How to Use a Wringer Washing Machine

My First Wringer Washer

This wringer washing machine has been going strong for well over 50 years of use.
This wringer washing machine has been going strong for well over 50 years of use.

Using a wringer washing machine is easy once you understand the functions of your machine, and what performance to expect.

I have used a wringer washer for almost two years now (Spring 2012), and can say I like it better in many ways than the automatic clothes washer I had before. It is energy- ,water- , and soap-efficient, takes little time to use, and takes tough loads easily. (My family goes through lots of heavily-soiled, outdoor-work clothes.)

There are several makes and models of wringer washing machines available (some are new), and while I have examined several, I have only owned two models. Both are Maytag. One (shown in the photos here) appears to be a 1940 model (or earlier), and was found in a shed on the farmstead my family acquired. The evidence left near it in the shed says it was originally gas powered, and has since been through at least two electric motors, with the third (still installed) being not far from needing to be rebuilt. So we concluded this machine probably was the one and only washer the previous resident ever owned. (We know, even at 90-something, that she never had an automatic washer.)

My second washer is a 1945 (?) model, and hasn't had nearly as many wash loads through it. It has some design differences, but performs similarly to the first. It is the same machine my grandmother and mother sometimes used, and now it is my turn.

I will share with you some of the knowledge and tricks I have learned (mostly the hard way) for using a wringer washing machine, after I moved into a thoroughly hands-on, rural lifestyle a year-and-a-half ago.

What to Expect

Using a wringer washer does require more commitment, physical strength, and time carved into blocks (rather than snatches) than an automatic washing machine. I prefer to commit a few hours once or twice a week to doing laundry, rather than trying to do the smaller loads many of us have become accustomed to. The Monday Wash Day Blues makes more sense to me now than it did as a child!

What you will need in order to get successfully through a wash day:

  • 14-20 gallons of clean water
  • 2-3 laundry baskets (one large, and two medium or small are ideal)
  • Soap or detergent of your choice (I like to add a small amount of borax with the detergent)
  • A place to dry your clothes. My family of four uses at least 60 feet of clothes line, on average.
  • Stamina, patience, and cheerfulness
  • An easy-to-fix lunch

I have to haul water in buckets to my washer (which has since these photos were taken been placed indoors), so don't like to use more than I have to. The trick to using only a small amount of water is to know in what order to wash your clothes. This may sound simple, but really, you have to pay attention.

Like this:

  • Whites and the cleanest things go in first
  • Light colors and the medium-dirty items go in next
  • Darkly colored clothes, things with dyes that bleed, and the dirtiest items go in last

Washing laundry in this order means you can do a whole weeks' worth of laundry in one batch of wash water, and one batch of rinse water, should you choose.

Water Temperatures and Wash Times

Should you have the luxury of using hot or warm water (I normally don't), starting with the white items is important. That way, by the time you get to the darker colored clothes, your wash water will have cooled enough not to harm them. (Should you be forced to wash in cool winter temperatures, be sure to have ready a place to warm your hands between loads.)

You determine wash times. You can let each load go as long or as short a time as you wish. Experience will tell you how long to let your dirtiest loads wash. While you are rinsing, it is usually not necessary to allow each load to agitate more than a minute or two. Sometimes I don't bother to turn off the wringer at all, but simply grab out items from the still-agitating washer, running them through as fast as the machine will operate. (However, some models don't have enough power to run both the wringer and agitator simultaneously, particularly with heavy loads.)

Wringer Features

There are several things you should know about your wringer. Of course, the first of these is, "Don't insert fingers into wringer!" Some terrible, gross things have happened to people who tried this. (Fancy having the skin peeled back off your whole arm? I don't either.) You should, of course, keep small children away from the washer while it is in motion.

To prevent injuries, and also to release stuck blue-jeans and such, you should know how to quickly release (loosen) your wringer. Many models of wringer washing machines have a catch-release of some kind, which will allow you to instantly stop and separate your wringer rollers, to release anything which is stuck. Some have a pop-up bar across the wringer frame, which, when hit, will cause the rollers to pop apart. Other models have a little bar on a pivot which, when twisted one way, will allow the rollers to separate, and when twisted the other, will cause them to stay tightly together.

