To do laundry in an off-grid situation, we can just look to the past and add a few modern twists. There are three parts to doing laundry, washing, rinsing/wringing and drying. Let’s take a look at how to do those three off-grid.
Non-electric Washing Machines
A more modern, yet off-grid means, is with an item like the Pressure Handwasher from Lehman’s, the Wonder Wash from The Laundry Alternative Inc. or Laundry Pod. The designs of the Pressure Handwasher and the Wonder Wash are similar to each other. From simply looking at the designs web pages and the videos that are available, the Laundry Pod design seems superior to me. The process of the three is similar; add a gallon or two of water, a bit of soap and turn/crank for a minute or two, drain, add more water and turn/crank for a minute or two to rinse.
Do It Yourself
If you’re a do-it-yourself-er or just frugal, you can do something similar by using a five gallon bucket and a laundry plunger. Take the lid for the five gallon bucket and cut a hole in the middle large enough for the handle of the laundry plunger. Fill the bucket half full with clothes, add a gallon or two of water add a little soap. Now put the laundry plunger in the bucket and place the lid securely over the plunger. Push the plunger up and down to agitate the clothes for a couple of minutes. Some people use a regular plunger. It is my understanding that laundry plungers force soap and water through the clothes more effectively. Lehman’s has two version of laundry plungers or hand washers, they are the Rapid Laundry Washer and the Breathing Hand Washer.
The non-electric washing machines have a means to rinse and wring the clothes, but there are other methods for those not using one of these machines. Lehman’s Clothes Wringer has some off-grid options but they’re a bit pricey to me.
Do It Yourself
Here is a three bucket system I found that I think is very clever and would go nicely with the other do it yourself system to wash clothes.
Many people use clothes lines and pins for drying their clothes, either to save on the energy bill, or just for the fresh smell. As a kid we used some that were made out of clothes line rope, but you can also use wire strands. Another option for drying clothes is a drying rack.
One last thought: water that was used for laundry can be recycled and used to water the garden or lawn.