clean underwear

How To Have Clean Underwear After A Power Outage

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This post is about how to have clean underwear after a power outage. Are you ready to learn how to wash clothes after a disaster? This is an updated post. 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. Please remember, it uses very little laundry detergent but we still need to store some for emergencies should the store shelves become empty.

Here’s the deal, I could go a few days and not wash my shirt or pants. It’s underwear I worry about. 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 that you’re in a car accident and you end up in the hospital wearing dirty underwear. It’s all about the memories of growing up, right? This little washer bucket set can wash clothes very well. We could only wash clothes a little at a time, but that beats bending over the bathtub.

Clean 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 community. Another reason we need to keep up with 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 a 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 the type of work they do. Therefore the 26 minutes works great. My new washing machine has a 15-minute wash cycle and we use it on most batches of wash.  It’s amazing how clean the clothes come out, and it saves so much time. I’m sure it also helps extend the life of the clothes.

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Emergency Washing Machine YouTube

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

Two Six-Gallon Buckets

You will need two six-gallon buckets, the five-gallon buckets are just not big enough. 6 Gallon Bucket (No Lid) (you will need four of these if you want a washing AND rinsing set). I use Gamma Lids for the top because it holds the plunger in place. Yes, I am color 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. Gamma Seal Lid (3) Quantity (green) You only need two for this washing machine set, but you can use the other green Gamma lid for your laundry detergent bucket. You can also get Gamma lids at some Walmart stores, but not all of them.

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 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. 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 freshwater 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.

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Wash Clothes During An Emergency | via

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. Breathing Mobile Washer – Handheld, portable, non-electric, mobile, manual clothes washing machine. Handle Included.

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

If you have this ready to use you will be ready for an 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 a few years from Earth Easy.  I had been looking for one just like this. 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 have clean underwear after a disaster?

My favorite things:

Kevin’s Quality Clothespins Set of 50

Whitmor Canvas Clothespin Bag, Natural

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  1. You do not mention wringing out the clothes between wash and rinse. This will get more soap out
    and use less water. You can either get a wringer (on line) or use the various videos to learn how without
    a wringer using those two buckets and sitting on them to squeeze out the water. This would be very
    important for diapers too. Left over soap will irritate your babies bottom.

    I am old enough to have had hand washing clothes added to my training to be a homemaker as a girl
    and hanging them on a line correctly.

    1. Hi Bebe, thank you for reminding me of the wringing out. Sometimes I forget to explain all the steps. The two bucket method “wrings” out the water very well. All families need to know how to handwash clothes and wring them out by hand and hang them up. You and I grew up knowing how to do that. I will look online for that wringer you are talking about. I have been researching for one but the prices are too high for me right now. But they would be a great emergency preparedness add. Thank you so much! Linda

  2. Thank you for this! After Katrina, we were out of power for weeks. I resorted to throwing all of clothes into the bathtub with water and laundry detergent and stomping them to agitate.Rinsing was a pain. We hung them on a line to dry. Yes it was nice to have clean clothes but very difficult to get them clean. I know we will eventually have another event like that and am trying to prepare now, We don’t want to be in the bind we were in after Katrina!

    1. Hi Paula, I’m so sorry you hear you were involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I can;t even imagine the things you had to go through to get order back in your life. Thank goodness you had a clothesline. We will all have trouble getting any heavy clothes clean, underwear, diapers (boiled) and light weight clothes will be a little easier. I would love to purchase a wringer but the prices are so high. I will use these buckets and keep plunging until the water is as clear as I can get it. I’m prepared to be without power for months if need be but it will not be a fun experience. You had firsthand experience and know the reality, I’m glad you survived. Hugs! Linda

      1. I started following you not too long after things finally were up and running and life could begin again. We live in a very close to the Gulf and very rural section of Mississippi. Hurricanes are a fact of life down here. Katrina was a booger for us to be sure! We got so sick of spam and canned soup LOL! I know it’s inevitable that we have another baaaad hurricane. Thank you for your website. My family thought I was crazy with all my canning and candle buying . You give such good tips for surviving after the storm (whatever storm you have to go through). Once again, thank you!

        1. Hi Paula, thank you for your kind words! They keep me going, they really do! I grew up on spam and corned beef hash! I have been reading the book called Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. It describes the aftermath of Katrina, the hospital stories and so much more that none of us read in the newspaper. I am going to write a post about our friend’s son who was in Medical school at Tulane and had to be evacuated. This book gives me chills about what really happened behind the scenes that none of us knew or at least I had never heard some of this stuff. Thank goodness you canned and bought candles. May God bless you and your family! Hugs! Linda

  3. Linda! wonderful ideas. and oh yeah I certainly remember that exact liner about the underwear. too funny…

    I actually purchased an old mop machine from Good Will. It was in great condition and not only did it wash my clothes but also had the part where it would wring out the clothes as well. Remember those old wringer washing machines? Well that is how this works with the mops, but I can use it for clothes in case of emergency. However, for the time being I shall appreciate my good ole’ washing machine. As a matter of fact, this sounds crazy but every time I flush the toilet I say thank you. It is good to appreciate what we have.
    Thank you again for being so kind and generous with your time and energy. We love and need you Linda.

    1. OH Vivian you just made my day! Your words are so kind and appreciated! I have been helping my daughter remodel she and her husband’s home and we had to move the toilet to lay the floor. Boy, did we miss that toilet for four days! LOL! Oh and the washing machine….I typically keep up on my laundry because there is only Mark and I but when it’s cloudy outside, I quickly run as many loads of laundry that we have. Call me Nervous Nellie, I always want to be prepared. Hugs! Linda

  4. Linda, the other day at Cracker Barrel, there was a type of plunger hanging on the wall in their restaurant. My husband and I had no idea of what it might be for. We love antiques and have fun guessing at what their use was. Finally, my husband said, it’s for washing clothes ! There were guesses from butter churning to other outlandish things, but washing clothes ! OMG !!!!! You have just solved the how and the why ! Thank you. We have become so used to automation, we forget what used to be !

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