For those of us who don’t have access to our own washing machines and dryers at home, laundry is a painful chore. There is schlepping down stairs to basement machines or across town to the laundromat, killing time between wash and dry cycles, and occasionally running out of clean underwear when you can’t get to the laundromat during its open hours. There is another option, though, and it doesn’t involve scrubbing every individual piece of clothing you have by hand in the sink.
Non-electric washers can get your clothes just as clean while saving energy. If you’re willing to put in some physical effort, you can minimize your laundry day dread. Here are five non-electric clothes washers to get you started:
1. ALLURETTE WASH BAG; $50
Made by the same company that invented the Scrubba, a washbag designed for camping, the Allurette is essentially a Ziploc with a washboard that’s designed especially for delicate clothing. You pile your clothes in, add water and soap, and squish it around so that your clothes rub together and against the textured rubber on one side of the bag. It’s an easy way to make sure your more fragile garments get clean safely without actually getting your hands dirty, since you control how hard to scrub. When you’re done washing and rinsing, just squish the bag down to squeeze out excess water and hang your clothes to dry.
Get It: Allurette
2. WONDERWASH; $45
Hand-cranking the Laundry Alternative Wonderwash makes you feel a little bit like a farmer churning butter. The appliance is small enough to fit on a counter, though it needs to be near a drain because it doesn’t have a detachable hose. After a few minutes of cranking, your clothes will be as clean as they would coming out of a regular washer, and you can do a big pile of your laundry at once in the 5-gallon drum. The large size makes a full load quite heavy, though. And it’s not particularly easy to drain thoroughly, leaving you with a large, sopping pile of heavy clothing that still has to be wrung out. It’s a great option if you happen to have an old-fashioned clothes wringer, though.
Get It: Amazon
3. THE LAUNDRY POD; $96
The problem with most non-electric clothes washers isn’t the washing itself—it’s figuring out what to do without the spin cycle that sloughs off the excess water after rinsing. Without it, you need a hefty towel or strong hands to wring out your clothes so that they don’t drip pools of water onto your floor when you hang them to dry. Essentially a salad spinner for clothes, the Laundry POD adds the spin cycle back in to draw out some of that excess water. It only uses a gallon of water and a tablespoon of detergent per wash cycle, so it’s far more environmentally friendly than the typical washer, which uses anywhere from 15 to 45 gallons per load. The ease of use comes at a price, though—if you’re purely looking for convenience, you can get an electric mini-washer for about the same cost).
Get It: Amazon
4. YIREGO DRUMI; $239
The Drumi, which is set to come out in late 2017, is a fancier version of the foot-powered washing machine. As tech reviewers have noted, it looks a bit like R2D2, if R2D2 could wash your clothes in his head. It takes about 10 minutes to wash a 5-pound load using a similar design to the Laundry POD. The Drumi is made of reinforced aluminum and has a detachable hose and second drain to make it easier to remove water from the drum. No need to memorize how much detergent to put in, either: The lid of the washer has markers to guide you.
5. JAPANESE LAUNDRY WASH BASIN; $13
Here’s an old-fashioned bargain. This little plastic washboard won’t fit much more than one item of clothing, but it’s an easy choice if you’re only looking to wash a few bras or that shirt you just spilled salad dressing on. One writer for The Strategist contends that even though it takes up space in her small apartment, she “cannot give it up. It is too good, too useful.”
Get It: Amazon