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XERTYX

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Ok so I like many have searched for methods to wash clothes in the field.

The methods I know of are
▪Using a rafting dry bag to carry and then wash laundry. Useful if backpacking as it's an odorless hamper as well as wash basin.

▪A 5 gallon bucket with either a plunger, cordless drill agitator, or the shake method. Gets the job done.

▪Laundromat or other shore powered washer. Requires a trip to town.

▪Showering in your clothes. I dont like clingy garments.

▪Portable washing machine/dryer

▪ Banging them on a rock by the creek bed.


That last one is right out.

Laundromats cost money and share a machine for washing your face towel that some random dude uses for his tighty whitey underoos. Not to mention a trip to town and social interaction. 

5 gallon buckets work well and you contain the waste water but you have to wring out them and my hands get sore. 

Using a dry bag is ingenious if backpacking. Good as a back up since they take up the space of a 2 liter bottle when empty. But like the bucket method need to be wrung out.

Last year I bought a portable washing machine with spin dryer off of amazon for about $100. I would share the link but this model is no longer available. These instructions would work for pretty much any machine. Mine has been marketed as a costway I believe in similar listings. 

I wont try and recall the electrical specifications but I believe it was a max of 130 watts AC. I run it on shore power and dont have a killawatt meter. But each cycle is only a few minutes and I dont foresee it being a problem even for a small bank if rationed accordingly.

First thing you need to know is that they drain out of the bottom. There is a hose connected and it needs to be higher than the outflow. Its gravity fed. So securely on a counter or in a shower stall drain is just fine.

I first add water to the basin about 2 gallons and then as I'm on septic I add a small amount of oxiclean type powder and turn on the wash cycle for about 3 minutes and let it spin and dissolve the powder. Then I add small amounts of liquid laundry detergent while still spinning until I get some suds. (Its hard to tell how much to use in a small basin like this) I then add one or two garments sometimes more but I find it does best with small loads. I let it keep swirling the clothes as I add more water. I want a nice blend of submerged yet still thrashing about to get lots of funk out of my clothes. Let it run its course for a few minutes and then let them soak. Later I come back and start a full cycle. If very soiled I let sit again and do another cycle. Drain fill and add fabric softener. Run one more cycle and let sit then drain and if you have excess water run one more with just water to rinse. Move garments to the dryer compartment and level them. It is much smaller than the wash basin and has to be loaded more than once from a load. I find 2 tshirts is fine or 1 pair of shorts or pants at a time. Now if you didnt run a rinse cycle pay close attention. There is a water inlet that allows you to rinse while spinning. For safety the dryer will not run with the lid up so you cant pour it in. I take my weed sprayer shower and put the tube in there for running water. Dont be shy. Much less water waste than a full cycle rinse. After rinsing turn the timer all the way back to maximum and let it do its thing. The plastic spacer that comes with your dryer is very important. It helps balance the dryer as it spins so it doesnt break. One dry cycle is enough for most everything. If it's not dry then its overloaded or not balanced. They will still be dampish and must be hung out to dry. A clothesline is ideal for this purpose but a plastic (not metal) coathanger will work in a bind but they might be stiff and wrinkly this way.

Anyway hope this helps. Have fun.
 

XERTYX

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This is good. I have heard of these but they slipped my mind. But for me I'd still need to wring them out. I know there are hand cranked ones but these mini spin dryers remove like 90% of the moisture. They really work well. Much faster drying time than a bucket for me. I recently washed a thin hoodie all by its lonesome. Within 30 mins in partial sun it was dry but I let it go for longer.
 

ped

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I literally just did a load. Same machine (bunch of brands on amazon). I ran it off 400w inverter with 8" fan and tv going. It makes nearly nondent in batteries.

On top of that it does a hell of a job.

I built a little platform for it with a drain basin underneath. I store my soap and whatnot in the basin when not in use.
 

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highdesertranger

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I use the 5 gallon bucket and plunge method. works well. actually if I am going to be driving I just put a sealed gamma lid on the bucket and drive. washboard roads work better than any washing machine, LOL.

if you are close to Fort Mohave, AZ the laundry mat on the 95 is excellent, clean, cheap, attendants on duty. thumbs up. it's one of the few laundry mats that I will use.

for wringing the water out I use an old fashion type roller wringer. again I works great.

for drying I use a clothes line. I prefer a clothes line over a dryer any day.

highdesertranger
 

XERTYX

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ped said:
I literally just did a load. Same machine (bunch of brands on amazon). I ran it off 400w inverter with 8" fan and tv going. It makes nearly nondent in batteries.

On top of that it does a hell of a job.

I built a little platform for it with a drain basin underneath. I store my soap and whatnot in the basin when not in use.

That's basically the very same unit I have. Slightly different color and probably a different sticker but that's it. An amazon search for portable washer dryer will likely find dozens of the same model with different brands and paint jobs.
 

Homeless in Canada

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I have a compact size washing machine. If you want something simple get an apartment size top load washer. Then you can pour the water in with a pail.

Front load washer you can't do that water has to enter through the mixing valve and requires sufficient water pressure.

The newer high efficiency washers spray water during the final rinse. You want one with a deep rinse option. So the tub fills up with water instead. Then you're able to use it so long as you have water and power, but not necessarily water pressure.
 

camping bum

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boondock washing machine
 

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MrNoodly

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XERTYX said:
...washing your face towel that some random dude uses for his tighty whitey underoos.

