Portable washing machine wanted
April 6, 2020 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Even in the best of times I hate going to the laundromat. And now is not the best of times. I am very much resisting going to the laundromat (no laundry in building), so towels and sheets and lounge wear and bandannas I use for face masks are piling-up. I'm thinking the solution is to buy (online) a portable washing machine (the type that connects to the kitchen faucet).

I'd like to do smallish loads of laundry as needed in my apartment. Please note I am not interested in fluff and fold services or hand washing. I don't need a dryer. I've looked online at various reviews and am overwhelmed. I'm also running into a "out of stock" problem online, as I guess many folks are dealing with this issue. If you have a portable washer that you like, hit me with the make and model, please.
posted by Pineapplicious to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't tried it myself, but Apartment Therapy recently recommended this portable washing machine.
posted by Lexica at 10:06 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

There are other options including turning your bathtub into a washer and using a spin dryer that are field tested. Here's a review of a specialized plunger for doing wash in bathtub, called The Breathing Mobile Washer. As well as it's companion, a spin dryer, basically a plug-in centrifuge that drains into your tub or sink. And of course you must check out The Laundry Alternative, which is a whole website for countertop laundry devices, of both the electric and analog hand-crank types. Happy spinning!
posted by caveatz at 10:46 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

In a 2018 piece on portable washers for New York magazine's Strategist section, Dan Nosowitz recommended (among others) the Kuppet Compact Twin Tub, and I've recommended it to anyone who will listen ever since.

The Twin Tub (a washer and a spin dryer) holds about 10 pounds of laundry in the wash side, which is fine for me as a single person whose major issue is dealing with dirty socks and underwear. The model that I bought in 2018 is no longer available, but this one looks pretty much the same.

I fill it just by dumping in a bucket of water (me + chores = lazy), but you can connect it to the kitchen faucet, too. The hoses that come with the washer are not very long (about 3 feet), so you should be prepared with a longer rubber hoses and stainless steel hose clamps. Needs very little soap.

The spin dryer is excellent. Just don't overload it, and be sure to put the plastic spin guard on top of the clothes before you close the lid and start the spinner.

Also: Don't put a lot of cotton-intensive clothing in the Twin Tub at any given time: Because of the fiber's water-absorbent properties, any load with a lot of cotton things in it (T-shirts, leggings, etc.) will get unbalanced, either in the wash side of the Twin Tub or in the spin dryer side.
posted by virago at 10:58 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have this unopened in a box. Don't know what it would cost, but if you paid for a UPS pickup at my house in the Nashville, TN area, you can have it for free.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 11:20 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

PS: The Kuppet Twin Tub comes with essentially no instructions. This Amazon review* (besides being hilarious) covers everything you need to know. The comments on the review have been uncharacteristically informative: Use soap nuts instead of detergent, and use vinegar to neutralize urine odors (I would use 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar during the rinse cycle).

* The review is for the model that is not available, but I would apply the information to similar Kuppet models.
posted by virago at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2020

This might be a bit of an aside, as I ordered a portable washer that is so backordered in my region that it won't be here for weeks. In the interim, I've found that I mostly don't need it.

I've been doing laundry in my bathtub for almost 3 weeks. If you--like me--aren't really getting your clothes heavily dirty, you can go ahead and get a feel for this now by just using a simple method of soapy soak followed by rinse soak. Soapy soak: you need much, much less soap than you would think using this method--I use about a table spoon of castile soap per batch, and I submerge my laundry under a minimal amount of water, just enough so everything is wet and almost all of the fabric is underwater--let soak for at least 15 minutes, agitate with hands or broomstick or whatever is handy, let soak again for as much time as you have available (I tend to let things soak for 2-3 hours). Rinse soak: drain the soapy water from the tub, loosely wring out your items, refill the tub with the same volume of clean water, agitate for a minute, and let soak again for as long as you have time (I tend to leave things in for another 2-3 hours, it's a rhythm that fits into my work day). Drain tub. Wring out your items and hang in the shower to let drip dry. After drip dry (overnight for me), I hang everything on a gull wing rack.

The good thing about taking this approach before buying a portable washer is (1) it gives you a good idea how you're limited by drying space/time more than by washing space/time, and (2) you might find that a machine is an expense that may not speed that process up.

Good luck!
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:24 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Make sure your lease doesn't forbid the use of such devices. (Or, at least, be aware of the possibility that you might be breaching your lease by using them, as if, should something go badly wrong with the plumbing and you end up flooding your downstairs neighbor, you should at least know what the risks are.)

Wring out your items and hang in the shower to let drip dry.

