How to easily hand wash your laundry

Hand washing laundry is as easy as taking a shower!

My husband and I have moved to three different houses since we’ve been together. In all situations  there came a time where we either didn’t have a clothes washer or needed to save money so we found our own way to wash our clothes. 

We would painstakingly spend way too much time hand washing our clothes in the bathtub with a plunger, rinsing them out with water and then hand wringing them. We’d either hang them on our shower curtain or outside on a line. The drying was the easy part but once we had a clothes washer we ditched the hand washing.  

Now that I have the time (despite running around for two little boys) I find I’ve become much more financially and environmentally focused. I’ve spent the last couple of years really minimalizing our waste, finding ways to save money, learning how to grow our own food and much more. This week it’s been my goal to learn how to effectively hand wash clothes without wasting too much time and making sure it really is saving us money.

Here’s my method.

– Dirty laundry is still thrown into the laundry bin and whenever I’m in need of a shower. 

– Plug the tub and start filling with water as you add your soap. I use whatever natural soap I have on hand. Unfortunately I don’t think soap nuts work too well with this method. I was really happy with how well the soap nuts worked in the washer. Check them out they’re super cheap and really effective! 

– Fill the bathtub with cold water at least an inch over the top of the clothes. Make sure they’re evenely placed in the bathtub so there are no bunches of clothes stuck together.

– Leave to soak for at least half an hour. Sometimes I leave it for about two hours while I do other house work. 

– Get ready for your shower but don’t forget to dry brush first! (See post on Dry Brushing). Shower as usual but make sure to walk around quite a bit over the clothes. Mash mash mash them around all the while keeping the bathrub plug in. Keep in mind this would not be a good idea if you are shaving. I was so it’s not a problem for me. Having little hairs in your clothes would be pretty yucky :P 

– Unplug the tub and rinse yourself off along with the clothes. Just continue to step around on them moving some to the front and others to the back to make sure they’re all getting a good rinse and soap is running clean. 

– When you’re done give them another rinse if you’d like but I find they’re quite clean at this point and ready to be rung out. 

– Stick them in a laundry basket to bring outside and hang on a clothes line OR another idea is to put up extra shower curtain poles in your shower to let them drip dry into the tub. That’s probably a better option for winter… and there’s always the clothes dryer of course. 

Great benifits of washing this way: 

– You get your shower in at the same time as washing your clothes (some people even choose to skip the soaking method and just wash the clothes as they shower).

– You save time, money and help the environment

– It gives you a bit of a leg workout 

– You can wash more often and avoid huge piles of laundry

– You use much less water and soap and it’s fun for the kids :) 

I also find this method helps me to eliminate even more of my clothing. Every few months I find I go through my clothes to see what I don’t wear and send it off to donate. I love having some nice clothes for special occasions but even more I enjoy having only a few good outfits I wear religiously. Keeping my wardrobe to a max of 10-15 outfits (including every season) helps me save space, time picking out clothes, helps me give back and de-clutters my material horde a little bit more. Plus with babies constantly drooling, vomitting and pooping on me I’m not about to wear something fancy any time soon. 

Do you have any tips for hand washing your clothes? I’m new to this so any advice would help! :) Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you. 

With love,



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