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Clean clothes without electricity – The best methods and tricks for washing clothes in an emergency

Find out how to wash your clothes without electricity in an emergency. Here are 3 ways to get clean clothes even without a washing machine.

from Martin Gebhardt | Prepping | no comment yet | reading time 4 Min
Updated on 30 May 2023 17.402 views 100% found this guide helpful
Clean clothes without electricity – The best methods and tricks for washing clothes in an emergency

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • You can also wash your clothes without electricity, for example by handwashing, sand washing or dry cleaning.
  • For handwashing, you need a bowl or sink, soap or detergent, and warm water. Soak the clothes and massage them thoroughly.
  • Sand washing is particularly suitable for thicker fabrics. For this, you require fine sand, water, and a bowl or sink. Rub the clothes with the sand to remove stains and dirt particles.
  • Dry cleaning is a suitable alternative when no water is available or the clothes are particularly sensitive. You can use stain remover, baking soda, or alcohol for this.
  • You can also make your own laundry detergent from ash. Mix about 8 tablespoons of clean white or gray, fluffy ash with a liter of water and let the mixture sit for at least six hours.
  • To dry clothes faster, you can hang them in a well-ventilated place, use a hair dryer or fan, or use a towel to squeeze out the water.

In our modern daily life, we are used to relying on electrical household appliances such as washing machines, dryers, or irons.

But what happens when there is suddenly no power, for example due to a natural disaster or a power outage?

In such situations, it is important to be able to provide for ourselves and become independent.

This also applies to clothing care. In this blog post, I want to show you how to wash your clothes without electricity in case of an emergency.

Methods for washing clothes without electricity

Hand washing: How to wash clothes by hand with soap and water

The probably best known and simplest method for washing clothes without electricity is hand washing.

All you need is a bowl or sink, soap or detergent, and warm water.

Divide the clothes into a smaller amount and soak them in the water. Add the soap or detergent and rub the clothes thoroughly. Then rinse the clothes and wring them out to remove excess water.

If you want to do less massaging and manual work, let the clothes soak for a long time. I sometimes let my clothes soak for 12 hours or more.

Tip: Looking for a mobile sink? Check out the BOXIO-WASH and read my review here.

Sand washing: How to clean clothes with sand and water

Another way to wash your clothes without electricity is sand washing. This method is especially suitable for thicker fabrics such as jeans or jackets.

All you need is fine sand, water, and a bowl or sink. Divide the clothes into a smaller amount and soak them in the water.

Add the sand and rub the clothing thoroughly. The sand helps remove stains and dirt particles from the fabric. After cleaning, rinse and wring out the clothing to remove the sand.

Hand washing is a method for washing clothes by hand instead of using a washing machine.
Hand washing is a method for washing clothes by hand instead of using a washing machine.

Dry Cleaning: How to Remove Stains from Clothing Without Washing Them

In some situations, it may not be possible to thoroughly wash the clothing, such as when no water is available or when the clothing is particularly delicate.

In such cases, dry cleaning can be a good alternative. There are various methods you can try:

  • Stain remover: There are special stain removers that you can apply directly to the stain. Let the product sit for the recommended time and then remove the stain with a damp cloth.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is particularly effective for grease stains. Sprinkle the baking soda on the stain and let it sit. Then thoroughly vacuum or wash out the stain.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is particularly effective for blood stains. Apply the alcohol directly to the stain and let it sit. Then thoroughly vacuum or wash out the stain.
Stain removers are special cleaning agents used to remove stubborn stains from clothing, furniture, or other objects.
Stain removers are special cleaning agents used to remove stubborn stains from clothing, furniture, or other objects.

What items do I need to clean my clothes without electricity?

To clean your clothes without electricity, there are various items you need, depending on which method you want to use:

  • Handwashing: Bowl or sink, soap or detergent, warm water
  • Sand washing: Bowl or sink, fine sand, water
  • Dry cleaning: Stain remover, baking soda, alcohol

In addition, it is recommended to have a towel or clothesline ready to be able to wring out and hang up the clothes after cleaning.

waesche mit waescheleine

Tips and Tricks for washing clothes without electricity

How to make your own laundry detergent

Looking for a way to make your own laundry detergent while being as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible?

One option to achieve this is to make laundry detergent using ash. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Collect ash from charcoal or firewood. Ash contains sodium carbonate, which acts as a cleaning agent.
  2. Mix about 8 tablespoons of clean white or gray fluffy ash with one liter of water.
  3. Let the mixture stand for at least six hours. An alkaline solution (lye) is produced in the process.
  4. If you let the lye sit for 10 to 11 hours, you will get a full laundry detergent. But do not let the lye sit longer, as it may become corrosive.
  5. Use the laundry detergent by applying it directly to the stained areas or adding it to the laundry before putting it in the washing machine.
  6. Wash the laundry as usual.
Sustainable washing: Clean clothes with ash
Sustainable washing: Clean clothes with ash

It is important to note that laundry detergent made from ashes is not as strong as conventional laundry detergent and may not remove all stains.

Therefore, it is best suited for lighter stains or refreshing clothes between washes. However, you can experiment with different additives to improve the cleaning power of the detergent.

Try it out and you will see that it is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to conventional laundry detergent.

Read also:

19 uses for wood ash that you wouldn't think of right away - Did you know that you can use ash when you're done burning wood? Today you will learn what you can use wood ash for.

How to dry clothes faster

If you have to wash clothes without electricity, it usually takes longer to dry than in the washing machine. However, there are a few tricks to dry clothes faster:

Hang the clothes in a breezy place: A clothes stand or outdoor washing line is best suited for this.

Use a hairdryer or fan: These methods are especially suitable for smaller items like underwear or socks.

Use a towel: Place the damp piece of clothing on a towel and roll the towel together. This will press the water out of the fabric and the clothing will dry faster.

How to store clothes without a washing machine

If you have to wash clothes without electricity, it is important to dry them thoroughly to prevent mold formation. Even when the clothes are dry, there are a few things to keep in mind when storing them without a washing machine:

  • Use containers that allow air to circulate: Plastic containers are great for transporting clothing but not ideal for storage. Containers that allow air to circulate such as baskets or fabric bags will help clothing breathe, making it less susceptible to mold and mildew.
  • Choose the right storage location: Avoid storing clothing in dark, damp areas. Instead, hang it or store it in a well-ventilated closet or bright, airy location.
  • Air clothing out regularly: To prevent mold and mildew, it's critical to air out clothing regularly. You can hang it outside or in a well-ventilated room.

Follow these tips and you can store your clothing without a washing machine worry-free.

Naturally, there are some clothes that are particularly delicate and are rarely worn. For these pieces, you'll want to store them in air-tight containers to protect them from mold and dirt.

handwaesche

Conclusion: There are many ways to wash clothing without electricity in an emergency

As you can see, there are several ways to wash clothing without electricity in an emergency.

Whether it's hand-washing, sand-washing, or dry-cleaning – there's a solution for every problem.

It's critical to research and gather the necessary materials beforehand.

It can also be advantageous to use eco-friendly laundry methods in everyday life, such as saving electricity or extending the lifespan of clothing.

Why not try out one or two methods and find out which one suits you best?

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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Free 35 Survival Hacks you'll love!

You will get 35 easy-to-implement survival hacks so that you don't have to stand aimlessly in the forest from tomorrow when things get tough. Take your skills to the next level!

DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE