Can I Do Laundry In My Bathtub?

Tired of laundry drudgery? Stop dreading the never-ending loads! Your bathtub’s got you covered.

Introducing…the Bathtub Laundry Hack!

Simply fill tub with warm water and detergent, let clothes soak. Add some elbow grease while scrubbing away stains. Then wring and hang dry. Voila – clean clothes in half the time, using way less water!

Join the soap suds rebellion and stick it to the washer. Give your clothes the soak of their lives, while saving water and energy.

Your wallet will thank you, with lower utility bills. Mother Earth will smile, with less water waste. And your Sundays just freed up, no more endless trips to the laundromat!

The Bathtub Laundry Hack is here to save the day, one sudsy soak at a time. An eco-friendly cleaning solution, for the modern era.

So go ahead, give it a try next laundry day. Your clothes, wallet, and planet will thank you!

Can I Do Laundry in My Bathtub?

Traditionally, washing machines have been the go-to for laundry tasks. However, with the environmental cost of using such machines, not to mention the added expense, many have begun to explore the possibility of manual washing in a bathtub.

This technique can be a great option for delicate items, large or bulky items that don’t fit in a standard washing machine, or even regular washing for the eco-minded or those without a washer.

How do you do laundry in the bathtub?

There are a few steps to doing your laundry in a bathtub:

  1. Sorting the Laundry: As you would with a machine, sort your clothes by color and fabric type.
  2. Fill the Bathtub: Fill your bathtub halfway with warm water. Add your choice of eco-friendly laundry detergent.
  3. Adding the Clothes: Place your sorted clothes into the tub. Agitate the clothes using your hands or a clean plunger.
  4. Soaking and Agitating: Allow the clothes to soak for about 30 minutes, periodically agitating the clothes to help remove dirt.
  5. Rinse and Repeat: Drain the soapy water, refill the tub with clean water, and rinse the clothes. Repeat this process until the water is clear.
  6. Drying: Wring out the excess water from your clothes and hang them up to dry.

Advantages of Bathtub Laundry

  • Eco-Friendly: Bathtub laundry uses less water and energy than a washing machine.
  • Economic: You can save money on electricity and water bills.
  • Gentler on Clothes: Hand washing can be gentler on clothes, particularly delicate items.
Bathtub LaundryWashing Machine
Water UsageLowerHigher
Energy ConsumptionLowerHigher
Effect on Delicate ItemsGentlerHarsher
Cost EffectivenessMore EconomicalLess Economical

Potential Drawbacks

Despite the benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to be aware of:

  • Time-Consuming: Bathtub laundry can be more time-consuming than using a washing machine.
  • Physical Effort: It can also be physically demanding, especially wringing out the clothes.
  • Limited Capacity: You may not be able to wash as many clothes at once.

Is It Safe to Do Laundry in the Bathtub?

When considering tub washing, safety should be your top concern. Wet, slippery surfaces plus electrical appliances can create hazards if proper precautions aren’t taken.

Risk of Slipping and Falling

One of the biggest risks of doing laundry in the tub is slipping and falling. Wet surfaces will be slick, increasing your chances of taking a spill. This risk is even greater if you’re leaning over into the tub to wash and wring out clothes.

To prevent slipping, lay down grip mats or towels in the bottom of the tub. Only stand or kneel on these traction surfaces. You can also use a laundry plunger handle to create stability while plunging clothes.

Consider wearing water shoes as well for additional traction. Take your time and use handrails whenever possible for stability.

Risk of Electrocution

Any time you’re using electrical appliances around water, you risk electrocution. Plugging in a portable washing machine or oscillating cleaner in the tub brings electricity and water perilously close together.

To stay safe, only use battery-powered appliances in the bathtub. Avoid any corded electric devices. Never leave plugged in appliances unattended or resting in water.

If using electricity near water is unavoidable, have GFCI outlets installed by an electrician. These outlets will shut off power automatically if electricity contacts water.

Preventing Water Damage

It’s easy for a full tub of water to overflow, leading to leaks, water damage, and mold. To prevent overflows:

  • Don’t overfill the tub
  • Monitor water levels and drain when needed
  • Adjust water temperature carefully
  • Keep laundry moving and submerged
  • Check for leaks around faucets and pipes

Add a margin of safety by filling the tub just 1-2 inches with water for washing. This lower level leaves room for displaced water when adding clothes.

Other Precautions

  • Use mild laundry detergent to prevent skin irritation
  • Don’t force or scrub delicate fabrics
  • Air dry fabrics to prevent shrinkage
  • Disinfect tub before bathing again

By taking proper precautions, you can keep bathtub laundry safe. Just be cautious, take your time, and don’t overload the tub.

What Kind of Laundry Can I Do in the Tub?

Your bathtub isn’t a full-fledged washing machine, so you’ll need to stick to small, gentle loads. Certain types of laundry are better suited for handwashing than others.


