Washing laundry by hand is a great way to get in touch with the lost art of hard work. It’s not something that is done with little effort and can be a very rewarding experience, as well as help to save money in certain situations.
Why wash laundry by hand?
I started to dabble in hand washing my laundry a few years ago. We were living in a small apartment and I got tired of spending countless dollars at the laundromat, not to mention lugging baskets everywhere. I decided to try and save some money by attempting to wash our clothes in the bathtub and line drying. It was… alright. While we did save some money, it was difficult to find a way to wring out the clothes completely or without materials stretching. Over the years, I’ve found a few must-have tools to get our laundry cleaner, with less work.
What are the best tools for hand washing your clothes?
In the beginning, I started with a big bathtub and my hands. It wasn’t the best setup, but it did get the job done. Over time, I’ve become quite attached to a few tools that not only make the job easier, but get clothes cleaner too.
- Laundry Wringer: Hands down, this is the most important item that I have in my hand washing tool kit. It not only helps to get the excess water out of the clothes (more of problem than one might think), but it also eliminates fabric stretching from wringing the clothes by hand. And believe it or not, it even helps me to get my clothes cleaner. I do this by running the clothes through the wringer twice; once after washing to get as much of the dirty, soapy water out of the clothes as possible, and again after the rinse. If you’re in the market for a laundry wringer, then I suggest the Best Hand Clothes Wringer, since it’s one that I happen to own and love. I’ve had it since early 2011, and I’ve had nothing but a great experience with it.
- Washboard. I lived without a washboard for a number of years. Let me tell you, I had no idea what I was missing. This simple, primitive tool does so much to get your laundry cleaner. There are several on the market to choose from these days, but I’ve found that nothing works quite as well as a good, old-fashioned washboard like grandma would use. I found the one you see in the photos for about ten bucks at a local coffee and antique shop. If you keep your eyes open, you can find them for next to nothing at thrift stores, garage sales, or auctions.
- Scrub Brush. While the washboard is a great tool for scrubbing stains, sometimes it isn’t the right tool to get the soap to penetrate a stain. I’ve found that a scrub brush is the perfect solution to this. Recently, I learned that the small scrubber in this 3-piece Dish Set works better than any laundry stain brush I’ve tried. I simply dip the top of the brush into a bit of soap and water, and then I scrub away. This works great for things that have really had a chance to set into the individual fabric threads, and the handle makes it really easy to hold (something important to me, as I have some fine motor skill difficulty).
Muck Bucket. We went out to a farm and feed store once, and I saw this muck bucket, on sale, for just a few bucks. Since we had room to shove it in the car, I bought it and made it my new “laundry machine.” It’s so much nicer to have a bucket for doing laundry than it is to use a tub or sink, at least in my opinion. It’s a heck of a lot easier to clean out, for one thing. Clothes get pretty dirty, and it gets to be a real pain to scrub the tub our or unclog the drain regularly. And I really love that I can use it outside to wash our laundry. I love enjoying the fresh air, and it’s nice to keep the splishing and splashing out of my house! You can substitute this bucket with pretty much any bucket – even a smaller, 5-gallon one, but I prefer this larger one so I can wash large items like blankets or a full load of my husband’s clothes, with ease.
- Rubber Gloves. While I don’t always use them, rubber gloves sure do come in handy when you’re washing multiple loads. They’ll protect your hands from drying out and cracking.
- Plunger. Again, this is a tool that I don’t always use but it does come in handy at times. You can go online and find an already made plunger sold for laundry washing, but it’s not really necessary. You can save money by purchasing a standard (but new) toilet plunger and drilling holes into it yourself.
- Tractor. I’m halfway kidding about the tractor, but I won’t say that it hasn’t come in handy when doing laundry! I love using our tractor bucket to get my wringer to the perfect height!