I don't want (to) hookup
February 2, 2018 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Just read this Ask, which lead me to follow down the rabbit hole of portable/compact washers. What is your experience with mini/non-hookup required washers?

Our apartment generates a lot of dirty laundry, but alas, we live in a big building with laundry in the basement. It's a huge PITA to get down there and do laundry during the week, and we end up with smellier than usual clothes since our gym laundry ends up sitting for a few days before getting washed.

Our unit doesn't have a hookup for a traditional in-unit washer/dryer (that would be living the dream), so I am seriously looking into mini washers like this one. Talk to me about your experiences with these kinds of machines.
posted by something_witty to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Had a mini dishwasher in one apartment. It was the greatest thing ever. Portable generally isn't particularly energy efficient, but it definitely let's you free up some time for other chores around the house while you wait.

I'd be skeptical of a dryer, but drying to me is usually the faster part elsewhere.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:39 AM on February 2, 2018

We had one like this (Haier, 1 cubic foot) in our apartment and it was amazing. It lived in our bathroom, we would attach it to the sink and drain it into our bath tub. We initially bought it to use when cloth diapering, but it quickly started getting used for things that we would usually wash on cold and hang dry as well as the bulk of the kid's clothes.
The pros--it was was amazing to have the ability to wash things in unit, it cleaned well and had short cycles, we passed it on to neighbors and it's going strong well into its 5th year of almost daily use.
The cons--it was loud when on the spin cycle, and technically not allowed on our lease, and I was always slightly concerned that we would get "caught". This did not happen and no one ever complained afaik.

I will add that we were in a large building (6 floors, probably 10 units per floor), so we never noticed any impact on water usage. Friends in a much smaller building (3 floors, 1 unit per floor) found their water pressure decreased sharply when a neighbor used a similar washer.

I have no experience with the mini countertop ones.
posted by avocado_of_merriment at 9:54 AM on February 2, 2018

We have a 2.1 cubic foot Magic Chef and although I was DEEPLY SKEPTICAL about getting it and repeatedly told my SO that it didn't seem like it would be worth the trouble (because the capacity is on the small side and it has to be hooked up to the sink) I am 100% converted and would not give it up for anything.

It is a slight pain in the ass because you can't use the sink while you do laundry, and it does take up some space (it's about 2 feet square) but it's totally worth it. Not even particularly loud. For our 2-person household I think a smaller version would also have worked just about as well, but this is the one we got and it fits in our kitchen so I have no inclination to trade it in.

I've taken a shower and run the dishwasher while the washing machine was going and haven't really noticed any trouble. I would imagine our water consumption has gone up a bit but not so much that the landlord has noticed/cared.
posted by mskyle at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2018

We have one in our tiny duplex, though we do have it hooked up (the existence of this washer hookup baffles me. If we had a washer any bigger than 2.1 cubic feet we literally couldn't get into our kitchen). Love love love it, and it's worked pretty perfectly for 4 years of heavy usage.

Cons: Everything we heard was that the dryer didn't work well enough to be worth it, so we didn't bother and have to deal with every free space being taken up with wet clothes after a load (and in the winter, that means most of the time because it takes longer to dry). Also you really have to stay on top of your laundry, because it's just not possible to neglect it for a few weeks and then do a big blitz. Most people are probably better at that than I am, though.
posted by theweasel at 10:24 AM on February 2, 2018

I used a Wonder Washer for about 4 years in an apartment. It was fantastic. I could wash my work clothes (pants, shirts, sweaters, undies) each week without having to haul laundry down four floors and out to a laundromat. (Sheets, blankets, towels still had to go to a laundromat, but that wasn't so bad.) I'd do one cycle with soap, one cycle without and then hang everything to dry. My clothes looked better then than they do now, when I have a full size washer and dryer in my apartment.

At the end of my four years or so, I left the washer with a neighbor. I hope it's working as well for them as it did for me.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 10:53 AM on February 2, 2018

Hippie version of the no-hookup mini-washer is a 5-gallon bucket and a clean red rubber plunger. Put a hole in the bucket lid a bit bigger than the plunger (enough to allow it to pivot around). However, there's no "spin" cycle and easy squish-rinsing.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:14 AM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had one in a studio apartment and I loved it. The disadvantage of the small load size is offset by the fact that you can do so many loads without hoofing up and down the stairs.
posted by soelo at 11:39 AM on February 2, 2018

Someone living above me has one of these. I know this because my apartment is on the first floor and once a week or so, sudsy Tide-scented water backs up into my bathtub. I'd actually thought about getting one myself but didn't have a good spot for it, and now it's become apparent the plumbing isn't really up for it either. I'm in a older mid-size apartment building, YMMV if you're in a building with newer pipes.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:11 PM on February 2, 2018

I had one of the Haier ones in my old apartment. It was great for lighter clothes (t-shirts, underwear, workout gear) but heavier loads of things like sweaters tended to throw it off balance sometimes. Since I air dried all my clothes, but I like my sheets and towels dried, I would send those out, but the washer was a little small to handle big sheet/towel loads anyway. It was a really nice to have though and I had a good spot to tuck it into when it wasn't being used.
posted by greta simone at 1:11 PM on February 2, 2018

I had two of the Haier ones. In my experience the board behind the piece of plastic with the buttons on it tends to fail after a year or 18 months, and it's not worth fixing. They do a fine job cleaning clothes.
posted by Lycaste at 1:19 PM on February 2, 2018

I had the wonder washer for a while. It was nice for delicates and smaller stuff. I think my failing was i didn’t get the centrifuge style tabletop “dryer” so wringing water out of clothes was a pain. But it was a nice complement to hauling laundry downstairs.

I eventually also signed up for a cheap wash and fold service that delivered. That was better.

Then I moved to a one bedroom with an en suite washer dryer and that was even better.
posted by slateyness at 2:56 PM on February 2, 2018

This isn't really what you're asking, but I have a manual washer (it's basically a PVC bucket with a lid on a setup so I can turn it with a crank). I absolutely love it, and it doesn't take any longer than schlepping my laundry around, plus it's free. (I think it cost like $40 on Amazon.) So, basically, I love having an in-unit washer and am fine with doing tiny loads of laundry. It is just me, though.
posted by kalimac at 3:03 PM on February 2, 2018

My Haier is basically an automatically-filling 5-gallon bucket with a spin cycle, and it is great. I bought it used maybe eight years ago and it's still going strong (and sings Jingle Bells when the cycle is done). Fits in a closet and it's heavy but I can lug it into the bathroom (or you can get casters). It does need some babysitting before the spin cycle since it's easy for it to get unbalanced. I mostly use it for hand-knits and other delicates now but used to use it for everything I was going to hang to dry (most of my work clothes).

For gym clothes I bet a Wonder Washer would work great for a quick wash/rinse with optional "real" wash on the weekend.
posted by mgar at 5:47 PM on February 2, 2018

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