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My experience using a mini RV style washing machine with spinner.  RSS feed

 
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I bought this washing machine for use in Cebu Philippines. It cost almost exactly $150 Canadian or about 110 American. It's an awesome machine.

It draws 250 watts. Clothes were usually run for about 15 minutes and they came out nice and clean. Four loads consume 250 watt hours. So, we could wash 16 loads with one kilowatt hour of electricity.

As I said, the clothing got nice and clean. And the spinner makes them so dry, that I usually just put them on without bothering with the clothesline. This helped me to stay cool. I was almost never too hot and I was almost never completely dry,. I do the same thing in Canada during the summer.

Some days, I just gave my clothes a brief rinse with no soap , because I was just looking for the cooling effect. One minute of washing followed by a spin.

 On a clothesline in the tropical heat, they were usually ready to put away within 2 hours. But we often hung them indoors, because then they help with cooling the house. During my two months there, we didn't use air conditioning. If the place started getting hot, I knew it was time to do some laundry. I would direct the electric fan towards the drying rack and we had evaporative cooling. That's all this well-built, concrete block house required to stay comfortable.

In the Philippines they use some of the stinkiest most chemical smelling laundry soaps I've ever seen. But on my second week there, we started manufacturing bar soap using only coconut oil, palm oil and sodium hydroxide. We made a version that contains quite a bit of salt, and that worked best for the laundry. The salty version has also cleared up pimples for my fiance and several friends.

There are many different brands of small washing machine and they all seem to do roughly the same thing. We bought this one because it was available in the size and price desired and because it came with a built in spinner. Nothing is automatic. You choose how much water you want to use and then you turn the machine to the number of minutes.

 It's rated for 6 kg.  The biggest thing I washed was a large duvet. I found that when a large load is done , it spins better if done in two batches. It's possible to spin a load while the machine is also washing. The drain switch takes a little getting used to. A couple times I tried to fill the machine while it was on drain. There's no drain pump, the water just runs out.

My fiance's mother has earned her living doing laundry in a plastic tub. I hope to set her up with a little laundromat.

I don't want to ever go back to using a giant heavy machine that's hard to move around. I like it that I get to choose the load size and that it sips electricity. And the spin dryer gets them so dry that it really makes sense for people who don't use electric dryers.

I'm totally satisfied with this machine. It's seen a couple months use already, cleaning the clothes for about 15 people. In the home where we were living, they had a dead machine that looked similar. It worked for several years and then someone really over stuffed it and something went wrong. They have quite a bit of experience with these small machines and my landlady said that this is how most people kill them, by overstuffing. I've seen the same thing done in North America, particularly when people go to the laundromat and have to pay. When it costs less than a penny in electricity to run a load, I can't see any reason to ever overfill the thing. But that's me.
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pollinator
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That's almost the same as the machine I used for a few years which was great for smaller things and has really changed my life after hand washing and going to the laundromat for big stuff. (We're off-grid with a very modest amount of panels).



I've lent it to a friend since I managed to buy a bigger machine in a similar style which washes much bigger items and a lot more stuff. Yesterday, I washed two duvet covers, three sheets and lots of pillow cases, seven pairs of jeans, about eleven tee shirts, five shirts, 27 pairs of knickers and five bras, millions of socks and a few dog blankets - all with same soapy washing water. It was pretty grubby at the end.  

I used two only black rubbish bins of water for washing and rinsing, which I siphon off to water the garden.







 
Dale Hodgins
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The water drains into a v-shaped trench in the concrete floor and then it flows out to an area where it waters bananas. I think my homemade soap will be better for the bananas than the mixture of Tide and fabric softeners that was going to them before. The shallow well is about 30 feet away, so I'm sure we're getting some of this water back.

Washers and spinners are also available as individual units for about 100 Canadian dollars. When setting up a little a laundromat, I will go with these units. Spinning takes very little time, so we might get four washers and a spinner. That would cost me $500 including the tax, to set her mother up in a business that could vastly exceed what she has done before. But first I have to put up the building and get electricity to it. We will start with a single unit.

