Non-electric, off the grid washing machines, come in a variety of makes and models, some of which have been around for hundreds of years. In fact, your grandparents likely used one or more of the types mentioned in this article.
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When choosing an off grid washing machine, there are a few questions you must answer first. For example, how many people live in your household? How good is your off grid water system? How often do you do laundry? What's your budget? What about your drying solutions in your off grid home? Answering simple questions like these will help you choose from the plethora of options.
Below, you will find six off the grid washing machines to suit a variety of budgets and off grid home systems.
Off The Grid Washing Machines For Every Situation
The Laundry Pod
To complete a wash, you need six liters of water and 1.5 teaspoons of laundry detergent. A complete cycle takes about ten minutes. Since you will likely be pouring the water outside, make sure you use an environmentally-friendly detergent.
Another non-electric option for an off the grid washing machine, the Yirego Drumi will clean up to two kilograms of laundry in under ten minutes. Looking similar to a rice cooker, this washing machine requires no installation and can easily be transported.
The washing and spinning motions are powered by a pedal you repeatedly push down. It’s kind of like using one of those old Bellows foot pumps you would use for an air mattress.
After you’ve completed the spin-drying cycle, remove the drum for an easy clean of the machine before putting it away.
Lavario Portable Clothes Washer
This non-electric washing option has become very popular amongst campers, RV travelers, and off-gridders alike. Made completely in the USA, the Lavario uses patented power-flow technology to clean your clothes faster, and more efficiently.
Each full-load requires ten gallons of water, five to wash and five to rinse. A full load (about 6 - 7 articles of clothing) will take you just under 20 minutes to complete. As an added benefit, Lavario washers will easily clean jeans and heavy sweaters, unlike some of the other non-electric washing machine options.
The Old-Fashioned Way
If you're new to living off the grid, your off grid costs might surprise you. That's why you'll still find off grid families today using old-fashioned methods in their off grid homestead kitchens and laundry rooms.
To wash your clothes the old-fashioned way, you will need two large washbasins and a washboard. The first basin will be used for washing the clothes with soap. If you only have access to cold water, make sure you buy a cold-water soap.
Find the directions here in this classic Mother Earth News article.
Wash the clothes in the basin for as long as needed, and use the washboard to scrub off any extra dirty clothes. Once complete, use the other basin to rinse the clothes in freshwater.
Now, you can go straight to hang-drying the items or put them through a hand-wringer first to speed up the process. Whatever method of old-fashioned cleaning you use, it will be cheap and energy-efficient.
The Plunger Method
This method requires a little do-it-yourself attitude. With some basic materials and tools, you can make a plunger-powered washing machine as a money-saving alternative to an off the grid washing machine.
You’ll need a thick plastic bucket and lid, with a capacity between five and ten gallons. Also, a plunger (new) and a drill. You simply drill a hole in the lid for the plunger handle to fit through.
Make sure you drill a few holes in the rubber part of the plunger to stop it from suctioning to the bottom. Put your water, clothes, and detergent in the bucket, and seal the lid with the plunger handle sticking out. Now use the plunger to agitate the clothes for several minutes, or until satisfied.
Drain the water, refill it with fresh water to rinse, and repeat. The size of the bucket limits how many clothes you can wash at once, so this likely isn’t a viable option for large families.
Lehman's Hand Washer
Lehman’s own hand-washer is essentially an updated version of the old James Washer. James Washers were incredibly durable and well-made non-electric washers produced in the early 1900s. The design was so well-liked, that Lehman’s created a new version with only a few minor changes.
This hand-washer has a triangle-shaped agitator that keeps clothes from floating to the top. To engage the rolling motion that spins the washing, you simply push the agitator lever back and forth. It has a 15-gallon capacity, and it only takes several minutes to complete a full load.
For larger families living off the grid, this washing machine gives you the ability to clean more clothes in a timely manner.
A Modern Off The Grid Washing Machine- Wonderwash
This mini non-electric Wonderwash washing machine has become very popular with campers and people living off grid. The Wonderwash has a low price tag, usually costing under $100. They operate via hand-crank and can clean up to five pounds of clothes at a time.
If you often have multiple small loads of laundry to do, like undergarments, diapers, or delicates, this is a great choice. For example, you can wash about ten T-shirts in this machine at a time. It takes one to two minutes to complete a load. Also, it comes with a three-year warranty in case you have any issues.
Whatever your situation, you can find non-electric off the grid washing machines for every need. With the world trending towards greener products, new and improved manual washing machines are being designed every year. They require less water and often don’t create as much wear on your clothes as can sometimes happen in electric washing machines.
Despite this, your family might need a full-sized electric washing machine for your off-grid home. In that case, check back soon for an upcoming article about the best high-efficiency electric washing machines.
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This post is part of the Homestead Blog Hop #323!