What is a Washboard? (Clothes Washing Board)

Washboards are meant for washing clothes by hand and they are an essential tool for someone who cannot afford or does not own a washer.

It is also perfect for those who want to become more efficient in terms of saving money on energy bills or those who simply prefer the old-fashioned way of doing laundry. 

In this article, you will learn what are clothes washing boards, how they work, and how they can become a great option for the laundry.

Let’s look at the list of sub-topics this article covers.

What are clothes washing boards?

It is a flat, rectangular board that is used to wash clothes by hand. The flat surface with ridges or bumps helps to agitate the fabric and remove dirt and stains.

washboard with ridges and bumps

On the other hand, the textured surface provides a gentle scrubbing action that is effective and limits the damage to delicate clothing.

textured surface washboard

Washboards can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, silicon or plastic, and metal.

Furthermore, they are a great alternative to washing machines in situations when your washer is set for repairs.

What are the benefits of using washboards?

There are many benefits of using washboards, let us take a quick look at a few benefits below.

Ideal for hand washing

The major benefit of using a washboard is that they are much gentler on clothing than machine washing, so it is an ideal pick for delicate items.

washboards ideal for handwash

Washboards can be placed in a sink or bucket to start the hand wash process.

They are easy to carry to a river bank or a large well where all the washing is done the traditional way.

Easy to Clean Clothes

Using a washboard you can remove stains and dirt from your fabrics in no time.

Simply place the dirty laundry on the Washboard and start scrubbing with a brush by adding your regular soap and little water.

The surface creates clouds of lather in no time by simply scrubbing the garments over them.

Washboards are known to remove dirt and stains with ease even if you don’t opt to pre-treat the garments.


They are lightweight and easy to carry and also easy to use them.

You don’t have to wait and gather your laundry loads to put them together for a wash. Simply wash your clothes as and when needed.

You can store them in any corner or simply hang them on any wall around your house. 

washboards are convenient

Usually, washboards include wave textures and have a smooth surface. Therefore, they are safe to use as they won’t hurt your hands while washing.

Energy efficient & Cost Effective

You can save on water and energy bills by making use of these washboards. 

A washboard requires less water and zero electricity.

So, it’s way more efficient compared to a conventional washing machine, therefore making them an eco-friendly option.

What are the different types of washboards?

There are three common types of washing boards that you can use to clean your clothes.

Flat washing board

This is the most common type of washing board, which has a flat surface that you can use to scrub your garments.

They are usually made of wood or plastic and have a variety of different textures to help you scrub your clothes clean.

The roll-up washing board

It has a series of ridges on which you can roll your clothes.

Similar to flat wash boards these are great for scrubbing the clothes and getting all of the dirt and grime out.

Foldable washing boards

These boards fold up for easy storage when not in use and are great for small spaces.

How to use clothes washing board?

Using a washboard is fairly simple and does not require any prep work.

All you need to do is to put your clothes on the washing board and then start scrubbing.

Let’s take a quick look into the detailed process.

Instructions to use Washboards

Step 1: Wet the Garment

Simply wet the garment you want to wash or fill a tub or sink with water and detergent.

You’ll need enough water to completely submerge the garment.

Step 2: Scrubbing

Place the clothing item on the washing board and begin scrubbing it with the soap.

Rub them back and forth on the board until stains and dirt gets discharged.

Step 3: Rinse

Rinse the clothing item off in clean water.

You can either do it over the board or under running water or in the bucket.

Step 4: Dry

Hang the item up to air dry or lay them on a flat surface.

Final Thoughts

If you want to opt for an environment-friendly and cost-effective method to clean your garments, then washing boards can be a great choice.

They have a rough surface but they are fabric-safe that helps to scrub the dirt and grime out of clothes without causing any damage. This makes them a great choice for delicates.

Washing boards are a great way to clean clothes without having to use a lot of water or electricity.

They are also quite affordable and can be found at stores that sell laundry supplies.

Overall, these are a great option for those looking for an alternative to traditional and eco-friendly laundry methods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy a washboard from?

You can buy a washboard from a local hardware store or the laundry suppliers. You can also find them on various online platforms such as Amazon. Make sure to go through the reviews before you buy them and choose a suitable board as per your laundry needs.

Which is better wooden or silicon washboard?

You may choose any material as far as they fulfill your task. Wooden washboards are used for ages and they are reliable. Silicon washboards, on the other hand, have become a popular choice. With wooden boards, the only thing is that you need to set them aside for drying after every use. 

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) portablelaundry.com