How do the Amish wash their clothes?

The majority of Amish women still use the traditional tub-style wringer washer to clean their laundry. However, some even prefer using boiling water in a large pot to wash their clothes. Lehman’s hand wringer washing machine is the one that comes closest to their style of washing.

That being said, the Amish usually prefer the traditional way of doing laundry by hand.

Washboards and large tubs are the most common and basic laundry tools used to do all the washing and cleaning.

The soaking and agitating of the garments are done in a large container filled with water and natural soap.

This is then followed by cleaning dirt from garments with gentle scrubbing over a washboard.

Lastly, the garments are air dried naturally over a clothesline.

Modern washing machines are not a preferred choice for the Amish, and they rely on the old-fashioned wringer washer.

In this article, you will learn more about the traditionally adopted concept by the Amish for performing their daily laundry chores.

Key Takeaways

  • The Amish prefer hand washing their laundry.
  • When it comes to washing machines, the Amish prefer using wringer washers, which require manual effort.
  • Lehman’s hand wringer washing machine is best suited for their style of washing. It is also known as the Amish washing machine.
  • Along with their unique washing style, they prefer using natural soap and air-drying techniques to dry the clothes naturally.

Let us go through a few insights to understand the Amish people and then their laundry system.

A bit of background about Amish and their washing style

Ancient history reveals that the Amish community originated from Swiss-Germans and is a religious group that follows Christianity.

They have lived in North America for centuries and are known for their simple lifestyle.

The Amish take a very simple approach to cleanliness. They take great care to keep their homes and belongings clean, including the laundry.

With that said, the most notable aspect of the Amish lifestyle is their commitment to living off the grid, without modern conveniences such as electricity or running water.

This is one of the main reasons why they don’t prefer to use modern-day automatic washing machines for laundry.

As a result, the most preferred way to keep their clothes clean is through manual effort.

While this may seem like a lot of work, it is actually a very efficient way to wash clothes.

Additionally, Amish people also use natural soap to wash their clothes and keep themselves clean.

Alternatively, using natural cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda is quite common in their laundry chores.

How do the Amish wash their clothes?

how do amish wash their clothes

In order to remain off the grid, the Amish have long practiced the custom of hand washing their garments.

The process of washing clothes is usually done in a large tub or sink, using a washboard and some form of natural soap.

A natural soap or cleaner is added to the water, and the clothing is scrubbed clean over the washboard.

After rinsing, the clothes are hung up to air dry in a natural way.

The Amish use a variety of solutions to clean their clothes, depending on the type of fabric and the stain.

The most common ones are natural soap made from plant extracts, vinegar, baking soda, and other natural cleaners.

While some of these methods may take a bit longer, they are very gentle on the clothing and don’t damage the fabric.

Natural soap is usually made with oils and lye through a process known as saponification. It’s a process that involves the conversion of lipid, fat, or oil into soap.

For most stains, they will first treat the clothing with soap and water. If that doesn’t work, they will then move on to more heavy-duty cleaners like bleach or ammonia.

And for really tough stains, they might even resort to sandpaper in some cases.

Regardless of the method used, the Amish take great care in ensuring that their clothes are clean and presentable.

Although the method of washing garments by hand seems labor-intensive, it does have some advantages.

And the main benefit is that it is gentle on clothing, which helps them last longer. Moreover, it does not require any electricity, which is important for Amish people who prefer to live off the grid.

Lastly, hand washing gives more control over the washing process.

How do the Amish wash clothes using a wringer washer?

Well, to answer this, let us go back to the most traditional washers used for laundry.

Let us understand what a wringer washer is in the first place.

What is a wringer washer? And how does a wringer washer work?

The Amish preferably use a wringer washer to wash their clothes.

A wringer washer is a two-tub system where the clothes are first washed in one tub and then rinsed in the second. The wringer is used to remove excess water from the clothes before they are hung up to dry.

Garments that are excessively soiled or have stubborn stains are scrubbed over the washboards in wet conditions before performing a final wash or rinsing.

A wringer washer typically uses a pair of rollers to remove water from clothes, and these rollers are generally powered by a hand crank. The clothes are fed through the rollers that do all the squeezing jobs to remove excess water.

Despite their simplicity, wringer washers are said to be quite effective at cleaning clothes with ease.

Apart from the Amish, many other people who use wringer washers believe that they do a better job than modern washing machines. 

The main advantage of wringer washers is that they are much gentler on clothes than their modern counterparts.

This is because the rollers squeeze the water out of the fabric rather than using harsh spinning motions.

Final Thoughts

Even though clothes washing sounds challenging without electricity or running water in their homes, Amish people have managed to maintain this tradition for centuries.

The Amish community is deeply rooted in its customs and traditions. Washing clothes by hand is just one of the many ways that they preserve their way of life.

Although a few populations use the traditional wringer washers to work out larger loads of laundry, the majority of the Amish population relies on hand washing garments.

Frequently Asked Question

Do wringer washers still exist?

Wringer washers are less common today, but you can still find them for sale online or at antique stores. They require a little more effort to function when compared to a modern washing machine. But many people prefer them because they are more gentle with clothing and use less water.

Do wringer washers use electricity?

Wringer washers are usually human-powered or hand-cranked. Nevertheless, some manufacturers have designed wringer washers that can be run using electricity and gas. Electric wringer washers will have a cord that plugs into an outlet, while non-electric wringer washers will not.

How did the ringer washer work?

The wringer washer uses an agitator to wash the clothes in soapy water followed by rinsing them in clean water. Once the clothes are washed, they are fed through the wringer to remove excess water. Lastly, the clothes are air-dried naturally or hung on a clothesline.

How do the Amish dry their clothes?

The Amish usually use a clothesline to air-dry their clothes naturally. T-shaped clotheslines are typical in Amish communities, as they can accommodate more clothes than a traditional clothesline. So, hanging the clothes to air-dry is the preferred method of drying clothes for the Amish.

What is an Amish Washing Machine?

The Amish washing machine is a non-electric, human-powered machine that washes and rinses clothes. It consists of two tubs, i.e., one for washing and one for rinsing. The clothes are then fed through a wringer to remove excess water before they are hung up to air-dry.

How do the Amish do laundry in the winter?

During the winter, it is common for the Amish to hang small batches of clothing in basements, covered porches, or beneath eaves.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)