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Buying a Wringer Washing Machine for Home Use

I remembered my mother and grandmother using a wringer washer, so I decided to look into the prospects of using one in the modern age.

Wringer washers aren't just museum pieces!

Wringer washers aren't just museum pieces!

Washing Machine for the Homesteader

As I pursue my dream of homesteading and living the simple life, I come across many items and topics that I normally would not. A wringer washer, popular with homesteading families and those trying to live off the grid, is one of those items. I hadn’t thought about them in a long time. But when I saw the picture of the wringer washer, I immediately remembered my mother and grandmother using them. The picture transported me to times gone by when things were a whole lot simpler. But, then again, when you’re four years old, everything is simpler.

I didn’t even know that they made wringer washers anymore. Out of curiosity, I decided to do some research on them. In addition to the availability of new wringer washers, you can purchase older reconditioned ones. The Maytag wringer washer seems to be the most memorable and available of the reconditioned models.

Why Use a Wringer Washer?

Now you may be asking yourself, why would I be interested in using anything like that? There are several reasonable answers to that question depending on your approach.

  • Going green: The wringer washer provides a greener alternative.
  • Saves money: The wringer washer uses substantially less water, electricity (none if a hand crank model), and detergent, therefore saving money monthly.
  • Cheap repairs: Repairs on the wringer washer are less costly; many times you may be able to perform the repairs yourself.
  • Off-the-grid living: The wringer washer takes you one step closer to living off the grid if that is a goal for you.
  • Exercise: If you get a hand-cranked model, you have your exercise routine already built into your week.
  • Efficiency: The wringer washer is still the most efficient of all laundry methods.

Wringer washers have come in all shapes and sizes through the years. Look at how they were powered for instance. They could be run by electricity, gas, or by hand. They could have pumps that would be used to help expel the water or gravity could be utilized. Their tubs have been in various shapes, including square, round, wooden, aluminum, steel, porcelain, and copper. They could have a wringer attached to them, or not.

The one thing that they all had in common, however, was an agitator mounted on a simple gear moving back and forth, forcing water through the clothing to release dirt. A wringer washer is an efficient way to clean your clothes using a minimum amount of time, water and detergent.

Wringer Washers Save Money

One way that wringer washers are used to save money is by washing multiple loads of clothing in a single tub of water. You would typically wash the whites first, then the light colors, and the darks are last.

As mentioned earlier, you use less water and less detergent.

By using the same wash water over and over progressing from light clothes to dark, you save on water and detergent. You can reuse the rinse water the same way. A modern electric washer will use more water by refilling each time it needs water. Considering that an average washer holds 40 gallons, and you multiply that by how many loads you do—that’s a lot of water going down the drain. Because the wringer washer has such a large capacity, it can hold approximately the equivalent of three loads in a modern washer.

Where Can You Find a Wringer Washing Machine?

Unfortunately, Maytag doesn’t make them anymore—the last one rolled off the production line in 1983. But, since these things were built to last, you can still find old ones that work just fine. You can sometimes find them on Craigslist, or you can place an ad saying that you are interesting in purchasing one. You can also check estate sales, auctions, rummage sales, or eBay., who carries many products for the Amish community, is an excellent website for non-electrical appliances. They carry an exact remake of the well-known Speed Queen wringer washer. Its stainless steel tub will hold fourteen pounds of clothing! Lehman’s also sells a reconditioned Maytag square tub wringer washer that will run on gasoline or electricity.

Check also with your local appliance stores. They may be able to place a special order for you.

Oh yeah, one last thing that I learned when I was four: fingers are not meant to go through the wringer!

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Cindy Murdoch


Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

Bea, I would give Lehman's a call. They can probably point you in the right direction.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

No, Sherri. I don't own it. Good luck.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

Jacquie, laundry for 8 is a lot of work ... way to do!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

michael, I hope you found one!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

pablo, the prices varied.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

Kim, I hope you found your part. You might give Lehman's a call.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

mary, I hope you were able to find one that was within your budget.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

minnesota mama, thanks for stopping by.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

Thanks Patricia for stopping by and the Angels!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

They certainly can pinch fingers. Thanks for stopping by, mara.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 21, 2020:

Simpler machines last longer. Good for you, gpevas.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 06, 2019:

O my. How did I miss this. As I was growing up that is the washer we had. And next to it was a very large copper tub that was filled with rinse water. Mother would add bluing to the rinse water which made the clothes sparkling white.. Many fond memories come to mind reading this Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

Bea West on March 07, 2018:

I need a new agitator for my vintage speed queen wringer washer. Any place to purchase ?

Sherri Frye on August 25, 2017:

One of the pictures posted, is a copper wringer washer. Is this items yours? I have one pretty much identical and I'm trying to find out what it's worth. Any information you can help with would be greatly appreciated.

Judith Treanor on August 01, 2017:

I would like to buy a speed Queen wringer washer machine

Jacquie on June 30, 2017:

I have a wringer washer I use every laundry day. laundry for eight . No easy task but I do get nice Clean clothes and the sunshine to dry them.

