Most of us are looking for ways to simplify our lives and live more sustainably. We have visions of living off the land, staying on the homestead or family farm, and living on our own terms. But let’s face it, living off the land is dirty work and those of us who live off grid need a better way to do laundry without electricity. Let’s look at a few options for simplifying that dirty, time-consuming, never-ending task.
First, you’ll need water…rainwater.
We live off grid which means we are not connected to any public utilities. We built our own solar power system, and we catch as much rainwater as we can for everyday use. This means we have several rain tanks around our property one of which is used for irrigation and laundry. While we hope to one day be able to live completely off rainwater, we do occasionally still need to supplement by hauling water from a local well share. But for washing your clothes at home, you’ll need a reliable water source.
Because we live off grid and do our laundry outside, we need to be using soaps that are biodegradable and will not harm any plants or animals when the soapy water is dispersed back into our ground. We’ve tried several options of biodegradable soaps and Lehman’s has a lot of good choices such as these soap nuts, or even Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda.
Then you’re going to need a way to wash the clothes.
We are a family of six living on a homestead so laundry is a constant in our tiny home. We first attempted a washboard and a couple of five gallon buckets but we realized we needed something larger to do laundry for our six-person household. Now we have Lehman’s Hand Washer and Wringer and we couldn’t be happier about this setup. We can fit so many clothes in this tiny but mighty washer. We simply fill it up with water and add some biodegradable laundry soap, toss in our clothes and use the hand lever to switch them around. After a good 5-10 minutes (depending on how dirty the load is) of washing the clothes we use the wringer attached and press the excess water from every item. We then empty the hand washer and allow the water to drain through a hose into our swale which in turn waters some of our trees. Give the hand washer a quick rinse and you’re ready to rinse out your clothes. Add all the clothes back into the washer and refill with clean water. Give it a real good rinse at least once (again this depends on how dirty your clothes were). Put them through the wringer once all the soap is rinsed out and now it’s time to dry!
Lehman’s has the best solar clothes dryer around. The large deluxe clothesline is so easy to set up and can handle large loads of laundry like a champ! Grab a clothespin bag and a some nice wooden clothespins and you’re all set!
There you have it! It really is that easy to do laundry without electricity at home, off grid, utilizing the power of the sun, rain, and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease!
You can read more about Ashley and her family’s off-grid adventure here.