When I was younger, I thought that having to put my clothes in our family’s washing machine was the most onerous of chores. Little did I know that in the future, I would long for the luxury of a washing machine. I’ve been stuck in laundry-less apartments since college and have fervently wished for my own laundry appliances every single time I’ve hauled my enormous bags of dirty clothes to the laundromat.
One day, exasperated with the quarter-gobbling public washers, I hopped on the Internet and started researching portable washing machines. The Wonderwash was one of the first laundry products I found. At the time, there were very few reviews of this little sucker, but the ones I read were universally positive. At only $42.95, I figured I had little to lose, and my husband and I ordered our washer from Laundry Alternative right away.
Unlike other folks, I had no trouble with customer service and found the ordering process to be quite easy. The Wonderwash arrived promptly and despite the lack of assembly instructions, was a cinch to put together.
The actual washing instructions were equally user-friendly; within just a few minutes we were washing our first load of clothes. For a long time I used a gallon water jug to fill the basin of the Wonderwash, although recently I discovered that it is much easier to use the hose attached to our showerhead in the bathroom. Very little soap is needed for a decent wash – I typically use something like Ivory Snow, Woolite, or Dreft. Once the clothes, soap, and hot water are placed in the Wonderwash, the cranking begins! The whole system is pressurized thanks to the special lid. As you crank the handle and spin the whole contraption (vertically), the hot water and pressure force detergent through the clothes. After about two minutes of cranking, you unscrew the lid and place the drain pipe on the bottom of the basin. To rinse, you simply repeat the process with clean water. I usually do at least two rinses to get out all the soap and dirt (you can actually see the dirt pour out with the old soapy water!). Start to finish, the washing process takes about ten minutes.
So does the Wonderwash actually work? Remarkably, the answer is yes. I’ve used this little gem on and off for well over a year, and with the right proportion of hot water, soap, laundry, and cranking, I can say that this cleans as well as most standard washers. It does get things cleaner if you stuff less laundry in it (this is somewhat of a problem, given that the Wonderwash can hold only 5 pounds as it is), but as many have pointed out, it’s better to do a few extra cranks than heave gigantic bags of laundry into the car!
The cons of this machine are few: the plastic base is flimsy, the basin can only hold a smallish amount (no big comforters or sheets, either), and there is no spin option so the clothes are absolutely sopping wet when you are done washing. The Laundry Alternative company sells a countertop spin dryer that solves this problem.
The pros far outweigh the cons, at least in my view:
As mentioned, the Wonderwash is cheap. It is also surprisingly durable. We’ve gotten a lot of wear (harhar) out of this machine and it still looks as though we just bought it.
It pays for itself quite quickly. When you consider that washes in this machine are free and washes in the laundromat are not, it’s very apparent that this is a cost-friendly laundry product.
In addition to cutting down your trips to the public laundry, the Wonderwash also is highly portable. The whole thing is about half the size of one of those big water jugs you see on office water coolers, and it is extremely light. Anyone who plans to go camping or RVing would find this to be an excellent purchase.
It’s quick. Ten minutes per wash versus 30-40 minutes counts as a win in my book. It’s also very easy – I was able to wash plenty of clothes even when I was 36 weeks pregnant and ready to pop!
The Wonderwash is very, very green. Go to http://www.laundry-alternative.com/ and check out the statistics. This handy washer uses miniscule amounts of water and soap compared to a standard machine. Oh, and it doesn’t use electricity, just elbow grease.
If you are in the market for a portable washing machine, I can’t recommend the Wonderwash enough. It offers flexibility, cost savings, and cleanly greenliness. Order quick though…I’ve heard that these are in high demand these days due to the poor economy.