Be aware that this is likely to stretch and/or deform most knits heavier than a t-shirt (and even those had better be well-squished-out--roll up and squish in towels rather than wring). Much better to dry flat.
posted by praemunire at 11:44 AM on April 6, 2020

I used to have a Haier top-loading portable and I adored it. It was the 2.1 cubic foot version. It had a spin cycle that would get clothes damn near dry.
Well worth breaking the terms of my lease! Be aware that if you are able to get a washer you will also likely need some adapters to get it hooked up to your sink (though, in a pinch, you could just add water with a pitcher or bucket if you had to).
posted by mskyle at 2:39 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I suggest the Silk Lux compact washer from Laundry Alternative for $209 delivered, or $219 with UV germicidal light. Approx. 18" by 18" by 30" high. Hooks up to the sink (quick connecter included, no extra charge). Actually gets the clothes, sheets and towels cleaner than any washer I have ever used. Hardly uses any detergent. Very quiet--no way will the neighbors hear the washer. Does not leak.

I ordered this machine when I first realized it would be a problem to continue using the communal laundry room because I am caring for someone in the highest risk group. I did hours and hours of research first. I considered all the other portable options above, read all the reviews of the other available machines. I actually called the Laundry Alternative first to see if they really answered their phones (unlike Magic Chef and other washer manufacturers). They do. They still do, even with the current pandemic. It took from Sunday ordering till the next Saturday to get across the country to me, with full information when it was coming, and the fellow brought it to my door on the second floor of this apt building (via an elevator). I have saved immense amounts of money, time and angst since I got this machine. Plus I have had hours of entertainment for my baby cat, who finds this machine as interesting as a flushing toilet. (This is my first cat; I don't understand the whole cat/toilet/peeping on me in the shower thing, but that is a separate question.)

You can google the Silk Lux YouTube reviews to see and hear the machine in action. It really is cute and simple, but fully automated. About 1.0 cubic foot, which is surprisingly large. I have the pink with the UV germicidal light, which I can't say for sure kills germs, but for $20 bucks more seemed worth trying. This machine has already paid for itself, for me, as I don't pay for the laundry machines anymore. I also sometimes hook it up to the handheld shower hose in the bathroom with an extra connector, but you weren't asking for that info so I will omit it.

Sorry for any typos and the failure to pay the cat tax, I am kind of in a hurry, but I want to save you and others from repeating my hours and hours of research. Good luck!
posted by KayQuestions at 3:22 PM on April 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

I bought this Panda about 7 months ago and use it almost daily. Fucking life changing. Seriously. It's embarrassing how much I love this thing. It does what it says and does it well. I haven't found a lot of information online about how these machines hold up over time so do consider the extended warranty if you get one. Good Luck!
posted by space_cookie at 6:14 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for these recommendations. So helpful! Most are out-of-stock everywhere. I've ordered the Silk Lux recommended by KayQuestions for several reasons, including being able to avoid ordering from Amazon. Can't wait to do my first load!
posted by Pineapplicious at 4:28 AM on April 7, 2020

I've ordered the Silk Lux recommended by Kay Questions for several reasons, including being able to avoid ordering from Amazon.

I've been trying to do the same thing, so I completely understand. (I almost didn't post my recommendation at all, for that reason.) Furthermore, the Silk Lux sounds like it has several advantages over the Kuppet, including the responsiveness of the manufacturer and the fact that the machine is fully automatic and can accommodate sheets and towels. (Supposedly the Kuppet can accommodate towels, but I haven't tried it.) Happy laundry day!
posted by virago at 6:23 AM on April 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Walmart still has the Panda PAN56MGP3 rx by space-cookie in stock for delivery by April 14 for @279.99. It is slightly larger on the outside than the Silk Lux, but in practice not as much as you would think because the intake hose is on the top, saving 4" of space from front to back. It is taller, but has a folding top to save space. It is slightly larger capacity inside, 1.34 instead of 1.0. It uses the same washing method as the Silk Lux, so I expect it would wash as well and spin as well.

Walmart also has the 1.54 Panda model in stock for delivery by April 14 for @259.00. It is only slightly larger than than the Panda 1.34 on the outside. It also saves space with a top intake and folding top.

I would have purchased either of these machines, possibly with an extended warranty from Walmart, if I hadn't found the super cute and cheaper Silk Lux. I know some people don't like to order from Walmart, but I am boycotting Amazon so I do buy from Walmart at times.
posted by KayQuestions at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2020

Response by poster: Last update: I received the Silk Lux and have done laundry twice. It is perfect!
posted by Pineapplicious at 12:40 PM on April 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

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