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

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

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

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

Mental Floss's Three-Day Sale Includes Deals on Apple AirPods, Sony Wireless Headphones, and More

Apple
Apple

During this weekend's three-day sale on the Mental Floss Shop, you'll find deep discounts on products like AirPods, Martha Stewart’s bestselling pressure cooker, and more. Check out the best deals below.

1. Apple AirPods Pro; $219

Apple

You may not know it by looking at them, but these tiny earbuds by Apple offer HDR sound, 30 hours of noise cancellation, and powerful bass, all through Bluetooth connectivity. These trendy, sleek AirPods will even read your messages and allow you to share your audio with another set of AirPods nearby.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

2. Sony Zx220bt Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones (Open Box - Like New); $35

Sony

For the listener who likes a traditional over-the-ear headphone, this set by Sony will give you all the same hands-free calling, extended battery power, and Bluetooth connectivity as their tiny earbud counterparts. They have a swivel folding design to make stashing them easy, a built-in microphone for voice commands and calls, and quality 1.18-inch dome drivers for dynamic sound quality.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

3. Sony Xb650bt Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones; $46

Sony

This Sony headphone model stands out for its extra bass and the 30 hours of battery life you get with each charge. And in between your favorite tracks, you can take hands-free calls and go seamlessly back into the music.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

4. Martha Stewart 8-quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker; $65

Martha Stewart

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying a new pressure cooker, this 8-quart model from Martha Stewart comes with 14 presets, a wire rack, a spoon, and a rice measuring cup to make delicious dinners using just one appliance.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

5. Jashen V18 350w Cordless Vacuum Cleaner; $180

Jashen

If you're obsessive about cleanliness, it's time to lose the vacuum cord and opt for this untethered model from JASHEN. Touting a 4.3-star rating from Amazon, the JASHEN cordless vacuum features a brushless motor with strong suction, noise optimization, and a convenient wall mount for charging and storage.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

6. Evachill Ev-500 Personal Air Conditioner; $65

Evachill

This EvaChill personal air conditioner is an eco-friendly way to cool yourself down in any room of the house. You can set it up at your work desk at home, and in just a few minutes, this portable cooling unit can drop the temperature by 59º. All you need to do is fill the water tank and plug in the USB cord.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

7. Gourmia Gcm7800 Brewdini 5-Cup Cold Brew Coffee Maker; $120

Gourmia

The perfect cup of cold brew can take up to 12 hours to prepare, but this Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker can do the job in just a couple of minutes. It has a strong suction that speeds up brew time while preserving flavor in up to five cups of delicious cold brew at a time.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

8. Townew: The World's First Self-Sealing Trash Can; $90

Townew

Never deal with handling gross garbage again when you have this smart bin helping you in the kitchen. With one touch, the Townew will seal the full bag for easy removal. Once you grab the neatly sealed bag, the Townew will load in a new clean one on its own.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

9. Light Smart Solar Powered Parking Sensor (Two-Pack); $155

FenSens

Parking sensors are amazing, but a lot of cars require a high trim to access them. You can easily upgrade your car—and parking skills—with this solar-powered parking sensor. It will give you audio and visual alerts through your phone for the perfect parking job every time.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

10. Liz: The Smart Self-Cleaning Bottle With UV Sterilization; $46

Noerden

Reusable water bottles are convenient and eco-friendly, but they’re super inconvenient to get inside to clean. This smart water bottle will clean itself with UV sterilization to eliminate 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. That’s what makes it clean, but the single-tap lid for temperature, hydration reminders, and an anti-leak functionality are what make it smart.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

Prices subject to change.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

What the Color Codes on Toothpaste Tubes Really Mean

PeopleImages/iStock via Getty Images
PeopleImages/iStock via Getty Images

Packaging details—like the circles on chip bags and the symbols on cosmetics labels—can be mystifying to the average consumer. For years, a graphic has circulated the internet claiming to explain the hidden meaning behind the colored markings on the bottom of toothpaste tubes. While it's true that those color codes are there for a reason, the reason is much less interesting than the online rumors suggest.

According to Snopes, a widely-shared image on social media alleges that the colors on the seams of toothpaste tubes correlate to certain types of ingredients. The picture shows four different colored markings, with green meaning natural, blue indicating natural and medicine, red meaning natural and chemical composition, and black signifying pure chemical.

This "decoding" isn't based in truth, however. The markings on toothpaste packaging have nothing to do with the ingredients inside the tube—and even if they did, classifications like natural and chemical are too vague to mean anything. The real reason the colors are there is to aid the machinery responsible for putting the packaging together. The tiny colored rectangles are actually called eye marks or color marks, and they tell light beam sensors where a tube needs to be cut or folded. Once the toothpaste reaches the store, the markings no longer serve a purpose.

If you do want to know more about the ingredients in your toothpaste, it's not as hard as deciphering a mysterious code. "Oral care companies don’t mark their toothpastes with colored squares to try to trick consumers and hide ingredients from them," Colgate writes on its website. "If you want to know what kind of ingredients your toothpaste has, don’t look for a colored block at the end of the tube. Instead, take a look at the packaging for a comprehensive list of ingredients."

You can find the ingredients in your toothpaste listed on the outer box and/or the tube itself—and you don't need to know any secret codes to read them.

[h/t Snopes]