Two buckets make up our washing machine. I got this navy blue one a few years ago and used it to save water, electricity, and explore a simpler life. The problem in Indiana and Pennsylvania was that I could never get the clothes wrung out enough so they would get mildew-y stinky on the line.

That is not a problem here outside the rainy season. The first clothes I hung on the line were dry by the time I washed the 4th bucket load. Which is small, by the way, a full bucket in this washing machine is 2 t-shirts or 5 pairs of underwear.

There’s a slotted tray at the bottom of the bucket to keep the clothes a couple inches off the bottom, theoretically cause the dirt all settles there, so this keeps the clothes out of the dirt. I don’t think that makes sense, cause I’m using the plunger as heartily as I can, and I’m sure that pulls the dirt up through the tray. Other than that, any bucket and any plunger would be equal to this task.

I got the sky blue bucket here to facilitate rinsing, so I can use the same wash water a couple times, then turn the rinse water into wash water, and so forth.

Wind, as is so often the case here, is the biggest challenge

I spent hours this week burying buckets (more buckets, but these hold posts in concrete) that we’re using for shadecloth because the wind keeps taking them down - sometimes onto the van. We wonder when one will land on a dog or person! Only two buckets-with-posts are still unburied, and that’s because we don’t know where they should go yet - it’s a lot of work to do twice.

But it’s also a lot of work to do laundry twice, when the clothesline blows over and we have to rewash things! I thought I could just shake things out when they dry, but if clothes blow into mud, or when the rain sends mud all over the clothes, I do have to just wash them again.

Read about other ways to do laundry the traditional way, by hand.

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