A small, energy efficient laundry machine for a tiny house or other small space.
In the early 90s there was a television show called Northern Exposure and in one episode one of the characters was debating getting their own washing machine. They were resistant because they enjoyed the social aspect of going to the neighborhood laundromat. Why use natural resources for a tool that could be had in a communal setting? As a conservation-minded, community-oriented activist that resonated with me.
Fast forward to 2022 and I’ve been living in my tiny house for 12 of the last 14 years and it was only yesterday that I finally did a load of laundry in my own washing machine. In previous years I either used a laundromat in town or I’d wash when I visited with my folks who are also nearby neighbors.
I’ve thought off and on of getting my own washing machine but in a small tiny house the choices are limited. My folks are planning to move and rather than automatically revert to a laundromat in town I went looking again to see what might have changed since I last looked over a decade ago. I was surprised to find that there are now fairly small top loading washing machines optimized for small spaces. They come in several sizes but in general, compared to a standard washing machine they’ll do a small to medium load. I decided to try one of the larger options in the hopes that I’ll be able to wash a small blanket when needed.
I’ve only done one load of laundry but thought I’d offer up a mini review. Obviously this doesn’t speak to the longevity or durability but I think I can comment on the effectiveness and usability . The machine I purchased has left and right sections. The left side for washing will take up to 18lbs and the right side for “drying” via a spin cycle takes up to 8lbs at a time. I did a medium load with was pretty typical for what I need to do: a few hand towels, wash cloths, socks, a couple pillow cases, a couple t-shirts, a sweatshirt, padded cycling shorts, and some underwear. I could have done a full load and added in a towel or a few more t-shirts. I’ll have no problem doing a full-sized sheet and a few clothing items. A small blanket should be fine to wash, not sure if it will fit in the spinner.
Some of these machines drain via gravity and require that the hose be level with the machine to drain out the water. The machine I bought has a pump and so the hose can be elevated to a sink to drain. I did a 10 minute wash cycle with soap then drained it and did a 10 minute rinse. The machine offers a forceful, efficient movement of the water during the washing process. The water after the soap cycle was obviously dirty and the water after the rinse cycle was clear. I divided the load into 3 for 3 different 3-4 minute spin cycles. The result was exactly what I hoped for: clean stuff that was fairly dry. Given the colder weather I hung most of it up to dry on a clothes line in my tiny house.
These are fairly energy efficient, maxing out at 280 watts so could be used with a solar/battery off grid system without too much drain for an average load. Assuming it holds up for several years I’ll consider it well worth the $200 cost.