Time will tell if customers take to it. Right now, most people wash their clothing in a plastic tub by hand. There are also fancy laundromats with front loading machines and dryers. These little machines get the clothes clean and spin them almost dry. So I think there's a place in the market to use them commercially. If I do find that dryers are needed to satisfy some customers, I will buy some dead ones and produce hot air with solar panels. Electricity would only be required to spin it and to move the air.
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Irene Kightley
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If you can get or make the spare parts, learn to fix them when they go wrong and keep them running, there's no reason why folk won't come running. I would !

Good luck with your idea !
 
Dale Hodgins
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Labor is about $5 a day and there are plenty of people who are good at tinkering, so if any machines quit I will definitely try to have them repaired. Because there isn't any cold weather, we just don't have big things that need to go through a washing machine. No winter coats and no really thick bedding. The larger stand-alone machines can do a pretty big blanket.

Are you dealing with a shortage of water? Is that why you're using it when it's dirty? Water is so abundant where I was that it's just not a concern. And it's so close to the surface that it takes very little energy to pump it. At that house the water just dumped on the ground under the bananas, but I could see in a larger operation I might want to put it to the top of a big banana trench and have it flow back under many of them. It doesn't really matter how much of it comes back, since there's a high water table.
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I bought this washing machine for use in Cebu Philippines. It cost almost exactly $150 Canadian or about 110 American. It's an awesome machine.

It draws 250 watts. Clothes were usually run for about 15 minutes and they came out nice and clean. Four loads consume 250 watt hours. So, we could wash 16 loads with one kilowatt hour of electricity. [..]



Is this with spinning at which rpm? Sounds great, our cheapo machine (200 US$), which is a casual 60cm front-loader, uses  per load (7kg max) without heating water 0.15 kWh with 1200 rpm spinning. Unfortunately it has no extra intake for hot water. But once set to "energy saver" it doesn't heat water at all, doesn't check the input water temperature and one can feed hot/warm water through a casual mixer-tap from the wood heated boiler (first ten minutes only).

Dale Hodgins wrote:
It's rated for 6 kg.  The biggest thing I washed was a large duvet. I found that when a large load is done , it spins better if done in two batches. It's possible to spin a load while the machine is also washing. The drain switch takes a little getting used to. A couple times I tried to fill the machine while it was on drain. There's no drain pump, the water just runs out.
[..]



Our machine has not much extras, just a few LED. Though keeps up well with up to 7 kg. It can be also set to delay starting for 1-6 h or so.

 
Dale Hodgins
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I don't know the RPM but the picture of the unit should lead to the company website. I think it's Japanese. It spins them dryer than any clothing I've ever removed from a spinner.

I only know the wattage stated. I don't know if it's an average wattage or if it's only when the motor is going. Because it gives a little turn then it stops, and it continues this throughout the cycle. Probably only rotating for 1/3 of the time, but the water continues to slosh around until the next shot of power. Spinner time is generally under a minute, so not a big consideration for power. I use warm water a few times but it was big jugs that I had laid out in the sun. Homes there don't have water heaters.

The low draw is important, because I expect to eventually get my power from a battery bank powered by solar. People generally do their wash once the day starts warming up. It's an activity that women often do in the shade, when it's hot outside. The most comfortable part of the house I was living in, was a rear lean-to with plenty of ventilation and lines for hanging clothes. There was a bare metal roof with no insulation. It was hot to the touch, yet the building was so well ventilated that it remains comfortable. Clothing is placed near the ceiling. If I were doing my own drying room for a laundromat, I would use racks that can be hoisted close to the ceiling once they are loaded. Every commercial laundry that I saw, had very limited space and they used gas or electric powered dryers. But every Home Laundry system I witnessed, whether using a washing machine or the much more common wash tub, used only line drying.  

