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Portable Washers For The Rest of Us

Base Camp ezywash

For many years some upscale RVs have had the convenience of washing machines and dryers to do laundry in your rig rather than suffering the inconvenience and expense of campground laundry rooms or worse, in town Laundromats. While they don’t hold a lot of laundry at a time, don’t dry well, and they do take up space in the RV, nonetheless, many people wish they had those. Well, now they can! Sort of. Camping World and Amazon are now carrying a portable washer from Base Camp called the Ezywash. I bought one and am using it in my 5th wheel while gate guarding. Personally, I love it!

Portable washing machine

The Base Camp portable washing machine is lightweight, small, and sits on your kitchen counter next to the sink when needed. It holds a reasonable amount of clothes for a single person (4.5 lbs.).  To wash, plug it in, add water half way to the line, pour in your detergent and bleach or other enhancer, add clothes, then continue to fill to the line, set the time on the rotary timer, and let it do its thing. Liquid concentrated detergent works best with it. Now we get to what some folks would not like. When done, you drop the side hose into the sink to drain it, pull the clothes out to hand wring them and set aside in a basket, then fill with just plain water again halfway, put the clothes back in, continue filling to the line, set the timer again, and let it go to rinse. After that, drain it again, wring the clothes again, and hang them to dry. Remember, this is only a washing machine. It does not spin the water out of the clothes for you or dry them. It only cleans them and that it does very well using the same action you see in a front loading machine. It agitates the clothes slowly in one direction, stops, then spins in the other direction and stops again to reverse. I was very pleased with the job it did on my dirty white socks. It seems to work fine without the first wringing out before rinsing too.

So here is my rundown of the pros and cons:

PRO:

1. No quarters needed or running to a Laundromat.
2. Cleans well.
3. Stores easily.
4. Inexpensive.
5. Lightweight.

CON:

1. No spinner (You can purchase a separate clothes spinner cheap on Amazon.).
2. No dryer (But less space is needed then and line dried clothes smell great!)
3. The hose provided to fill it is very odd. It does not directly connect to the faucet. You can either hold it to the faucet while filling or fill with a bucket or pan.
4. The drain hose must be plugged with something while washing or water comes out of it even while raised. I stuff a cloth in it. They should provide a plug/cap  instead.

Another option which is probably better for couples though I have not seen it myself is one of the portable apartment sized washers you can find at Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon. Haiermakes several different models to wash different amounts of clothes. The HLP21N Pulsator 1-Cubic-Foot Portable Washeris popular. Apartment types roll on wheels and can be stored in an available closet or drape a nice cloth over it to hide it. They cost more and weigh a little more but do have spin cycles, digital controls, and the same pulsating action as the Ezywash which is much easier on clothes.

Panda makes some highly rated portable washer/spin dryer combos  that fit well in RVs and are a bit more automated than my Base Camp.

What I use to hold the wet clothes to cart them to the line to dry is a rectangular collapsible bucket which doubles as a mop bucket and is also available at Camping World and Amazon. I clean it after using it to mop so it is always ready for clothes. Since saving space is the name of the game when living in a small home, I like things that take up as little of my precious space as possible and can be used for more than one thing. 😉

Rectangular Collapsible Wash Bucket

To dry, you can either use lines provided at some parks, a homemade or store-bought drying rack, or hang them in the shower. Since installing the Extend-A-Shower shower rod in my RV, I have used it numerous times to dry clothes in the shower without them dripping on my floor. Be aware that it takes much longer to dry inside rather than outside but when you are parked next to a busy dusty road, inside is all you can do.

Homemade clotheslineAnother homemade clotheslineExtend-A-Shower

Note: I am an affiliate of Camping World and Amazon, however, I am actually using the Ezywash and collapsible bucket reviewed above in this post.

For those of you who still like to crank homemade ice cream or like to boondock without power or a generator, there is an option for you as well called the “Wonderwash“. While I have not used it, it is inexpensive and rated well at Amazon. It operates very much like the “ezywash” but requires no electricity; only human power.

Wonderwash

Another option to go even more basic like your great grandma did is the Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine). Get yourself this and a 5-10 gallon bucket and you can wash with the best of them. It comes highly rated and even more inexpensive. You supply the time and muscle power. Great for off-the-grid or tenters.

mobile washer

If you are the DIY type who likes to make your own, you can make something similar to the above yourself. DIY Washer

If you decide hand wringing your laundry is not for you, you can combine any of the above washers with a laundry spinner or an old-fashioned laundry wringer.

spin dryerwringer

UPDATE: I bought the Laundry Alternative spin dryer shown above to use myself. It is excellent! It dried not only clothes but also bed sheets (1 at a time) and beach towels. Everything came out nearly dry! The towels could be hung up right away on their holders to finish air drying while everything else took less than a day to dry over the shower rod in the bathroom compared to taking 3 days previously. Of course, you can hang them outside too if you have a rack or line to do so. The unit is well built, compact, and light weight. It reaches up to 1600 rpm to force water out of wet items. You do need to balance the load which isn’t hard and you can stop it by opening the lid if necessary to rebalance. It has a brake to stop the action. Remembering to put the safety disk back in on top was the hardest part for me. While it is small, it handled 2 polo shirts and a pair of shorts in one load, one beach sized towel or one bed sheet, a full load of misc smaller laundry items like socks, bandanas, etc. For a single person it is ideal. For a couple, you will need to wash and dry more often to keep the load size down. Despite that, it only takes 2-3 minutes for the average load and 5 minutes for towels. One caveat, don’t walk away from it and pay no attention to it. When starting or stopping, you should be close by to hold it as it ramps up  or down.





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