5 Non-Electric Washers to Save You From the Laundromat

iStock
iStock

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

A white wash bag that reads "Allurette"
Allurette

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

A Wonderwash rotating drum
The Laundry Alternative

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.

Pre-order: Yirego

5. JAPANESE LAUNDRY WASH BASIN; $13

A blue plastic basin with a washboard
JapanBargain via Amazon

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

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

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Why Does Altitude Affect Baking?

This woman is going to make a quick stop at Whole Foods' bakery section before book club.
This woman is going to make a quick stop at Whole Foods' bakery section before book club.
nicoletaionescu/iStock via Getty Images

Even if you’re highly skilled in the kitchen, you might find yourself with a deflated cake or bone-dry brownies if you happen to be baking in Aspen, Colorado, for the first time. But why exactly does an oven at high altitude so often wreak havoc on whatever baked good is in it?

According to HuffPost, it all comes down to air pressure. The higher you are above sea level, the lower the air pressure is. This is mostly because there’s less air pressing down on that air from above, and it’s also farther from the gravitational forces on Earth’s surface. With less air pressure keeping liquid molecules in their liquid form, it takes less heat in order to vaporize them—in other words, boiling points are lower at higher altitudes.

“For every 500-foot increase in altitude, the boiling point of water drops by 0.9°F,” Dr. Craig F. Morris, director of the USDA ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory at Washington State University, told HuffPost.

Since liquids evaporate at lower temperatures, all the moisture that makes your signature chocolate cake so dense and delicious could disappear long before you’d normally take it out of the oven. To avoid this, you should bake certain goods at lower temperatures.

With less air pressure, gases expand faster, too—so anything that’s supposed to rise in the oven might end up collapsing before the inside is finished baking. Cutting down on leavening agents like yeast, baking powder, and baking soda can help prevent this. This also applies to bread dough left to rise before baking (otherwise known as proofing); its rapid expansion could negatively affect its flavor and texture, so you might need to adjust how much yeast you’re using.

If all the ways a recipe could go wrong at high altitudes—and all the experimentation needed to make sure it goes right—seem like a lot to keep track of, Betty Crocker has a handy chart with various types of baked goods and suggested modifications for them.

[h/t HuffPost]