Off-Grid Laundry: A Homesteader’s Greatest Challenge

Share This!

Off-grid homesteaders may be faced with the challenge of how to clean and dry laundry without modern conveniences. Here’s how one woman solved the problem.

If you’re living off the grid, you may have encountered an unexpected challenge: How to do laundry without a modern (electricity-hogging) washing machine. Clotheslines are great (and can actually be better for your clothes than a dryer), but dripping wet clothes can take ages to dry, leading to staining, fading, and mildew. Getting clothes clean without a washing machine can also be difficult, as you will need very large kettles or buckets to wash even a small amount of laundry.

The article below explains how, through research and ingenuity, one homesteader solved the problem of cleaning and drying laundry without a modern washer and dryer. If you’re looking for a similar solution, her method may be helpful for you.

Because so many styles of mechanized washing machines have been designed and patented through the years, I thought washing clothes by hand must be absolute drudgery or inventors wouldn’t have bothered.  Many lengthy books, such as The Laundry Manual; or Washing Made Easy by a Professed Launderer, 1861, were devoted entirely to washing clothes. Days of the week revolved around a laundry schedule…

………………………………………………………….

While the multitude of washing machines evolved into the spinning drum models common today, the wringer went to the wayside – until us modern homesteaders demanded its revival. And, you know what? The wringer has changed little in more than 150 years. It is still simple, effective and easy to use.

………………………………………………………

When I decided I wanted one for our off-grid evolution, I thought my husband could retrofit one of those 1950s machines. They still occasionally turn up at auctions, but go for inexplicably high prices. I am not sure if the novelty drives bids, but recently we watched as a line of the old machines, some not operational, sold for more than $200 each. As it turns out, a modification would be impractical and costly. Besides, I only wanted the wringer and not the tub.

I found the perfect solution online. After setting up the three-compartment restaurant sink we nabbed at a consignment auction, we ordered an American-made stainless steel hand-crank wringer from BestDryingRack.com in Missouri. I had no idea such devices were still manufactured, especially in the United States. The wringer is very similar to those from the Civil War era – simple, effective and easy to use – except made of longer-lasting, better materials.

………………………………………………………..

Wringing laundry with this simple tool eliminates labor spent twisting clothes and it actually gets the water out, very important for bright, clean laundry. Without all that hand-wrenching, too, garments aren’t distorted out of shape….

For more information plus resources, check out the full article at MotherEarthNews.com

 

Share This!