James washer or plunger method?

xena_z4(WA z8b)August 12, 2005

I am currently living off the grid - with income from a part time job - and would like anyones opinion about the best way to wash clothes. I've tried that little pressure washer, where you put in some hot water, detergent, and a really small load of clothes. You tighten the lid & give the thing a whirl. The water got dirty, but it didn't take any stains out, even with a stain remover. I've heard alot about the James washer -- yikes! the price!! -- but I have also seen a washer that uses a plunger. Do these work as advertised, and what are your personal pros & cons when using these?



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The James washer works great , but the price is pretty steep...
Here's my response to a similar question....

It takes me about 15 minutes (not including soak time) to wash and rinse a large load of laundry (about twice what will fit in most washers), without power....

I use two tubs as you described...I wash and rinse with cold water most of the time...i use the rinse water to wash the following batch of clothes, this saves on water...

When I use hot water it's heated in black plastic pails in the sun in summer or on the woodstove during winter...

I use homemade laundry detergent...
1 cup Bar Soap, Grated into fine flakes. (I recommend Fels-Naptha. Half of a bar.)
1 cup Borax (I use 20 Mule team Borax.)
1 cup Washing Soda (Not Baking Soda)(I use Arm&Hammer Super Washing Soda.) Available in the laundry aisle of most supermarkets.

A little goes a long way......

1 Tablespoon per load. About 56 loads for pennies per load...

I let the clothes soak for several hours....I use a Rapid Washer, a plunger type hand washer from Lehman's.....it works better than a washboard...
i use it to wash and rinse...link below

I use homemade fabric softener on some of my clothes...added to rinse water...
2 cups cold water
1 cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar

1 Place baking soda in LARGE bowl and pour vinegar over it; while it's bubbling, pour cold water in and mix.
2 Store in sealed container and shake before using to combine all ingredients.
3 Add 1/4 cup of mixture to rinse water.

You may be able to find a wringer at an antique or second hand store....

I have a glass washboard for clothes that are extra dirty.
I have a wringer on both tubs.

Summer...I hang the clothes outside.
Winter...I use accordian-style wooden racks to dry the clothes near the woodstove.

Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rapid Washer

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 8:43PM
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huisjen(z5 ME)

Whoa. Deja Vu, all over again. :-P


Here is a link that might be useful: The previouse hand clothes-washing thread fiasco

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 9:13PM
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In case you're still off the grid; in the '60's in the Village, we used any kind of tub, bucket, soap, etc, for 4-5 hours, using a toilet plunger to agitate from time to time. The plunger was the secret, it really moves the water through the clothes.

An old Beatnik

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 1:55AM
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I washed my own and my husbands clothes for years, off the grid. Just left them to soak in cold water a tub for an hour with a little detergent, then squeezed and scrunched and swished and scrubbed them round with my hands and against each other; used a floor scrubbing brush on the work clothes that were very dirty; let the dirty water out, fill up again with clean water, swish it all about, let it out again, fill it up with clean water again, swish about, then the stuff is clean! Hang over the gate and twist until the water runs out, then hang on the line. return every once in a while and squeeze the water from the bottoms. Voila! Very easy.
I never had a wringer, it would have been handy, but I did fine without.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 7:54PM
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Agent_65(8a wst tx)

I hear alot of good things about the james hand washer , but not alot of good about the washer type you currently have .Your right , the cloths dont get clean, there is no easy way out when it comes to old fashiond scrubbing.I am looking to purchase a james hand washer if there is anyone out there who has tired of thiers . Or obtain the name of the manufacurer . I have heard they are less expencive from manufacurer(not much but some)anyone know of the company name???

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 12:20PM
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I have been using the plunger method in my bathroom tub. I let them soak for a hour or two with a bit of liquid soap(which I keep in clean ketchup/musard squirt bottles) , while I go to work, then I come home plunger it, use a small washboard. I rinse them throughly and then stick the wet clothing in my industial size wringer that I bought with with mop bucket and squeeze the water out. It was the only cheap way I was able to wring out the water other then twisting and squeezing the water out. I then hang the clothing on hangers on the retractable curtain rod set high above my tub so the water drips into the tub and not on the side if I where to hang the clothing there it makes a mess (I did that in the past).

This meathod washes and drys my clothing very nicely, since I am on a very tight buget and don't have the money to go to the laundry mat. No one knows that that I do it myself since I also iron my clothing so it has a nice wrinkle-free look to them. I usually do two days or days worth of clothing so the load doesn't get too large for me.

I embarrasing have to say I have been doing this for years and I think it has save me a lot of money and prevented me for breaking my budget as well as allowed me to have clean clothing at the same time.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 12:32PM
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Has anyone tried one of the plungers with holes AND the rapid washer/mobile washer that's similar to a plunger. Is it worth buying that over a plunger with holes?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 5:12PM
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