How To Have Clean Underwear After A Disaster

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Today it’s all about how to have clean underwear after a disaster. 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 portable emergency washing machine. Well, it’s actually two buckets that fit inside of each other with one new change to my original style. This is an updated post to show my readers who maybe missed it a few years ago. 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 forbid 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 or not washing them at all.

No Laundromats To Wash Clothes/Underwear

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. In fact, my new washer has a 15 minute short cycle. We use it all the time since our clothes seldom get very dirty. Saves time, water and it’s actually easier on the clothes.

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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. I prefer six-gallon buckets: 6 Gallon Bucket (No Lid) and Gamma Seal Lid- Green. Here’s the deal, get together with neighbors and order these as a group to save on shipping.

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.


Drill 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 about 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.


The 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. These are the best: Breathing Mobile Washer


Easy To Store & Ready To Use For Clean Underwear

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.


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, clothes, and your muscle action. 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?

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Water Storage

Comments from readers:


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 backyard, 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.

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  1. It is mostly the agitation that gets clothes clean in the washer. A shorter cycle might not use any less water, unless it eliminates a rinse cycle. But it will have less agitation, which might result in not as clean clothes over time.

    1. Hi Julie, my short washing machine cycle has a rinse cycle and my clothes come out very clean. We do not have greasy clothes so I’m assuming all is well with my short cycle washing time. All my daughters use the short wash time as well. Thanks for stopping by, Linda

  2. Linda, I love your blog, and I love your new book, “Prepare Your Family for Survival”. Of all my survival books, it’s my favorite. I wish we had come to visit you when my daughter and family lived down in your neck of the woods.

    1. Hi Cheryl, I have soft water. Are you talking about my laundry detergent recipe? I know a lot of people use it with or without soft water. You may need a little more with hard water but it should work. Linda

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