How To Have Clean Laundry When The Power Is Off
Are you ready to see how to have clean laundry when the power is off? We will all lose power at one time or another, so we may as well be ready with the tools to at least have some clean underwear. I told Mark I won’t be hand-washing his jeans, just giving you the head-ups here.
If and when we lose power I’m prepared to wash our clothes, lots of clothes. Oh, did I mention we need to be able to dry our clothes as well? Yep, I have a clothesline, clothespins and a heavy duty Amish made wooden clothes drying rack.
I bought it from a store in Ohio, called Lehman’s Hardware Store. It’s my dream to go visit that store one day. Wooden Clothes Dryer
Here’s the deal, everytime we walk into our laundry room and throw a batch of clothes in the electric washing machine, and then throw them in the dryer, life is good. We have fresh clean clothes within a few hours.
I remember as a young girl hanging up our bed sheets on a clothesline outside and watching them blow in the wind. We had a bag that held the clothespins and a rather large laundry basket to carry the wet clothes outside.
We never used fabric softener, although the towels could have used it because they felt so rough and stiff. I want to put all of my emergency laundry ideas into one post for my readers to see some options they may be able to use.
Clean Laundry Ideas
Laundry Wash Buckets
These are fairly cheap and you can find them at most hardware stores. The washboard I found at a thrift / antique store. I bought the brand Behrens Wash Tubs and they sell a Washboard as well.
I made a portable washing machine with two-5-gallon buckets and drilled holes in the inside bucket. I purchased a Mobile Washer and made two complete sets. One for washing and one for rinsing.
You use very little detergent and you can wash a few items fairly well. I gave a neighbor down the street a set and she uses her laundry buckets for underwear between laundry days. I love it!
The picture above shows how Mark drilled two-inch holes in the green Gamma lids.
We drilled one-inch holes inside the inner bucket to give a little friction when washing. Easy peasy.
This is the Mobile Washer, the new ones have a nicer handle, but this one still works great.
Amish Wooden Clothes Dryers Rack
This is the Amish wooden clothes rack from Lehman’s, the store I want to visit someday. It’s on my bucket list.
The Best Clothespins
These are my favorite clothespins. I thought clothespins were clothespins, they’re not. I bought several different brands and they fell apart. If you have some from the “olden days” hold on to them.
These are called Kevin’s Clothespins, they are awesome. I always say, “buy right the first time.”
This is my favorite clothesline, I must mention, EarthEasy.com sent this to me to do a review on it a few years ago. I made a YouTube for them that is still on their website.
I had searched high and low to find one that would work in my neighborhood, I live in an HOA. It’s called a Homeowners Association. My Favorite Clothesline It’s called an Earth Easy Breeze Catcher Rotary Clothesline
Homemade Laundry Detergent/Soap
This will save you money, I promise.
- 1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap-grated either by hand, food processor, or salad shooter
- 1 cup Borax Detergent Booster
- 1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (not regular baking soda)
Grate the bar of soap by hand, or use an electric vegetable grater. Put these 3 ingredients in a blender to blend. After doing this, it will look just like the store-purchased detergent, but will not include all the “fillers." You will use less product per load and will have fewer “soap bubbles." Remember, just having bubbles doesn’t mean clean. I use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per load, depending on the size of the load. I have a HE-High Efficiency washer, and it works great in regular washing machines as well. Store the finished product in an airtight container, preferably glass to keep it dry. I store some in 5-gallon buckets, but I don't live where it's humid. Just giving you the heads up.
Let me know what you are going to use to have clean laundry after a disaster or an unforeseen emergency. I love having clean sheets as well. I could easily do my sheets separately one piece at a time in either one of these wash tubs or buckets. I want to save my money and buy a wringer, or maybe I will be lucky and find one at a thrift store or antique shop.
Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. Please store water, food and keep your gas tank full to at least 3/4 full. May God bless this world
Mindy recommended this Novaplus 500 Umbrella Clothesline Dryer
53 thoughts on “How To Have Clean Laundry When The Power Is Off”
I love Lehman’s. If I had unlimited money (which I don’t), I would spend a big chunk of it at Lehman’s. I love looking at the wood cooking stoves. It makes me remember going to cabins in Canada in my youth. They have people working there, that really understand oil lamps. Yeah!!! The crock section is really good also.