Side note. The salt soap that we manufactured leaves towels just as soft as if we had used Downy or some other horrible poison. It rained a little bit at least half of the days I was there , so on my own building I will definitely capture that water and often it will be used for laundry before it goes to plants. The use of clean rainwater should further reduce the need for soap. Clean fresh water is so abundant that it's not really much of a consideration. But I do want to use all natural products like the stuff I make, because it dumps right back onto the high water table. Of course I haven't purchased my land yet, so maybe I won't have the Abundant Supply that I have seen in most places.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The flow of water is notoriously slow after about 7 a.m., when getting it from the city supply. But this house also had a hand operated well pump that produces water very quickly. So most of the water we use was pumped by hand. You can put clothing in and start the thing long before you get all of the water in. So I suppose the dirtiest things could go in first. Usually if I was one-quarter full I would start the machine and then I fill a 5-gallon bucket a couple times to top it up. I'm not sure how much water it holds but I think probably 15 gallons. Definitely not a water saver. But you have the option of washing several loads in the same water if that's your thing. It would be difficult to save water from the spinner since it exits very low.

Freshwater can be added to the spin cycle. I usually spun them dry and then poured water over them while the machine was stopped. I don't have any faith that water would make it all the way to the bottom since it spins quite rapidly. When you don't use horrible poisons in the wash cycle, I don't think it's absolutely vital that every bit get rinsed out.

I watched one lady after another use far too much laundry soap when cleaning stuff that was already pretty clean. So most of the work they do isn't about washing the clothes, it's about getting rid of all that excess detergent. I have never seen people so happy to waste their time. Several of the women at the house would not use the machine, because they worry about whether it would clean the clothing, and they don't understand the math concerning electrical usage. The landlady was convinced it would hog power despite the machines rating and the simple math required to come to a cost per load. It was like talking to a fence post.

I went over it with her brother and he got it immediately. This time this equals that. Still, he had to talk his wife into using the machine. For a full week she continued to do wash in the plastic pail, while listening to our machine humming along. Like using a hand saw when someone beside you is holding a chainsaw. Some of them had a hard time understanding that this was my contribution to the house and that I wouldn't be trying to charge them for using it. They are accustomed to paying for a teaspoon of salt.
 
Mike Homest
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I don't know the RPM but the picture of the unit should lead to the company website. I think it's Japanese. It spins them dryer than any clothing I've ever removed from a spinner.

I only know the wattage stated. I don't know if it's an average wattage or if it's only when the motor is going. Because it gives a little turn then it stops, and it continues this throughout the cycle. Probably only rotating for 1/3 of the time, but the water continues to slosh around until the next shot of power. Spinner time is generally under a minute, so not a big consideration for power. I use warm water a few times but it was big jugs that I had laid out in the sun. Homes there don't have water heaters.

The low draw is important, because I expect to eventually get my power from a battery bank powered by solar. People generally do their wash once the day starts warming up. It's an activity that women often do in the shade, when it's hot outside. The most comfortable part of the house I was living in, was a rear lean-to with plenty of ventilation and lines for hanging clothes. There was a bare metal roof with no insulation. It was hot to the touch, yet the building was so well ventilated that it remains comfortable. Clothing is placed near the ceiling. If I were doing my own drying room for a laundromat, I would use racks that can be hoisted close to the ceiling once they are loaded. Every commercial laundry that I saw, had very limited space and they used gas or electric powered dryers. But every Home Laundry system I witnessed, whether using a washing machine or the much more common wash tub, used only line drying.  



Presuming the machine has more or less nothing then one motor, which is powering the washing "part" as well as the spinner part, you can't use both at the same time, it should be the max. power drained, despite perhaps a fraction of a second when the motor starts turning. There are small "power meter plug" (search ebay or alike) around 10 US$, where you can easily measure devices short and long term. I found one of those very helpful to see what eats all those kWh. E.g. see what the refrigator really uses in 24h or in a week.

A dryer can be very helpful depending on your climate. Tough only very few of those with heat pump tend to be economical with electricity
 
Dale Hodgins
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It definitely does both operations at once and using the spinner does not slow down the washing apparatus.

Because I'm in the demolition and house moving business I've had plenty of opportunities to live in unheated homes during the Canadian winter. And whenever I have electricity, I wash the clothing. And if there's no dryer, I hang these clothes about the unheated house and in a few days they are dry or pretty dry. Unheated sunrooms usually get the job done much quicker. I don't know of a climate where you need to have a dryer. People lived all over the world before electric dryers.

