Off Grid Washing Machines

Here are some options if you don’t have a ton of AC power or a traditional washing machine. You still need your clothes clean and you probably don’t want to wash each one by hand. One of these uses 12 volts off a solar system or vehicle battery the 2nd one is a bit more elegant in that it’s human powered and takes care of you exercise needs while cleaning your clothes at the same time! Any more ideas for cleaning your clothes?

Made from a Honda Windshield Motor and arm assembly. A couple pieces of scrap sheet metal, make a turn table, and you’re ready to wash clothes in your home made poor mans machine. Great for shop rags!

John Well’s beautiful blue human-powered Bike O Worsher lays down some smooth soapy suds in the following video. Definitely check out John’s Field Lab and his best cow Benita.

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6 Responses

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  2. Nate says:

    Also, if you don’t have detergent in an emergency you can just use a few tablespoons of salt instead which will kill the bacteria that causes odor. Tried it and it works pretty good.

  3. Nate says:

    There is a much much simpler solution I’m using that is almost free, uses no electricity, and gets clothes as clean as a regular washing machine. All you need is a 5 gal bucket and a lid with a gasket. (Gamma 2 screw on lids are more convinient and are about $7). All you do is put about a teaspoon or 2 of detergent in the bucket, fill half way with very warm water, but not scalding hot, put the clothes in, put on bucket lid, and shake the bucket back and forth 10-40 times depending on how energetic you are feeling. Then dump out water, wring out clothes, and hang to dry. That’s it! You can repeat without detergent to rinse if you like but it is not necessary as so little soap is used. The secret to this method is the warm/hot water which builds pressure in the bucket and forces out the dirt. Trust me it works so well, and is so easy and non-labor intensive that it will amaze you. I don’t use a regular machine anymore.

  4. I really like the breathingwasher..neat and small! I think I have seen one of these on one of the blogs I frequent but I cannot find the time I asked myself what that thing was that they were doing the laundry with…Also, not sure if you saw the one that I have on my blog..( ) but the wonderwasher does a good job too if you have the storage space..we use it for spot washes over the winter but once the weather gets warmer we will be using it more..I don’t like drying clothes inside..too much extra moisture to contend with!

  5. David says:

    Actually, both these solutions seem to be more elaborate than necessary. For example, take a look at

    This little device works surprisingly well, and would be adequate for one or two adults with somewhat less effort than trekking to a laundromat somewhere–if you have one of those available. Since it uses no electricity, and since it is highly portable, I would think it may fit the needs of many. It’s simply an update to a metal item that has been made and sold for more than a hundred years.