How to re-set your wringer for wringing action is another thing you should know before filling your washer for the first time. Some models have to be re-set by flipping the top-half of the wringer frame all the way back, then forward again until it catches and the rollers come together. Others will not re-engage until the pivot-bar is twisted the correct direction. Look your model over until you see exactly what to do - don't wait until you have a disaster on your hands to try to learn.

To start the wringer action, there is typically a lever at one end of the frame which will start and stop the rolling, and, when placed in "neutral" (straight up and down), will allow you to re-position your wringer where it will be most convenient. Some washer models allow only three different position settings, others allow you to put the wringer anywhere within a 360* radius.

The entire wringer can be lifted out of its place on the washer for repairs and adjustments. It is heavy!

Your wringer rollers can be adjusted to compress the clothes either more loosely or tightly. You will find the adjustment screws on the underside, and you will probably have to take the wringer off the machine in order to make adjustments. If you get it too tight, you will have trouble with jeans and heavy items; too loose, and smaller items will remain too damp.

Finally, your wringer will need to be oiled from time to time. Beware of drips shortly after having oiled it, and don't let clothes you especially care about touch the ends of the rollers for a while. (Beware of this anyway, as it invites snags.)

Drain Problems and Trouble-Shooting Tips

Most wringer washer drains are designed to both drain into buckets, or be attached to a garden hose - whichever is more convenient in your setting. I find buckets to be the more convenient choice most of the time, but if you have a bad back, and you can drain the water far enough away from your house not to create problems, the hose may be your better choice.

Many older wringer washers have hoses which have deteriorated some, and/or kinked where they attach to the washer underneath. (Appropriate replacement hoses are not always easy to find.) You may have to pinch the kink back into shape at the start of each draining period, to get maximum flow.

Also, your hose may sometimes get clogged with fuzz and gunk. (Many wringer washers are very efficient at not letting excess fuzz and "big chunks" down into the hose, but over time, build-up happens.) This is easily solved by cupping your hand around the end of the hose to create a clean seal, and blowing hard until you release the clog. (If you don't have enough wind, use an air compressor.)

Finally, the agitator sometimes "pops" loose. In order to fix this, you may have to drain your wash load, and then fit the agitator back into place. It may go in somewhat hard, but will fit down tightly once you have it positioned correctly.

Just remember, whenever something goes wrong, there probably is a simple solution, which doesn't require a great deal of muscle. Afterall, while many wringer washing machines were designed by men, they were intended to be used by women, and therefore don't require a grizzly bear and a gorrilla to fix.

Tips on Wringer Use

Finally, before showing you a typical wash day from early spring/late winter 2010, I will explain a bit about how to insert clothes into your wringer. As mentioned, be careful when wringing out clothes, and keep fingers, hair, and loose clothing clear of the rollers. Watch carefully as each item comes out the other side, to ensure it doesn't get angled down underneath the rollers, and wrapped up around them. (If this happens, stop and release the rollers, pull the item out, and start again. Reverse sometimes works, but only if you catch the mistake right away.) Run heavy items through twice when rinsing, for faster drying.

  • Button-down shirts - Begin by inserting flattened collar, allowing shirt to then follow naturally through toward the tail. This will take less time than inserting it sideways or sleeve-first, and will also prevent button damage and excessive wrinkling. For buttons -not snaps - be especially careful to overlap the non-button side of the shirt over the buttons, to protect them.
  • T-shirts - Insert collar-first.
  • Blue jeans - Align waist-band (no bunching), and start at a slight angle. This will allow the jeans to go through (hopefully) without snagging, bunching, or making you cuss. Larger jeans will naturally require more care than smaller pairs, and you will soon learn exactly how to handle each pair. Some zippers do best laid flat and aligned, others prefer to spread or fold down some. Consider solving the whole problem of crushing or ripping apart zippers by zipping and fastening each pair of jeans before it goes through the wringer.
  • Sheets, blankets, rugs, etc. - For sheets, begin with one corner, and untwist out of the washtub as you go. Run through twice, shaking the sheet out the second time to get any bunching or twists free. Rugs and very heavy items should typically be folded lenghwise, if possible. If you find that you can't get something through the wringer, just haul it out in a basket or bucket, and pour or squirt fresh water over it as it hangs on the line, to rinse it.
  • Delicates, lingerie, very light items - Run through in bunches, with items of similar weight, so that they get wrung out well. (Blue jeans and underwear aren't compatible!)

