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How to wash clothes easily in the bath (save money and lose weight at the same time)!

Updated on April 7, 2012

If you wash your clothes by hand, there is a much easier way to do it without breaking your back and exposing your hands to harsh chemicals. With the ‘holiday’ foot-washing technique, you can wash your laundry and even fit in a good work out whilst you do it… how is that for multitasking? So put on those tunes and let’s begin!

You will need:

  • A bathtub (or a large washtub)
  • A dose of Laundry Detergent (no need to use hand washing varieties)
  • Some clean wellington boots or rubber socks to protect your feet
  • Rubber gloves for your hands
  • Warm tap water
  • Laundry stain remover (Optional)
  • Fabric conditioner (Optional)
  • Spin dryer (Optional)

STEP 1: Stain removal (optional step)

If there are any stubborn stains on your clothes, you can apply some stain remover prior to washing. This will make life a little easier later, although not entirely necessary (especially if you have a good quality laundry detergent).

STEP 2: Make sure the bath is clean

Make sure the bath is clean before attempting to wash your laundry in it – rinse well to remove all residues from cleaning products.

STEP 3: Fill the bath with water

Fill the bath about a third full with warm water – don’t add too much or the detergent will be too diluted and won’t clean effectively.

The hotter the water, the better the cleaning action but make sure you:

a) Check the clothes labels for washing instructions – some delicate items don’t like the water too hot. White cotton towels on the other hand will love it.

b) Use common sense and don’t scald yourself!

Note: I normally use a liquid laundry detergent such as Ariel Actilift Excel gel. The beauty of this detergent is its ability to clean at really low temperatures; even as low as 15 degrees. This not only makes life easier, it helps save money on the electric bill too.

STEP 4: Add laundry detergent and dirty laundry

Add the laundry detergent and mix well until bubbly (use rubber gloves on your hands to prevent your skin coming into contact with harsh detergents).

When the water is nice and soapy, add your dry, dirty laundry to the water. Now grab those wellington boots and get ready to dance!!!

STEP 5: Agitate the water

Stomp around in the water – I usually like to jog up and down the bath tub for about 10 - 15 minutes whilst listening to some energetic music. The more you move about, the cleaner your clothes get; this is because the water needs agitating to get the fabric clean. You could even swirl the laundry about with your feet to imitate a washing machine if you want to!

If you insist on using hand-washing laundry liquid, you might need to spend a little longer in the tub, depending how dirty your laundry is. This is because hand-washing detergent is not as concentrated as standard laundry soap.

Hand-washing detergent is great on the other hand if children want to get involved – a great little project that will keep them busy for ages. They could be stomping about in the bath whilst you hang clothes up to dry!

STEP 6: Allow laundry to soak

Put the kettle on and put your feet up for another 15 minutes whilst your laundry soaks in the water. The detergent will carry on cleaning whilst you do other things.

STEP 7: Drain away the dirty water

Pull out the bath plug and get your wellington boots back on! Stomp about in the bath again to get rid of any excess soapy water absorbed in the fabric and allow it to drain away. This will speed up the rinsing process.

STEP 8: Rinse the clothes

Put the plug back in, add clean water and agitate the fabric for another few minutes. Drain and repeat until the water runs clear.

STEP 9: Add fabric softener (Optional but really nice)

Add some more water to the bath tub and add a dose of fabric softener – this will make your clothes smell divine when dry. Leave the laundry to soak in fabric softener for a few minutes then pull out the bath plug for the final time.

A fun way to wash clothes - kids love to help!
A fun way to wash clothes - kids love to help!

STEP 10: Removing excess water and hang up to dry

The final step is probably the most difficult without a washing machine – it’s time to remove as much water as possible from the laundry before hanging it up to dry.

Wear rubber gloves and squeeze out as much water as possible from the clothes– ringing your clothes may damage and distort them so do this with care.

If you have access to a spin dryer, this will save you a lot of time. If like me, you have access to a washing machine but don’t like to use it too often due to the high price of electric, you may decide to use it just for spinning clothes – still far cheaper than washing clothes on a whole wash cycle.


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    • Lisabean2202 profile image

      Lisa Bean 

      7 months ago from Nevada

      Interesting idea. Certainly a lot more physical work than using a washing machine.

    • geek_princess profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from West Sussex

      We often take luxuries like washing machines for granted. They can make our lives so much easier but you are right though, Marie. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Especially if the washing machine breaks suddenly. These things always seem to happen when you depend on them the most!

    • C_MarieWeber profile image


      4 years ago from Wichita

      I've washed my clothes in the tub. It wasn't that I wanted to, I just didn't have a choice. It worked okay, but it is definitely hard work.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      It doesn't make a difference where I live, but most cieits it does make a difference. We only use one shower as it is only my husband and myself, and we will use the second bathroom's shower/tub by hanging a rod for clothes to dry. It doesn't work for towels and jeans. Those go in the dryer.

    • geek_princess profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from West Sussex

      Mine is quite small too - you could try marching on the spot? At least the neighbours would be happier lol

      Agitating the water is the key. A plunger would probably work just as well...

    • Tyler Bracken profile image

      Tyler Bracken 

      7 years ago from Berlin, Germany

      I should try this but my bath is really small and on the flimsy side!


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