This is a cheap, green and easy-to-use hand washing machine.

As it only uses hand power it can be used outside as well as inside. Just think of the fun you can have doing your washing by hand on your next survival trip! The washing machine also doubles as a floating, waterproof carry-all for canoe trips and other situations where you want to keep the water outside of the machine instead of inside.

What you need:

  • 1 plastic waterproof tub (I used a Curtec 10 litre, dia 27,4 cm, height 23,9 cm, costs about 23 Euros)

The hand washing machine has a 8-step program:

  1. Detergent
  2. Fill
  3. Clothing
  4. Wash
  5. Drain
  6. Rinse (can be repeated)
  7. Spin
  8. Dry

Paso 1: Detergent

Add detergent, the pink stuff seems to work for me.

Paso 2: Fill

Choose a program, then fill with water, according to the program. My HWM only has a cold program, but that's fine with me, so I fill it with cold water. Leave some space for the clothes and some air (you'll see why later).

Paso 3: Clothing

Here you add the clothing. Make sure they have enough space to move around, as movement cleans. I use this HWM for my cycling clothes, which don't always take well to to a mechanical washing machine.

Paso 4: Wash

Now grab those handles and shake vigorously. If you have chosen a program with soak, let the clothes sit for a while after the first shakes, then shake again some.

Ensure that you shake in ways that make the clothes rotate, so that each item gets a chance to be on top. That way the clothes clean evenly. I find that rotating my hips in sync with the HWM helps. Opposable thumbs help here too.

Paso 5: Drain

After the wash step is complete (warning: don't open the HWM while the wash step is still running!), open the HWM and drain the water into an appropriate waste water receptacle. To be extra green, even when using pink detergent, use the water on the garden, or fill the toilet cistern with it.

