 pages of the report and 15 MORE PAGES of gunk which wasted my time , money, ink and paper. Please make it so the print stops at the text. Next, it might be easy for you to throw in a video but it does no good to archive in print as all the info on the video does not print to paper. That’s a problem that you might remedy.
The easiest way to print the articles would be to copy the text from the desired articles in a word document or plain text document and print that file.
There is a great site http://www.printfriendly.com. You copy and paste the URL for the page in the box. It gives you a version which can be further edited. Works great and saves a lot of time and money in ink and paper.
Yes, this plunger type works well. But, I don’t see comments on how to wring out the clothes!
To Bev Dowling: Small things can be wrung out by hand; larger items and jeans should use 2 people; really large things like blankets, sleeping bags, rugs – run a rope around a tree with a loop large enough for the item to be wrung out, double it over so you have the (say a sheet) folded in half with the loop in the middle and start twisting. It takes a while but it works.