DIY Emergency Handwashing Station Instructions Zine
We offer this ‘zine in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020. Our unsheltered relatives cannot simply “stay home if they are sick” and “constantly wash their hands” as instructed by callous politicians who, predictably, had no plans to ensure the wellbeing of our relatives.
We’ve assembled this DIY emergency hand washing station (based on several other models) as a way to support our relatives on the streets. Please replicate and improve these plans and ask unsheltered folx where they would be most useful to them. Let’s take care of each other. Capitalism is pandemic. Colonialism is a plague.
If you purchase all the materials they cost about $25-30 each to make (not including some extras like duct tape etc).
These can be made in about 20-45 minutes each (much less time if you are working on multiple at once.)
Most supplies listed can be donated, scavenged, or liberated.
We will update this page with more info and mods/tips, please leave your ideas/mods/etc in comments below! SEND US YOUR BUILD PICS & WE’ll POST THEM BELOW!
PRINTABLE ZINE PDF (1.1MB): DIY Emergency Handwashing Station zine-PRINT
READABLE PDF (12MB): DIY Emergency Handwashing Station zine-READ
5-gallon buckets (x2)
Bucket lids (x2)
Rubber bulb kind, test the ones you have access to before getting them in bulk.
Small oval tub/bowl
For wash basin, oval shape leaves room for soap dispenser.
Has to be thick enough to make sure pressure from pumping won’t smash the bulb over time.
With L bent shape, metal cheap kind, they come in packs of two.
1/2” tubing (approximately 2 feet)
Tubing size depends on the connection to your Fluid siphon.
8” Zip ties (at least 10)
1” Diameter PVC pipe (4-5 inches length)
This is just to hold the tubing assembly in place ands make it easier to remove.
1/2″ plastic tubing coupler (x2)
To connect tubing if the Fluid siphon tubing is too short.
Packing Tape (to laminate signs)
Printer & paper
Drill with 1/2” bit and 3/16” bit
*Though in a pinch all holes can be made with a knife.
Scissors or wire cutters to cut zip ties
Hand saw (optional, for cutting PVC)
1. PREPARING THE CLEAN WATER (BOTTOM) BUCKET:
Use the sharpie to mark a spot about an inch from the rim of the bucket. Drill a hole with the 1/2” bit. This will be for the siphon intake so make sure it fits. If it is too snug widen the hole. You can wrap duct tape on the siphon intake tube if it is too loose.
Put one of the lids tightly on the bucket and set aside.
2. MAKING THE PUMP:
Using the sharpie trace two large foot prints on the Foam Mat. Cut them out with a sharp knife.
Place the two foot cutouts on top of each other and make two incisions near the heel and two more right above those going along where the arch would be. The cuts need to be just big enough for zip ties to fit through.
Push the blade all the way through so that each slit is lined up on both foot cutouts.
Put zip ties through the slits and secure.
Cut the excess plastic from the zip ties (do so with every zip tie you secure from now on)
Now open the front of the two sandwiched foot cutouts and place the Fluid siphon so that the tubes extrude from the sides. With the sharpie, mark right above and below where the tubes connect to the bulb pump.
Remove the Fluid siphon and make incisions. Replace the Fluid siphon between the foot cutouts and secure with zip ties.
3. MAKING THE WASH BASIN & GREY WATER (TOP) BUCKET:
The small oval tub/bowl will be our wash basin. Use the sharpie to mark two spots an inch apart on the left side of the wash basin, do the same thing on the right side. In the middle of the wash basin mark three spots in less than 1/2” apart for drainage holes. Drill holes on your marks, some plastic bins may crack so go slow!
Place the wash basin on top of a bucket lid and use the drilled holes to mark drill points with the sharpie.
Remove the wash basin and drill the marked holes through the lid.
Line up the holes you made on the wash basin and the lid then secure the left and right holes together with zip ties . Dont worry about leaks coming through these holes, if they drain too much patch them with duct tape.
Secure the lid to the bucket.
Place the top bucket on top of the bottom bucket.
4. TUBE/SPOUT & PUMP ASSEMBLY
Take one of the curtain rods out of the package and place it so that “L” bend of the rod is above the wash basin (about 4-6 inches). You can either duct tape the curtain rod to the top bucket or you can use the 1/2” PVC pipe section as a guide. If so, duct tape the PVC pipe in the middle of the top bucket and slide the curtain rod through it.
Connect the Fluid siphon intake tube to the bottom bucket (through the 1/2” hole). Make sure that the tube is long enough to go to the bottom and not get kinked, if not, connect the additional 1/2” tubing (you can just duct tape it or use a coupler.)