<p>I really like the container, and your use of it. I've done the &quot;shake a bucket&quot; method before, and I wanted to take it up a bit in efficiency, that's how I ended up with my front loader design...</p><p>Nice work!</p>
<p>Here in the USA, I make all my own laundry soap from a bar of laundry soap called Zote. (It costs me under $2 a year to make my own) It is grated, mixed with water, washing soda, and a very small amount of Dawn dishwashing detergent. It is completely suds-less, so it's great for my front loading high efficiency washer, and would be perfect for a hand washing machine such as this! It rinses faster and cleaner than detergents do. I used to have a small square bucket-sized washer in our RV, which had a motorized top on it that was great. I should have kept it when we sold the RV many years later. They are super handy, but I'd make one of these for sure as we now live in a hurricane prone area. Thanks for the instructable! There are lots of small portable washing machines at Amazon, both electric and manual. </p>
<p>We use &quot;Fels-Naptha&quot; in our homemade soap.</p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p><p>Same principal, weirder name. :D</p>
<p>Nice one!<br>Here's an upgrade: </p><p></p>
<p>Noooooooo!!!! You beat me to it...four months ago...heh.</p>
<p>I love this Instructable</p><p>Thank you</p><p>Rima</p>
<p>I love this Instructable</p><p>Thank you</p><p>Rima</p>
<p>I love this Instructable</p><p>Thank you</p><p>Rima</p>
<p>It would be good for camping.</p>
Thanks for your artickle on washing, I have favorited it. I'll be getting one of those jars. As for drying, here you go:<br>1. 1 or 2 Mesh Bag of suitable size at Wall Mart.<br>2. 1/8&quot; to 1/4&quot; rope or cord to suit.<br>3. 1 or 2 pieces of tubing 1/2&quot; to 3/4&quot; diameter, 4&quot; to 5&quot; long.<br>4. Ability to do three strand braid and loop splice &amp; serve OR Ashley Book of Knots OR Internet access.<br>5. Wonder Woman costume for Changing from Diana Prince or Hammer Throw uniform for Drill.<br>6. Obey Centrifugal l Force, it's a law.<br>7. Clothing bits and bags can be tucked into 3 strand braid for final drying.<br>Cloths Line can be used for your braid. 1/2&quot; PVC water pipe (tubing) at a Home Center is very inexpensive for a 10' length &amp; is easily cut with any hand saw. Scrap garden hose would also make a good handle, and can be cut with a knife. View youtube videos on hammer throw drill.
<p>Sounds impressive but my mind boggles, I'm not sure if it's the mental image of myself in a Wonder Woman costume or what. How about an instructible on this? (not me in a Wonder Woman costume, on your drying tips above)</p>
You fit a mesh bag to a rope with a handle and swing it around.. The hammer throw drill would only use one bag and is probably the way to go. The Linda Carter Wonder Woman Spin is probably not so easy as she makes it look, I just like to mention it at every possible opportunity, also good to watch on you tube. 50' of plastic clothes line would yield 3 pieces 16' 8&quot; long for braiding. The ends could be finished with eye splices to attach to bag, then thead through tube handle and back to bag. Which would probably still be a little too long, so run the rope back to the handle again for about a 5' something long loop for swinging with less difficulty contacting the ground and about a 15' to 16' braid for tucking bits of cloths into for final drying without cloths pins. <br>
<p>A bucket? seriously i've just seen &quot;how to poop&quot; now how to wash your clothes - wtf is happening to this place. next an instructable on the amazing new technique of washing dishes....... in the sink!? in a .... plastic bowl full of water!!!!!</p><p>jeez</p>
<p>My good sir I think you need to buy yourself a sense of humor... Despite being written to be funny, it is still a nice little lifehack that people may not think of, as simple as it is. So get over the butthurt, please !</p><p>I had fun reading this, and it's a nice little tip, too, I was getting bored of washing swimming speedos and like stuff painstakingly by hand or taking the risk of shortening their lifespan. This could be a nice in-between !</p>
sorry can't take someone who starts a comment with &quot;My good sir&quot; or wears speedo's seriously....
<p>Also I would suggest that you have a chair close by or something to hang on to once you are done spin drying because you will be very off-balance due to the dizzying nature of spinning. It's probably something you can give to kids to do to get a real good spin dry as they'll have a lot of fun spinning around and falling down, along with the added plus of getting their friends wet who are stupid enough to stand too close - or, for cooling off in hot weather :)</p>
<p>Isn't it kind of hard to open the HWM while operating it unless you do it by accident? ;) But good Ible anyway. Always wanted a way to hand wash clothes but never thought of this.</p>
<p>How about using one of those plastic concrete mixing barrels made for mixing 1 bag</p><p>of concrete? You just roll them on the ground to agitate....</p>
I don't know those, but wouldn't your clothes get very hard and heavy? :-)
And, if I got this right, that's a picture of it.
<p>Well, you could probably leave the concrete out when you roll it around on the ground... &lt;g&gt; Since you don't have to lift it and shake it, just roll it around on the ground, you can give it a good wash and rinse cycle.</p>
<p>not sure about the washing..<br>but for fitness program is perfect !!</p>
<p>OMG LOL I am such goof. When I read the title &quot;Hand washing machine&quot; the thought that entered my mind was 'the machine I use to wash my hand(s) is my other hand'. Boy did I feel silly as I read further and learned it was about washing clothes by hand. Kind of reminds me of &quot;The Swiss Mountain Moving Company&quot;</p>
Don't worry, you're not the first and probably not the last :-)<br>Most people wouldn't consider this a machine (although &quot;an apparatus using mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task.&quot; might apply to the combination of the tub and my arms) but I use the term machine because it uses similar principles to the electric drum washing machine but using hand power instead of electric power.