Michael McCrae on May 26, 2017:

Interested in buying a wringer washing machine - New if possible, used if operable.

pablo on September 23, 2016:

how much did it cost back then,

mara on July 23, 2016:

my grandmom had an electric wringer washer, I tried to help her one day and got my fingers caught. afterwords I could watch her do the wash but hnot help with the machine. fun part was hanging the clothes on the line.

Anthony Lerma on April 22, 2016:

I have a 1950 Maytag washing machine in good shape great shape actually trying to sell it anybody want to buy itS the green colored oneone

Kim on August 27, 2015:

Hi there! I have a Beatty wringer washer that I need a part for, does anyone know of someone who refurbishes and may have wringer washer parts lying around?

mary on July 14, 2015:

That is all my mother ever used and still does to this day. I've been looking for one for a while but don't want to go to lehmans and spend a thousand dollars for one. Great article.

Fly girl on June 09, 2015:

I have a twin copper tub wringer washer with wood agitators. It says Dextor on wringer, Can anyone tell me anything about it. Thanks

gpevas on March 16, 2015:

I still us my grandmas Speed Queen wringer for all my wash except for towels. I have been doing so since I was 18 in 1981. There still made new in Saudia Aribia. Where water is scarce. After all the years I only bought new rollers once. I LOVE using it!!

minnesota mama on March 09, 2015:


If you use a gravity drain wringer there is nothing stopping you from setting up in the apt and drain into a bucket. The water can just be poured down the shower or toilet. You could even use the tub for a rinse tub if you have one. Most old wringers came with casters so you could roll it into a closet when not in use. There are plenty of indoor drying rack options out there.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 19, 2014:

Hope you can get to a place where you can get another ... if that is what you want. Good luck.

Patricia on July 10, 2014:

We used one in our farmhouse growing up and hung our clothes out on the line. We were able to do all our wash in one day. I wish I had one right now. We live in an apt and our stuck putting quarters in a machine here, or at the laundry mats and they charge extra for hot water too.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on May 09, 2014:

I hope you find it useful. It is more work on laundry day, but it provides a certain kind of satisfaction as well.

slocancity on April 25, 2014:

Hi Homesteadbound, I have been pondering the thoughts of buying a wringer washer with much anticipation about how much energy savings and less water used when doing laundry. The other day I did a search and came up with a wringer washer for sale very close to my neighbourhood so I am going ahead with the purchase and will try it out to see how well it does for me with my wash loads.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on April 24, 2014:

I am not sure, it would depend upon yours. But if it has been unused for sometime, I would think that oiling it would definitely help get it back into working order.

cjwhitt on April 07, 2014:

I recently bought a maytag wringer washer at a used furniture place. I remember my mother in law taking the wringer off and putting oil in it. My mother said she never oiled or greased hers. I was wanting to know if lubrication was required before I start using mine. Any advise?

Square Peg Guy on January 29, 2013:

Eight years ago I replaced a washing machine whose seals leaked. Now the transmission is shot on the replacement washer. Maybe the old-fashioned washer wasn't such as bad idea after all. I agree with those points you make as you explain "Why Would I...?"

Anyway, great article.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 13, 2012:

slocancity - I really don't know about that. That would be something that i would ask the manufacturer. They would be very thick and hold an extreme amount of water. But that would be my advice.

slocancity on July 13, 2012:

Most people say that you cannot put a hooked rug through the wringer to squeeze the water out properly. I have some hooked rugs that I wash periodically. If I did have a wringer washer to do clothes would that not be recommended for the rugs.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on July 12, 2012:

slocancity - I am glad that you found this to be useful. It does make sense to stick with the washing machine you have rather than buying something else. But in the future .... You can make the decision then.

slocancity on July 12, 2012:

Thank you homesteadbound for your comment. When I first started using my washing machine I was renting here at this location and happy to have an available machine to use along with a dryer. I did have a clothesline also but I have since taken it down and I am looking forward to maybe putting up another one that was supplied by my electricity provider this washing machine only runs for one half hour per load and then I use my dryer for an hour. A wringer washer might take less time so maybe I would save some time with my load of clothes not always being that dirty. But I do have my current machine working so I will keep using it for the present time.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on May 06, 2012:

Slocancity - a wringer washer will save money by using less water and less electricity, but if you wash few clothes, the savings would be related to the number of loads that you do. Also, if your current machine is working, you would have the additional cost of the wringer washer to replace an appliance that currently works. That would be something that you would have to weigh. The other option would be to continue to use what you have and replace it when it no longer works with a wringer washer. Hope this helps.

Slocancity on May 06, 2012:

I am thinking about purchasing a wringer washer for my home use. I am currently using a top loading Inglis washing machine that works good but I would like to know if a wringer washer would be more economical for me if I do not have that many clothes to wash and I am on a limited income. I would be happy to hear your reply.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on March 25, 2012:

louromano - you are so welcome. So happy that you enjoyed the hub!

louromano on March 25, 2012:

Thanks for sharing information. Nice hub.,

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on March 14, 2012:

Andy - How cool that you still use these Wringer Washers. As more of the population moves towards gridless, I believe more will begin using again.

