If your apartment has no washing machine, you are NOT alone. I’ve done a ton of research on how to do laundry without a washing machine or dryer, and below are 10 ideas that make doing laundry a breeze.
Personally, I’ve been washing my clothes in the kitchen sink, wringing it by hand, letting it drip dry from the shower stall door, and then placing the damp clothes into an actual dryer (I have access to one). So it is doable! I don’t think it’s that bad doing laundry washing by hand, actually. Here are my best ideas for you:
1. Use the kitchen sink instead of the bathroom sink
The kitchen sink, compared to bathroom sinks, is often the deepest sink in the apartment. You want DEPTH, not necessarily width. That’s because water swishes around when you’re agitating the laundry by hand, so a DEEP sink is super helpful.
2. Use the bathtub (if you have one) for bulky items
If you have very large pieces of laundry, such as bedding, a bathtub is your best bet. Be sure to get a good plug to stop up the drain to allow the tub to fill with water and soak the clothes.
But…not every apartment has a bathtub (mine doesn’t). In that case, move on to the next idea.
3. Buy a big storage bin and place it in the shower
A 54-quart storage bin is the perfect size for doing laundry by hand! It’s got good width and depth. Even so, it’s best to place it in the shower stall before washing your clothes by hand, so that when you’re agitating, water doesn’t spill everywhere. Plus, it’ll make it easier to simply tip it over and dump the dirty water out.
4. Invest in a portable washing machine (I LOVE these!)
You guys, THESE THINGS ARE AMAZING! Even if you don’t have washer/dryer hookups, you can use a portable washing machine because it doesn’t require hookups or a 220v outlet. It just uses a regular outlet, and you can literally fill the washer with a cup or bucket. And you can simply drain it into your shower or tub!
I’m getting one of these soon!
5. Try a portable dryer too!
Besides a laundry spinner, you can get an actual laundry heat dryer that’s portable and doesn’t require a special hookup. You simply need to vent the hose out a window.
6. Get a clothesline and hang it outside (or in your bathroom!)
Don’t want to bother with a dryer? Easy peasy. Get a clothesline and hang it outside to dry in the sun faster. If you don’t have outdoor space, you can hang it in your bathroom.
7. Get a clothes drying rack
I personally prefer a clothes drying rack like this one over a clothesline. You can set it up anywhere. I like to set it up by a sunny window to let the sun do its thing and dry my laundry faster.
8. Order a laundry spinner
By far, the most annoying thing about doing laundry with no washing machine is that the laundry ends up being sopping wet—and wringing it by hand is painful, time-consuming, and sometimes impossible with thicker items (like jeans!).
To solve this problem, get a laundry spinner. You’ll sometimes see these marketed as “dryers” but they have NO HEAT, so don’t be fooled! It dries the clothes by spinning them so fast that centrifugal force pushes the water out. And yes, they WORK!
9. A laundry plunger? Yep, it’s a real thing
Yes, it looks funny—but hear me out! Part of what makes a washing machine so effective is that it has a built-in agitator (that pole sticking up in the middle) that rubs against the clothes, getting the dirt out of them.
When you wash by hand, it gets tiresome to agitate the clothes with your hands. So, get a laundry plunger to save your hands the trouble. You just stick this plunger into the bucket of water with your clothes and give it a good up and down and spinning motion. This helps any trapped dirt break loose of your clothes.
10. Go old school with a washboard
If you prefer, you can go old school with a traditional washboard. You’ll have to really put your back muscles and biceps to work—but it works!