But to me washers are very important just because they save so much time. I sometimes do laundry in a big tub when there is no washing machine, but I don't do this in the winter, in unheated homes and no hot water. Even cavemen have their limits.

My absolute simplest method of washing clothing is to Hang Dirty Work Clothes in a small tree which I cut all of the branches off at about a foot long. I come back a few days or a month later and find that they are nice and clean. Always shake for spiders.
 
pollinator
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Greenhouse/sunroom drying works awesome in the PNW, I have a hard time imagining it not working elsewhere. Even outside under a roof my rain gear will gradually dry.

I love the tree idea, but if I tried it here I suspect I would come back to bear-chewed clothes! I left a note on a tree, and they chewed it by the next morning..


This thread has made me reconsider this style of washer.. I'm on solar only, so most normal washers will not suit well. On the other hand at first glance the units of this style available online in Canada look like Chinese junk, and/or cost several times as much as the one you bought, both somewhat offputting.

I wonder if this is that rare item where the value is better on the ones purchased in the Phillipines, where they sound very common?
 
Dale Hodgins
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I think the same brands are available on Amazon. But they may have different lines for the North American Market since the one I bought is 220 volts. That's the standard power there. But it's the exact type of plug that we have in North America, so easy to make a mistake if you bring something over. I brought a Makita charger and someone in the house has assured me that the power in the Philippines is the same as in North America. Turns out he was guessing and he was wrong.
 
pollinator
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I bought one of these machines last summer-- I'm off the grid, and don't want to burden the battery bank so I wash on sunny days, rarely use soap, socks mostly turn grey, but they are clean, what do I care, I'm an old bachelor and it's easier to water plants if I'm not using soap.

I rarely set the wash cycle more than 5 minutes, tend to do smaller loads (I figure it will last longer)

I'm pleased with what I get for my compromises with soap and wash cycle times, but it's nice to know that should someone a bit fussier with those details want to join me, that this style washer will work.

I did have an odd experience in the very beginning, spinner almost always went out of balance and took a lot of finegeling to get it right.

Then one day I thought it had broken completely, spin basket seemed to be totally wobbly, but I turned it on anyway, and to my surprise it started working near perfect every time.

My spinner has a thin plastic insert that holds the clothes down in the basket, and if I use that to press out much of the water first, it seems to work better

 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, they all seem to have this plastic tool for pressing down. I seldom use it. The out of balance thing is the reason that I like to spin half a load at a time.

Some people aren't comfortable with the manual operation of these things. There are several steps that must be taken. But in the household where I was living, during the hot part of the day, the women sit under that roof and yak for hours on end. Now they get a lot more wash done. When line drying is being used, they can put something on to wash and spin, then head out to hang something. Some of them like to do things with the collars of shirts and they sometimes want to hand wash expensive evening wear, so there's always plenty for them to do while waiting for a cycle to continue. This rear lean-to is also the main cooking area, so they can go from turning on the washer, to preparing meals. It makes just enough noise to let you know it's working. When the noise of one operation stops, it's pretty simple to walk over and flip the drain switch or whatever is required.

Many times I put my clothes in just for a couple of minutes and then spun them out. It was pointed out that that wasn't enough time to get them really clean. So then I would point out that without the washer, I would definitely wear them for another two days without any cleaning at all. After that revelation, my 2 minute wash cycles were welcomed. It's like swimming in your clothes, they don't get super clean, but you don't smell like sweat after. No soap was used on these quick rinses. And the only soap I used was our own homemade stuff.

Some people in the house are still reluctant to use it, because they think it would mean that they owe me something. I told them it's a minor expense and something for the whole household. And the landlady is still counting pennies, convinced that the washer uses a hundred times more power than it does. The power bill has increased since we moved there. My fiance still lives there and I will join her in June hopefully. We bought an electric kettle and an electric hot plate. And I've been paying all of the electricity above what was used before. So there's really no reason why the landlady should care how much power the washer uses. No amount of explaining will cure her befuddlement concerning mathematical problems. Her brother who understood the math right away, looked at me and smiled and then he shook his head a little, as I tried to explain one more time. There's lots of math in his job, and he's learned to pick his battles, in dealing with rampant ignorance.
 
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