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James Washer for laundry?  RSS feed

 
T. Joy
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I did a search for alternative washing machines here but didn't come up with much. Is anybody using something like the James Washer




http://www.gaiam.com/product/james+washer.do


or the rapid washer



http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Goods___Laundry___Washing___Rapid_Laundry_Washer___66RW?Args=&customField1=W9&;



or a bike powered set up?



http://inhabitat.com/cyclean-bike-powered-washing-machine/

I'm thinking the kid's bathwater is clean enough to wash clothes in with that rapid washer right in the tub (they soak in epsom salts and get a teeny little rub down with castile, I figure mostly water is just fine for cleaning little bodies), I'd just have to set up a ringer somewhere. We already hang most things to dry. Only sheets go in the drier because I just don't have that much space to hang them up right now.

I'm open to suggestion though...
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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I'm on a REALLY limited budget, so when my apt. raised the prices on both the washer and dryer, I took drastic measures.  The "Rapid Washer" w/ shipping was out of my budget, so what I did was get a plunger ($2) and drilled 6 holes in it, around the edge.  They'll keep the plunger from sticking to the bottom.  You'll have to start the holes out small and work your way up with larger drill bits until you use a quarter-inch bit.

Then I got a white 5-gal. plastic bucket (for free at local bakery).  I pour maybe a teaspoon of laundry soap, maybe some Borax, fill it with hot water, put in the clothes, and start plunging.  I usually go about 10 minutes, maybe 15 (depends on when the commercials are on TV), dump the water, squeeze it out by hand, then fill the bucket again for rinsing.  I usually throw in a couple of tablespoons of vinegar into the rinse to act as a softener.  10-15 minutes again, drain, squeeze, then hang them on the line in the spare bedroom.

The only time I pay to use the washer/dryers now is when I do sheets and towels.  Those I save up and do once a month.  I've REALLY saved on my laundry bills!
 
Burra Maluca
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This is what the old women in my village use...

 
T. Joy
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What... is that exactly?

Muzhik, good tips. I am thinking if you put the lid back on the bucket with a hole drilled in the top for the plunder handle you'd have not much splashing if you were to do this in front of the tv. It must take forever for them to dry though, I can only squeeze out so much water by hand. I want a ringer at least no matter what else I end up using for washing.

Here's my recipe for homemade soap if you want to save even more money, it's ridiculously easy cheap as anything too.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftylittlemonkey/sets/72157624058764110/
 
Burra Maluca
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It's an old font.  The little building at the back surrounds a well, with a roof to keep the light out so the water doesn't turn green, and a low wall to stop children falling in.  The stone things in front are hollowed out so you can fill them with water and wash your clothes in them.  The women walk there with buckets of dirty laundry on their heads and pull water up from the font to wash it in. 
 
                              
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Location: Central Florida
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I just hop in the tub with my blankets and such and stomp on them with my feet. And the kids help too. Then let them drain a bit. I was thinking about rollerpins and making a ringer out of old ones from the thrift store?
 
Walter Jeffries
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ecopepper wrote:
I just hop in the tub with my blankets and such and stomp on them with my feet.


*grin* Us too! It works. I built our new bathroom and bathtub with this in mind so the bathtub is split level with a deeper area for washing babies and cloths. In the winter we dry them by the wood stove but I like it better when we can hang them outdoors. In the summer we was outdoors in a tub.

I still find that every once in a while I like to take the cloths into the laundrymat and do them there because the machines get the cloths cleaner than I can. Family of five, on a farm.
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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craftylittlemonkey wrote:
Muzhik, good tips. I am thinking if you put the lid back on the bucket with a hole drilled in the top for the plunder handle you'd have not much splashing if you were to do this in front of the tv. It must take forever for them to dry though, I can only squeeze out so much water by hand. I want a ringer at least no matter what else I end up using for washing.

Here's my recipe for homemade soap if you want to save even more money, it's ridiculously easy cheap as anything too.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftylittlemonkey/sets/72157624058764110/


I was all set to make my own soap, then the store across the street had a loss-leader where the laundry soap cost less than the stuff I was going to make!  Also, last time I was down by the laundry I found "empty" bottles of soap in the trash.  Except they weren't empty -- just tilt them upside down to let the rest of the soap drain into the lid.  Since I use so little with my system, it will be a long time before I need to buy/make laundry soap!

