clothes being taken out of a portable washing machine

Using an Off Grid Washing Machine: A Comprehensive Guide

It’s true, washing clothes manually can be a lot of work. Still, using an off grid washing machine comes with a lot of benefits as well. You won’t be using electricity, you’ll be washing your clothes outside in the garden, and you’ll be working out at the same time. If this is something you want to try, you’re going to like what we’ve prepared for you today.

We’ll talk about some examples of off grid washing machines and how to build your own. Then, we’ll mention a couple of benefits of using an off grid washing machine and provide you with some shopping choices.

Using an Off Grid Washing Machine: A Comprehensive Guide

5 Off Grid Washing Machines You Should Try

1. Manual Clothes Washer

The great thing about this off grid washing machine is that you can move it around in your garden and allow the water that remains after you wash your clothes to seep into the ground, as long as you use a biodegradable soap. This design can be a bit complicated to manufacture, but if you’re willing to invest some time and effort into making your own off grid washing machine, you will reap the benefits soon enough.

This manual clothes washer is made up of 3 parts: a container in which you’re going to place the clothes, a net bag to put the clothes in before placing them in the container, and a shaft mechanism driven by a lever that’s going to help you do the washing. The mechanism is supported by a wooden frame.

The most important part of the mechanism is the net bag. This not only holds your clothes together but also helps agitate them. The middle of the bag is an open cylinder made of mesh netting. The cylinder is end capped with two semi-rigid cones that point upward. When the washer is in action, the shaft pulls the bottom cone up and down, which does the same to the clothes.

2. Hand Powered Washing Machine

The next type of off grid washing machine, this one is also challenging to build, but it’s extremely sturdy and will last you for years to come. Moreover, it contains both a washer and a rinse side. For that, you’re going to need two containers, that you can make from two halves of a barrel. In order to keep the barrels together, you’ll need a wringer and a wood frame.

You can build the frame with as much wood as you can before switching to metal, which you’re definitely going to need in order to keep the level and plungers in place. As you can see in the image above, this is definitely a larger off grid washing machine. This means you probably won’t be able to keep it inside. However, it does a splendid job outside. Using it ensures you’ll never have to use an electricity-powered washing machine ever again.

3. Homemade Washing Machine

This homemade washing machine is easier to build than the previous two. It still consists of a wooden frame, but the frame is much smaller. In fact, you can use an old table in which you carve a hole the size of the container you want to use. Then, place the container into the hole and you’re one step closer to building your own homemade washing machine.

We particularly like the design of the handle, because it’s different from the levers we’ve seen up until now. This time, the clothes are agitated by wooden pallets that you move around using a rotating handle. Even though the motion is different, the result is the same. You will clean your clothes and work out at the same time.

4. Tumbling Washer

Another interesting design for an off grid washing machine, all you need in order to build this tumbling washer is a plastic barrel, some pipes, and – you guessed it – a wooden frame. The frame is meant to support the barrel and keep it from rolling away. You’re going to use the pipes to attach the barrel to the frame, as well as to create the lever that helps you wash the clothes.

This is a relatively simple design that doesn’t take a lot of time to complete. Plus, it’s quite spacious, so you can wash plenty of clothes at once. However, this also means you’re probably going to have to keep the machine outside, but who wouldn’t want to wash clothes in the garden and build muscles at the same time?

5. The Old-Fashioned Way

The last off grid washing machine we want to mention, while not exactly a device in itself, is one of the most effective ways of washing clothes and exercising at the same time, which is why it’s worth being mentioned. Do you know how people used to wash clothes before washing machines were a thing? They would use galvanized buckets that they would fill with water and soap. Then, they would take the clothes, place them in the buckets, and dunk them up and down to get them clean.

This is something you can do as well, if you want to find the cheapest way of washing clothes there is. For extremely stained clothes, you can use a washboard. A manual wringer can help you move the clothes from the soapy water into clean water to rinse them, as well as take the rinsing water out of the clothes once you’re done.

Benefits of Using an Off Grid Washing Machine

1. You Save on Electricity

One of the most important benefits of using an off grid washing machine to clean your clothes is that you’ll save on electricity. Even though you don’t usually spend as much on the electric washing machine, you will still be able to notice a difference when switching to an off grid washing machine.

2. You Exercise

As you might have already noticed, all of the off grid washing machines we’ve talked about above imply some amount of exercising. If you’re looking for a cheap way to build muscles and keep fit, washing clothes using an off grid washing machine can help you with that. And the best part is, you’re also doing laundry at the same time. This can save you a lot of time, especially if you can’t seem to find the time to do household chores and exercise in the same day.

3. You Protect the Environment

The less electricity you use, the more the environment is going to benefit. It’s no secret that our planet is struggling with pollution. As a result, more and more people are becoming environmentally-conscious and trying to find ways to pollute the earth less. Washing your clothes using an off grid washing machine can be one of the main ways in which you contribute to this. Using less electricity means less carbon emissions that damage the environment.

4. You Live a Simpler Life

Another reason why people choose to switch to off grid washing machines is because they remind them of a simpler time, when people didn’t use that many appliances to do household chores. The practice of washing clothes manually can be relaxing for the mind as well, because it takes a lot of physical effort to do it. If you wish you could live in a simpler world, you can start by building your own off grid washing machine.

3 Off Grid Washing Machines You Can Buy

If you don’t want to build an off grid washing machine, you can always buy one. There are a couple of options on the market, and we’re going to talk about 3 of them.

1. The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash Non-electric Portable Compact Mini Washing Machine

One of the most popular off grid washing machines you can find online, the Wonderwash is a non-electric, hand-crack device that can wash a load of clothes in just a few minutes. It’s small enough to fit into an apartment, but easy to carry around as well. This means you can also use it outside. Moreover, the Wonderwash is perfect for delicates.

2. The Laundry POD

The Laundry POD is a small washing device that provides you with an effective spinning system for washing clothes in just 10 minutes. For each load, you only need 1.5 gallons of water and 1.5 teaspoons of detergent. You can take this portable washing device with your everywhere, due to its small size and lightness.

3. Breathing Mobile Washer Classic

The last device on today’s list is one that you can use anywhere. That’s because it doesn’t come with a container of its own. Its portable design is cheap, eco-friendly, and perfect for people who don’t like to stay in the same place for long.

Summing It All Up

We hope today’s guide to off grid washing machines has convinced you of the benefits of using this affordable and environmentally-conscious technology to wash your clothes. Whether you choose to build your own washing machine or buy one from the list above, this clothes-washing technique will help you exercise, save energy, help the planet, and go back to a simpler lifestyle, all at once.

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Bonnie Enos

I spend my time in my garden trying to create the greatest outdoor space possible. My garden is my happy place and where you will always find me on a nice day. I take my experience and share it here for you to read!

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