Easy-Build Handwashing Station, With Videos

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Introduction: Easy-Build Handwashing Station, With Videos

About: I'm a family physician with interests in patient empowerment and infectious disease. I'm also a Team Leader in Portland's Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NET, like CERT), so Disaster Sanitation combines my inte…

Without running water, how can you wash your hands? Without running water, how will your neighbors, your whole community, wash their hands? If they can't wash their hands — they're bound to get sick, and spread disease.

We all need a way to wash our hands when a major (or even minor) disaster takes out safe running water. Same when we're away from plumbing, like at a farmer's market or a camping trip.

Here's the answer: A PORTABLE HANDWASHING STATION that's easy, cheap, and quick to build, made from a plastic bucket. You can make one, and take it on a camping trip. Or you can call a work party and make a bunch. If your community has 4 or 5 of these stacked in garages every few blocks (along with stored water), they'll be ready to set up immediately when needed.

How many do you need? The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 1 sanitation station for every 20 people. If you have fewer than that, people start getting sick. So, a stack of 5 Handwashing Stations can help protect 100 people.

Let's get to work!

Supplies

MATERIALS

  • 5-gallon bucket, with lid.
    • Tip: Buckets are FREE. Ask businesses that receive food in buckets (groceries, delis, bakeries, restaurants) to set them aside for you. Otherwise, they go in the landfill.
    • Try to get the lid with the bucket. Separate lids cost about $2. The lid does not have to seal perfectly. It's there to keep leaves and such out of the water.
      • Tip: If you want to use the Handwashing Station indoors, or don't want to create a mud puddle, use a 2nd bucket to catch the water.
    • Spigot. CoolerSpigot, NOT a Carboy Spigot.
      • Cost: About $3, down to $1.30 in bulk.
    • Scrap of wood, about 12 inches long, 3 to 4 inches wide, to be the foot pedal
    • 2 Offset Drapery Hooks. Cost: About 15 cents. Less in bulk.
    • Sturdy string or cord, about 3 yards.
    • Bar of soap, on a string or in a nylon stocking.


    TOOLS

    • Electric drill
    • 3/4 inch Hole Saw (explained in video)
    • Hammer
    • Nail

    Step 1: Overview

    Step 2: The Spigot: Drill the Spigot Handle

    Step 3: The Bucket: Drill a Hole for the Spigot With a Hole Saw

    Step 4: Attach the Spigot to the Bucket

    The Handwashing Stations stack compactly for storage:

    Unscrew the spigot, slide the washers onto the spigot stem, and screw the hex nut onto the spigot stem. Leave the string on the spigot, but untie the knot to the foot pedal string.

    Stow the spigot inside the bucket. The bucket lids & foot pedals can sit on top of the stack.

    Step 5: Drive in the Hooks to Carry the Cord That Operates the Spigot

    Step 6: Run the String From the Spigot Through the Hooks

    Step 7: Last Step: Drill & String the Foot Pedal, Tie It in to the Spigot String

    Step 8: Acknowledgements

    Thanks to

    Patrick Pangburn, videographer and director

    Trampoline Town, for a quiet space to film

    EVCNB, Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay, for the cooler-spigot-pulled-upward design paradigm, and for leading the way on widely distributed DIY handwashing stations

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      20 Comments

      0
      celtwolf
      celtwolf

      Tip 1 year ago

      I love this idea! but instead of drilling a hole through the soap to make a soap on a rope, try putting a bar of soap in an old nylon pantyhose leg/sock. It helps use up the soap to the very last scrap with no waste and zero chance of the soap breaking off the string.

      0
      Merilee D Karr
      Merilee D Karr

      Reply 1 year ago

      I completely agree, celtwolf! Soap in an old nylon stocking is better than soap on a string.
      I filmed it that way to make the soap more visible. And, in retrospect, it starts conversations like this one.
      I hope you have a chance to try making one. Or a bunch!

      0
      Purple_Girl
      Purple_Girl

      1 year ago

      Wow so cool thank you for sharing!

      0
      Leigh-AnnH
      Leigh-AnnH

      1 year ago

      Thank you for sharing this potentially life saving idea. You explained everything clearly.
      I shall make a couple of these for our campsite and I’m sure some curious visitors are bound to inquire about them , enabling me to share the knowledge further.

      0
      Merilee D Karr
      Merilee D Karr

      Reply 1 year ago

      Thank you. It's heartening to know that it will be used.

      0
      1403creed
      1403creed

      1 year ago on Step 7

      Good idea! I used something similar as a Boy Scout years ago. We used the hole drilled through the soap method too, but the bar would get thin and crack in two and fall off. Then the scout master came up with another idea. He put a bar of soap in a nylon stocking and tied it to the can so we can lather up right through the stocking.

      0
      Merilee D Karr
      Merilee D Karr

      Reply 1 year ago

      I agree, soap in a stocking is more practical. I used soap on a string because the soap is more visible. You had a smart scout master.

      0
      Leigh-AnnH
      Leigh-AnnH

      Reply 1 year ago

      I have hung soap from an outdoor tap inside a net bag that vegetables came in. The net is slightly abrasive and good for very dirty hands after gardening and is highly visible.
      tip- Don’t leave the soap out in the rain.

      0
      Merilee D Karr
      Merilee D Karr

      Reply 1 year ago

      Good idea! Both!

      0
      aaradhya.manne
      aaradhya.manne

      Question 1 year ago

      wow how do you come up with nice projects

      0
      Merilee D Karr
      Merilee D Karr

      Reply 1 year ago

      Thank you, aaradhya.manne. Volunteering for community health brings interesting problems to my attention. I like to solve problems by giving people tools they can use to solve it themselves.

      0
      Zemilla
      Zemilla

      1 year ago

      (i speak spanish), something for the water that falls will be better, i think

      0
      Merilee D Karr
      Merilee D Karr

      Reply 1 year ago

      Do you mean, so the water doesn't fall on the ground?
      I showed in the video how to put a second bucket on the floor, under the spigot, to catch the water.
      Does that solve the problem?

      0
      hamidrezamirmoazi
      hamidrezamirmoazi

      Tip 1 year ago

      You are the best. thank's alot. I learned many skills and tallent from your site. love you and hope for your healthy and countinusly obout doing the holly your job....

      0
      Techhlp
      Techhlp

      Tip 1 year ago

      This is an excellent idea, especially considering the present world status affecting so many states. I like simple affordable solutions like this so others are encouraged to give it a shot.
      I’ll very likely make one or a few, with the slight change of using a wheeled pulley where the cord hook loops for the direction transition. I used this method in a catamaran once and it lasts really long.

      0
      Merilee D Karr
      Merilee D Karr

      Reply 1 year ago

      The wheeled pulley is an elegant piece of hardware.
      You might want to add a second one, to either the right or left, so the foot pedal can pull straight down, and so water doesn't fall on the foot pedal (or your foot).

      0
      David R
      David R

      1 year ago

      This is such a clever design. Very good instructable. Nice job. Hand washing is absolutely critical for the prevention of spreading illnesses. Thank you!

      0
      jessyratfink
      jessyratfink

      1 year ago

      Thank you so much for sharing! Great explanation :)

      0
      Merilee D Karr
      Merilee D Karr

      Reply 1 year ago

      Jessy,
      Thank you! I couldn't have done it without your How to Write an Instructable instructable. It was clear and welcoming.