We’ve all been there: You’ve blocked off a Sunday afternoon for doing laundry in your apartment community’s communal laundry room, only to find that all the washers are taken. You don’t want to go to a Laundromat, and you desperately need something clean to wear to work on Monday. What to do?
There’s an easy solution out there, and we’re not talking about going old-school with a basin and a washboard. Compact washing machines are portable, lightweight, and simple to use – perfect for apartments without washer/dryer connections.
Intrigued? Read on to come clean on the details.
How do they work?
Typically measuring about three feet high and two feet wide, the whole idea behind portable washing machines is that they’re small, lightweight and easy to move around. They hold as much as 10 pounds of clothing, so your loads will be fairly small.
Before putting clothes in, hook the machine’s hose up to your kitchen faucet and fill the washing machine basin with the right amount of water. Add detergent – liquid works best, and only a small amount – then add clothes, shut the lid, plug the appliance into an electrical outlet, and turn it on. Once the wash cycle has completed, drain the used water, then fill it back up with cold water to rinse the clothes. After the rinse cycle, drain that water, then start the spin cycle. Once that’s done, hang your clothes on a clothesline to dry, or use a machine dryer (more on that in a minute).
Instructions for specific models may vary; be sure to read your instruction manual before operating yours for the first time.
Sounds easy. How much do portable washing machines cost?
Your basic models can cost as little as $80; an average model with a few more options will cost you around $300. If you want a top-of-the-line washer with more bells and whistles (such as different wash cycles and speeds to accommodate various kinds of fabric), you can spend as much as $800.
If your apartment has washer/dryer hookups, it’s probably more cost-effective for you to buy a regular, full-sized washing machine. But a portable washing machine is a viable option if:
- Your apartment doesn’t have hookups.
- Your community’s machines are coin-operated (which gets expensive!)
- You move often and want the convenience of a lightweight appliance.
- You just don’t have room for a full-sized washer/dryer.
- You want to do your laundry in your own apartment, on your own time. Sharing laundry appliances with other people is for the birds.
What about drying my clothes?
Yep, they make portable dryers, too. They work the same way as full-sized dryers – they tumble your clothes while blowing in heat – but they’re just smaller. Basic models cost around $90; you can pay up to $600 for a top-of-the-line model.
If you want to save money and energy, you can always set up a clothesline or invest in an inexpensive drying rack. They don’t work as quickly as the dryer, but your clothes will dry on their own eventually.
You can buy portable washers and dryers at most big-box stores, including Walmart, Target, Sears and Home Depot, or online.
Now we want to hear from you! Who loves or loathes portable washing machines and/or dryers? Let us know how you feel in the comments below.
Photo credits: Shutterstock / tormashka; Flickr / LizMarie_AK