<p>so nice.... for those who have just a pair of socks :P is a nice project but i think that isn't so practical , how i do if i want to wash a pair of pants ? but it make me smile so i give a (y) (tumb up) :D regards from mexico </p>
Thanks! I suppose it will be useful depending on your situation, I wash my cycling shirts every week very happily this way, and it also serves as an (extra) workout for my puny arm muscles. I don't think I'd try a pair of my work pants though, not that it wouldn't work but there are probably better ways.
<p>fantastic idea !</p><p>But after the washing is done ,you don't have to dry the tub.</p><p>Fill it with ice cubes ,leave some space ,</p><p>poor the cola and a bottle of whiskey in it ,</p><p>close the lid ,shake gently.</p><p>Open the tub and put some long straws in it ,</p><p>dry the lid and fill it with some crackers ,</p><p>call me to do the first draining action ,</p><p>the second draining will be against the garden tree to </p><p>keep things green .</p><p>Empty the tub completely,because their will be some washing tomorrow !</p>
Great idea, very practical for those trying get the max fun out of a tub!
<p>For spin dry, wring out most of water by hand and place damp clothes in a mesh bag with a long length of rope attached, then spin the bag horizontally by hand. Careful do not wrap the rope around your neck in the process!</p>
<p>As someone who lived aboard boats off an on over the years, my Handwash method is simple, but I do appreciate the various aspects noted here!I take a container, large enough to hold the clothing needing to be washed, and catch the water from the shower. Add detergent, place clothing in container.....</p><p> Then I grab a PLUNGER to agitate. Yes, our handy dandy plumbers helper makes the BEST tool to adequately agitate. I do use a &rdquo; for washing only&ldquo; plunger too. You could do that &ldquo;here&rdquo; too, instead of having to deal with/ lift and manipulate a large, heavy container.UnlessI am in a hurry or an item has a dye issue, I leave items to soak.The next time I take a shower, i drain the &ldquo;soapy&rdquo; items and then just collect up water as I shower, for the first rinse. Items can be rinsed &rdquo;under foot&quot; pretty well too! </p><p>Drain, repeat a rinse with fresh water. </p><p>I use this routine to do a daily handwash of small items. Oh yes, if I need to do larger items, to dry faster- after &rdquo;squeezing&ldquo; out extra water ( DON&rsquo;T WRING!) , I do the &ldquo;spin cycle&rdquo; by placing the item in a large net bag ( which I also use frequently in the washing machine to protect more sensitive items), go outside and give it a good twirl session,to use centrifugal force to remove excess water</p><p>.<strong>Happy handwashing!</strong></p><p><strong><em>Laundry Lady &lt;3</em></strong></p>
<p>steinbeck wrote a great book, &quot;travels with charlie&quot; about a tour with his dog in a camper. he hung a five gallon pail on bungee cord and filled it with soapy water... the jostling of travel laundered his clothes, .... book is a wonderful read. </p>
<p>steinbeck wrote a great book, &quot;travels with charlie&quot; about a tour with his dog in a camper. he hung a five gallon pail on bungee cord and filled it with soapy water... the jostling of travel laundered his clothes, .... book is a wonderful read. </p>
<p>ok, this is not a machine, there are no movable parts. is a hand washing system, or way, or, whatever you want to name it :D. nice idea. you can also roll it with your foot back and forth while you read in your deck chair ....</p>
You could also add a tennis ball or two during the wash cycle to further agitate your clothes and lessen the amount of &quot;shakes&quot; that you need for the same result. I'm not sure where I saw it (as it was years ago) but someone designed something similar using PVC piping for a backpacking version if this.
<p>... or you could take the tennis ball, add a short piece of rope between the ball and the tub, and let man's best friend give the ball a good old shake?</p>
<p>Fantastic, such a great idea! :) And it has all the fancy time-saving short &amp; gentle programs, too, for free!</p>
<p>This isn't for washing hands (as the title seems to say), but is for washing clothes?</p><p>Its a &quot;Hand Operated Washing Machine&quot;</p>
<p>You can get similar looking kegs at delis for free or a couple dollars. Olives come in them. The lids screw on and have a rubber seal. Great idea!</p>
<p>This actually was a more useful Instructable than I thought it'd be.</p><p>Thanks for the infodump. :]</p>
<p>Thanks for this, I love it. May i suggest a salad spinner for the spin cycle? A domestic one is great for smalls but maybe a catering sized one for this wash-load, </p>
<p>You can get spiky plastic balls to add in ti help wash action.</p>
<p>You can get spiky plastic balls to add in ti help wash action.</p>
<p>The Old Land Rover's owners hand book ... told the owner to put dirty clothes detergent &amp; water into a plastic bag and go for a 150 mile drive across the veldt..</p>
<p>It could be fun, but I think my way is greener :-)</p>
So how'd u come up with this idea
<p>Well, while doing military service someone had a small hand machine called a sputnik (you can imagine what it looked like). It was all metal, had a sealed lid with strong crew-down clasps and stood on a frame and could be turned with a handle. It worked well, until it started leaking. When I started thinking how I could ease my back instead of hanging over the bath or using a bucket, I thought of the tub I'd used for canoeing way back, and then went looking for it. I must have lost it so bought a new one, and it worked as well as I expected!</p>
<p>where can you get the Curtec individually? the only ones I found for sale were in bulk quantites and I don't think i need an entiere pallet of them.</p>
<p>I bought mine from a canoe shop (, only I went to the physical shop as it's nearby), I've also seen them on internet in outdoor stores. I can understand you don't want a pallet, unless you're thinking of opening a hand laundrette :-)</p>
<p>This is definitely a great idea for a camping trip! Fill a few straws (like <a href="" rel="nofollow">this</a>) with detergent and you'll be all set!</p>
<p>I never thought to use a little tub like that, so smart! This would be a great way to wash delicates like bras. :D</p>

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May 4, 2014


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