How To Make Emergency Washing Machines

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Do you know how to make emergency washing machines? I have talked about them before, but I received an email from a sponsor to see if I would review the new handles for the Ball Breathing Mobile Washer. They are my favorite new handle styles! I have pushed the mobile washer for years, but now they have new handles! And they rock! I’m sharing my honest opinion of these babies! Let’s get real here, I won’t share anything on my website that I won’t use myself and then endorse. Thank you, Robert, for contacting me to check these out. I have been eyeing the new style for a few months, so I’m dying to show it to you!

We all want clean underwear for sure after a disaster, at the very least. The nice thing about this Ball Clothes Mobile Washer is the fact that you can use it year-round. You know when you just want to wash a few items and you don’t want to wait until the next laundry day?

Make Emergency Washing Machines

You will use less water, electricity and keep the planet a little greener by using just a bucket and a mobile washer. My design of the two five-gallon buckets with a Gamma Lid stores easily in your camping gear or RV. I have even washed sleeping bags in my large 17-gallon wash buckets with my mobile washers. It’s easy to put together as shown below.

Emergency Washing Machines

Emergency Washing Machines

This picture above shows the two styles available, the Ball Mobile Washer with a straight handle and the one with the “T” handle.

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Make Emergency Washing Machines

The handle stores easily inside the 5-gallon buckets with the Gamma Lid, (Mark drilled a 2-inch hole in the top lid).

Make Emergency Washing Machines

You tap the “ring” with the threads of the Gamma Lid on the top bucket with a mallet to secure it in place.  This bucket will sit inside the other bucket.

Emergency Washing Machines

The units have four pieces that come together easily by screwing them together to make them ready to use.

Emergency Washing Machines

In the “top” bucket, Mark used a drill to make a few one-inch holes for the water to flow through when swishing the water. I have a “wash” bucket set and a “rinse” bucket set.

Emergency Washing Machines

I use a few paper towels between the buckets when storing because sometimes they are hard to get apart. You can also use wash buckets such as these with the same mobile washers. Galvanized wash buckets.

Make Emergency Washing Machines

Emergency Washing Machines:

These are just a few of the things that you can wash by hand. I know heavy jeans would be a problem, but it could be done. I told Mark, “please no jeans if we have a power outage for a very long time.”

  1. Hand towels
  2. Wash towels
  3. Wash rags
  4. Cloth diapers
  5. Underwear
  6. Socks
  7. Cloth Menstrual Pads
  8. Cloth towels from the kitchen
  9. Sheets and pillowcases
  10. Shirts
  11. Blouses
  12. Skirts
  13. Pants

These are just a few items to think about washing by hand. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this country.

Be Prepared For Laundry by Linda

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Copyright pictures: Children with hanging clothes, AdobeStock_73890537 by Alexandr Vasilyev

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  1. Deborah says:

    Great idea! Thank you. I have had to wash clothes in the bath tub. Using a plunger. It works, but it isn’t easy. When you have children and no washing machine, you do what you have to do. Especially when one is in diapers. LOL 

    • Hi Deborah, I know we have to be prepared to wash diapers for sure! I wish more people would use cloth diapers, they would save so much money! Thank you, Linda

  2. Chris Daly says:

    What do you mean tap lip the inside lid?

  3. Where do I get the 4 piece for the washer??

  4. Leanne Long says:

    Went on-line (Amazon) per your link for the wash tubs. It is interesting to say the least. Not very good reviews – most say that the tubs will not hold water. And, the pricing is totally weird: 11 gal round $24.99; 11 gal 2 pack with a cleaning cloth $136.00; 11 gal 3 pack with cleaning cloth $120.99; 17 gal round $28.26; 17 gal 2 pack $115.99 with cleaning cloth. What is the cleaning cloth made of? Gold? Just my thoughts. I can see using some silicon to seal the seams but the pricing is way weird.

    How do you wring out your clothing once washed? Small things, I can see hand wringing but larger things? Or do you just let them drip dry? Here in western Washington, drip dry would not be very effective much of the year due to the weather!

    • I have an antique wringer for small things that works well. I have never had to wring things that wouldn’t fit in the wringer but read an article somewhere that suggested straddling a tree with the legs of jeans and then twisting the legs together to wring them. I thought this would work well for large items like sheets, as well. I would use my vertical clothesline pole rather than a tree, or maybe a corner deck rail – I could wipe those down before using.

      • Hi Lilia, I love your thoughts on how to wring out clothes. When the time comes when we have to wring out clothes by hand, you’ll be ready with your antique wringer! I think my post makes people think about how to be ready to wash clothes, you won’t be able to use your bathtub if the sewer lines are backed up. It’s all about being prepared for the unexpected. Good job, Linda

    • Hi Leanne, I bought my Behrens 17-gallon tubs at a store called Cal-Ranch for about $45.00 each. They do not leak. Interesting, I did not notice a cloth. I have my own cleaning cloths. I try to put the links to the ones I own because I get about 200-300 emails a day. I quote “Round Hot Dipped Steel Tub
      Behrens 11, 15 & 17 gallon round utility tub is perfect for pet grooming, using as a party tub/ice bucket or a classic planter. The tub is made of durable galvanized steel, sealed to hold liquids and features an offset bottom and has a wire reinforced top rim. Stronger than plastic, this pail won’t absorb odors and is recyclable.”
      I sometimes question reviews but people can say whatever they want. Maybe theirs leaked. Mine do not. I want a wringer for sure. Someone has sent me something to try to wring out clothes, I’ll keep you posted. Linda

    • Leanne, I found the wash tubs on the sites for Home Depot, Lowes, and Tractor Supply Company for 20.00 each. I’m not sure where you are in Washington state, but there’s gotta be cheaper options locally.

    • I have a industrial floor cleaner bucket with wringer, like schools use. I know it won’t handle jeans(I plan to order cotton used work clothes this week) but shirts and other items should be okay.

  5. No JEANS….is my idea too.
    I ordered a few used work pants for my Gene and when they arrived, they were waaay too small and gave them to Goodwill.

    Which reminds me to reorder a few this week; just a few sizes longer and wider in the waist.

  6. I remember my mother hanging Dad’s jeans on the line. She had metal rectangles that went inside the legs to keep them wrinkle -free. Anyone here old enough to remember those??? 🙂

  7. Carla Slaughter says:

    A few years ago we made our own washing system and put it to the test and it worked great. We just put a hole In the lid of a bucket big enough for the handle of a new plunger to fit through. Then we cut 3 or 4 holes in the top of the rubber of the plunger so the water could swish through. Put your soap, water and a couple of pieces of clothing in and plunge away. Make a second on for rinsing. Simple, cheap and portable for vacations, camping trips, hotel use or bugging out! We turned off our electricity for an entire rainy day once. Our family cooked on the grill, washed clothes by hand and collected rain water just to see what it would be like and we had a lot fun and it was a learning experience!

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