belated update on wonder washer and spin dryer

i wrote a while ago about our plan to get a wonder washer and spin dryer from laundry alternative. I said I would follow up, and then didn’t. of course. Now I am!

Firstly, the wonder washer. This didn’t get things quite as clean as I hoped it would. I think it’s great for delicates, and clothes that are minimally soiled (no stains, etc) but for anything else, we just had a hard time getting stuff really clean. For example, I would put in a changing pad cover of Kierans with still-damp poopy stain on it, and it just wouldn’t come out very well. It did work great for pre-soaking cloth diapers before putting them in the washer. However, we still ran into the problem that we don’t have a washer in our apartment, so it was really hard to get them down to the laundry room once they were soaked. We stopped using it fairly quickly, and just recently gave it away. I think for somebody with a little more time and commitment, it could work pretty well, but for us, with a baby and a small apartment, it just wasn’t meant to be.

The spin washer had slightly better results for us. Firstly, it it pretty compact, and gets stuff AAALLLMOOOSTT dry. Even cloth diapers, which is nice. You have to load it pretty carefully, and takes kind of a while to get a whole “big” load of laundry done. The spin dryer made the most sense for us when we were using the wonder washer. However, once we started taking laundry to the basement/laundry mat to wash, it became somewhat impractical to wash down there, spin up in the apartment, and then either a. hang all over the apartment or b. take back down to finish drying quickly. I think the biggest benefit was in drying cloth diapers – the heat dryers in our building are really crappy. so if i take the cloth diapers just out of the washer and hang them around the apartment to dry, it can take between 12 and 24 hours for them to dry, which is a pain in the ass when we don’t have much space and we need the diapers sooner rather than later. the spin dryer reduced the drying time such that if I did a load of diapers at 10 PM, I could spin them and they would be dry at 6 AM when Kieran got up and needed fresh pants.

All that said, neither appliance worked quite as well as we had hoped for us, and we’ve given both away at this point. If we had more space, I WOULD love to have kept the dryer, because I think it’s great for the diapers.

The other thing is…the washer is a good water-saver i think, although you have to rinse a few times…i’m not sure how much water a regular washer uses, but the washer probably used 3-5 gallons per load, and the loads are smaller than in an electric. However, it doesn’t use electricity. The dryer, too, doesn’t get things totally dry, but it only runs for 2-3 minutes per load (approx 3 loads per full sized washer load of laundry) and even while it is running uses much less electricity than a heat dryer. That said, for most people who plan to line-dry their clothing, there’s really no need for the spin dryer anyway – if clothes go outside they dry so fast!

so all in all, i have to admit that for us it was a bit of wasteful spending and consumerism, which really bums me out, because i was excited about this eco-friendly clothing drying alternative, and instead we just bought some stuff that we then gave away. sigh.

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