Staying healthy is essential to staying alive, there's no question about that. We also know that staying clean is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy. Cleanliness prevents the growth of bacteria, fights infection, and keeps you looking fresh and smelling good.

Washing clothes without electricity

Electric washing machines have become ubiquitous in our society, and few people wash clothes by hand anymore.

We apply this same philosophy to our clothes, whether that means washing them in a machine at home or at a local laundromat. Unless part of your survival plan is to disguise yourself as a homeless person if SHTF, you'll probably want to continue keeping your clothes clean, even if you don't have access to washing machines or electricity.

Washing clothes without electricity 2

Two wash basins, a corrugated metal washboard, and a manually-operated wringer. There's not much to it.

So, what's the best method of washing clothes without electricity? Well, there's the time-tested method of a wash basin, washboard, and a wringer that was used for hundreds of years. However, this method requires a lot of elbow grease and access to specialized tools—not many of us own washboards these days.

Washing clothes without electricity

Do you have one of these in your home, and know how to use it? If so, you're in the minority.

Luckily, there's a better way: the DIY bucket and plunger washing machine. Here's what you'll need:

  • Two clean 5-gallon plastic buckets, one bucket lid
  • Clean rubber toilet plunger
  • Hole-punching tool (the video below uses a power drill, but an awl or screwdriver and hammer would work)
  • Water, detergent, and dirty laundry
  • Optional: Cordage and a carabiner for the “spin cycle” dryer

This video illustrates how the DIY washing machine is built and operated:

Even if you're scavenging for supplies in an urban disaster zone, these items shouldn't be too difficult to acquire. If all you've got to wear is the clothes on your back, clean laundry will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated …and a whole lot more hygienic.

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