Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Everything a bucket should be.

Careful!  Mime trapped in Triangle.

PhotobucketWhat's sadder than a washing thing that doesn't wash?

No one even repairs these Bendix units, and certainly not a 15-year-old model.  But, what good is one of these in a boondocking lifestyle anyway?

I picture this going to the curb to make room for my shiny, new Laundering System.


Now THAT'S a bucket.  We got it at Lowe's in the mop section.

I started with about 2 tablespoons of detergent (in this case, body wash).  I didn't want to try soap because of its different properties from detergent.  This smells nice, and is cruelty-free.


I lathered up some water before I put in a pair of jeans, four pairs of underwear, a bra, and three socks.

Rapid Washer.                                    
Rapid Washer - bottom 

I used it like a plunger to agitate the clothes.  I was a little upset myself.  I agitated for two hours minutes - long enough to feel like a little workout.


The soapy clothes go into the wringer section.  This is a good idea, but the clothes aren't very wrung.  I filled up the section with more clothes, which worked better but not great.  I left the clothes in the wringer, dumped out the wash water (about two gallons, I guess) and put the soapy clothes back in the bucket.  They really weren't very soapy, because I didn't add a lot of suds in the first place.


I added clear water until the clothes were mostly submerged, and plunged again.  Repeat the wringing, which still wasn't very wringy.  I could pick up the smaller items and wring water out with one hand.

I'm expecting a folding metal rack, but my patience was at its end and I couldn't wait any longer to try this out.  You will not see any of Pants' pants here;  in fact, no undergarment of hers has ever been seen by a non-spouse or neighbor.


Conclusion:  I like the bucket-washing system, but I think an old-fashioned mangle connected temporarily to the rear bumper would be a good summer alternative to the mop wringer.  The wringer is okay, but probably not the best option available.

Pros:  electricity-free, off-grid, good exercise, feels satisfying, inexpensive, simple, repair yourself, boondocking-friendly
Cons:  inferior wringing capability.

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dirtyduck said...

we(my mom,dad and husband) were at this old western theme town last year, we were walking past an old washing maching..similar in mechanics to dad said that he had to do that when he was little. i cant imagine having to do all the laundry like this! what about bed sheets and blankets? this would get old really fast. and the neon colors totally take away from any type of little house on the praire feelings/nostalgia that you might want to experience.

dirtyduck said...

and my friends dad is selling a washing machine for motor homes. he asked us if we wanted it. i will tell him to hold it for you. i cant let you do this(handwashing) to yourself!

kudos on the cruelty free soap! you both are pretty cool.

Cruzin2some said...

Love your new washing machine. We don't have one in our RV and will make do without. Your idea looks promising.

Travel Safe
Dawn & Denise

¡Vizcacha! said...

Dirty Duck, you are so sweet! To tell you the truth, I really like this idea, as long as I'm not having to go off to work 40 hours a week. I think that's what makes things seem like drudgery - the other demands on our time. Except for cooking, which is drudgery even if someone else gave me their 24-hour day.

At our old house, I used to get a kick out of a whole laundry line full of tie-dye and neon. There are lots (LOTS) of household chores that don't really make me happy, but laundry does. Weird!

D&D: you guys will need to gather your strength back before you start mop-bucketing your laundry! Of course, at your bacterial weakest, you probably had as much oomph as I do most good days.

Carolyn said...

You need this thing:

But I can see how you might want it for less than $166

Rose said...

Mime trapped in a triangle" :D

That is so ingenious. I've often wanted to set up a hand-wash clothing operation...mainly because 1) I want to live off the grid someday, and 2) I'm with you chores like this are kind of cool...provided you don't have to go to a 40-hour a week jobby job. I'd love to see the see the old fashioned mangle set up sometime too. I don't know what it would look like.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Carolyn, that's exactly what I want. This particular brand seems to be wanting, since even the one good review sounded more like a bad review, but that's just the kind of set-up I want. is another source for these off-grid types of things.