Bring the other section of tubing up through the PVC (if used) and make sure it is long enough to extend over the curtain rod.
Now secure the tubing to the curtain rod with zip ties (making sure not to pinch the tubing too much).
Carefully bend the curtain rod down slightly to ensure the water pours into the center of the wash basin.
5. FINAL ASSEMBLY
Grab the soap dispenser and place it near the front of the hand washing station (just pick a side to be the front, we put our foot pump on the right so we figured that was the front).
Make two marks on each side of the soap dispenser about 1/2” down from the top of lip of the wash basin. Remove the soap and drill holes on the marks. Secure the soap dispenser to the wash basin with a zip tie (make sure the zip tie is below the pump so you can screw off the top to refill).
Take off the top bucket and remove the foot pump tube from the bottom bucket.
Fill up the bottom bucket until water is just below the foot pump tube.
Reassemble the wash station and test.
It takes several pumps get water flowing.
You may have to make adjustments to tubing so that it is out of the way and people dont step on it while pumping. This can also be duct taped.
Print out our hand washing station use template from www.indigenousaction.org, make your own, or simply write on the buckets with sharpie to let folx know how to use and maintain them.
Make sure to write on the bucket “Not for Drinking – Non-potable Water.”
The top bucket will need to be cleaned after heavy use. Prepare a bleach & water solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). Use rubber gloves. Remove the lid, rince and then scrub with bleach solution. Replace the lid.
If no water is coming out of the spout, check the pressure from the Fluid siphon, some cheap siphons take a lot of pumping. We initially had some faulty siphons and had to replace them.
Insulate these in cold weather with blankets, a couple hoodies, or we figure those reflective insulated foils they make for vehicle windshields would work well and can be easily found at thrift stores.
You may want to consider securing the washing station to a tree or post to ensure it doesn’t get easily knocked or blown over. This could be done with tie downs, wire, rope, more duct tape, etc! Just make sure it’s not too much trouble to maintain.
You may want to schedule checking on the buckets to ensure the clean water is full and the grey water is being emptied. In high use areas this may need to occur multiple times a day or multiple hand washing stations may need to be placed in those areas. In our area we figure we will check each station once a day.
You could put your contact on them or simply ask unsheltered folx and neighbors to help maintain them.
We’re considering drilling a hole in the middle of the grey water top bucket and connecting about 3-4 feet of tubing so the grey water can drain off and they don’t overflow.
We’re also considering placing a hose intake on the bottom clean water bucket so a garden hose can be connected for easier refilling.
If you come up with other mods and ideas email us at: email@example.com.
Modification for ensuring clean water tube reached to bottom of clean water bucket:
A rigid 1 foot section of plastic tubing larger than your clean water bucket tubing can help ensure that the water is drawn up easily from the bottom of the bucket. (pictures coming soon).
From the United Front Against Displacement in the Bay Area:
We discovered that no water could flow through the Siphon Bulbs we bought! We were able to fix this by attaching a silicone fuel check valve to the end of the hose which sits in the clean water bucket. We also added some washers to that end of the hose as we found it was too coiled and would not sit properly at the bottom of the bucket unless it was weighed down. We figured that, if other people had access to similar supplies (we used whatever we could find at home depot, ace hardware and autozone) it might be helpful to include these tweaks in your guide.
You can insulate the emergency hand washing stations with self sealing rubber pipe insulation (6′ for $6 covers one station) for the tubes and reflective insulation (16″x25′ for $16.25 covers quite a few buckets) for the buckets. Just need to cover the bottom bucket enough so it doesn’t freeze or can thaw quickly, you can also do multiple layers. The tubing doesn’t need to be insulated all the way up as the water usually falls down the tube quite a ways. The foot pump bulb may freeze, that’s harder to insulate so we’re testing some fixes. It just may need to be maintained by pouring hot water over it in the morning. Otherwise during the day these all thawed and held up well.
Securing the buckets together:
We used a 24″ bungee cord. We pulled it between the soap dispenser and basin then secured it to the lid of the bottom bucket. We see this as a necessary measure for the kind of use these will get.
Gamma lids make refilling easy. You can also make multiple bottom buckets for refilling. You’ll just have to swap out the bottom buckets rather then remove and refill. Duct tape the tube hole of filled the bottom bucket for ease of transport.
Add your comments (racist, sexist, & trans/homophobic comments will not be published)
O’odham Executed by Border Patrol: Statement by Raymond Mattia Family
Raymond Mattia of the Tohono O’odham Nation was executed by US border patrol agents on May 18th at his home. He was reportedly shot 38 times.
