May 10, 2011

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Creating a Bucket Style Handwasher: A Flats/Handwashing Challenge Post!

When the Flats and Hand-washing challenge was presented I jumped right on board!  The reasons for the challenge were great, and I felt instantly that I wanted to help.  You can read my own personal reasons for participating in my first post about the challenge.

Overall, I wanted to make cloth diapering as cheap as possible and available to any family…and that included families without a washer.  So many families these days are reusing disposable diapers because they think they cannot afford a clean diaper for their child….so today I will show you just how easy it is to create a Bucket Style Washer for super cheap so that you can clean your baby’s cloth diapers (whatever type you use!) or even your own clothes when you do not have a washing machine available.

When I told my fiance that we would be using flats and handwashing them for a week, I think he almost had a heart attack!  Since I’m working and at school full time and he is Staty-at-home-Dad, he was afraid that he would be doing all of the work!  In his eyes, with a toddler running around everywhere that doesn’t sleep and barely any time to pick up the apartment let alone get laundry folded and put away, finding time to HANDWASH the cloth diapers was asking him a lot!  I could understand that, and with him viewpoint on the situation, I knew many other people had the same view…how would you find the time, and isn’t it a lot of work?

So after seeing the video on how to make a Bucket Style Washer on Dirty Diaper Laundry’s blog I decided to build one for us to use not only during hand-washing week, but as a regular part of our laundry in an effort to be more conscious of our water use and how much laundry we create…you know me, trying to reduce our foot-print on this Earth every day!

The supplies:

One (1) 5-Gallon Bucket (with lid)!

One (1) simple Plunger!

One (1) 1-inch and one (1) 1/2-inch Spade bits and a drill!

Creating your Bucket Washer:

First, you will need to collect your supplies!  I went to Fleet Farm for all of our supplies, found a 5 gallon bucket for $3.99 and a lid for $1.59 in the farm section, and a plunger for just $1.79!  You just need the cheap plunger, not the fancy one with the lip on the underside…don’t want yucky stuff getting stuck in there!  In total this cost me $7.78 with tax!

I recommend you do this project outside, mostly because drilling through plastic and rubber can create a mess and it is alot easier to clean up outside!  But also it can become a fun family project too…just look as how much fun SAP had running around with “mommy’s plunger” as she called it!

SAP running away with the plunger!  She thought it was the best game ever to play “plunger keep-away”! lol

If you do not own a drill ask around, a neighbor or friend would most likely be happy to borrow one to you!  The first thing you will need to drill is the lid of the bucket.  Place the lid on the bucket and drill in the exact center down using the 1-inch spade bit.  This will create a nice 1 inch diameter circle that your plunger will fit perfectly through!
Here you can see the 1-inch diameter hole that was drilled in the lid of the 5-gallon bucket and the drill with the 1-inch space bit that was used!

Next, you will need to ready the plunger by drilling holes in it as well!  You do not need to do this step but it helps with water flow when you are washing with your bucket washer. So once you get the plunger back from your little one….

Plunger tug-of-war between SAP and SAPsDaDa!

…you can then switch to the 1/2-inch spade bit and drill about 4 to 6 holes in your plunger all the way around it.  The spade bit is used since it cuts a clean hole through the material, unlike a regular straight bit.  You can see what a mess it made when we were drilling too!

Drilling holes in the plunger! SAP loved watching her daddy do this!

We used a 1/2 inch bit for some holes and a 5/8th inch bit for other holes for variation.

Once your plunger is ready, stick the pole through the center of your bucket lid, and voila!  Bucket Style Washer!!
This was before we drilled holes in the plunger, but this is how it all goes together!

It’s so easy SAP can do it!  Wouldn’t it be awesome if she could actually wash her own diapers?  That would be an amazing mothers day present for sure!  lol

SAP having the time of her life “washing” stuff!  lol

The bike helmet was because she was also riding her balance bike off and on that afternoon!  She didn’t want to take her helmet off!

The bucket style washer was extremely simple to create, and a fun family project!  Even if you have a washing machine it is great to have around for emergencies in case the power goes out.  I am also looking forward to using the bucket washer to go camping this summer to wash our dirty clothes and cloth diapers without paying to use an expensive laundry mat!

Stay tuned for Flats/Handwashing week where we will be using our Bucket Washer with multiple types of detergents  and different ways to show you what works best…so you don’t have to experiment!  It should be a fun time!

With the bucket washer complete, holes in plunger and everything, SAP decides to run off once again!

*sigh*  That girl never sits still!

  1. that’s pretty neat!

  2. Awesome! Thanks! Ill be making one. Cant wait for the handwashing challenge! I wonder if I will feel this excited about it on like…day 3? LOL

    • Melissa says:

      lol I know what you mean! I’m super excited but I’m wondering how tough it will be!

  3. Going to try this…