how to use a washboard

How To Use A Washboard

Have you ever used a washboard? Chances are that you haven't, or if you have it's been as an instrument! Washboards used to be a common way to clean clothes and rags, but fell out of favor with electric washing machines.

But you know what’s empowering? Being able to do your laundry without a machine (which is especially useful if you don’t have one). While most of us have hand washed wool sweaters and delicates, rags and other super dirty stuff can seem overwhelming. That’s where the washboard comes in!

If you’ve been to Villagers, you may have thought they were just for decoration. But no, the washboard is a practical addition to your home cleaning kit.

To use a washboard, you only need a few things:

1. A washboard. These are not terribly easy to find, but we do have a sturdy one in the shop.

2. Two basins. You can use your bathtub and another container if you're doing cleaning indoors, or two tubs outside. Galvanized metal works well as it's sturdy and won't rust.

3. Soap! We love the super concentrated, North Carolina-made Warhorse for rags and dish towels, while clothes and delicates can benefit from a gentle soap made specifically for those fabrics.


using a washboard indoors to clean laundry

A washboard is a surprisingly easy way to get stuff clean. Put some warm water in one of your basins, and add soap. For heavily stained items, pretreat with some soap or stain remover, then add the items to your soapy bin. Let them soak for up to 20 minutes, and then dive in with your washboard!

The washboard is replacing the agitator from an electric washing machine, so this where the elbow grease comes in. Scrub your items against the board to create the physical agitation to push water through the cloth, taking dirt with it. You can periodically dip the item back in the soapy water to rinse. Keep at it until your item looks clean or you're tired! Finish up by rinsing the item well in clean water, and then hanging to dry.

While the washboard can make quick work of rags and dirty kitchen towels, it is not quite big enough to be effective for bath towels or sheets. The agitation can also be a little rough on delicates, so you may want to use the board sparingly.

Will you try using a washboard? What are your favorite ways to clean your clothes at home?

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