Mixed laundry clothes.

How to wash clothes without a washer

Life can be unpredictable. If your washing machine needs repair or you’re waiting for your new model to be installed, it's important to know that there are still ways to wash clothes without a washer and keep them fresh and clean. Use this article to explore some tips and tricks for washing clothes without a washer, so you’re prepared to take on laundry day.

Can you wash clothes without a washing machine?

Yes, it is possible to wash clothes without a washing machine. While washing machines are convenient, there may be situations where they are not accessible, such as when traveling or staying in a location without laundry facilities. If your washing machine needs repair or you’re waiting for a replacement, hand-washing can be a practical solution.

While it may require a bit more time and effort, hand-washing can be a helpful way to clean clothes and maintain their shape, especially for delicate clothing. Note that hand washing may be required depending on the care label instructions.

Shop Whirlpool® washer and dryer sets

If it’s time to upgrade your laundry routine, let Whirlpool brand help you find a washer and dryer set designed to work together for you. Matching washer and dryer sets help you manage laundry thanks to shared cycles and other convenient features that keep your day moving. Fit large washer loads in dryers with complementary capacities, and match up color options for a seamless look.

How to do laundry without a washing machine

Washing clothes without a machine can be done with just a few supplies and tools. The process involves separating clothes, treating stains, adding laundry detergent and agitating the clothes by hand. Finally, you’ll rinse the clothes and hang them to dry. Read on to learn the step-by-step instructions on how to wash clothes without a washing machine.

  • Laundry detergent

  • Fabric softener (optional)

  • Stain remover

  • Bleach (optional)

  • Water

  • Scrub brush (optional)

  • Clothesline or drying rack

  • Hangers (optional)

Care tag icon

Step 1: Read care label

Start by checking the care label on your clothing to determine if there are any specific instructions for washing by hand.

Laundry basket

Step 2: Separate clothes

Sort clothes by color and fabric type to help prevent color bleeding and damage to delicate fabrics.

Bristle brush

Step 3: Treat stains

Apply a trusted stain remover directly onto stains and follow the instructions provided by the stain remover for the recommended duration before washing. If using a stain treatment for the first time, make sure to test the product on a small, less visible piece of the item first.

Detergent bottle

Step 4: Add laundry detergent

Add only one to two teaspoons of laundry detergent to the tub or container you’re washing clothes in. Avoid adding excessive detergent as it will require additional rinsing, increasing the overall washing time. Swash® Laundry Detergent1 features a Precision Pour Cap that dispenses an appropriate amount of detergent based on regular load sizes in a washing machine. If you are hand washing in a smaller tub or sink, it is recommended to use a smaller amount of Swash® laundry detergent to ensure optimal cleaning results.

Water drop

Step 5: Submerge clothes under water

Fill the tub or container with water and mix in detergent, then add in clothes and make sure they are submerged.


Step 6: Agitate/rotate clothes

Gently agitate or rotate the clothes in the water for at least five minutes to loosen dirt and grime. For more effective cleaning, let the clothes soak for a period of time to allow the detergent to penetrate the fabric and remove stubborn stains.


Depending on the level of soil, you may need to re-agitate the clothes during soaking.


Step 7: Rinse clothes

Drain the soapy water and rinse the clothes with clean water until all the detergent is removed.


Step 8: Dry clothes

Press excess water from the laundry and hang them up to air dry or lay them flat on a towel. Avoid wringing the clothes to help prevent damage.

Can you wash your clothes in the bathtub?

Yes, you can wash your clothes in the bathtub. Hand-washing clothes in the bathtub is a convenient alternative to using a washing machine if it is not available.

How viable is hand washing clothes?

Hand washing clothes can be a practical way of cleaning clothing when done correctly. It may require more effort and time compared to using a washing machine, but it can still get your clothes clean.

Tips for washing clothes without a washer and dryer

  • When washing clothes without a washer and dryer, always check clothing tags for specific wash instructions.

  • Avoid wringing out clothes to avoid stretching them. 

  • Also, remember to wash clothes inside out to help preserve colors and prevent fading.

Whirlpool Stacked Washer Dryer Set Whirlpool Stacked Washer Dryer Set

When to repair or replace your washing machine

Knowing whether to repair or replace your washing machine depends on several factors such as the age of the machine, cost of repairs and type of repair needed.

If you have a Whirlpool® washer, the Whirlpool brand offers repair and replacement services. If your appliance is still under warranty, you may be able to get it fixed or replaced at no additional cost. Check your warranty for details.

Explore Whirlpool® washers

Whirlpool® washers are designed to help you care for your family’s laundry needs. With innovative features on select models like Adaptive Wash Technology, Load & Go Dispensers and Intuitive Controls, Whirlpool® washers deliver exceptional results load after load. If you’re ready to upgrade both your washer and dryer, find your perfect pair with Whirlpool® laundry sets designed to work together.

Learn more laundry tips from Whirlpool brand

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1. Swash® products and the recommending brands’ products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.