How to Use a Wringer Washer

by Pat Veretto

I've heard horror tales by women (and men) who hated using a wringer washer because of the "hard work." Most of the time the hardship was because of the method used. One woman did it this way: She filled the tub, put in the clothes, washed them and put them through the wringer into a basket. Then she emptied the tub, refilled it with clear water, put the clothes back in and ran the washer to rinse them. She then put them through the wringer and went through the whole process again, but this time with fabric softener in the water. Then she emptied the tub and started over with the next load. Whew! Never! It's easier to wash clothes by hand than to go through all that.

Here's how you set up and use a wringer washer. (By the way, Crosley, a subsidiary of Maytag, no longer makes wringer washers for sale in the USA. You can find Home Queen wringer washers at, or parts for old Maytag washers there.)

More on wringer washers

To be really efficient, you'll need two wash tubs. You can buy double tubs from Lehman's, or single tubs from most rural or countrified supply stores. If you're lucky, you'll know someone, an aunt or grandmother perhaps, who has one or two left over from the good old days. If you get single, plain tubs, you'll need stools or old chairs to set them on. Position your washer so you can swing the wringer all the way around without bumping anything and allow yourself enough room to move at least halfway around the washer. Put the tubs side by side against the washer, and swing the wringer so that it can be locked in near the edge of each tub, with the opposite side sticking out a little so the clothes won't fall back into the tub. Make the adjustments before putting in the water! Tubs filled with water are very difficult to move. Once everything is in place, fill the washer with water and detergent. Turn it on for a minute to dissolve the detergent, but be sure to put the lid on first. An empty tub will slosh water everywhere. While the machine is running, add your clothes a few at a time, allowing them to be dipped under by the dasher. This part is fun, actually.

When the tub is fairly full (don't overfill; allow the clothes room to swish), put the lid on and begin filling the rinse tubs about two thirds of the way full. Put fabric softener or vinegar in the last tub.

After ten to fifteen minutes, check the wash by either grabbing something that was grungy and seeing if it looks clean, or stopping the washer and checking. If clothes are clean, run them through the wringer into the first waiting tub. Fold clothing that has buttons with the buttons inside, and make sure zippers are zipped and snaps are snapped before putting them through the wringer. This part takes a little practice, but you'll soon get the hang of it.

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Put the next load of laundry in. Do whites first, then light colored, then dark colored, then jeans and coveralls, etc, and then rugs and rags.

While the second load is washing, swish the clothes in the first tub to get rid of detergent, and run them through the wringer. Do the same thing in the second tub, and run them through the wringer into a waiting basket, which can set on the floor or another stool. This whole thing should take about five minutes, then you can hang out the clothes or put them in the dryer. You'll have about five minutes before the next load is done, and you can do an entire week's wash in a short morning. Don't even think about laundry for a week.

Pat Veretto is a work at home grandmother who has homesteaded, homeschooled and happily lived frugally most of her life. She currently freelances.

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