Jan 26, 2023
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Portable washers

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Portable washers

Portable washers typically hold only a very small load of laundry. In a typical wash, I can fit probably three to four days’ worth of clothes for one person. Between me and my fiancé, that usually works out to a load every other day or so to keep up with net-zero laundry.


If you don’t have laundry in your apartment building or home, a portable washer is a lifesaver, and in my opinion, an absolute must. A portable washer gives you full and exclusive access to laundry right in your kitchen or bathroom.


Even if you do have communal laundry, a portable washer can offer a much more personal and reliable option: You don’t have to wait for the machines to be free, or acquire a giant bag of quarters, or worry about someone taking your wet laundry out and dropping it onto a dirty counter. They’re also popular in the RV and boating communities, and can be a good option for tiny houses or apartments, and some dorm rooms.


There are many different styles of portable washers, but a good product should be compact, easy to use, and energy-efficient.


Portable washers don’t have all the bells and whistles that a full-size unit has. If anything is stained or needs special treatment, do it first. We love OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover because we find it helps preserves color and gets stains out fast. You can presoak your clothes in a bucket, tub or sink, or even in the body of the washer itself. My washer has a soak mode, but you can also just fill up the washer and let it soak on its own.


Every portable washer is a little different, but all operate on the same premise: an inlet hose that connects to your sink tap to fill the machine with water and an outflow hose to drain. When you set up your washing machine, you’ll follow manufacturer instructions to connect the hoses to the body of your machine. You’ll need a wrench to make sure the hoses are connected tightly to the unit.


Connecting to the tap takes some trial and error at first. The tap connector has two parts: a quick release and a screw-on nozzle. Using your fingers, depress the quick-release valve and remove the screw-on nozzle. Lining the threads of the nozzle up with the threads on your sink tap, screw the nozzle onto your sink. You may need to remove the aerator from your sink tap, if it has one.


If the nozzle included with your machine doesn’t fit your sink tap, you can purchase a pack of adapters from Amazon and see what works. A good fit means minimal leaking from the area around the nozzle (minor leaks can be okay). Once the nozzle is installed, push the hose with the quick release onto the nozzle and turn the water on.


Step 4: Place the drainage tube into the sink

After reading horror stories of drain hoses slipping out of sinks and flooding floors, I use a piece of string to secure the outflow tube to the sink. If you’re using your bathroom sink to fill the washer, you may choose to place the outflow in your bathtub instead.


Step 5: Leave the water on

The first load of laundry I did with my portable washer, I sat next to the machine and turned the water tap on and off every time it switched from filling to agitating. This is not the right thing to do. Leave the tap running the entire cycle. Depending on what you’re washing you can either set the tap to cold or hot water. I prefer cold water because it’s easier and makes colors less likely to run, but you may wish to use hot water for undergarments, sheets, and towels.


Step 6: Turn your machine on

You may need an extension cable to reach your nearest three-prong outlet. Plug your machine in and press the “on” button. Select your load size and laundry mode, then press start. The washer should immediately begin filling with water.



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