Hi, Janet, I called them when I wrote my book about the oil lamps. I had never used them and they explained everything to me. My daughter works for an airline and so I’m hoping to use her benefits and fly standby to go back there to see the store someday. I remember going to PA and seeing all the awesome woodwork made by the Amish, that’s probably one of my favorite trips. I really miss my wood burning stove. We used to haul cords of wood after using a chainsaw. It taught our girls to work. I love the smell of a fireplace/wood burning stove and the sense of peace it gives me to be able to cook and stay warm. Dreaming, It’s like you said going to cabins. I love it! Linda
Janet, they have a crock section? I’m going to have to bring a bigger suitcase! I love crocks! Linda
If you make it to Lehman’s send me an email, and we will try and meet you there.
Oh Janet, I would love it!!!! Thank you! Linda
I bought a yellow mop bucket with wringer thinking that
Would be handy for laundry… on wheels too!
Haven’t tried it yet.
HI, Dave, oh my gosh, that’s a great idea! On wheels would be awesome too! I really want something with a wringer, great tip! Linda
I’ve visited Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio numerous times. My husband is very indulgent about what I want to buy but I will admit, their shipping costs are high if you don’t take your items home with you. A couple times a year, they have smaller, flat rate shipping (Usually around Mr. Lehman’s birthday) and some free shipping. If you buy items like that heavy duty drying rack (I have 3), there are surcharges. It takes hours to go through that store because it meanders all over, having been built on several times. Plan on spending alot of time there!
I have the blue clothes plunger washer but haven’t had to use it yet. The same with the supplies to make all the detergent. You can buy a “kit” from Lehman’s for that too. I use my clothesline as much as I can but I must admit, I have cheap clothespins. I’ve seen the “Kevin’s” clothespins but I need so many and can’t bring myself to buy as many as I need. Go to Prairie Pin Pouches and see the clothespin bags she makes –
she hand makes the hangers too. Having just returned from Lancaster County, PA a few days ago, I saw alot of clothes on lines. One item I purchased there many years ago was a clothespin wheel – it’s an old bicycle wheel with all the spokes removed. You drill a hole in one end of the clothespin and tie it loosely to each spoke hole. Then it’s hung from chain and can be hung on your clothesline. It’s great for socks, undies, small items, etc. I’ve used mine for years and wish I had bought another one. An interesting fact; Ohio Amish have bicycles, but Pennsylvania Amish aren’t allowed them – they use retrofitted scooters made from bikes. Interesting. One item I want is a wringer, which Lehman’s sells but they’re expensive.
Just about everything one might want for “non electric” needs can be found at Lehman’s. Another idea would be a restaurant supply store. I’ve found alot of cleaning supplies and large cooking items there and they’re open to the general public.
Sorry for going on so long. Emergency preparedness is a passion of mine and I tend to get carried away at times. :o)
Hi, Robbie, oh I could have kept reading your comment. Emergency prepared is my passion as well. I’m glad you told me a store that keeps on going. I want the wringer as well from Lehman’s but it’s not in my budget right now. I just purchased the fire pit that’s back ordered for $150.00 plus shipping. Shipping was like $19.00. I have got to check out those clothespin hangers. Here’s the deal with my clothespins, I buy a few at a time. LOL! I need to check into that clothespin wheel!! Those clothespin hangers are awesome!!! I love stuff like this! Happy Friday! Linda
Instead of buying a clothespin why not make one? The material if not heavy enough for you simply swap out
Yes it’s MS, yet some of her “prepping” items are of better caliber such as this bag using a heavier material & hanging mechanism
Hi Mary, I love the design of hers. Great tip! Linda
Robbie, oh my gosh, I just received my Prairie Pin Pouches, I LOVE them! I ordered two of them!!!! Thanks for the tip, they are the nicest most durable ones I have ever seen! Thanks for the tip! Linda
Oh, I’m so glad you like them as much as I do! I’ve had mine up for over a year and a half and it’s still holding up really well. I love the denim type fabric. I do bring it in in the snow and rain but it still bakes in the sun alot during the summer. No. Nevada isn’t as harsh sun-wise as So. Nevada is tho. I bought extras too, so I could have backups. You never know how long someone will stay in business.
Robbie, they are really well made and sturdy! I am going to go to her website and write a review on them if she has a spot. These are the best ones I have ever seen. She should sell them through Lehman’s they are that high quality!! Thanks again for the tip! Linda
I just sent you an email with pictures about the clothespin bags. Let me know it got to you ok…
Nope…you didn’t get it, it got returned. Is there a way I can send you a direct email?
