How To Do Bathtub Laundry

By Liesl Clark

If you ever have a power outage and need to do an important load of laundry, consider the bathtub! We’ve done bathtub laundry all over the world, mostly because you can do it in any location that has a tub and this simple practice saves a bundle of money if you’re traveling.

Bathtub Laundry!

Bathtub Laundry!

How do you do it and get your clothes dry in time?

There are 2 ways to tub-clean your dirty togs. If you’re taking a shower, you can always conserve water and throw your dirty clothes in the bottom of the tub to benefit from your shower water. I know it doesn’t sound glamorous, but it works if you just need to get your clothes clean quickly. Otherwise, here are a the few steps involved in the bathtub method:

1) Run the water and plug the drain. Be sure to put enough water in the tub to just cover your clothing. I simply use the hotel soap, but you can always bring your own biodegradable laundry powder or laundry bar soap if you think ahead.

Bar Soap Works Just Fine For Bathtub Laundry

Bar Soap Works Just Fine For Bathtub Laundry

2) My friends here in Nepal let the clothes soak for a few minutes. Then you can rub soap all over the clothing, and scrub around the really dirty areas of your clothing.

3) Next, get your children in the tub and let them walk all over your clothing. It’s a fun game for them and massages their feet. If you have no children around, do it yourself or you can “agitate” your clothes by hand, too. Be sure to hand scrub dirty areas by hand with your soap.

Let the kids do your wash and scrub cycle.

Let the kids do your wash and scrub cycle.

4) Drain the dirty water and run more water over your clothes to fully rinse them out. You might need to rinse twice if you’ve used a lot of soap.

5) Wring each piece of clothing out and then hang them to dry over the tub. Depending on your climate, you should have dry clothes in a few hours, almost as long as it would’ve taken you to take your clothing to a laundry service to do it for you.

The drying cycle.

The drying cycle.

And the price is right.

We like this system because it’s cheap, it didn’t require any plastic, we get a little exercise doing the laundry, and it conserves water when we use our own shower water for the first part of your washing cycle.

Are you looking for other household cleaning or organizing hacks? Check out our Trash Backwards app for more ideas:

Click Through For More Eco-Friendly Ideas at Trash Backwards

Click Through For More Eco-Friendly Ideas at Trash Backwards

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Categories: DIY, Plastic-Free Living, Reduce Your Use, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff


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7 Comments on “How To Do Bathtub Laundry”

  1. Jan Fast
    May 21, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    If you know you will be doing tub laundry, travel with a small brush and soap that works with your skin (skin rash is no fun). Use the brush on areas that need extra cleaning. Travel with light weight fabrics such as synthetics that wash easy and dry fast. For places in the world that do not offer laundry service such as Russia, you may be able to get laundry servide through hostels. The tub method is not only cheap but fast.

  2. May 23, 2013 at 1:43 am #

    Reblogged this on GetGreen and commented:
    Great idea!!

  3. May 23, 2013 at 5:04 am #

    Haha this is awesome! How fun! (and logical)

  4. Bria
    August 27, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Recently, I’ve learned to use a cheap toilet plunger for the agitation process! I found one at the dollar store. I guess it wouldn’t be available on a trip, but is good for at home. Thanks for the article!

  5. September 29, 2015 at 6:11 am #

    Doing bathtub laundry is a fantastic idea. I am trying to convince my husband that we don`t need a washing machine. If we use the water from shower it will be eco-friendly and cheaper. Thank you for sharing your idea. Best regards!

  6. Mary k Riley
    November 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    I use a mop wringer to wring out the clothes. Got it from amazon for 80$ but found it at Ace for 50. Works great. Relieves the cramping and pain of hand wringing. Even jeans and sheets are a breeze. Get a commercial floor mop wringer! If serious about going green and doing the bathtub laundry for the long haul, its the only thing to do. Mk. Chicago il.

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