How Do You Wash Clothes With a Washboard?

When it comes to washing, more and more of us are searching for alternatives to our washing machines.

Whether it is idle curiosity, an attempt to cut our energy bills or you are looking to save time and handwash clothes; we bet you have stumbled across the humble washboard.

Now, you might have images in your mind of women beating clothes by the river with a washboard and a rock and wondering, how do you clean clothes like that?

Well, we are here to tell you how! Today we will answer all your washboard-related questions!

How do you wash clothes with a washboard?

Washing your clothes with a washboard is easy and can be done with your washboard, a basin of water, and some soap!

Simply add some warm water to a basin with some soap or hand wash-safe laundry detergent.

If you are dealing with some stained items that need extra attention, treat them with a stain remover first and allow them to soak for 20 minutes before reaching for your washboard.

The washboard here is your washing machine replacement and requires some elbow grease to clean your clothes.

Scrub your clothes against the board to push water through the clothes, taking the dirt with it for clean clothes.

Dip your clothes in the water frequently to rinse them and continue until your clothes seem clean. You can then rinse your clothes in another basin of clean water and hand them to dry.

Take care if using a washboard for delicate items as it can sometimes be too harsh for them. In these cases, you would be better suited to handwashing.

The same applies to larger items such as towels, often your washboard won’t be suited for these, and you are better off hand washing these in your bath.

How do you clean an old washboard?

To clean an old washboard, you first need to assess the materials it is made from to avoid further damage.

You can clean the wood with lemon or hemp oil to feed the wood and maintain the antique style.

You might need some rust or mildew treatments for the washing part of the washboard before cleaning the washboard.

Bleach solutions can be helpful, but be mindful that these don’t come into contact with the wood as it can be problematic.

From here, you will want to use safe products designed to clean the material on your washboard. Coconut oil is an excellent option, but be sure it is safe to use.

Once you have the material determined, finding cleaning products is a lot easier. Check the labels of any products before purchasing so you can return the old washboard to its former glory.

How do you make a homemade washboard?

To make a homemade washboard, you will need a 2-by-4 board, dowel, plywood, metal sheet screws; a drill-mounted hold saw, a screwdriver set, wood glue, and flax oil.

The assembly is in three parts, the board, the ladder, and the wash surface your clothes will be washed on.

To begin, prepare the sideboards. Draw a line down the center of each board from one end to the other.

Measure three ¾ inches from each end and draw a straight line from edge to edge. It should form a crosshair where the lines cross.

Used these lines to find the center of the crosshairs and measure 5 ½ inches further down the center line and draw another crosshair. Repeat this to end up with four crosshairs equally spaced between the two ends.

Repeat these steps on the second 2-by-4. Once done, use a hole saw to cut a hole at each crosshair. You want these holes to be slightly smaller than the outside diameter of the dowels you are using for your washboard. These dowels can always be sanded down to size if needed!

Now, we form the ladder. Start by sliding the ends of the dowels into each of the four holes on one of the 2-by-4 boards. You can sand down the last inch and half of the dowels to ensure they fit if needed.

The result will look like a small ladder with the dowels acting as the rungs of the ladder. These shouldn’t visibly protrude outside the sideboards. Repeat this on the second 2-by-4 board and the other end of the dowels.

Next, remove the dowel ends from the boards. Use wood glue to adhere the dowel ends into the holes and ensure the dowel ends are evenly flush with the outside of the sideboards. Leave the joints to cure for 24 hours.

About three hours into the curing, apply a few coats of flax oil to all the exposed areas of wood. Ideally, 3-4 coats will do to seal and waterproof the wood. The oil will dry as the glue cures over 24 hours.

Once cured, we can install the wash surface. Place plywood between the 2-by-4 sideboards and press down on the dowel rungs. You will want the ends of the plywood to hand slightly over the edges of the end dowels. Screw the side edges of the plywood onto each dowel, roughly ½ inch from the sideboards to wash.

Next, take the corrugated tin over the plywood, trimming the ends so that sharp edges lie flush against the wood, preventing any injuries when using it!

To finish, drive screws in between the ribs of the tin like you did with the plywood. Two screws every 4 inches should be sufficient. Be sure they are screwed in until they lie flush to avoid them snagging your clothes when you use the washboard.

Are old washboards valuable?

Old washboards can be valuable and worth some money, but it depends on the washboard itself.

Some antique washboards can fetch $20 at auction, while older and rarer washboards can be sold for much more money.

The amount of money your old washboard will be worth will depend on its age, condition, and material mainly.

Collectors are often also interested in any historical significance of the washboard; for example, if you know the washboard dates back to a famous figure, it could be worth even more.

Most antique shops can offer valuations for washboards, and generally speaking, the older the washboard is, the more money it will be worth. Who knows, your old 1950’s washboard might be worth a lot more one day.

As washboards were a household staple, it’s the rarer brands, models, or very old washboards that tend to have the most value to auction houses.

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How do you wash clothes with washboard

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