Andy Jones on March 14, 2012:

All of these people with memories. I never got away from the wringer washer. I still use them today and I repair them myself. I have a Speed Queen, a Maytag, a Whirlpool, and "Double Tub" made by Dexter. They all work.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on February 19, 2012:

pstraubie48 - My most vivid memories of these machines are quite painful - smashed little fingers. So glad to pleasantly journey with you down memory lane.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 18, 2012:

O my....a wringer washer....We had several of those while I was a child. Some funny storeis came out of them....I remember more than once having to take off a shirt because it was headed through the wringer. And o how I loved how clean the clothes were....we added bluing to the rinse water...that was what did it in addition to the sun bleaching the sheets and whites so they shone. Thanks for this walk down memory lane.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 09, 2011:

LindaSmith1 - I can imagine that putting the wringer washer in reverse could cause a big tangled mess. Thanks for sharing, and for stopping by!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 08, 2011:

Barbara Kay - I would hate to have to have laundry be an all day chore like that - having to be hands on. It is much easier the way we are able to do it now. Thanks for commenting!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 08, 2011:

freecampingaussie - These wringer washers could be particularly hard on body parts. And the fabric just seemed to pull the fingers in. I can well imagine that you were very happy to more on to a more automated process!

Thanks for stopping by and for sharing!

LindaSmith1 from USA on December 08, 2011:

Yep, ours ran by electric, and tossing it in reverse just made it worse. I am sure the fingers were not happy with the rollers either. What can I say, teenagers aren't too bright, I Know I wasn't.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 08, 2011:

LindaSmith1 - I would say a definite OOOP's would be in order. They were fortunate that they were not hurt. As I remember, my fingers did not find those rollers to be very forgiving.

Thanks for stopping by!

Barbara Badder from USA on December 08, 2011:

I can remember using one of these when I first married, because someone gave me one and I couldn't afford a more modern machine. Doing the laundry was an all day chore.

Be happy Maytag doesn't make them anymore. They aren't the company they used to be.

freecampingaussie from Southern Spain on December 08, 2011:

I used to spend Saturday afternoon helping Mum with the washing spending what seemed like hours putting clothes thru the wringer . When my baby was born my wringer machine broke & I had to empty it by hand . When my ex husband was young his arm got caught .

I loved my fisher & pyklel Automatic when I finally got one !

LindaSmith1 from USA on December 08, 2011:

We had one, and somebody tried to straighten hair with the roller. OOOPs, wrong move, but no injury or new hairdo required.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 08, 2011:

mljdgulley354, it is so good to see you again. You are right - it is a lot of work. And it does conserve water. In addition it is a green alternative. Should we ever find ourselves in truly hard times, using a wringer washer could be the answer to prayers.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

mljdgulley354 on December 08, 2011:

Great hub homesteadbound. I used a wringer washer when my first two children were born. Lot of work but like you said conserved water.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on November 10, 2011:

inthenickoftime77 - I'm glad you enjoyed it. And if there is a next time, thinking outside the square would be the way to go for sure. Thanks for reading and commenting!

inthenickoftime77 from New Zealand, aka: Aotearoa, aka: The Land Of The Long White Cloud on November 10, 2011:

Great Hub. Brought back a lot of memories. One where my Grandmother got her arm caught in the wringer !! But also we lived on our section in a caravan for 16 months while our section was being cleared & our house was being built. The washing was the the pits !! Maybe if I had thought outside of the square at the time & got an old wringer, it would have been different. Next Time !!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on November 09, 2011:

vocalcoach - I remember getting my fingers pinched in those roller. I was very "vocal" at that point and time. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for stopping by!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 09, 2011:

I still remember my Mom using a ringer washer. She kept hers long after electric washers were introduced. I loved watching the "flat" clothes going through that wringer. We should all go back to the ringer washer. Great hub!


Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on August 13, 2011:

Anne B., thank you for your comment. Sounds like a mess. Those wringers seemed to cause havoc in more ways than just smashing fingers.

jodiejay71, I'm glad that it brought back good memories for you. It's always good to remember good times with those we love - to remember times that we were blessed.

jodiejay71 on August 13, 2011:

This brings back memories of when I was a young girl. Every Saturday the wringer washer was ready to go with my mother sorting the clothes for Saturday weather, cold or rainy we were on the back porch washing clothes. We would wash the sheets first and mom would add that 'bluing' liquid. Into the wash water, through the wringer, into the rinse, back through the wringer and on to the line for drying. Good memories..wonderful mom.

Anne B. on August 13, 2011:

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.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on August 12, 2011:

Deborah-Diane, I believe it. I was four in the early 60's and that's when I got my fingers pinched more than once. Thank you for commenting.

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on August 12, 2011:

Believe it or not, back in the 1950's my grandmother lived in an extremely rural part of Missouri, and she used a wringer washing machine. I can still remember watching her!

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