One of the biggest perks of tub washing is the ability to handwash delicates. Lingerie, silky fabrics, lace, and sheer items need a gentle touch. Agitation from washing machines can snag or damage delicate fabrics.

Bras, camisoles, slips, and other lingerie are perfect for the bathtub. You can ensure they stay pristine with a gentle handwash. Just lay flat or hang these items to dry.

Small Loads

For everyday laundry, opt for small loads in the tub. Trying to cram jeans, towels, and sheets into a tub will be unwieldy. Not to mention harsh on your hands!

Good tub loads include:

  • 3-5 shirts
  • 1 sweater or light jacket
  • 2 pairs of jeans or trousers
  • 5-7 pairs of socks or underwear

Wash one category of clothing at a time to control the load size.

Handwash Only Items

Check clothing labels for “handwash only” instructions. The tub is ideal for washing items too delicate for the washing machine. This includes:

  • Cashmere sweaters
  • Merino wool fabrics
  • Embroidered items
  • Silk screened t-shirts

Be sure to use a gentle, pH-balanced detergent for these fabrics. Never wring or twist; lay flat to dry.

Pre-Treating Tough Stains

For clothes with ground-in stains or funky odors, let the bathtub do some pre-wash heavy lifting.

Soak heavily soiled items in hot water and detergent before washing. For stinky workout clothes or smelly jeans, add a half-cup of baking soda to the soak water.

What Not to Wash in the Tub

On the flip side, some laundry is ill-suited for DIY tub washing:

  • Heavy items – thick towels, rugs, denim, and blankets will be unwieldy
  • Large loads – anything more than 5-7 pieces won’t wash effectively
  • Snag-prone fabrics – hook and loop fasteners or sequined fabrics may damage the tub
  • Machine washables – sturdy items like t-shirts, sheets, etc. are better washed in a machine

Stick to small, delicate loads and use your washing machine for the rest. You’ll save your back and your bathtub!

Tips for Effectively Doing Laundry in the Tub

To get your clothes clean, you’ll need to mimic a washing machine’s mechanics. Here are some tips for effective tub washing:

  • Use a laundry plunger – Up and down plunging agitates clothes to loosen dirt.
  • Try an oscillating cleaner – The back and forth motion cleans clothes without wear.
  • Soak first – Letting clothes soak 30+ minutes in detergent helps lift stains.
  • Use minimal detergent – A teaspoon of gentle detergent prevents excess suds.
  • Drain and refill – Drain dirty wash water and refill with clean for rinsing.
  • Rinse well – Get rid of all soap residue that can irritate skin.
  • Lay flat or hang dry – Air drying prevents shrinkage from the dryer.

With some equipment and technique, you can get clothes clean without a washing machine. Just allow extra time for this manual process.

DIY Agitators for Tub Washing

To mimic a washing machine, you’ll need something to move and agitate the clothing. Here are some easy tub washing tools:

  • Laundry plunger – Use an up-down plunging motion to “scrub” clothes clean. The wooden handle helps with leverage.
  • Oscillating multi tool – The motorized head cleans fabrics with a quick side-to-side motion. Battery-powered models work well.
  • Laundry paddles – These plastic paddles have ridges that help scrub clothes when moved manually.
  • Salad spinner – After soaking, put clothes in a spinner and crank the handle to remove excess water.

Don’t have any agitators? Your hands will work in a pinch! Rub and press fabrics together to clean.

Alternatives for Washing Clothes Without a Machine

While convenient, doing laundry in the bathtub does have its limits. When you need more capacity or easier washing, consider these other options:

  • Handwash sink or bucket – Use an extra basin specifically for handwashing delicate items. Five gallon buckets work great.
  • Portable washing machines – Compact electric washers provide a machine to wash anywhere. Top load models are easiest to fill.
  • Laundromats – For large loads, going to a coin laundry facility can save time and effort.
  • Washboard – For primitive washing, a grooved washboard still works! Use with a basin or tub of hot soapy water.
  • Dry cleaners – Some offer laundry services at affordable rates. Helpful for tricky items like suits and formalwear.

Key Takeaways

While doing your laundry in the ≈ can save water, energy, and be gentler on your clothes, it can also be more time-consuming and require more physical effort. However, for those without a washing machine or those interested in more eco-friendly practices, it can be a viable option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use regular laundry detergent in my bathtub?

Yes, you can use regular laundry detergent, although eco-friendly options are recommended.

How much water does bathtub laundry use compared to a washing machine?

The water usage can vary, but generally, bathtub laundry can use less water than a washing machine.

Can I wash all types of clothes in the bathtub?

Yes, you can, although delicate items often benefit the most from hand washing.

Is it okay to use hot water for bathtub laundry?

Yes, but it’s recommended to use warm water, as it is gentler on your clothes and hands.

Can I dry my clothes indoors after washing them in the bathtub?

Yes, you can hang your clothes to dry indoors, but ensure there’s good air circulation to prevent mold and mildew.

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