Bethany has talked for a while about doing laundry by hand. I think she might be crazy, but I’m happy to let her try it. She found a plunger that she liked, but $30 seemed a little steep for a funnel on a stick. I’ve seen a few DIY designs using toilet plungers or single funnels, but I thought I could do better.
We picked up a 4′ wooden extension handle and two stainless steel hose clamps at the hardware store for $7.95, and a pack of 3 funnels at Advance Auto Parts for $3.14.
I drilled holes in the biggest funnel to allow the water to be pushed back and forth instead of just splashing up and down.
I set the funnels upside down on the rounded end of the extension handle while I heated the funnels (one at a time) with a heat gun. When the plastic was soft enough, I slid the funnels down over the handle.
The medium-sized funnel slid over the top of the large funnel. This helps push the water back down into the clothes instead of splashing it on you. Trust me, you don’t want to forget this part, unless you have a lid on your wash bucket.
I think I’ll try to figure out a way to get the funnels closer together. It seems like that might make the laundry plunger a little more efficient.
The stainless steel hose clamps hold the funnels in place. They might not be necessary, but I think over time the funnels would loosen up and start to move around if they weren’t clamped.
We picked up a few “Happy Holidays” buckets at Lowe’s for $.99 a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t have a specific purpose in mind, but we always need buckets for something. Turns out they make great laundry buckets! Stubborn dirt didn’t come out very well in my test load, so I got the old washboard down off the wall and used it. Everything seemed to come out cleaner than in the washing machine, and in less time.
This is something that will probably be modified until it doesn’t work, then modified some more until it does. The first thing will be to add a lid to the bucket so it isn’t quite so messy.
Since I built the laundry plunger right before lunch and posted this right after, I can’t say too much about the best way to use it. The voice of experience on the always reliable internet says to soak the clothes in a big tub for a couple of hours, then wash small loads in a bucket or smaller tub, rinse with clear water, then use the rinse water to wash the next load. Sounds like it will work. If not, it only cost $11.09 to try.
Edit: After building this laundry plunger, I finished building a wall mounted drying rack.