In past times, alongside watermills, usually there were bučnicas – natural laundry machines. Bučnica is a natural washing machine which solely uses power of clean river water to wash clothes, towels, rugs and carpets, without any detergent or washing powders. Therefore bučnicas are also so-to-say eco-friendly washing machines.
How bučnica operates
Just as in watermill, the water goes through the sluice gates and mill race into bučnica where the washing takes place. Unlike the watermill mechanism, operating lever in bučnica has a number of levels which regulate the water flow and thus power and pressure in bučnica.
Bučnica is a barrel made of oak-tree with slashes in its upper part which allow water to leave the barrel without pressing out the clothes which are being washed in it. Due to huge water power concentrated in small area, it looks as if the cold Una river water in bučnica is boiling. Bučnica is mainly used for washing strong, sturdy fabrics such as those used for carpets, rugs, blankets, quilts but also woven clothes etc.
After the washing procedure clothes are drained and dried in the sun hanged over wooden poles. Bučnicas you can see in Martin Brod are probably last operational bučnicas around.