If you were living on the road, homeless, homesteading, or don’t feel it’s necessary to use so much water and energy on the laundry machine, this may be your solution. As some of you know, I live full-time on the road as a modern-day nomad. I do have many options for laundry. I could stop at a friend’s house, use a bucket water valve from somewhere, or cough up some money for a laundromat.I looked online for any type of viable solutions that involved a more self-reliant method. I found that a laundry machine can be made with nothing more than a 5 gallon bucket, a lid, and a toilet plunger.Here’s what you do. You want to drill a hole in the lid of the five gallon bucket to fit the handle of the plunger. In the video, you’ll see that I actually used a burning coal to burn a hole through the lid because I did not have access to power tools. Once the whole has been made, he simply put the plunger through the hole and put the lid on the 5 gallon bucket. If I had access to a drill, I would have drilled holes in the rubber of the toilet plunger. From what I hear, it makes a world of difference, but my undrilled plunger seems to work just fine.
Once the laundry machine has been constructed, throw in a a few pieces of your dirty laundry with some water and soap. Move the handle of the plunger up and down to agitate the water. Once you feel your clothes have been thoroughly affected by the soapy solution, remove the lid and hang the clothes to dry. If I’m not in a place with access to a lot of tree branches to hang the clothes, I tie a piece of cordage between two chairs that I keep in the back of the vehicle. I’m sure there are many other ways to find a place to dry them. Living in a vehicle and doing things off the grid does take a little bit of resourcefulness and ingenuity.
Keep in mind that this article was written assuming that you’re going to be camped outside the city somewhere. I have followed these instructions within city limits, but it does take a little bit of courage to make yourself so vulnerable in the public eye. By this time on your nomadic journey, I’m sure you would have gotten over any insecurities based on people’s judgments of you. I have not yet encountered anyone giving me problems for washing my clothes in a parking lot. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the people have no idea what I’m doing and they are too afraid to approach me and ask.
I hope you enjoy your brand new DIY washing machine. I’m sure everyone around you will appreciate that you don’t smell like dirty sweaty clothes.