Could you do without your washing machine?

When my washing machine broke down last week it was full of cloth nappies/diapers and cloth wipes.

In their just-emptied-from-the-nappy-bucket-so-as-yet-unwashed-at-all state.


As well as some family cloth that my 5 year old uses.
Well, mostly him, occasionally the rest of us use it too.

Extra yum.

The machine, a front loader, filled itself, then would not start to spin but switched itself off.

I tried to start it again, with the same result.

So, the machine is full of very soggy, unwashed cloth nappies, cloth wipes and family cloth.

Mmmm mmmm.

I pity the poor technician who has to come and fix it.

I rang the company, who agreed to fix it under warranty even though it is eight days out of warranty.

Eight freaking days!? Do they program these things to break down in that time period??
One would hope not....

So I don the rubber dishwashing gloves and haul everything out of the machine and back into the bucket.

Buckets, plural. Everything seems to have multiplied.

And start thinking of my options.

Throw the stinky, drippy buckets in the car and drive around to find a laundromat. Blerk.

Leave them in the buckets for the week-to-10-days it will take the company to order a new motor and install it. Worried that the nappies etc will start to go mouldy on this option.

Start to realise how ridiculously reliant I am on this silly but useful modern day machine.

Determine that I will deal with this myself, in house.

Google hand-washing-cloth-nappies and find that other people wash cloth nappies by hand, so I can too.

The bath. Of course!

I dumped in the buckets, gave everything that needed it a bit more of a rinse directly under the tap, then filled the bath with the hottest water the taps can produce.

I then swished them all round with a big stick and squeezed and scrubbed with my gloved hands.
And drained the water.
That's the pre-rinse cycle on my machine.

Then I filled the bath again with hot water and some detergent and added a couple of kettles full of just boiled water for good measure.
And swished, squeezed and scrubbed as per above.
That's the wash cycle on my machine.

I know you were just dying to see it, so here it all is.
(Ignore the pink, yes, I only have boys but the pink nappies were a deal I couldn't turn down...)

Filled it again with hot and let it all soak.
That's the extra rinse cycle I use for washing nappies in my machine.


Wrung it all out by hand.
Oi, one of these old fashioned wringers would have come in handy right about then.
(As a kid, our neighbours had one and we thought it was the coolest thing ever!)

Peg it out on the drying racks and wait several days for everything to dry because we're officially in winter - not good drying weather.

Then I do one load of towels this way before I decide to send hubby to the laundromat with a couple of loads of essentials.


I could possibly live without a washing machine.

I would however need to be very organised and have a better wringing out system than just my hands, as that would help with subsequent drying time.

And summer would help too.

However, the machine was fixed this afternoon, so it's a moot point.

The technician did say though, that on the brand of machine I have, the 5 year extended warranty option would have been a good investment. Oh.

(LG, in case you're wondering. And he said the same for Samsung.)

And the new motor has a 3 month warranty. Ack.

I hope there's no more handwashing cloth nappies in my immediate future....


  1. Possibly, if I could keep my compost tumbler. I think I could convert it to a washing machine to tumble the clothes when wet and soapy. Hopefully that would clean them.But like you said, the wringing would be a hard job trying to get the most water possible out of them. And yes we would definitely have to rethink our whole way of life to make it work. It takes a lot of time to hand wash everything. My family did a lot of that years ago.Mom had twins in diapers, with no washing machine.Wash boards worked just fine back then,(for cloth diapers)but she had lots of help from older children.

  2. Interesting, we had trouble with our washing machine this week, too! I contemplated doing a whole load in the bathtub, but THANKFULLY my husband was able to figure out the problem (he's that kind of guy). I was NOT looking forward to doing what you did! ..and just for the record, I do think they build appliances today to die a minute after the warranty runs out.

  3. Wow, I could not live without a washer. lol!

  4. Ha! I remember that wringer - good for the arm muscles. Yeah, I'm totally dependent on my machine too. 'A load a day keeps the laundry mountain away'. (And I'm sooooo glad I don't have to do nappies anymore!)

  5. I'd have to get myself a twin tub. In fact I love twin tubs and when my current machine goes toes up I'll be getting another one. Inexpensive to buy and once you get the knack of them; really easy.

  6. Sounds like a bad nightmare these days. I don't know how people coped in the days before washing machines. I remember my grandma used to wash all the bed linen by hand; and boil it in a massive pot to sanitise it. There were already washing machines at that time, but she didnt believe that they could do as good a job.

  7. Woohoo, it's fixed! Though now it squeaks a bit when it's spinning so I'm not expecting it to last forever. must be a reason they give the new parts 3 months only...