Step-by-step bucket laundry

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Congratulations. You have just purchased your new bucket washer and assembled it.

Now what? 

In laundering, as in life, it’s all about the preparation:

  1. Pick the most convenient location for your new nano-washer. If hose attachments are included, then the kitchen sink is the logical choice. Otherwise, you could keep it in the bathroom.
  2. Gather all the necessary items you will need to do your laundry.  Detergent, vinegar (a great fabric softener and mineral reducer), and a small basket for your small load of laundry.  If you have a dryer at home, great. If not, you can hang the clothes in the warmest room in the house or outside on a rope. I actually use old Ethernet cables; makes a sturdy clothesline, and can withstand cold, windy Minnesota winters year after year.  And it gives the neighbors a good laugh.
  3. Sort colors. Note that if you wash the reds with the whites, you may wind up with all-pink clothes!  The norm is to gather like colors; darks, colors, whites, towels, and delicates.
  4. Fill the bucket with water to the level indicated on your specific unit.  If you are doing a white wash or soiled baby clothes, soak the stains in cold water first, remove the stain with a grainy sponge, then you will need to wash in hot water. For colors, warm water works well.  For wool and anything else that isn’t smelly, stained, or dirty, you can use cold water.
  5. Add detergent.  1/6 to 1/8 cup of detergent or Borax will suffice. But for really dirty loads, use 1/4 cup detergent. 
  6. Set the time or power dial to the time or ………….needed for the wash.  For more soiled clothes, choose the 10 minute or maximum time option.  If you just need to wash lightly, you can use a lower setting.
  7. Rinse cycle. Once the wash cycle is finished, take the clothes out and drain the water.  Wash bucket out and return to its counter space. Now, decide on the rinse cycle temperature: hot, warm or cold.
  8. Once the wash is done, take the clothes out immediately; otherwise, they will wrinkle, and your work will double.

What others say about the bucket-washer

What to expect: 

  • The agitator will stop and start on purpose.  Don’t be alarmed if there are pauses.

The good news:

  • Saves money on detergent.  You only have to use half a shotglass of liquid or powdered detergent; roughly 1/8 to 1/6th of a cup. However, if you are washing baby clothes or you work in construction, you will want to double it to ¼ cup, and soak for 15 minutes prior to washing.
  • Foldable/collapsible.
  • You can choose the # of minutes for the wash, depending on how soiled the load is. 2, 5 and 10 minute increments…….or it may have low medium and high speed levels
  • Fit on top of your toilet tank. 
  • They became very popular during the pandemic because people didn’t want to go to public laundromats and risk infection;
  • Portable. When company comes, you can pick it up and easily move it to another room. You can move it to your bathtub and draw the curtain if you are washing cloth diapers or odoriferous baby clothes. 
  • Makes it easy to wash different colored laundry.  You can wash delicates one day, dark clothes the next, and bold colored-clothing on the following wash, then do the sheets and pillowcases. Very cool.
  • There are even side-load models that fit on your counter.
  • It’s better than hand-washing because there is more agitation action.

The bad:

  • It’s noisy. You may want to leave it in the bathroom and shut the door if it disturbs your sense of calm and your peace and quiet. On the other hand, you may even like the white noise.
  • Some models don’t have a rinse cycle. This means that after you wash, you will have to turn the bucket upside down and empty the wash water residue, then fill it back up with warm water and start a new cycle; this time you don’t add detergent! That’s your do-it-yourself rinse cycle.  However, some models feature an outlet valve with a cap you can remove and drain the wash water.  Less mess.

The ugly:

Mold is a health hazard.  To avoid mold accumulation inside your machine, be sure you air out your unit every time you use it in a room with good circulation, or even better, outdoors in the sun!   

Fun Facts:

Living off the grid?  There is even a model that doesn’t require electricity.  Just your good old-school physical push and pull.         Our recommendations:  Before you invest in a bucket washer, make sure you take the extra time it takes to get a good one.  Choose 3 models you like on Amazon, then read the reviews.  Not only will the reviews give you insight into what it’s like to do a wash load, but it will also tell you types of options or extra features you like.  This will help you choose the right washer for your needs.  The extra hour or so you take to read all the product’s reviews will pay dividends in the long-term.  Best of luck!

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