Wash Day Demonstration

Fill your washer with 7-10 gallons of water. Position  for easy access to water, if possible. Wringer washers tend to splash, so fill no more than half full. (The knob on the front of the tub starts the agitator.)
Fill your washer with 7-10 gallons of water. Position for easy access to water, if possible. Wringer washers tend to splash, so fill no more than half full. (The knob on the front of the tub starts the agitator.)
Position baskets however it is most convenient to both fill the machine with new loads, and catch finished ones, once they've been wrung. Don't overfill baskets, unless you are a weight-lifting champion.
Position baskets however it is most convenient to both fill the machine with new loads, and catch finished ones, once they've been wrung. Don't overfill baskets, unless you are a weight-lifting champion.
Experience will teach you exactly how each of your items ought to go through the wringer, and how many items you can do at a time. Be sure your wringer is adjusted for maximum wringing power per the weight and style of your clothes.
Experience will teach you exactly how each of your items ought to go through the wringer, and how many items you can do at a time. Be sure your wringer is adjusted for maximum wringing power per the weight and style of your clothes.
Hang finished wash loads to dry in the sun, or any convenient place. (Automatic clothes dryers don't work well for clothes washed in this manner. They remain too damp.)
Hang finished wash loads to dry in the sun, or any convenient place. (Automatic clothes dryers don't work well for clothes washed in this manner. They remain too damp.)

Using One vs. Two Wringer Washers at a Time

I have always gotten by with just one wringer washing machine at a time. However, many people prefer to use two - one to wash, and one to rinse, as this speeds the process greatly.

If you only have one washing machine, option #1 is this:

First wash a good, big batch of clothes, and let them all sit in a basket after having gone through the wringer once. Next, empty the wash water, and fill the machine with clear rinse water. Begin as at the first, rinsing and wringing your white/cleaner items, and working your way down to the darker, heavier things. Wring heavy items twice. As each rinse load agitates, you can hang out the previous load, keeping going a continuous cycle of rinsing-and-hanging until you are finished.

Wash day typically involves for me two to three hours of steady work, using no more than one batch of water.

Option #2 is this:

Get a five-gallon bucket 2/3 full of water, and dunk-rinse your clothes, wringing or squeezing them lightly by hand before sending them through the wringer on the machine, and into your basket of clothes ready to hang. Once you get your rhythm down, it is possible to get a week's worth of laundry for four people finished in about an hour. This method is very labor-intensive, but since I am not a fan of housework, this is my preferred method.

You'll want to put a T-shirt or rag under your bucket to keep from dripping on your floor (supposing your washer is indoors). Just wash and rinse the rag last of all your clothes.

Things Not to Try to Wash in a Wringer Washer

  • Extreme delicates and some silks - the agitation motion is frequently too harsh, and may stretch or tear the fabric.
  • Wool or denim quilts - usually too heavy, and nearly too bulky. These are better washed outdoors in a washtub, or in the bathtub.
  • Things with large buttons or other bulky decorations - they may not survive the wringer, and even if you don't mind mending buttons and such, you may never find them again once the wringer has either eaten or tossed them.

Do You Own or Have a Wringer Washer Already?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not yet, but I am planning on getting one
  • I'm interested because I remember relatives using one
See results without voting

A Clean, In-Home Demonstration of a Wringer Washing Machine

A Thor Washer Washing Clothes

The Same Machine for Washing Dishes :-)

© 2011 Joy At Home

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Comments 41 comments

gredmondson 5 years ago

How interesting that was! There is a rhythm to using a wringer. Wash a batch, run through the wringer to the first rinse. Put in second batch into washer, run clothes in first rinse into the second rinse. Run clothes from second rinse into basket, hang them on the line. When you are back, it is time to run the second batch in the wash water . . . and you just keep going. It is work, but it is fast. And, it is fun if you have the laundry gene.

