Learn How To Wash Clothes During An Emergency

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Are you ready to learn how to wash clothes during an emergency? Remember the month of September is National Emergency Preparedness month. Today I am going to show you my new and improved portable emergency washing machine. Well, it’s actually two buckets that fit inside of each other with one new change to my original style. Yesterday I shared my laundry detergent recipe.

Yesterday I shared my laundry detergent recipe.

Clean Underwear

Here’s the deal, I could go a few days and not wash my shirt or pants. It’s the underwear. Yep, let’s just say it how it is. We all want to wear clean underwear. It’s no secret. I remember growing up and my grandmother would always shout “be sure and wear clean underwear” if we were getting ready to go somewhere. Heaven forbids you’re in a car accident and you end up in the hospital wearing dirty underwear. Enough said this little washer bucket set can wash clothes very well. Oh, we could only wash clothes a little at a time but that beats bending over the bathtub.

No Laundromats To Wash Clothes

If we had an unforeseen emergency the local laundromats will more than likely not be working, unless the power outage is confined to a very small area of our city or county. Another reason we need to keep up on our laundry, it’s hard when life gets hectic and we are running kids to ball games or lessons. I did learn something from one of my daughters about our washing machines. She tried washing her clothes in the short cycle. It’s like 26 minutes. Why didn’t I think of that? I would use less water and my clothes would be done in half the time. Keep in mind we do not have anyone in our family at the moment that has a large amount of grease coming from work. Therefore the 26 minutes works great.

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Emergency Washing Machine YouTube

I want to share the YouTube Food Storage Moms did a couple years ago showing how to use this beauty shown above. Remember, it now has two buckets instead of one but you will get the idea.

Two Six Gallon Buckets

You will need two six gallon buckets, the five-gallon buckets are just not big enough. I use Gamma Lids for the top because it holds the plunger in place. Yes, I am colored coded with my Gamma Lids. The color green is for the laundry. I had a friend drill the two-inch holes in the Gamma Lids a few months ago.

Wash Clothes During An Emergency | via www.foodstoragemoms.comDrill Four Holes

Here, my husband is drilling the four holes in the top bucket. This is my new technique to give the emergency washing machine a little more friction with the water going up and down with the plunger. There is a three-inch area to give the water to swish around a little more when we wash clothes. Plus, this added feature will be great when we need to rinse clothes as well. I have two sets of these, one for washing and one for rinsing. The four holes drilled inside the inner bucket will let the soapy water drain from the clothes after washing them. You will then put the soapy clothes into the second set of my washing machine design and “plunge” the soapy clothes in the fresh water to “plunge” and rinse the soapy water out of the clothes. Now the clothes are ready to hang on a clothesline, clothes rack or a fence.

Wash Clothes During An Emergency | via www.foodstoragemoms.comThe Blue Washer Plunger To Wash Clothes

Here is the washer plunger. It is totally different than the usual toilet plunger. It has four parts as shown and can really move the water around in the buckets.

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Wash Clothes During An Emergency | via www.foodstoragemoms.comEasy To Store & Ready To Use

Here I am assembling the washing machine for storage until needed. I place paper towels between the buckets because they are so hard to get apart when they have been sitting in the heat in my garage for an extended amount of time.

Wash Clothes During An Emergency | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

If you have this ready to use you will be ready for the unexpected emergency or disaster. All you need is water, about 1/4 teaspoon of my homemade laundry detergent to wash and rinse clothes. I hope I never have to use this, but I am at peace knowing I have this ready to go. Just add water, detergent, and clothes. Woohoo!

There is one more item I want to mention. Do you have a clothesline or a way to hang up your clothes after washing and rinsing them? I found a clothesline about a year ago from Earth Easy.  I had been looking for one just like this one. I can fold it up and put it away, or leave it out all the time. It has a bag to store it in as well. My YouTube is on their website on how to use this clothesline. Are you ready to wash clothes during an emergency?

Survival Food Storage by Linda

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  1. This is one I really need to do! We often lose power and this would come in so handy when you need to do those few things, because like you I can’t go without clean undies.

    Also love that drying line you have, our Earth store has something like that, I want to see if the set-up is as easy before buying.

