How I Do Laundry By Hand

I recently moved across the country to Kansas… it was a move that downsized me from a spacious 1,000 square feet of multiple rooms to a small studio apartment. And so, there is no washer and dryer available except at the laundromat. It might be just me, but I personally think that spending $40-$45 a month to get my underpants clean is a little exorbitant. For contrast, my monthly water bill was only $9 for dish washing, showering, laundry, etc. Big difference!

Breathing Mobile Washer


I picked myself up a Breathing Mobile Washer (this thing is amazing at agitating and washing clothes), two buckets from the dollar store, and got down to business. Luckily my bathtub is a pretty large square, so I just climb right into the tub to get everything clean.

  1. Put about 1-2 teaspoons of laundry detergent in the bucket. Shake out your dirty laundry a bit to remove large particles, then put it in and fill with water. I will use hot water for underwear and socks; if the clothes are really dirty, I will also add about 1/4 cup white vinegar to disinfect. (If there are clothing items with stains, I have a brush just for laundry that I will use to scrub and get everything clean.)
  2. Then, use the breathing mobile washer to agitate for a few seconds, just to get all the clothes soaked and wet, and let sit for about 30 minutes to loosen the grimy stuff.
  3. Come back, agitate with the washer, I usually go for about 2-5 minutes, and then pour out the dirty water. It will dirty/filthy/disgusting. I’ve found that the breathing mobile washer is incredible at getting everything clean.
  4. Add more clean water. If it’s stinky stuff, (e.g. husband socks) I will add about 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Agitate it a bit to dissolve and distribute it, and then let it soak for about 30 more minutes. Baking soda is great at taking out smells. (I’ll even sprinkle it on my carpet, let it sit, and then vacuum. Awesome.)
  5. Agitate to rinse, and then pour out the water. And then rinse it a second time. I find that the second rinse just makes everything… more excellent. The whole process doesn’t really take a lot of water, and the second rinse is worth the extra clean and softness.
  6. After dumping out the water from the second rinse, wring clothes and hang to dry. I find that either pressing the clothes against the side of the bathtub, or pressing them flat against the bottom is easier than twisting in my hands.

I hang my clothes to dry on a clothesline that I had my husband put up in the apartment. It consists of eye hooks, a carabiner, and a cleat so that it can be taken down and set up in a flash. And it only cost me under $10, including the cost of the clothesline.

Also, one of my favorite stores is Lehman’s. They provide a lot of merchandise to the Amish and non-electric community, and their products are awesome. You can grab the hand washer from them for about $20, and they sell a lot of ingredients to make your own laundry detergent.

Can you tell that I’d feel right at home in a cabin by the sea? One day… one day.

(Since moving to Kansas, the only thing I really miss is the sea!)


Basic Preparedness for Short Term

When Hurricane Sandy hit, it really made me think about preparedness and how I would handle a larger disaster/emergency, or even permanent off-the-grid. Luckily, I like to camp, so I was pretty set for the few weeks of Hurricane Sandy Recovery. But here’s a list of some basics that I would really recommend having on hand at all times for small power outages.

  • Water – 1 gallon per person, per day. (If I know that some weather is coming, I fill up gallon jugs and all kinds of containers. Tap water has enough chlorine [& stuff] in it that it will keep for some time so don’t worry about it going bad. I really want to start getting a water purification setup going at some point in the near future for a more sustainable solution.) 
  • Food – 3 day supply of non perishable. (Use on a first in, first out rotating basis so it never expires and is always fresh. I like to label the expiration date in thick, black, permanent marker so I can see it with a quick glance.)
  • Flashlight & batteries for short-term, I also keep a large collection of candles on hand with lighters.
  • First aid kit and any prescription medications.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
  • Sanitation/personal hygiene items.
  • Blankets.
  • Important documents in one location, together.
  • Cell phone with chargers. (I have a small solar charger that I take camping with me that will charge my cell phone.)
  • Extra cash.

And always know where to meet your loved ones in case of an emergency – where to go if the house is on fire, where to meet if you have to leave the area, etc. During Hurricane Sandy the cell phone tower for my area went out and panic ensued! Always try your best to keep in contact!