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How to Make a Campsite Washing Machine

Roughing it doesn't have to mean wearing dirty clothes. You can make a washing machine for your campsite with just a few household items.


  • Step 1: Cut a hole in the bucket lid Use the saw to cut a hole in the center of the bucket's lid, big enough for your toilet plunger handle to fit through.
  • Step 2: Insert plunger Put the plunger inside the bucket and fill the bucket with water, dirty clothes, and laundry detergent.
  • TIP: Use the saw to cut three quarter-sized holes in the plunger for easier movement through the water.
  • Step 3: Snap the lid on Snap the lid on the bucket with the plunger's handle going through the hole in the lid. Move the plunger up and down like you would an old-fashioned butter churn, simulating a washing machine agitator.
  • Step 4: Wash the clothes for three to four minutes, or longer if they're really dirty.
  • FACT: It takes approximately 35 gallons of water to wash a small load of clothes in a washing machine.

You Will Need

  • Hole saw
  • 5-gal. bucket with lid
  • Plunger
  • Water
  • Dirty clothes
  • Laundry detergent
  • Clothesline or tree branch
  • Waterproof permanent marker (optional)

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