A small, simple barrel with a drain spout. “Is it possible that this little spinning bucket could wash your clothes just as well as a washing machine?” I thought.
I was intrigued when I first discovered it- The Wonder Wash. A gimmick name, but it seemed easy, reliable, and meant that I wouldn’t have to drive to the laundromat to wash my clothes. I decided to give it a try.
Before I discuss the pros and cons of the Wonder Wash, it’s important to understand my situation and why I was attracted to the concept of washing clothes by hand. If you too are deciding to take a more primitive approach to washing laundry, these are two important concepts you need to consider.
- How much laundry will you be washing?
It may seem simple to think about washing laundry by hand, but actually doing the act is totally different. It’s not hard at all. In fact, it’s very simple. What makes it difficult is the amount of man hours you will be sacrificing to washing your laundry by hand. This leads me to my second point which is…
2. How much time will you be spending on the laundry?
If it’s just you and maybe another person, washing laundry by hand won’t take as much time. But if you have children or more humans in your house, consider the amount of scrubbing your hands will be doing.
In my situation, I had one other person with myself included. A decent amount of clothing but still small enough to consider this route. I wouldn’t be spending too much time scrubbing clothing, especially if clothes were being used more than once before thrown in the dirty basket.
We also did not have a dryer and it was winter. Drying clothes on a rack indoors was all we had (which was fine for me because I hate dryers!)
Shipping, Assembling, and Materials
The Wonder Wash cost me $49.00 with no additional charges for shipping and taxes. Other websites will sell it for more than what is offered from the original website and you may have to pay for additional fees. If you do order, order from http://www.laundry-alternative.com
Shipping was quick- the package arrived about a week after I ordered (although I don’t know the exact timing because I was moving at the time and it was sent to my new house!).I opened my package like a 3-year-old child on Christmas morning. I was SO VERY excited. The idea of being responsible for my own laundry in such a way as washing it by hand truly fascinated me. The only thing that stood between me and my newly washed, off-grid laundry set up was the assembly.
Assembly was simple and the directions were easy to read. The materials for setting up included 4 suction cups, the stand, the drain spout, the lid, the handle, the bucket, and a couple screws. The entire set-up took no longer than 10 minutes which was very satisfying!
Washing the laundry
The process for washing your laundry is very simple. Fill the bucket, spin the bucket, drain the bucket, rinse and repeat. No strings attached. This is it. Now, there are certain hurdles to consider if you think about the situation that you will be in. These are some hurdles I faced, but each one can be overcome with a slight change in how you work through your process.
- No spin cycle
It’s obvious really, but there is no spin cycle to help remove the excess water from your clothing when rinsing. This means you will be wringing out your clothes a lot. If you have issues with arthritis, this may not be the route for you. Your hands will blister without wearing gloves (although you will build muscle FOR SURE). If you have no dryer, there are other options. The Laundry Alternative offers spinner dryers at different sizes. These sizes range from counter-top small to full load size spinners. Plus, they require no heat! They plug in and go. You will have to have a bowl to catch the excess water. This leads me to my second point….
2. Excess water
If you do not wring out your clothes properly, your clothes will take much longer to dry and will possibly become hard. This may not be an issue for you if you have a dryer (or a spinner dryer to remove the excess water); however, this was not the case for us. We had nothing. Excess water became the enemy.
Think about how much water will be left in your clothes and how much soap may be in the water as well. If you do not wring your clothes properly, there may be soap left in the clothes and could cause skin irritation.
3. Rinse, rinse, rinse
In addition to wringing out your clothes properly, you may also have to run your clothes through a rinse cycle more than once depending on what you’re washing. The great thing about the Wonder Wash is that you can wash towels! However, these can be a pain to wash. Towels took an additional rinse cycle and longer amounts of time to wring out as much water as possible. This is not very different from a regular washer except this time it took man power.
So what’s the verdict?
The totality of the experience was very educational. It’s no wonder why people had so many kids in the old days. You needed at least one doing the laundry all day (HA but seriously). We did end up going back to using a regular washing machine. The amount of laundry that we could do did not match up with the amount of laundry we needed to do in order to successfully complete the rest of the work needed to be done on our city homestead. In order to keep up with all of our laundry, I had to wash clothes three times a week for an hour each. That’s three hours of my week dedicated to laundry. That is not factoring in how long it would take to possibly iron and fold after it’s all dry. If I had a heat dryer or spin dryer I would have had a different experience.
My experience with washing clothes by hand also had caused me to consider how many clothes I owned. The minimalist would love the Wonder Wash. If you’re not a minimalist, you’ll certainly wish you were after washing clothes by hand. The man power is intense.
The Wonder Wash really is ideal- it just depends upon the situation in which you use it. For instance, the Wonder Wash is great for camping, living on the road, living on your own or not owning a surplus of clothes. Many van dwellers or RV peeps would greatly benefit from this nifty tool.
What I do appreciate about the Wonder Wash is that it really is gentle on clothes. Hearing the swishing sound of the water washing the clothes when turning the handle is oddly satisfying. It’s not tough on clothes. I never had to worry about my socks being stretched or my bras being torn. My silks were in tip-top shape.
Is it environmentally friendly?
Energy– aside from physical energy, you are saving electrical energy from not plugging in to the grid. You also won’t be spending any money at the laundromat or for gas to get to the laundromat, so you’re saving CO2 emissions from spreading into the atmosphere. It’s nice knowing that if your electricity is shut off or goes out, you can still use your laundry “machine”.
Water– In my situation,it felt like I used more water than I would washing one large load in a washing machine. However, I do not have an exact number for how. This may not be the case for you. Also consider the soap you are using. Learn to make your own soap for cleaner water. You will have to drain the water when you are done. Whatever is in the water is going straight into the ground or other water source. If you are using an eco-friendly soap, you can be doing your part to living a greener life.
Plastic Material- there is no packaging label or anything on the website that says the product is made from 100% recycled material. This being said, it’s very possible to make your own. It’s a bucket with a handle- can’t be too hard!
I would give the Wonder Wash a one-thumb up with a two thumbs up learning experience!