Thought about the lid and decided against it, because that would have cost $3-4.  I don't have a lot of problems with splashing or sloshing, though.  Just have to work the plunger right.
 
T. Joy
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It costs about 2 cents per regular load of laundry with that recipe I posted. I've yet to see commercially sold soap at that price!
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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craftylittlemonkey wrote:
It costs about 2 cents per regular load of laundry with that recipe I posted. I've yet to see commercially sold soap at that price!


Like I say, it was a loss leader, the store brand. ($1/32 oz.)  Besides, making the laundry soap takes time that I didn't have at the time.

BTW, as for drying without a wringer, I used to use a towel to help -- wrap the wet stuff in a clean bath towel and sit on it -- but I got tired of dealing with the wet towels.  Now I squeeze out what I can and throw the stuff over the line in my spare bedroom.  After half an hour, I can squeeze even more out of the part that's lowest on the line.  After that, I throw the laundry to pieces at a time into a large bowl and throw them in the microwave -- 4 minutes, pull out and toss, then 4 more minutes.  After that they come out steaming.  I hang them up and microwave the next set of laundry.  I'll let everything hang to dry overnight. 99% of the time everything is dry by the time I get up, except for days like today, where there's close to 100% humidity.

When I get a job, I'm planning on getting one of those stand-alone spin-dryers, that will spin the clothes so they're damp.  I figure that will eliminate the microwaving step.
 
T. Joy
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We don't have a microwave (never have) and no spare bedroom either... sounds like a lot of work too. I think I'll keep looking for a ringer, even the kids could manage a manual one so they can help with that part. Or we'll build a bike powered spinner, heh.
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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craftylittlemonkey wrote:
We don't have a microwave (never have) and no spare bedroom either... sounds like a lot of work too. I think I'll keep looking for a ringer, even the kids could manage a manual one so they can help with that part. Or we'll build a bike powered spinner, heh.


Oh, yeah, it's a lot of work.  That's why they called the washing machine "a labor-saving device."  Being without income makes it really easy to justify the work. 

If you want to go cheap on the wringing, on some other boards I've read people who say to get one of those buckets with the mop wringer attached -- the wringer works fine on most clothes.  You have to be careful, though, to use that bucket ONLY with clothes! 
 
T. Joy
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How come? I would think just washing it out between different jobs would be fine. Unless you were transporting potty compost with it, which I'm not using a bucket for currently...
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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These little things get good reviews from the users:



link

I had a friend who had something similar and he liked it plenty. 
 
T. Joy
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Yay! Paul has been in here fixing things up! Thank you!
 
T. Joy
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Well I've been researching this all morning and I have to say it's been disappointing! I have read tons and tons of negative reviews on all brands of that Wonderwash machine that looked so hopeful. The whole thing is plastic, the handle breaks off, the plug comes loose (some versions have no plug), it doesn't really seal so there is no magical pressurized thing that forces soap into the clothes and gets them super clean, you have to crank it for way longer than they say, it doesn't actually get any stains out, etc etc etc, and no info on how to rinse clothes with it either. Very few good reviews on that one at all.
Then the wringers, not very many good review on those either. They don't clamp to tubs or buckets well, they are so heavy they tip everything over unless it's mounted to something, the handles are awkward, they don't really get a lot of water out, etc etc etc. Man, I was about to give up!

Then I thought why not just use a bucket thing like this commercial mop bucket and wringer with a modified plunger or rapid washer plunger?
http://compare.ebay.com/like/200449846855?ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar

In the end that seems like the easiest, most water saving, most economical way to go. Those mop buckets are easy to find so nothing needs to be shipped to me, they are cheap, they are portable, and they are big enough to handle a load of dirty clothes every day. While we live in a place with a washer and drier set up I'll keep using them for sheets and towels but all the daily laundry can be done like this. I have a great folding drying rack already.
 
                          
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ecopepper wrote:
I just hop in the tub with my blankets and such and stomp on them with my feet. And the kids help too. Then let them drain a bit. I was thinking about rollerpins and making a ringer out of old ones from the thrift store?


You can make a great wringer out of some poly netting and a stick.

Take a rectangular piece of netting and make a sling out of it where the netting makes a big loop on both ends but it can open up in the center to make a pocket where you can place wet clothes. 