A peaceful gathering to support all victims of the
unmonitored violent actions of the Border Patrol and other agencies will be held at The Border
Patrol Station in Why, Az, and Tucson on Golf Links Road this Saturday, May 27th, from
For more information please visit: https://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2023/05/us-border-patrol-shoots-tohono-oodham.html
Statement by Mattia Raymond’s family:
We have been trying to find the strength to write this statement. This tragedy is so
grievous because it is apparent what had happened. Raymond called for help and, in turn, was
shot down at his doorstep. Raymond’s rights were violated by the authorities whom we trust to
protect our Nation. Improper and unprofessional actions of the agencies involved were witnessed
by family members present near the crime scene. Loved ones sat in agony, not knowing of
Raymond’s condition until they were told that he had passed hours later. Raymond lay in front of
his home for seven hours before a coroner from Tucson arrived.
In our eyes and hearts, we believe that Raymond was approached with excessive and
deadly force that took his life. He was a father, brother, uncle, friend, and an involved
community member. Raymond always fought for what was right, and he will continue to fight
even after his death. This is not an isolated incident, but it should bring awareness of the
oppression our people live through.
We want to thank so many of you for your condolences and support. A GoFundMe for
defense funds will be available soon. A peaceful gathering to support all victims of the
unmonitored violent actions of the Border Patrol and other agencies will be held at The Border Patrol Station in Why, Az, and Tucson on Golf Links Road this Saturday, May 27th, from 10:00am-Noon.
Contact for support: firstname.lastname@example.org
Xenophobic Title 42 Ends, Biden’s Immigration Reform Nowhere to Be Found
Indigenous Action recently supported @abolition.yumacounty (on Instagram) at the “US-Mexico” border. They are a crew of radical femme and queer folks who provide essential supplies to Indigenous people and other asylum seekers who are kept in holding with nothing but what they walked up to thousands of miles with. They also offer confidential pregnancy release support. Please $$$upport and volunteer if you’re in the “Yuma” area. Venmo: @ycabolition, Cash App: @YumaCountyAbolition
With Title 42 ending on May 11th, (a xenophobic policy that gave the government power to rapidly expel any migrant, without giving them a chance to make a case for crossing legally, including to seek asylum), Biden has made no attempt at immigration reform as he promised on the campaign trail, “I can only imagine what it’s like to see someone in your family deported. To me it’s all about family. Beginning, middle and end. That’s not going to happen in my administration. The idea you can’t even seek asylum on American soil. When did that happen? Trump. It’s wrong.”
These policies are well within Biden’s power to remedy, and yet, HE HASN’T. He’s had 2 years to prepare for the ending of Title 42 to introduce new policies that he claimed “offer hope and a safe haven to refugees.”
What we’re seeing now at the border is heinous. Shelters and detention centers at and near capacity. Hundreds of people turned away every day. Just last month, a fire at a detention center killed 40 people.
In 2022, more than 890 migrants died in border crossings, and that is only of the deaths that have been reported. To paint an even broader picture, since 2021, there have been 13,480 reports of murder, torture, kidnapping, rape and other violent attacks on migrants and asylum seekers blocked or expelled to Mexico under Title 42.
The time is now to stand up against xenophobia. Let us be free to roam and free to rage wherever we please!
The Intercept and Grist begin release of 50,000 TigerSwan spy documents
Article by Brenda Norrell, Censored News
Reprinted with permission.
April 14, 2023
The Intercept and Grist began releasing new TigerSwan spy documents in new coverage of the mercenaries hired by the Dakota Access Pipeline. They now have 50,000 TigerSwan spy documents, and another 9,000 are held up in the court battle for now. The documents reveal TigerSwan spying on Water Protectors at Standing Rock in North Dakota, Bold Iowa, and at other locations.
Reporters Alleen Brown and Naveena Sadasivam expose the new spy documents in their article, After Spying on Standing Rock, TigerSwan Shopped Anti-Protest ‘Countinsurgency’ to Other Oil Companies.
The article follows an expensive court battle by The Intercept seeking the release of the documents. The North Dakota Supreme Court ordered the release after TigerSwan was found operating without a license in North Dakota.
“The released documents provide startling new details about how TigerSwan used social media monitoring, aerial surveillance, radio eavesdropping, undercover personnel, and subscription-based records databases to build watchlists and dossiers on Indigenous activists and environmental organizations,” The Intercept writes. Read the article at The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2023/04/13/standing-rock-tigerswan-protests/
Paiute journalist, drone activist and filmmaker Myron Dewey was among those that TigerSwan spied on and stalked at Standing Rock 2016-2017, as revealed in the new documents that were ordered released by the court.