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 5 years ago from United States Author


Quite agreed! It can be fun. Especially when it is a nice, sunny day outdoors, and everything is fresh and in bloom.

Anne B. 5 years ago

I do remember how wringer washer and put rubber diapers through that wringer diapers and explodes and I ruined a couple of shirts

Did you ever get anything caught in a wringer?or ruined a couple of shirts?

an article of the wash may

wrap several times around a roller before it is noticed; unwinding such a

piece is often difficult, sometimes impossible without removing a roller.

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 5 years ago from United States Author


I have never ruined an article of clothing, but I have had some mending to do, from slight snags (resulting in tears), popped buttons or trim, and the like. And yes, I have had the experience of trying to extract a tightly-wound item from the rollers. :-D I have also had tea towels, apron strings, and such wind tightly around other items, either during agitation or during wringing, and this can be fun, too.

Thankfully, though I did use cloth diapers for my children, my diaper days were over by the time I began using a wringer washer exclusively.

LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 5 years ago from Plains of Colorado

I loved the day in early summer when Mom decided it was time to wash all the rags we had used in the last months, and some of Dad's overalls too. Together my parents hauled the wringer washer out of the wash house and onto the sidewalk so the water could be drained into the nearby flowerbed. Then Mom gave us children the instructions and warnings about the use of the wringer, and the fun began. We loved seeing how flat each item was as it came through the wringer, and didn't even mind all the carrying and hanging involved in getting this once-a-year project done. Thanks for the fun walk down memory lane!

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 5 years ago from United States Author


You are welcome for the walk! I can picture Grandma with you out there performing this chore. Did she have the daylilly flower bed then? That's the one into which I picture you draining the wash water.

LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 5 years ago from Plains of Colorado

No, the daylily bed was not yet in existence in those days. Rather, we drained the water into the bed with the spirea bushes and the poppies. There used to be a child-height clothesline near the bushes too, on which we hung some of the rags, and sometimes the diapers on a regular wash day.

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 5 years ago from United States Author

I loved the spirea bushes. I can see the wash hanging there. Classic.

peter cowper 4 years ago

I'm 70, most of what you have described herein I experienced in Montreal from 1944 to 1958, love what you have done here, brings it all back to the reality of why, until 10 minutes ago, I would get a wringer washer.

Thanks for the refresher! Rub a Dub Scrub, bless my Kenmore warning buzzer! Peter

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 4 years ago from United States Author


I'd bless your Kenmore warning buzzer right now, too! ;-)

Sphinxs Sanctum profile image

Sphinxs Sanctum 4 years ago from Southern United States

Joy at Home - How Cool are you for writing about a Wringer Washing Machine?! This hub took me back to my childhood. My Great-Granny used a Wringer Washer her entire life. She lived atop a hill on farmland in the mountains of West Virginia. She was one of 12 children and her mother, my Great-Great-Granny used a wringer washer for all of her huge family, so my Granny grew up with the wringer washer. I remember how well it got the red-clay mud out of my clothes & how wonderful my clothes smelled after being washed by the wringer and then hung-out to dry in the sunshine. The only things I didn't like was how long it took to do the laundry and how stiff my jeans were. But clean, clean, they were! I was helping Granny do the laundry one day & somehow, as I was feeding the material thru the wringer, my hand became stuck & then my arm. It didn't feel to good & my arm was bruised all the way up to the pit for a week. I didn't help with the laundry for a while after that, except to hang them on the line. I miss the simple way of living that Granny followed. She was one hell of a strong woman who raised her own vegetables, fruit & meat. She canned all thru the summer to get her thru the winter & no matter how hard that darn red-clay mud was, she'd hoe thru it to build her magnificent gardens each year. But then that wonderful, wringer washer went to work at the end of every week and she spent at least half a day on laundry. While I miss the simple life, I must admit that I'm really happy to have my modern washer & dryer. :)

Thank-you for this trip down memory lane.

Sphinx's Sanctum

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 4 years ago from United States Author

Sphinx's Sanctum,

I'm happy to share the trip with you!

