Five Gallon Bucket Washing Machine

Seth wrote in and said he couldn’t find the utterpower 5 gallon bucket washer, so I put it back on you tube. Here you go Seth…

I made this to wash shop rags, and I also found it handy up at off grid Easton when I was crawling around in the dirt getting really dirty building the pump house, you can see the finished project on YouTube as well.  I dropped a few items in the bucket while I was taking a shower.. Presto! they were at least man clean in no time:-)  I made this from a Honda wiper motor assembly as I found it incredibly easy to extract from junk autos VS other makes.

Sure beats washing rags by hand in your shop too, and you know your wife will want to kill you if you toss those rags in her washer and leave a grease ring in it, ask me how I know? It was 30 years ago, but I still remember it was kinda a one-sided conversation…

Cut one of the stock wiper arms rods to proper length, use a sleeve to join them. Build a turn table and spindle. The bell crank drives the table. Good idea is to size turn table so it just fits inside the lip of the bucket, that way it stays put.  The bell-crank drives a knuckle located on the underside of the turntable, knuckle borrowed from the wiper assembly.

This unit runs very well directly off a small solar panel.  On the smaller solar systems, something like this could be part of a ‘dump load’ in otherwords, schedule the work to be done when your batteries are in float, and the sun is doing the work directly.  If you are running a ‘make do’ system, covering the corner of a solar panel with a tee shirt can control the speed of the washer.

As with most anything you build, I have simplified and improved this washer about 5 times. It seems you must do it a number of time to study what can be improved, and made more simple, easier to build and less costly.

If you think this is worth more construction detail, consider leaving a comment.



George B.

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5 Responses to Five Gallon Bucket Washing Machine

  1. mobile_bob says:

    oh yes, the grease ring in the washer trick, that is usually good for a war with
    the other half of what “was” a loving relationship.

    passing along what i have learned,

    as a mechanic i get very greasy, and as a mobile service mechanic in the NW i wear
    carhart insulated coveralls, which get washed once a year. the reason that they get
    washed once a year is the area’s propensity for rainfall, if the coveralls are oily and greasy they shed water like a ducks back.

    as can be imagined they are about 5 lbs heavier with dirt, oil and ground in grease/grime by the time i can’t live with them anymore.

    putting them in the families washer is good for a severe beating, however i have found how to wash them without having the left over disaster to clean up,,
    the answer? more soap!

    lots more soap! you keep adding laundry detergent while the washer is agitating up until there is evidence of sudsing, and it can take a lot of soap.

    it is not unusual for me to have to use over 16 cups of Tide detergent to get the thing to start to suds up, however the result is coveralls that are as clean as possible and a washer interior that is spotless.

    the wash water leaves the washer looking like mud, and i usually do a double rinse to help clear the leftover soap from the coveralls.

    just wanted to pass this along fwiw to the DIY group, because i know a good DIY’er gets greasy and dirty.

    bob g

  2. Sandy says:

    George, you can come do laundry at my place in Hawaii anytime! This is cool and a definite man idea, verus washing them out by hand … I mean it gave you time to multi task and take a shower! LOL

  3. steve says:

    This is a great idea for those who want to do bio diesel.. put the lye in to get mixed.. and cover.. let it crank .. but use a plastic paddle rather than wood..

  4. George B. says:

    Ahhh, a biodiesel mixing tool! good idea 🙂 I’m still thinking about Bob, I wonder what it would cost him if I forwarded his solution to his wife?

    I was thinking, you know that stuff they use in parts cleaners? Maybe a pre wash in a five gallon bucket of that stuff first? Would used ATF work as a prewash? Just filter it after use, and pour it in your tractor for disposal..

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