Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Post Reply
Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Matt3121 »

So Jacob has that post about clotheslines and why they are valuable. I love Jacob but now I'm getting to the point I think he's not extreme enough :lol: I wanted to see if anyone has taken to doing their laundry in a bucket. I started doing this about a month ago because the house I bought didn't have a washer and dryer. I was going to the laundromat but with Covid that didn't make sense anymore.

I had one of these in my house: https://images.homedepot-static.com/pro ... 4_1000.jpg So I figured I'd try it out. I poured the water in with the clothes, let it sit for like 10 minutes, then went and agitated it by hand for 10 minutes, pretty easy stuff. I then hung it out on the railing to the steps in my yard and it worked great. Drying it outside left the clothes even more clean (maybe due to the UV light from the SUN? idk).

Now I'm loving it. I don't have to worry about any machine breaking down, and i don't have to leave the house to do laundry. If I was married or something then yeah I'd get one, because the economy of scale is worth the headache. But I actually love it, it's worked great for me so far. In all reality I'm only saving like $16 a month, not enough to care about, but still, I get the money for free so I'll take it).

Curious if anyone else is as insane as me.

Alphaville
Posts: 2771
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Alphaville »

i used to, with the plunger thingy, for years, when i lived in the woods, and will some day again.

i actually bought a washing machine for the place, had it hooked to the sink, but it broke right away, so i returned it to home depot. total garbage. was it a maytag? would take 4 hours to do a load. ridiculous.

then saw the bucket thingy in “life below zero” while traveling for work (we only saw cable in hotels), and “aha!”.

my apartment rental comes with a washing machine now. but the house in the woods that we own outright has a wash bucket. 5 gallon bucket plus a “breathing mobile washer” (look it up). plus a spare bucket for the rinse.

eta: this: https://kk.org/cooltools/the-breathing-m/
Last edited by Alphaville on Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Lemur
Posts: 952
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Lemur »

The vast majority of people do not have a washer or dryer in the Philippines. My MIL would clean clothes by hand/bucket for a family of 11 ...daily. So point I'm making - insane in western society; common in other countries :)

Matt3121
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Matt3121 »

Lemur wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:04 pm
The vast majority of people do not have a washer or dryer in the Philippines. My MIL would clean clothes by hand/bucket for a family of 11 ...daily. So point I'm making - insane in western society; common in other countries :)
Yeah that's very true. I mean doing it for a family of 11 is an enormous amount of work, your MIL deserves all the credit in the world, I can only imagine. That's a ton of laundry to do EVEN WITH A MACHINE!!!!

I think you are right though about how the country you are in makes things seem insane though. I try to explain that to people. They are like "you live in a small place, I could never do that". I'm like "Well, I'm living far far far better than maybe most of the people on the earth", so I can't really complain.

ertyu
Posts: 1586
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by ertyu »

When I travel/backpack in SEA, I wash my clothes by hand as well. I usually buy a bar of inexpensive laundry soap. What I have found is, washing your clothes by hand is a different beast in a very warm climate that requires thin clothes (wash fast, don't take a lot of space wet, aren't heavy wet, easy to sqeeze, easy to dry) and in a four-season climate. The laundry for the same number of people would be much more laborious in a colder climate. Overall, I am for washing machines. Larger items like bedsheets etc. are very impractical to do by hand. On the other hand, even if one does do laundry in the machine for larger items, one can choose to hand-wash more convenient items. Doesn't need to be all or nothing.

User avatar
Jean
Posts: 1367
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Switzterland

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Jean »

In summer, i just stomp continuously on my clothes while showering.
For winter, it's very important to wear a thin layer next to your body, that will be easy to wash with the summer methode, and massively reduce how often you need to wash your outer clothes. Those outer clothes can then be washed in a bucket or babushkoi.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2572
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by C40 »

I do mine in the sink. Don't even need a bucket! It's easy when doing for only myself. The really large things like big sheets/blankets can be cumbersome, but still ok. Washing for 11 people would be quite a lot of work. Over an hour per day.

shemp
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:17 am

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by shemp »

I live most of the year in hotels and wash my clothes daily in the sink. Takes like 5 minutes each evening to wash if clothing is pure nylon, then everything dries very quickly (other than socks). Cold water almost as good as hot for washing nylon. I normally use a tiny amount of shampoo with conditioner to wash clothes, same shampoo I use for washing my body and for shaving.