Rose, I think I need to research the mangle a little more. Like the one Carolyn refers to, I'm afraid it would be hard to operate, but if the clearance were adjustable, that could be offset. My mom had a washer with the wringer attached, but I think it was electric.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

If you wanted to forgo the two hours, ahem, two minutes of washing, you can put the laundry, soap and water in a bucket with a lid, and put it in the RV shower, or back of pick up when going down the road.
The movement of the vehicle will wash your clothes. Of course, you still have to wring, and rinse them!
Happy Trails, Penny, TX

The Good Luck Duck said...

That's a good point you make there, Penny. Maybe in an Igloo type cooler, too?

Then drive the Duck over them, rinse, repeat.

Anonymous said...

3 Socks? Also, find a stream for rinsing and maybe a rock. I don't know what the rock is for. Maybe ironing?


Merikay said...

I guess I'm just old fashioned. I'll go to a laundromat! I had to wash baby clothes in the bathtub when my daughter was born because we were to poor to do otherwise.

I'll cook my own food, clean my own rig, and pump my own gas.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

It doesn't have to be a bucket, but I don't know if I would want dirty clothes in my cooler!

I wish you were closer, as those front loader Bendix's are great machines, and there is a repair man who can work on about any of them, near here.

I think the rock is to beat the dirt out, but an old washboard would do the same thing. You can still buy them.

As you said, it sure would be easier to wring and rinse outside. You might be able to find an old hand-turn mangle that would clamp onto the back bumper. They used to have them clamped onto their rain barrels, back in the day.
Now I am showing my age!
Happy Trails, Penny.
(Old Rver, and Great Grandma)

Sue and Doug said...

good job on the improvisation of a washing machine!..what a creative idea!!!

Kathy and Robert said...

Girl, you have wwwaaayyy more energy than I do...and you're a genious! Awww the simple life!
I bet that soap smelled amazing~


Gail and Rick said...

That's just going back WAY too far to simpler times for me! lol
I will not give up my Splendide! :)
I installed a tension shower rod across the top of my shower though. It's wonderful for hanging damp clothes to drip dry and no mess to mop up.

¡Vizcacha! said...

Dallas, I've been thinking "Maybe ironing?" all day, and laughing every time.

Merikay, I think if I had no choice it would be a whole 'nother story. As it is, it feels like a way to implement a kind of lifestyle that I'm after, so it doesn't feel oppressive. Plus, I can always ditch the bucket and head for a Laundromat.

Penny, are you really a great-grandma? That's awesome. Yeah, I'm on the prowl for a wringer now.

Sue, I wish it were my idea, but I'm sure we got it from someone else.

Kathy, I intend to frame those words because they have never been said to me before. The soap is pretty great. I also love their lemon scent. It's like a lemon, but more so.

Gail, I know what you mean. I can't say I blame you. Does your machine also dry? And, is it vented or unvented?

Four Windows with a View said...

I want an RV with a washer/dryer because I don't like dirty clothes and I detest laundromats.

Anonymous said...

My solution = buy more clothes hence no laundry required. LOL

Gail and Rick said...

My machine does dry also. It's one of those dreaded combo units :) But, it is vented and that seems to make a difference. I read the manual first and that helped too :) I was really prepared to hate it from all the awful things I'd read, but it came with the coach so thought I'd at least try it out. I don't hate it. It works fine. The loads are small, but we are only 2 people. And, the most important thing, it keeps me out of laundromats :) Hate 'em.

¡Vizcacha! said...

Jeana: they have those!

Sassy: I like the way you think.

Gail: I've also read that the vented dry much more efficiently. Some people said they took clothes out of the wash cycle, folded them, then dried - apparently it made them less-wrinkled.

Gail and Rick said...

I truly think the real trick is to not try to dry as many as you've washed. It will hold quite a bit and wash them well but, it needs room to tumble dry. So, I take 1/2 out and either drip dry them or put them in a basket to hold while the other 1/2 dries.
OK, now I promise to quit commenting on this post! :)