Have you ever thought about what you would do to get your clothes dry in case of finding yourself off-grid for any length of time?
Whether you are out and about backpacking through some necks of the wood, actively choose to live off-grid, or find yourself caught up in some post-apocalyptic survival scenario, one of the less thought-about challenges is simply getting your washing dry.
Depending on your circumstances, the resources you have at hand, and therefore the solutions will vary, but rest assured, there are some really easy ways of drying clothes without electricity.
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This is the single most obvious alternative. If you have a working pair of hands, you can simply wring wet clothes out, right?
Well. Yes. And no.
Hand wringing definitely helps to get excess water out of your garments, but it doesn’t actually dry them. As in: when you’re done they’re dry. That won’t be happening. But wringing wet clothes is a superb way of cutting down drying time by quite a lot. And sometimes that’s all that’s needed.
(Also: once you’re dealing with thick and/or really sodden material you will want to have a second person at hand. Wringing out carpets or even just jeans is practically impossible on your own.)
Clothesline or Rack
Many of us have grown up with some sort of clothesline set up in the garden or a drying rack taking up most of the available space in a room during the winter months.
Both line and rack are great ways of hanging washed laundry up to dry. If you’re lucky and have a warm, sunny and maybe even windy day, you’ll find that your clothes will be ready to wear again in no time at all. But air drying doesn’t only work in the warmer months! It may come as a surprise for many, but you can hang up your wet washing to dry outside even in freezing weather. Trust us, it really works!
And if you’re worried about having no access to a fancy clothesline or rack in whatever situation you will find yourself in? All you need is a piece of sturdy rope to span between two trees to fashion a clothesline, and branches of a tree easily double as a drying rack.
Pro tip: If you twist the rope around itself, you can hang up your clothes without the use of pins by pushing the corners through the twisted loops!
Now that’s a surprising one, isn’t it? But yes, rolling pins can be used for much more than just baking.
Simply put, the rolling pin is the easiest and most basic version of a wringer.
Just put your wet fabric on an even surface (bonus points if it’s a porous one or even a grid so that water can be funnelled off easily) and roll it out, just as you would with a piece of dough.
Another kitchen-inspired way of getting your clothes dry is by making use of basic physics.
As we all know, centrifugal force is a powerful force indeed. And the more velocity an object has in a curve or circle, the higher the forces straining out.
If that’s confusing (and yeah, it is) think of a salad spinner. There, you basically dry your salad off by letting it go round and round in a bowl with holes in it and the faster it spins, the more water will “fly out”.
Now, imagine that self same idea on a slightly larger scale, and that’s your drying method. Use any object with holes in it that can safely hold your clothes (usually, one or two items work best), affix it to a string or rope, lasso the whole construction around yourself and watch the drops fly!
Or, if it’s just one piece of fabric and you can make it fit in there, the salad spinner is obviously a good bet as well.
Making use of heat to dry stuff out is the most obvious solution on this list, we think. Whether it’s a campfire, an actual fireplace or some other means of heating, just hang your dry fabrics near or over it, and they’ll be ready to wear in no time at all.
Now, if you are at home (or in a home-like place like a caravan) while you’re being off-grid, you might have one of those mop buckets with an inbuilt wringer at hand. Unsurprisingly, the wringer works its magic on dry fabrics just as well as it does on your sopping wet mop. Just put them in there, maybe use the mop to push down on them (depending on the type of bucked this might be required to make the wringer work), and marvel at the amount of excess water that’s being squeezed out.
And finally, the manual crank. This good old tool is just as useful today as it has been when everybody and their neighbour was using it. And while it might surprise you, hand cranks are still being sold on many an online platform – both new and used.
This alternative to a clothes wringer, however, obviously only applies when you’re state of being off-grid is pre-planned and/or you’ve had the wherewithal to make arrangements for it beforehand. But if you love to go camping, live in a place where electricity outages are the norm rather than the exception, or just want to prepared in case something happens, investing in a manual crank might just be a good idea to save time and (muscle) power.
Have you been off-grid and faced with the task of drying clothes lately? What have you done? And would you recommend one of our solutions above all others? Or have you employed something else entirely? Tell us about it below!