Once a year, I wash my polyester/nylon sleep quilt, insulated jacket, insulated hat and mittens in a commercial size washing machine, using hot water and detergent to remove body oils.

I make my own nylon shirt and pants, since commercial designs have too many pockets and zippers which slow drying time. Pure nylon socks are available as men's dress socks. Nylon sun hats are common at outdoor stores. I don't wear underwear. Loose fitting nylon is the perfect first layer, regardless of climate. Several day ago I walked 42km in 37°C (99°F) heat with sun overhead, no shade, carrying a backpack, lots of uphill, and I've done similar many times before. So I have plenty of experience with what works in heat and what doesn't. Nylon works as well as or better than cotton, linen or hemp, provided it is loose fitting.

Alphaville
Posts: 2771
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Alphaville »

shemp wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:09 am
I make my own nylon shirt and pants, since commercial designs have too many pockets and zippers which slow drying time.
could you please tell (or post a link to) how to work with this material? been looking for this for a while...

shemp
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:17 am

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by shemp »

You can buy supplex or taslan (brand names for soft weave nylon suitable for clothing) at any outdoor fabric store. Ripstopbytheroll.com, owfinc.com, seattlefabrics.com, questoutfitters.com, therainshed.com, rockywoods.com. These are USA based. Similar stores in Europe. I use 3.3 oz/sqyd supplex for shirts, 4.4oz/sqyd taslan for pants. They also sell patterns which you can modify to get rid of needless complexity. In particular, pants are much simpler with no zipper fly, no back pockets, no belt loops, just 1" elastic waistband plus built-in 3/4" webbing belt in the same tunnel as the elastic and layered outside the elastic so it doesn't cut into the flesh. But don't leave off front pockets. And add some loops to hang hidden wallets inside pants, along outer thigh. For shirt, there are simple pullover designs for woven fabrics (doctors scrubs, African dashikis, etc) which can be modified. I added collar and neck zipper to my shirt. Make sure to use quality thread (all nylon or sturdy all polyester, preferably single filament, not junky cotten or cotten-covered polyester, which breaks easily). I use excellent thread from rayjardine.com wherever black acceptable, such as pants and in fact everything except my shirt.
Last edited by shemp on Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 13080
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by jacob »

I think brute was the most famous bucket washer on the forum. It was practically a ritual for him. As noted above, the choice of clothes matters a lot. Travelers easily wash "technical" clothes in sinks, hand wring it and hang it up in the bathroom or between two towels to have it dry next morning. It's best if the wardrobe is compatible with hand washing.

Our wardrobes are mostly not. We've done the occasional bucket wash of select items to "stretch" the laundry date. We've washed the whole wardrobe in the tub for a couple of months once when access to laundromats weren't possible. Washing is not a big deal. It's wringing jeans and cotton sweaters and trying to dry them in 68F that's the problem. It's easy to end up with paracord across the living room and every fan you own trying to create a cross-breeze.

Alphaville
Posts: 2771
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Alphaville »

@shemp - thanks! will investigate those. any tips on sewing techniques?

@jacob - the breathing washer on a 5gal bucket will wash ranch (i.e. filthy, muddy) jeans. submerged fabric gets heavy though, so best is 1 pair at a time.

hardest part is actually wringing. i wanted to buy a wringer but never did. maybe some day.
Last edited by Alphaville on Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

luxagraf
Posts: 198
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:32 pm
Contact:

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by luxagraf »

We moved to new place in May, had no washer or dryer (does have hookups for them though) so I bought one of these (not from this company, not for this much):

https://www.bestdryingrack.com/hand-was ... unger.html

My thought was we'd use that while we waited for a free wash machine to come up on craigslist, grab that, fix it and be done. But, despite a few free washers being available I have yet to go get one.

The bucket is actually fun, and a good arm workout. My wife and I compete over who can do the most laundry. We have three kids and two dogs and we live in the woods, lots of mud, so there's no shortage of laundry to do. But it gets done and doesn't feel like any more of a hassle than using a machine. A wringer would be nice, but a good one costs as much as or more than a used dryer.

I am curious how practical this will be when the weather turns cool and we have to wash heavier clothing that a) takes longer to dry and b) has to dry in colder temps. But yeah, we like bucket laundry.