Jason 3 years ago

I am searching for a wringer washer right now. I am sick of how bad modern things that are meant for everyday life are built of poor quality. I love how these machines are still being used after all these years.

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 3 years ago from United States Author


I certainly hope you find what you are after, and that you remain pleased with the concept.

broadcaster25 3 years ago

I'm trying to repair a wringer, but when items are run through, the top portion of the wringer pushes up, not allowing the rollers to remain tight, any suggestions as to what's wrong?

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 3 years ago from United States Author


Without seeing your wringer, it is difficult to say exactly what you should be looking for, but wringer's are typically able to be adjusted for tightness. You might have to take it partially apart, and adjust screws or similar - at the end(s). Also, there is usually an "emergency button" - either on top of the wringer frame or just to the front and back of the wringer - which can sometimes get out of whack, and may need to be re-set or adjusted. Of course, if all is well with your washer, this button should only be used if, say, you insert fingers into the wringer. [Ugh!]

DoubleDexter 3 years ago

I just purchased a double dexter wringer washer. while transporting it home oil leaked out of the wringer, does anyone know what type and how much oil I should put in?

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 3 years ago from United States Author


Here is a discussion that covers that question and more:

We've been using S.A.E. 30 in the gearbox, as the washer is in an unheated enclosed porch, and experiences extremely variable temperatures.

On the wringer connections themselves, we've been using white lithium grease.

A professional would no doubt tell you differently.

sallybea profile image

sallybea 3 years ago from Norfolk

This Hub is a real gem. I had not even realized that these things even existed anymore, never mind that people still want to use these wringer washing machines anymore. I recall my own mother using one and getting her arm caught right up into one when I was very young. Thank you for taking me back into time and for reminding me of my very rural life when I was a young girl.

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 3 years ago from United States Author


I am excited to look over your articles, as I see interesting topics that are unusual, and something I may want to learn. (I have a very busy brain.) In the meanwhile, thanks for your lovely visit here. I'm glad we have a rural childhood in common.

I don't have any option but to use a wringer washer now, as my low-water and limited-plumbing situation demands it, but I usually don't mind. Both kids help with wash day, and we get along well. No one has ever been hurt in the wringer. :)

devin 3 years ago

the maytag engine that was on it would be easy to replace they are avalable on ebay as restored engines most of the time. no electricity required

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 3 years ago from United States Author


Quite true, sir. :-) Thanks for the tip.

Ayodeleukawsaw 2 years ago

I am presently writing my autobio and had completely forgot the chapter on the wringer washing machine. It sure was great reading about them. Makes me want to have one ...NOW. thanks.

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 2 years ago from United States Author


You must have neat memories! Keep writing! :-)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hello Joy at Home,

This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be honest.

I loved every word. Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

Oh, at the warm memories this brings back. My mom, before she went to work for the public in the textile industry, she washed every Monday and had a wringer machine like this, but hers was pink.

I loved the machine and pretended it was my "scientific" project that had a mind of its own. I can still hear the machine rocking back and forth on our front porch. Thank you for allowing me to relive a priceless few moments in my young life.

You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.

I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.

That would make my day.

I am so honored to meet you.


Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 2 years ago from United States Author


I am so happy this article brightened your day. When I wrote it, I considered it strictly utilitarian...but I a have since learned many people do not view it this way.

This was one of the warmest comments I have ever received, and I am very pleased to meet you.

Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

Hi, Joy At Home,

I meant every word of what I told you. This hub DID brighten my day. My daughter, 38, married with three fantastic kids, my grandkids, is in UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, been there one week this coming Sunday with breathing problems, but with the Grace of God, she will be fine.

I do not drive. I cannot drive with this Fibromyalgia and my nerves so bad that I dare not get on the road with an automobile, but I am at home 2 hours away; my wife, my daughter's husband and oldest daughter are there with her and keeping me informed.

I was blessed with a ride up to see her today by my pastor's wife who was good enough to ask if I needed to ride to the hospital.

I am not asking for any pity for myself, but may I ask you to pray for my daughter, wife, husband, grandkids, pastor and his wife and everyone who has prayed for her?

