Buying a Wringer Washing Machine for Home Use
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 Would I Use a Wringer Washer?
Now you may be asking yourself, why would I be interested in anything like that? There are several answers to that question depending on where you are coming from.
- The wringer washer provides a greener alternative.
- The wringer washer uses substantially less water, electricity (none if a hand crank model), and detergent, therefore saving money monthly.
- Repairs on the wringer washer are less costly; many times you may be able to perform the repairs yourself.
- The wringer washer takes you one step closer to living off the grid if that is a goal for you.
- If you get a hand cranked model, you have your exercise routine already built into your week.
- The wringer washer is still the most efficient of all laundry methods.
Through the years wringer washers have come in all shapes and sizes. Take how they were powered for instance. They could be powered 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: 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.
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.
Lehmans.com, 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!
Have you ever used a wringer washer?
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