Alphaville
Posts: 2771
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Alphaville »

hey, i like that separator! would help the water flow better for sure.

luxagraf
Posts: 198
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:32 pm
Contact:

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by luxagraf »

Alphaville wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:17 am
hey, i like that separator! would help the water flow better for sure.
It works really well. If I had to do it over again I'd get one of the wooden handled varieties, like this (sold out, alas):

https://www.lehmans.com/product/rapid-laundry-washer/

The segmented metal handle on ours is the weak point, but I figure when that goes I'll put on a broom handle or something similar. The threads seem like universal threads. And the plastic base itself seems relatively solid.

Alphaville
Posts: 2771
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Alphaville »

luxagraf wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:35 am
If I had to do it over again I'd get one of the wooden handled varieties,
i got the wooden handle with the plastic cones off amazon ages ago

best of both worlds for durability i think as i fear metal might catch knits/delicates and/or rust, and the hickory handle lasts forever

only issue with a straight pole is the wrist though, i have an injury that makes it clicky, have limitations on how to grip

there is a model out there (all plastic?) that has a handle like a shovel. i’ve also seen (maybe just dreamed) one with 2 bars in the side like a pogo stick

better ergonomics beat item durability in my opinion (click-click-click... :D )

shemp
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:17 am

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by shemp »

jacob wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:57 am
...hand wring...It's wringing jeans and cotton sweaters and trying to dry them in 68F that's the problem.
Be careful about wringing. You can break threads that way. With nylon, just squeezing into a ball is sufficient, and even that only really necessary for socks. Supplex/taslan nylon will dry overnight (8 hours) in all but 90+% humidity. Will even dry near freezing temperatures, as long as humidity under about 90%. Loosely woven nylon socks another story, but these will not cause blisters if worn wet and will dry quickly when worn. Nylon dress socks beat merino wool for all but technical winter conditions, when you need the water absorption and wicking properties of wool inside waterproof boots.

I use thin tightly woven cotten for my dress shirts. Such shirts will also dry overnight in most conditions, though not as quickly as supplex nylon. Such cotton shirts hold onto body oils more than nylon, so very important to wash immediately after each use, preferably with hot water and plenty of shampoo. Whereas I can wear my nylon shirt for a week in hot weather, including sleeping in it, so that the shirt is eventually covered with salt stains and stinks horribly, and yet it will wash completely clean in cold water with just a tiny bit of shampoo.

Nylon is truly a miracle fiber, the first discovered and still the best of all the synthetic fibers for many uses. The only disadvantage for clothing use is that it melts at wood fire temperatures, so shouldn't be worn around campfires with lots of sparks.
Last edited by shemp on Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

luxagraf
Posts: 198
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:32 pm
Contact:

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by luxagraf »

Alphaville wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:40 am
only issue with a straight pole is the wrist though, i have an injury that makes it clicky, have limitations on how to grip

there is a model out there (all plastic?) that has a handle like a shovel. i’ve also seen (maybe just dreamed) one with 2 bars in the side like a pogo stick
That's a good point I had not considered -- the plastic T-handle is definitely a huge help. It's like tennis, you don't want to bend your wrists. I bet it wouldn't be too hard to fashion a shovel-style handle with a pipe T and some dowels. That's one of those cross that bridge when I get there things though.

Alphaville
Posts: 2771
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Alphaville »

luxagraf wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:23 am
That's a good point I had not considered -- the plastic T-handle is definitely a huge help. It's like tennis, you don't want to bend your wrists. I bet it wouldn't be too hard to fashion a shovel-style handle with a pipe T and some dowels. That's one of those cross that bridge when I get there things though.
the worst motion is the stabbing motion like this:

Image

the force hits the wrist from the side and eventually one tears something. i did it by using a digging bar on heavy soil, which has ruined my wrist even for light stabbing :lol:

so now i have to hold the washer sorta like this:
Image
and push downward

which is not optimal

Frita
Posts: 635
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Doing your laundry in a bucket?

Post by Frita »

Now I rather enjoy doing laundry on a lavadero with a built-in pila (washboard) like this one: https://images.app.goo.gl/A3duUEp9QtKpL21GA
What I can appreciate is the ability to do a bit of wash each day rather than let it build up and no electricity. Also, after a bit of a soak the washboard (Concrete is better than metal or glass.) does all the work.

Sadly, I have never had a house in the US with enough space to install one. Since my spouse quit FT employment several years ago, he started doing the laundry as his job (except hand wash-only items and traveling hand wash, of course). Bummer, because I like doing laundry! I would really like to find a gig at a laundromat but they never seem to be hiring.

Post Reply