Hi Robbie, I never got an email from you. Let me know if you sent it. Linda
Thanks one more time for another great post. I don’t think I’ll mind the wash, rinse and hang to dry, but I’m sure dreading having to pump water our of the well by hand. Linda you may not be washing jeans, but I sure wont be using the sad iron. Just a side thought, use a little white vinegar in your rinse, it will disinfect, protect your machine and soften some also. Can remember Mom and her old cast iron wash kettle, over an open fire. So grateful for progress!
HI Beth, this is so funny you mentioned the iron. I saw one on Lehman’s website I thought to myself if things get really bad, I won’t be ironing anything. I will be worn out from wringing out the water from the buckets. LOL! I am going to try that white vinegar, that totally makes sense. I hope you don’t have to hand pump the water out of your well. I can picture the huge cast iron kettle over the fire. We’ve come a long way baby!! I love your comment, Linda
I made a clothespin holder out of a gallon plastic milk jug. Cut through the base of the handle, to separate it from the jug itself. opposite the handle, cut an opening (below the ‘top’), big enough to put the clothespins in and get your hand in to get the pins out. I also made a couple holes in the bottom, to drain water out, in case it rains while the jug is on the line. (The opening at the handle base is to hang the jug on the clothesline). Cheap! Just make another if this one wears out. Good luck! Love your posts!!
HI Carol, this is an AWESOME idea!! I love it, because like you said if it wears out, use another one. I love it! Linda
think a hand crank washing machine would work well. could even pair it up with a small 12V motor if you have solar or adapt an old bike to turn it.
Hi, Mike, I am going to look into that hand crank washing machine. I have solar generators and a bike. Great comment! Linda
My mom took a little girl’s dress sewed up the bottom put a hanger in the top and used it for clothespins. It slid on the clothesline and was brought in when the clothes were..
Oh my gosh, I love this idea! You could pick any little girls dress that you like, the thrift store has plenty of them. Now, I wish I had saved one of my daughter’s little dresses I made 40 years ago. This is an awesome idea! Linda
Hi there Linda ~ I bought the Novaplus 500 Umbrella Clothesline Dryer at Amazon about 6 months ago and I love it. It’s very easy to set up; instructions were in German, but it’s a common sense, look at the picture sort of thing. There’s really not a lot to put together. The downside is that I paid about $170 and I see it’s going for $235 now.
Love your blog, you are so kind to share so many ideas and hints with everyone.
Hi Mindy, oh my gosh that one looks fabulous! I just put it on my website, it looks really sturdy! I think anything made in Germany has got to be awesome! Love the tip, thanks so much, Linda
Living in Puerto Rico I’m without power right now so I have the 5 gallon bucket “washing system” and it works great except for the wringing part. To wash the linen I used a hardy plastic toy bucket. It’s larger and ideal in size. Instead of using the mobile washer I climbed inside the bucket and washed the linen as if I was pressing grapes. The linen came out clean and the workout was good and fun.
Hi Diana, I’m so sad to hear you are still without power, but I’m glad you are okay. I remember having some of those big toy buckets, that’s a great idea to stomp on them like grapes. Awesome idea!! I’m still praying for the devastation Puerto Rico has sustained. Be safe, let’s hope you get power soon. Linda
We always had the homemade pin bags when I was a girl. We kept it on a nail on the back porch. I have used 2 gallon buckets for years. I just set it on the ground. When I take the last load off the line, I take the bucket with all the pins inside and put it beside the washer.
I like the vinyl coated twisted wire lines. However, they are VERY hard to find. They used to make the best ones here, in the USA. The imports are very inferior. (Same goes for the imported pins) I had one line to break a couple of weeks ago as I was hanging laundry. All 3 of mine are stretched between trees.
Hi Hillbilly girl, I love hearing you have your clothesline stretched between trees! I hear you are on the products made today, the imports are so inferior. I used to think a clothespin was a clothespin, not anymore. They don’t make them like they used to!! I’m very happy with my Kevin’s clothespins. I wonder if Lehman’s carry that vinyl coated twisted wire lines??? Great comment! Linda
I have tried the mop bucket wringer and while it gets water out of clothes, it doesn’t do it all that well. Save your money and get a dedicated wringer instead. To get water out of jeans (or other large, bulky items), secure a closet rod pole in brackets a few inches from the wall. Straddle the p0le with each pant leg, then hold legs together at the bottom and twist. They will be wrinkly, but pretty dry. If you dry them while the wind is blowing pretty well, the wind will work most if not all of the wrinkles out. Obviously, you could do with with an existing pole-like apparatus, either horizontally or vertically (do you have a flagpole or a sturdy deck railing?).
