When my washing machine kicked the bucket after just one year, I chose to try out hand washing machines instead of spending another $500 or $600 on a replacement. After searching high and low for more than a week, I realized the market for hand washing machines was strong, but the products available to meet the needs of larger families were scarce. I finally came up with three alternatives to common hand washing machines and all cost less than $100 and use zero electricity to operate.
Commercial Mop Bucket – This was the most interesting find in terms of hand washing machines. The commercial mop bucket comes with a sturdy, rolling base and a removable mop wringer. Simply remove the mop wringer and roll the bucket next to your bath tub. Fill with soap, water and clothes and hand wash as usual. Remove the clothes and continuing with the next wash load until all clothes are washed. Dump the wash water and refill the bucket with clean rinse water. Place a handful of clothes in the rinse water and agitate. Replace the mop wringer on the edge of the mop bucket. Place one piece of clothing in the wringer and press down on the handle. Most of the water falls back into the mop bucket. Hang clothes to dry. Total cost for a commercial mop bucket: Between $30 and $60.
Modified Laundry Totes – I love to wash clothes outside in the summer months. Instead of bending over the bathtub or washing small loads in the kitchen sink, I chose to modify two laundry totes to create my very own hand washing machine. I drilled a hole large enough to fit the mouth of a 20-ounce soda bottle into the lower right corner of a laundry tote. I cut the mouth and neck of a plastic soda bottle with a pair of kitchen shears. Leave about Ã‚Â½ of the plastic body of the soda bottle attached to the neck. I piped silicone household glues/sealant around the neck of the plastic bottle top and fed the mouth through the hole from the inside. I pressed hard to spread the silicone and form a bond. I taped the mouth in place and allowed the silicone to dry for 24 hours. After the glue dried, I screwed on the plastic cap; finishing the drain on the new hand washing machine. Now, during the summer months, I place the empty laundry tote on a short table outside next to the watering hose. I fill the hand washing machine with water and soap. When I need to drain the water I simply remove the plastic screw cap from the soda bottle top and allow the water to drain. Total cost: About $25 (if you already have a drill.)
The Laundry Pod – If you want a commercial product aimed at hand washing small batches of clothes, the Laundry Pod is a viable alternative. The Laundry Pod looks like a huge salad spinner. The unit holds a very small load of clothes, but you can alter how you use the unit to wash larger loads. Remove the inner basket to wash larger loads. I place my Laundry Pod in the bathtub and fill with soap, water and dirty laundry. After soaking for two to three hours, I agitate the laundry by hand for a few minutes and drain the wash water using the integrated drain tube. After the laundry drains, I repeat the process with rinse water. When I’m ready to spin the load, I dump the clean clothes into the bath tub and place the Laundry Pod on a table just taller than the edge of the bath tub. I replace the laundry basic and spin two to three pieces of clothing at a time. I hang the load out to dry. Total cost for the Laundry Pod: $99