Washing Off Grid

When Suse and I decided to live off grid there were obviously a few hurdles to get over, one of them being how we go about washing our clothes. Your regular 240volt washing machine uses loads of water and power, they also take up a lot of room, all of which we have limited amounts of.

We tried washing in the sink, yes it is possible but isn’t a great way of doing it. So the usual YouTube and internet search started. I found a bicycle powered washing machine, but that requires even more space. I suppose we could put it out in a shed but still wasn’t what we wanted.We looked at 12volt twin tubs sold I think mainly for the American RV market, they looked good but got really bad reviews online so they were discounted as well.

Then we came across a little hand cranked machine called the “White Magic washing machine” It looked just like the the thing we needed and they were sold by amazon so we didn’t incur the usual million pound delivery charge to the Highlands.

washing machine
The washing machine

The machine arrived a few days later and was put straight to work. We were pretty pleased with it. Quite well made and dead simple. You put clothes in the top add washing liquid and some warm water, put the lid on and turn the handle on the side. Suse has a timer going for how long to turn it and how long to leave it soaking, I don’t though. I just do it until I get bored, go and do something else while it soaks then carry on. Once you think the clothes have had enough you simply plug the drain tube into the bottom to let the water out. Them add fresh water and repeat. The machine can take a double duvet set, so although isn’t as big as a normal machine it does us fine.

The next problem to overcome was how to dry everything, especially in winter when we just don’t have the outside light and temperature. A spinner would do the trick, you know the type your granny had. Now they do require 240volt and take a lot of power but they only need to be on for around 3 mins. So a white knight spinner was  bought. We have an inverter so we can use normal powered appliances. What a machine! I would have bought one of these living in a normal house! A good washing machine can spin at around 1200 RPM, this thing can get up to 2400RPM. So clothes come out virtually dry and ready for hanging up in front of the fire.

White Knight Spinner
The Spinner getting rid of all the water from the wet clothes

So there you have it, that’s how we wash our clothes living off grid. The trick is to do a little often as opposed to loads all at once as that would take ages.

1 Comment

  1. Beats stones down by the river! We had a spin dryer for a long time. The trick was to load it carefully otherwise it did a jig all round the kitchen! My granny had a gas boiler with a “dolly” – a large wooden spindle that you used to agitate the wash with as it sat in hot water over the gas heater. A wringer was used to take the water out. Sometimes Grandma took us with her to the wash house (steamie in Scotland) if she had a lot to wash. She took in washing for other people. We loaded it all up onto an old pram and walked there. It was a terrifying place for a little girl!


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