I do not mean to be so forward, just glad to make your acquaintance as well.

Back to your hub. I saw my mother standing with her pink wringer washer and humming "Amazing Grace," true story, she never suspected that I was listening as I played on the porch with her washing.

I just cannot express how much I appreciate your writing talent.

It is truly a God-send, you and your talent and story.

And thank you for the following too. I cherish all of my followers.

I will send you a Personalized Thank You email in the days ahead to show you how much I appreciate YOU.

Thanks for the story, your friendship and follow, and prayers.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 2 years ago from United States Author


I was uplifted by this peek into your life, and am glad to be able to pray for the folks you mentioned. I have done so, and will again, whenever I think of it.

Your mother must have been an amazing lady, who clearly raised an amazing family. :)

Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

Joy at Home,

You are more than welcome. I am glad that I was blessed with someone to share this part of my life with. Believe me there are so many episodes like this, it would make a good "Chicken Soup Stories about Mama's," but I do not know how to format or even get it started.

Anyway. Thank YOU dear friend for being My Dear Friend and Follower.

I will send you a Thank You note for following when my daughter gets out of the hospital. She needs your prayers. Okay?

God bless you.


Alicia Bailey 2 years ago

I'm 33, and live in rural Ohio. My mom had wringer washers for nearly my whole childhood. I still remember being in the basement with my mom when i was small, probably 4 or 5 years old, while she washed clothes. Now I'm a mother myself.

I bought a brand new high efficiency washer, and matching dryer. They are OK. Uses very little water. But takes FOREVER to wash, and forever to dry. Over an hour each. I still haul sheets, blankets, towels, and filthy work clothes up to my mothers house on nice days to wash everything in about an hour.

I always hated crunchy towels when i was little, but now that's the best part. They are much "thirstier" than a traditionally washed and dried towel. I am currently searching for a washer with two tubs.

It is hard work, but it's FUN to wash your clothing this way. It makes me feel appreciative that I can choose to live, and do things the way I want. Not necessarily off the grid, vegan, or organic, but it's about consuming less, being kinder to the world, and doing things that I enjoy.

Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate, so I have to use my modern equipment, but it's a chore, not something I enjoy.

I live very close to Lehmans that you speak of, but to me the ones they sell are too expensive at $1,000. I know they are with the money, and would outlive me, but just can't do it.

I'm searching for a Dexter quick twin machine, and one day soon, I will own one. My 5 year old likes when we use Grandma's (dexter quick twin) wringer washer, it's her job to put things through the wringer, she is very careful, and asks if we can do laundry!

We fold jeans in half. Zipper on the inside, and make sure the zipper and button are laying flat. Never break anything that way, and they stay away from the edges of the rollers. I may try to do a video in the spring to show how we do it.

I have recently started canning food to preserve it. Some of it I buy in stores, some of it comes from my garden, or my mom's garden. We have spring water, so if we have electricity we are fine!

Homemade detergent works extremely well in a wringer washer, it doesn't bubble as much, and is easier to rinse. I make liquid and powder, but the powder is easier to make, use, and store. Much better for a beginner. One cup borax, one cup super washing soda, and a bar of grated soap. My favorite soap is Fels Naptha, second favorite is white Zote, third favorite is pink Zote, and 4th favorite is Vela, a pinkish purple color.

I can go to walmart 5 miles away, and get pink Zote, Fels Naptha, Borax, and washing soda. It's not so easy for everyone. The bars of laundry soap are used in Mexico, so if you have a Latin market nearby is a great place to get those.

Thanks for this post, it was a joy to read!

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 24 months ago from United States Author


Thanks for the story and the neat tips! You should do a review here on HP on your favorite wringer washer. That would be appreciated, by a dedicated few of us, anyway.

If I set my wringer so I can also do thinner, fine things, the jeans don't go through well, so instead of folding them in half (to protect the buttons and/or zipper), we've gone to fastening them before putting them through the wringer. No problems now.

I live 30 miles from Anywhere, and an hour from Somewhere, so it is not so easy for me to get supplies. I have been interested in making my own soaps, laundry and otherwise, but have not taken the time to do so yet. Friends have asked me to make goat milk soaps, as I have raw goats' milk available.

