I found this washing machine made from a five gallon bucket on Pinterest and knew I needed to try it out! I've seen similar models through the years, but I love that you can set this one up in front of a chair so you don't strain your back bending over or rolling it around.
We don't have a washer in our apartment, so it's lovely to have a portable washer like this around. Right now it's being used mostly for towels and dog bed covers, but I have a feeling we'll be emergency washing clothes too. I'm also excited to have it for extended camping trips.
This redneck washing machine really helps speed up the washing and rinsing process! You can even use the leftover water outside and around the house if you use the right soap. Check out this list of soaps that are safe to use in grey water systems for more information.
I also really love being able to use so much less water when washing this way!
Step 1: What You'll Need:
- clean five gallon bucket
- five gallon bucket lid
- cheap plunger
- drill (with 1 and 1/2 inch paddle bits)
It's easiest to use a drill with the right paddle bits, but I'm sure you could also get by using a utility knife.
It might also be a good idea to get a bucket opener. These five gallon bucket lids can be hell on your hands!
Step 2: Drill Holes in the Lid and Plunger
Drill an inch wide hole in the very middle of the lid. This will allow the plunger handle to fit through.
You'll also want to make a couple small holes in the plunger base. I used a 1/2 inch paddle bit here and pushed it through to make two holes.
Don't go crazy making holes in the plunger base - you just want a couple so the pressure inside is not so great that the plunger suctions to the bottom of the bucket. Too many and it won't work as well!
If you have a super heavy duty plunger you might want to add more holes. Test it out by plunging on the bottom of the bucket - if it gets stuck, add more holes! I just didn't have to add many since I bought the cheapest plunger available. ;)
Step 3: Wash!
Put in the items to be washed and add water and soap. (I normally just do a couple tablespoons!) Keep adding water just until the items are covered and then put the plunger in the bucket and pop on the lid.
I like to either sit down and wash, or set the bucket up on something. It'll make it easier on your back.
It normally only take a couple minutes to get a good wash - check out the dirty water in photo two! That was Roscoe's dog bed after just a couple minutes.
To rinse, just pour out the dirty/soapy water and wring out the items. Put them back in the bucket and add new and plunge again for a couple minutes. :)
Remember to use the washing/rinsing water after if you can!