    • Hi Andi, I just pulled mine right out of the box. Thank goodness! Linda

      • I just hang them over the shower rod. If the rod is a tension rod, be careful of the weight. I had no washer a number of years ago. Clothes got washed in the sink, unless I had more than would reasonably fit, and sheets and larger clothes went in the tub. Sure wish I had thought of a plunger! That would have helped a lot! Maybe two, one for each hand, when using the tub 🙂

  2. Susan the farm quilter says:

    I have the Sunshine Clothes Dryer – you can see it here: https://www.prlog.org/11082585-sunshine-clothes-dryer-rotary-umbrella-style-outdoor-clothesline-made-of-wood-and-steel.html
    I had been asking for a clothes line and my dear hubby bought me this. I can get 4 loads of laundry on it and I love it!!! I use it all spring, summer and autumn…in the winter I use my electric dryer. I have a couple of wash boards that I could use if I needed to, but I like your system so much better! It is going on my Christmas list!!! I live out in the country and when we have storms we can be without electricity for a while, so this would be fabulous to have. I guess it would also be a good idea to have a few packages of new undies and socks around, just in case we have to go for years without having the ability to purchase new ones!

    • Hi Susan, it looks like the one I chose. I love it! I love to hear you are using yours so much. I better get with it. I like the idea of new undies and socks as well! Great idea! Linda

  3. James ( Bear ) Riley says:

    I love this, just one thing, Where do you get the blue plunger parts?

  4. It doesn’t say how the 4 holes help rinse also?

  5. This is a really cool idea! I would like to add that a home generator could keep the wash going on and on when the power is out. When does the laundry ever end?

    • Hi Roger, I totally agree the laundry never ends. I know a few people who have generators, but they are so expensive I won’t be getting one. They would be awesome! I don’t want to store gasoline on my tiny plot of land either. I think if someone can afford to buy a generator, I say go for it. We have friends who have a generator and they had to get permits to bury to install it on their property. They are set for sure until the gas runs out. Linda

  6. Peter Piper says:

    You can also wring the water out of your clothes with this set-up. To do that, put the bucket with holes in it inside the shower (or out in your back yard, propped up on 2 pieces of 2×4 or 2 bricks), put the wet clothes inside it, put the no-holes bucket inside the bucket with holes in it (on top of the clothes), put the lid on the top bucket and SIT ON IT! Yes, your weight will mash the clothes down and squeeze the water out of the holes through the bottom.

  7. Kim Davis says:

    Is it possible to just have 2 buckets not 4 to wash and rinse? Could I just dump the dirty water? I bought 2 buckets and 2 lids but didn’t realize I needed 4 buckets! I haven’t had anything drilled yet because I wanted to ask first. 🙂

    • Hi Kim, my first design of the bucket washing machine did not have a second bucket with holes. I mainly wanted to be able to do underwear, dishrags, hand towels, etc. I designed the second set of bucket washing machines with the holes to help drain and give some friction with the blue mobile washer plunger deals when I need to wash or rinse. Yes, you could get by with one set and dump the water. I’m glad to hear you are making a set, it’s so much better than using the bathtub or sink. We never know when the sewer and water lines will close or shutdown. Linda

  8. What about using the kitchen sink or the laundry sink in the garage and agitating with your hands!! I think you can get a less expensive solar clothesline at one of the big home improvement stores, I did. Also a rope and two trees will work.

    • Hi, HLO, we can use the kitchen sink if the water is not contaminated and the sewer lines are working. I do not have a sink in the garage now, but they are great if you have one. I live in the desert and have one tree that I could use for a clothesline but I live in an HOA and the tree is in the front yard. We need to use or buy whatever works for our yards and our budgets. I wish I had a sink in the garage, those are awesome! Linda

  9. Algarita Wuick says:

    Thank You for your post. I live near theTennessee/Alabama line. We are without power often because of storms/tornados. A few years ago a tornado damaged the major TVA lines. That means the gas pumps also didn’t have power for several days as well as homes. I wish I  had this “washing machine” then. I plan on using it when we camp in our travel trailer also. Thank You!

    • Hi, Algarita, what a beautiful name. Wow, I’m glad you are okay and your home is okay, I was in one tornado once in my life, and that was enough for me. Glad you can use this washing machine idea. May God bless you and your family to be safe when the next tornado hits. Linda

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