You are right that Lehman's products tend to be expensive. I was merely trying to point people to a consistent source for off-grid type products, including washers. If you happen to know of a better or more economical source, by all means, share it!

I inherited both washers I have used over the last several years. One was in a shed on the farmstead we moved onto over four years ago. It was worn out in every respect when we found it, had been through at least three motors, and when too many parts began to give us problems and finally quit altogether, I replaced it with a washer which had belonged to my grandma.

I apologize for taking so long to respond to your comment. I was experiencing serious computer problems for a few weeks.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 23 months ago from The Beautiful South

I have used a wringer but so many years ago I know I would fear one today! lol

Mom was always telling me tales about how someone lost an arm; etc etc; lol and to this day I don't know if they were true or just scary warnings!

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 21 months ago from United States Author


It is true that the wringer can do horrible damage if one should insert fingers instead of clothing. :-) But if used carefully, there should be no serious danger.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 21 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Jan. 23, 8:15 p.m., cst

Hi, Joy At Home,

Way to go on this hub. Brought back so many memories of me sitting or running around on our porch when my mom would fire-up her wringer washer that fascinated me to almost acting upon my imagination to act like Superman and stop the wringers with my hands of steel.

But my dear mom, rest her soul, had a keen eye for my mischief, so she would head-off every attempt I made to be a real hero.

Love how you wrote this. Keep it up.

Your Friend for Life,

Kenneth aka/Clark Kent

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 21 months ago from United States Author


You've made my day quite a bit better with your kind comment! (And it was a good day to start with.)

billzana 14 months ago

I have a matag wringer machine the wringer does not move when turned on? What could be wrong

Sharon William 13 months ago

I have an old wringer thats been stored for a few years and now I can't get the black agitator out so I can clean under it, any ideas please

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Joy At Home 13 months ago from United States Author


I can think of two possible causes for your wringer not functioning. These may not be the only two, however. The most likely cause is the padding material on the rollers may have turned gummy, and sort of glued the two rollers together. You may be able to pry it apart, gently, though this may mar it. If this doesn't work, consider replacing your rollers. Also, check the ends (take the mechanism and frame apart), and make sure it's not full of dirt or mouse nests or other things that may be binding and screwing up moving parts. The ends of the rollers may need oiled (be careful not to let the clothes touch the ends of the rollers for a few loads after this). To take the wringer apart, you're going to want to lift the whole assembly off the top of the tub, so you can work on it easily on a floor or work bench. Be careful, it's probably heavier than you think. Finally, I suppose it's possible that the lever to turn the wringers on and off may not be functioning correctly. It's been a while since I had mine apart, so can't vouch for what you'll find, but it's possible I think that parts may have come disengaged, and your wringer cannot mechanically function until this is fixed. However, I can't think how or why this may have happened, so consider it a remote possibility.

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 13 months ago from United States Author

Sharon William,

I'm assuming it's just dirt or possibly rust that is the problem. Can you turn the agitator at all by hand, even just a jiggle? If you can, there's probably not much wrong. You might try taking a rubber mallet and tap around the agitator post to loosen any rust and dirt build-up. I should think you should be able to jiggle it loose this way. If this doesn't work, I'm not sure what to suggest, as there usually is no good way to get at the post underneath without having the agitator out. It would be a gamble to try this, but do you know whether your washer drains properly? Is the drain hole and hose clear? It would be possible for mice and such to build nests under the agitator. It would be a mess having a washer with standing water in it, unable to drain and not able to get the agitator out, so you might try blowing backwards through the drain hose to make sure - with your lungs if they're good enough, with an air compressor if they're not. Then, if tapping on the agitator with a rubber mallet doesn't work, you might try loosening it with some water with CLR or something added. Good luck! Please let me know how this goes.

SinDelle profile image

SinDelle 12 months ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Thank you so much for this article! You helped me to decide to purchase a wringer washer and now I am so glad I did. :)

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Joy At Home 12 months ago from United States Author

SinDelle, you've brightened my day! There is nothing that pleases me more than to know that my experiences have helped someone, or saved them trouble.

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