Because washing your face towel in something YOU just used to wash YOUR undies is a completely different thing, right?  :D :p :D
 

MrNoodly

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It depends on your priorities.

For me, a laundromat is best. That way I don't need to carry enough water to wash and rinse several loads (and then deal with the disposal of soapy water), and I can dry my stuff even in bad weather. Hanging clothes from a line line signals to rangers that you're living on public land (which isn't allowed), not just camping. It's also a way to use all the pocket change I seem to accumulate. I have enough clothes to last several weeks. I'd be in town for supplies anyway so it's no problem to run a jumbo load while I'm there.
 

Gypsy108

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sounds good to me ! i don't want to ruff it if i don't have to....and using up your fresh water for laundry instead of drinking seems a waste...
 

highdesertranger

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interesting that y'all have a hard time finding water. you need to improve your survival skills or use real maps. LOL highdesertranger
 

Leaky roof

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My experience with the hand crank washer, called here in South Africa, A SPUTNIK is that they take just as much effort as anything else..

been down that garden path and I still the instructions somewhere (i'll dig them out & post them if somebody wants)
from what I rememeber, you need to use warm - hot water and a small amout of soap powder... It wrks on the principal of building up pressure inside the washer to get the clothing clean.... That part works OK,


BUT..............

You have to work with them on a table.. Or suffer the creaky back syndrome.....

So you need to set up a table anyway... And the table needs to be quite sturdy.

The the draining takes forever, so much so, you ar tempted to just invert it with the lid off to get the job done
Then repeat with the rinsing.

Then your arm get's wet, it spills all over.... Naaaa

On to of all of that, it's yet another thing that requires to be stored..... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Nope, For my money I'm backing HIGHDESERTRANGER.... for bulk washing, 25L plastic bucket, cut a hole in the middle just bigger than the handle of a plunger.....

Cut holes through the plunger............

WHOLLOP......... WHOLLOP..........WHOLLOP............ a good couple of times, spill out clean water WHOLLOP......... WHOLLOP..........WHOLLOP............ Job's done

The bucket is alternatively utilised as storage / poop bucket? :p :rolleyes: :D

@ HDR.... water yes... Problem.... See my cookie-jar washer.... Works a bomb for little loads... A slightly bigger one (like those big suppliment bottles with the big opening <very important... big opening> will do a fair bit more, like a full change... T + shorts + boxer's + socks....
 

wildbill

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I live in a small apartment....one room....and had washed my clothes for years by hand in the sink....then I found this little washer. This unit is $70 bucks and will handle a pair of pants and a shirt type of load. But, it takes quite a few gallons of water....then hang dry....the spin dry sucks in this unit, but it sure beats hand washing.

https://www.amazon.com/COSTWAY-Port...s=gateway&sprefix=rv+washing+,aps,236&sr=8-25
 

LoupGarou

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Gypsy108 said:
What is the best way to wash clothes as a nomad ???

Roll into a campground every 14 days, dump your tanks and trash, take on fresh water, do laundry, take a long hot showers, source provisions, then repeat.
 

maki2

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I have two issues with purchasing one of the little portable washing machine or doing my own laundry in a 5 gallon bucket. It is all about my ability to carry that much water around. I can only safely lift a one gallon container of water and I only have a 4 cylinder vehicle that is pulling a small fiberglass trailer. So for the sake of not stressing a back that can never again be a heavy hauler and stressing an engine that also can't be a heavy hauler I will be washing my clothes at a commercial facility.

There are lots of factors to consider in what works best for an individuals situation when deciding what is the best solution to issues that involve eater usage such as washing clothes, cleaning dishes, taking showers, etc. So no daily showers or clothes washing with my onboard water will be happening in my nomadic life unless I am near a lake or stream that has safe to use water for such things or in an RV parking situation with utilities provided. Then it would be bucket and hand wringing time. In a pinch a rolling pin also works as a wringer if you do such things on top of a slatted picnic table. I do carry a plastic rolling pin that can be filled with water to increase its weight. It is not just for cooking, I also use it for laminating stuff I make. But a J roller used for various workshop task would also work to remove water from something such as a pair of jeans that are difficult to hand wring.
 

janeontheroad

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It's not that the various laundry machines don't work, they do, but many use quite a bit of water, and they all take up extra space - I've used a washer/dryer we got off Craigslist for a few hundred bucks that hook up to the bathroom sink, they're not quite full sized, nor are they the super small. If I'm boondocking, I'll wash my clothes in my shower while I'm wearing them, remove them and finish the wash on them, then on me.

In town, I prefer laundromats because it's a great place to meet interesting people, and you can do a lot of laundry in a very short period of time.
 

crofter

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I use the laundromat for my very grubby dirty clothes.  It saves the backcountry rivers from all that soapy runoff, and gets me some free electricity and conversation during my town run. At camp, I reuse my bath water to rinse out a few things but that's about it for laundry in camp.  I don't put up clotheslines in camp, just use existing stake out lines or a hanger inside a tent works even better due to the heat gain of the tent. In the van I use my fruit hammocks as clotheslines for things like my bath towel and clothing I don't want to hang outside.     :)
For those serious about doing laundry in camp, what biodegradable soaps are you using? I found a DR Bronners called Sal Suds.  Has anyone tried it?     ~crofter
 
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