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Simple Washing Machines

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Old 12-15-2015, 11:48 PM   #1
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Default Simple Washing Machines

It's generally accepted that it's good to wash your clothes every now and again.

My previous residence only had coin washers/dryers, so I opted instead to wash clothes in the bathtub/buckets using a "Breathing Mobile Washer
(special clothes washing plunger). I'd then spin dry them and hang them inside to dry (with a fan circulating room air & a window fan to exhaust humidity)--worked fairly well. The spin dryer was good at getting most of the

moisture

out, slightly better than a top-loading washing machine (and only cost ~$150 plus $20 for the special plunger vs $500 for a washing machine, plus was fairly small and compact).

Anyhow, the plunger thing was a bit of work and only somewhat effective. My current residence has a top-loading washer & dryer which I've been using (no good exterior line for hang drying/too humid already inside and I've gotten too lazy to plunger wash). But I'd like to return to not using the washer (wears the clothes a bit, won't have it for much longer).

So I want to make my own washing machine. Hand-powered, simple to use, reasonable capacity, and effective. This fellow made a neat bicycle washer-I just need to find a open head/screw top 15-30 gallon plastic drum somewhere and copy him somewhat. I don't need the fancy bike-mounted frame, so I was just going to make a mount like this fellow's seed ball bucket tumbler frame to fit the plastic drum. Then I'll essentially have a hand-powered front-loading washing machine with 2-3 cu ft capacity (fill by hose, empty by hand).

So, any suggestions? Ideas where I might find smallish plastic drums in a smallish town (Pullman, Wa/Moscow, Id)? Insights into washing techniques?

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Old 12-16-2015, 08:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Simple Washing Machines

I have absolutely no suggestions but I HAVE to see this thing when you are done lol. I would love to have one up at my yurt camp!
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Old 12-16-2015, 05:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Simple Washing Machines

I'd do em by hand in a wash tub. Wear plaid it hides the stains. Modern America is pearly white and clean but before washing machines that wasn't the case. Dirty was normal amongst most people and most had very few clothes to begin with. Hard to believe but the truth.lol Btw i'm not bsing you about hand washing I did just that back when i was a near penniless young man living in a 4x6 tent in Wyo. I washed clothes -infrequently-in creek and river using my big pot. Those 30 gallon pickle barrels might help you maybe? Have fun.
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Old 12-16-2015, 07:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Simple Washing Machines

There's nothing to say I shouldn't make devices to simplify and/or improve tasks :P I just don't want to pay lots of money for fancy gizmos that are heavy and bulky plus require lots of electricity and water (ie, all around wasteful).

In fact, I probably don't even need a stand for the drum--I could just roll it around on the ground or down a hill

From what I've heard/read, pre-industrial cloth would be very different (all processing largely by hand) with fiber bundles probably a lot larger/coarser. So cloth would probably have been thicker and more durable--also much more expensive, so you'd only get one or two garments and take the time to actually repair them.

Seven years ago I got a pair of a decent brand of jeans from Walmart--they didn't last 6 months. You do get what you pay for sometimes.

Ebay seems to be a decent place to get the smaller barrels--$10 for the barrel, $20-35 for shipping. Pickle barrels you say? I might have to call a few restaurants/cafeterias...
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Simple Washing Machines

Get ya a rocking chair and the pickle barrel. Load er up and rock on! lol
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Simple Washing Machines

There was very fine woven cloth made into mind boggling clothing with phenomenal design and detailing, worn by the wealthy, kings queens merchantsetc. My ancestors undoubtedly wore jeans and plaid. Or potato sacks.
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:38 AM   #7
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Look what Xena wore some two thousands years ago. GGGgrrrrrrrrrrrr. lol
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Old 12-19-2015, 11:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Simple Washing Machines

What an encouraging thread. You can also use/make a pressurized container for washing. Example here (not an affiliate link in any way). I've used mine a few times now and it seems to work fairly well, especially considering the involved work is minimal. You just put it in there, spin it around a few times and let the pressure do the rest. Manufacturer says it's good to wash the clothes in the "normal" way every now and then. I guess that might come down to standards, haha. I imagine I'll beat them with a stick or something, medieval style. The cons of this model are that the load is small (though that can be an advantage if that's all you need - less water, soap) and that it's plastic. My attempts at replicating it have failed so far (how hard can it be? =0). The container I used didn't seal perfectly tight. Happy washing!
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