On Tuesday, the driver that killed Myron Dewey on an isolated road near his family’s home in Yomba, Nevada, entered a surprise plea bargain deal that was cut with a new prosecutor assigned to the case in Nye County, Nevada. John Walsh pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of vehicular manslaughter.
This TigerSwan spy document, showing TigerSwan stalking Myron Dewey and Prolific the Rapper at Standing Rock on Dec. 17, 2016, is from the new documents at The Intercept. Document link: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/23773105-tigerswan-document-daily-intelligence-update-20161217
Below: From the TigerSwan spy files just released: The power of the global movement, with its heart in Standing Rock.
Below: The first flood of documents show how rattled DAPL was over the involvement of celebrities, the Standing Rock Chairman at the United Nations, Bernie Sanders, the Palestinian flag flying, and big orgs. The doc is from a pitch that TigerSwan made for more work, hustling another pipeline to spy on resistance.
|Above: TigerSwan surveillance used drones and helicopters.https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/23773104-tigerswan-document-daily-intelligence-update-20161014|
Above: TigerSwan spy file at Bold Iowa. The mercenaries hired by the Dakota Access Pipeline called Bold Iowa Water Protectors “belligerents.” Document link:
TigerSwan spied on, and stalked the media, including Paiute journalist Myron Dewey, Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, and myself, publisher of Censored News, as revealed in the newly released documents by The Intercept and Grist. TigerSwan used its surveillance on the media in its pitches for more spy work to other oil and pipeline companies.
TigerSwan turned its surveillance at Standing Rock into a potential money maker, using it for powerpoints in its pitches to other oil and pipeline companies for spy work.
TigerSwan even stalked the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in its high-stakes spying for dollars.
TigerSwan’s Opposition Model, shown below, was used as a potential maker in PowerPoints to other oil and pipeline companies.
The Intercept described the battle for these documents.
“A discovery request filed as part of the case forced thousands of new internal TigerSwan documents into the public record. Energy Transfer’s lawyers fought for nearly two years to keep the documents secret, until North Dakota’s Supreme Court ruled in 2022 that the material falls under the state’s open records statute,” The Intercept said.
“Because an arrangement between North Dakota and Energy Transfer allows the fossil fuel company to weigh in on which documents should be redacted, the state has yet to release over 9,000 disputed pages containing material that Energy Transfer is, for now at least, fighting to keep out of the public eye.”
TigerSwan spy documents on Water Protectors
Note: The documents show that TigerSwan spied on Censored News, as shown in today’s article at The Intercept.
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April 4, 2020 at 11:29 PM
Thank you for sharing this! It looks fairly simple to make, but I am wondering how to maintain a supply of clean water. I don’t drive or have a car and the people I know who do are essential workers who wouldn’t be able to help every day. I would love to hear from anyone who has overcome this obstacle!
April 7, 2020 at 8:45 PM
Great question. Perhaps choosing a spot where they can be maintained by folx in the area? We have 7 out in our area right now and most of them are maintained by neighbors. Also, you could also put multiple wash water buckets with notes to replace as needed.
They could also be transported on a bike trailer.
August 6, 2020 at 10:51 PM
I am also trying to solve that issue: How to keep handwashing stations stocked, functional, and findable.
I just got into UC Berkeley Engineering and have the opportunity to get some funding to design and deploy something that involves a cheap simple sensor that connects to a sim card, so we can create a UI that points users to the closest filled, functional station. I’m working with a couple other transfer students on this. Would you like to collaborate with us?
The sooner you reply the more I can incorporate your advice into making something that works. <3 They didn't give me much time to design it.
November 9, 2020 at 9:37 AM
For some reason we missed this comment. We’re more analogue here but sounds creative. Did it work out?
April 30, 2020 at 9:00 PM
Just put one together and I want to recommend a change to the language where y’all recommend 2 feet of tubing. I needed more like 4 feet because the siphon that I bought didn’t have large enough tubing like yours did. Maybe amend it to say how much total tubing you would recommend? Thanks for the instructions, I’m glad to have found this.
November 9, 2020 at 9:37 AM
Yes, we’ve been meaning to update this overall with the experiences and feedback we have. Thanks!
November 9, 2020 at 9:00 AM
This is awesome; any suggestions for cold weather modifications, to keep it from freezing in colder climes?
November 9, 2020 at 9:36 AM
We effectively used radiant barrier insulation (the foil/reflective stuff) on the bottom bucket only and foam pipe insulation on exposed tubing. We were concerned that the siphon pump would freeze but if you set it up with the foam mat it didn’t in our experience. This basic insulation helped multiple hand washing stations from freezing in 2 feet of snow! We have a video going over this on our instagram account too.