Hi Nonya, that a great tip on wringing out jeans! I’m looking for a used wringer, but I’m not having very good luck in this small town I live in. My wish list has the Lehman’s clothes wringer on it. Great comment, Linda
This is the way I used to help my Nana with her laundry. We would twist all of her sheets and pants (few of those) before hanging them on the line. We each would take an end and start twisting. She was much stronger then me. The wrinkles came out in the wind.
I love this response, we are all helping each other know the tricks. Linda
Ikea has a wonderful drying rack that’s only $15. It’s named “Frost”.
We have two, we dry all our laundry outside (except sheets during allergy season). If we have a lot of rain we just set the racks up indoors.
Hi K, thanks for the great tip! I love IKEA! We do not have an IKEA here in Southern Utah but they do have one 4 hours north and 2 hours south of us. Thanks for sharing that tip! Linda
I don’t understand wishing for expensive things. Everyone posting here is groaning about the cost of things. The wringer from Lehmans is under $200. I don’t consider that expensive. I bought it, and I put it on my charge card. It’s paid for now. I also bought 2 small cast iron wood stoves on ebay for $188 each–with my credit card. They are now paid for. I bought a really big nice, red Italian wood cook stove for $2,600 and put it on my PayPal credit account, where I get 6 months with no interest. Still paying. I don’t wait for wishes to come true. I have bought every thing I need and put it on credit cards for the last 16 years. If the TEOTWAWKI comes before I pay them off, then I won’t have to pay on them anymore. If it doesn’t, I will gladly make the payments until they are done. I remember one PA book I read where the man was a prepper and when the EMP came, he lamented that he had not bought that $1200 solar freezer he wanted. I’m not going to be sitting there wishing. I am going to be laughing that I don’t have to make the credit card payments anymore. I am retired, live on a pension and Social Security so I am not rich. I just don’t spend anything on myself, drive a 12 year old car, and prefer reading, working on genealogy, and spending time with my grandchildren over traveling the world or owning a beach house. So my money goes a long way.
HI Angela, I love your comment, have you tried the Lehmans wringer? I was reading in the small print we need two of them. I have got to look for that nice red Italian wood cook stove, I would love that! I’m with you I have everything I need today, but there are a few things that would make life a bit better when we have an EMP. I totally agree with you. You rock with preparedness, thank you for the great comment! Linda
No, I have not tried the Lehman’s wringer. It is put away with my other preps for the end times.
Angela, I have heard people have used it daily and love it. We will all need one, thank you so much. Linda
Red tile wood cooking stove
Link to the one I bought, except the color on this one, is vanilla/gold. Mine had red tiles. The price is the same. That is hard to believe because most everything I have bought in the last year has gone up from $1 for a can of freeze dried green bens to $10 for a bucket of wheat
Angela, I would love one of those! It needs to be vented outside, I doubt my darn HOA would allow one of these to be installed in our house. I’m looking at other areas too live, I really want to move. Thanks so much for the link, I would want red too! Linda
Sorry about the typo it should read CLOTHESPIN BAG……
Mary, no worries, I have typos sometimes too. Linda
Thanks for your review and positive comments on the Ball Clothes Washer by the Breathing Mobile Washer LLC. It’s nice to read reviews and see pictures and videos of satisfied customers. We sell to Lehman’s which has been a great customer for many years. We’d love to see more pictures and videos of our product being used. Thanks for helping to get the word out on the Ball Clothes Washer. We do have new handle selections, a compact 2 piece version and a T-shaped ergonomic extension.
Breathing Mobile Washer LLC
Hi Robert, I would love to do a review on your two new products. Let me know and I will send you my address. Thanks, I love the ones I have now. Linda
Hello – I can’t get a regular e–mail to go through. Please send my your shipping address for the samples
Hi Robert, thanks for telling me my email is not working. I will have my IT person fix that.When you say sample, does that mean I will need to send back the two items? I will only do reviews if they are new items and I keep them for future posts. Let me know, thank you! Linda
Thanks for reviewing the Breathing Mobile Washer. It’s nice to see all the positive feedback on our product and how it has helped so many people. We appreciate everyone’s business and support – Breathing Mobile Washer LLC
Hi Robert, I give them as Christmas gifts to family and friends with buckets! You are welcome to use anything off my website for a review! Linda