How To Do Laundry At Home Without A Washing Machine Or Dryer

You'll save money and build some serious arm strength.

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Whether you’re living in an apartment with no laundry in the building, your washer and dryer have given up working, or you’re just trying to save some money on dry cleaning, sometimes you have no choice but to roll up your sleeves and take matters into your own hands. Or, in this case, into your own tub.

Waiting for hours in a laundromat sucks and can also be expensive over time. Plus, with everything going on in the world right now, it’s not really an option.


Of course, you could make use of an online service and pack your stuff off to get dry cleaned by Cleanly or Wylo. These services will collect and drop off your clothes to your house. This is a great option for professional standard washing without leaving your house. 

But if you have the time, you can actually wash your clothes at home with very little equipment. 

Here’s how to do laundry without a washing machine or dryer, and get clean clothes at home.

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1. Gather your equipment.

If you have a bathtub, you’re pretty much good to go; if not, a large bucket will do the trick. You can also use a clean sink, but keep in mind that the smaller the container, the fewer items you can wash at the same time.

Having a second bucket to store damp clothes as you wash them will also make the process easier. Any regular detergent will do, but if you have sensitive skin you might need gloves to stop the water from irritating you while you’re washing.

You might also want to consider buying a hand-held agitator. This is basically like a big mixer and will make things a little easier on your arms, but it’s not really necessary.  


2. Pre-wash and separate your items.

Hand washing makes it difficult to get nasty stains out, so you’ll need to take extra time to make sure everything is cleaned thoroughly.

If a food spill or ink splatter has stained your clothes, apply a stain remover or soap to the affected area, and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. I also recommend separating your whites and colored items.

Hand washing usually means lower temperatures and less mixing, so the risk of color bleeding is lower than in a regular machine, but it can still occur.

Take out your delicate fabrics like silk, cashmere, or wool as they will need to be washed separately. You should also measure these items before washing to make sure they don’t stretch or shrink while drying.  


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3. Use lukewarm water and add detergent.

Fill your tub or container with lukewarm or even cold water until it's about 2 inches above the height of the clothes. Pay attention to care labels, wools, and other delicates that are usually washed in cool water.

The amount of detergent used depends on the size of your container. Estimate around 4 tablespoons for a bathtub and 2 tablespoons for a bucket or sink. For your delicates, use only a tiny amount of detergent or baby shampoo so only a few suds are visible. 

4. Swish the clothing around and let it soak.


Once all the detergent is mixed in, leave the tub alone. Detergent needs time to get to work, so come back after at least 20 minutes; for heavier stains, let the clothes sit for up to an hour.

Using an agitator tool or your hands, swish the clothes around gently so all parts of the items get soaked and submerged fully. Avoid scrubbing them or twisting too aggressively as this can stretch your clothes.

Delicate clothes should be washed one by one and not left to soak. Simply dip them in the water and swish them around until all visible stains are gone, then remove them. 

5. Rinse repeatedly. 

Empty out your container so there's no more soapy water, and then fill it with cold water. This will remove suds quicker than warm temperatures.


Continue to move the clothes around and press them to squeeze out suds. If you’re using a faucet, you can hold items under the running water as you fill the container. If you press the clothing and no more soap comes out, the clothes are ready to dry. 

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6. Wring your clothes and hang them to dry.

If you own a wringer, this step is easy for you; if not, you’re going to need some serious elbow grease. Twist your clothes into a tight cylindrical shape and squeeze to get excess water out. Without the spinning action of the washing machine, your clothes will be a lot wetter, so wringing them will reduce your drying time.


Owning a clothes horse or washing line is definitely the best way to dry your clothes at home, but you can also use the backs of chairs and your towel racks. Just make sure your clothes are evenly spaced and not overlapping.

For delicate fabrics, avoid wringing them out. Wool and cashmere will need to be laid flat and pulled into its original width, and then dried flat on a towel. 

7. Use ventilation.


If you don’t have a garden or balcony, consider leaving your clothes in a room with an open window to let in a breeze.

When drying clothes inside, be aware that dripping clothing can stain hardwood and upholstery, so you might need to lay a towel or some plastic beneath your laundry if they’re excessively wet. 

If you can, dry your clothes outside. This will speed up the process and you won’t have to look at your underwear hanging in the kitchen! After just a couple of hours in the sun, your clothes will be dry — and all without having to wait in the laundromat or pay for dry cleaning. 

RELATED: How To Disinfect Your Home, Kill Germs & Avoid Contracting Coronavirus


Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics. 

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