You place one loop over a fixed object like a doorknob or handrail and run a stick  through the loop on the other end of the sling.

Then you twist up the sling with the stick and in no time almost all of the water is wrung out.

Poly netting is preferred because it is strong and it will not hold much water on it's own.

 
jacque greenleaf
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I have the wonder wash and can give it a qualified OK.

Yes, it is made cheaply, and has a number of issues. For me, it is a way to cut down on trips to the laundromat, which is 30 miles away. My tips for using it, should you try it

1) don't load as heavily as the instructions say you can
2) use less soap than they say to use (I do this with machines as well, use about half)
3) don't bother with the crank, it is easy enough to turn the tumbler directly

Interestingly, the one I have definitely pressurizes, although I don't think it is a very high pressure. Wonder whether this is a cheap production issue, maybe the assembly process is inconsistent.

When/if it breaks, I will not replace it, but try something else instead.

I think how much you like it depends on what your other options are!
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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Seeing as how my current option is a bucket and plunger, I think I would like it very much!  I believe the pressurization comes from using hot water -- the hotter the water the greater the pressure.  As the water cools it releases vapor, which we would see as steam.  If there is no way for the water vapor to escape, the pressure inside the unit is going to increase. 

I ran into this when I started using small buckets with lids (ice cream pails) to do very small loads.  I'd fill the buckets with clothes, a little soap, and very hot tap water; then I'd put the lids on and begin to shake or roll the buckets to agitate them.  I could see the lids distend with increased pressure inside the buckets, and I'd have to be careful opening them to avoid being sprayed.
 
                                    
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T. Joy wrote:I did a search for alternative washing machines here but didn't come up with much. Is anybody using something like the James Washer

I'm open to suggestion though...


Here's a simple, effective washer machine that's less than $15 brand new used by a Zen Monastery:






here's some other tried and true ideas...
P12-26-11_washerMachine.jpg
[Thumbnail for P12-26-11_washerMachine.jpg]
Simple Effective Washer Machine
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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What about a solar washer? use the heat to create the steam to increase the pressure...and you could use pressure cookers to launder, just leave them in your solar ovens for several hours, paint them black. then plunger.

I guess I'm interested in the drying, wringer part of this, my parents have a sweet front-loader that does a lot of the job of the dryer for it. (I find clotheslines a bit of a problem with wrinkling and my clothes looking meh and not much sun on that side of the house--and drying in the basement increases the humidity there.)

The goradora or whatever it is called sounded like such a great option. Or even the wonder washer if you built one out of metal instead of plastic for durability.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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ultrasound cleaning?

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dolfi-next-gen-washing-device#/

reviews? thoughts? pluses, minuses, interesting points?

claims 1/80th the energy use of a washing machine ("80 times less energy" (sic)) and gentler on fabrics (even "hand wash"). unless the ultrasound drives dogs nuts I think it's a decent idea, maybe not for electrosensitive folks tho. And you don't have the advantage of a wringer to dry out the clothes after, that's what I really want to see most...but you could build/get one separately.

cost 109 + shipping

it's for small loads it says, but me, I'd push the limits and settle for less-clean clothes when it's a matter of gardening wear. It's intended just to replace hand-washing.

But the idea of using ultrasound for washing, esp. if it could happen without detergent? kinda seems smart. Been round for 25 years too.
 
jacque greenleaf
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Hmmm. Googled around and found this - http://www.laundry-alternative.com/mini-ultrasonic-washing-machines/

And this - http://www.ctgclean.com/tech-blog/2012/11/washing-clothes-with-ultrasonics/

Before I spent the money on the Dolfi, I'd need to know how specifically their device overcame the problems.

Then there's this, which is considerably cheaper - http://www.amazon.com/Tide-Buzz-Ultrasonic-Stain-Remover/dp/B000228KJY
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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thanks! cool, I'll have to look that up some time soon. I love the idea of an ultrasonic stain remover, i was hoping to find a stain remover, since, well, I'm a slob. Whenever I'm wearing new clothes.
 
Rebecca Norman
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I've got say, having lived for 20 years in a region where nobody had washing machines until a couple of years ago, washing clothes by hand for oneself isn't so hard. And they get _cleaner_ than in a machine, because when you see a discoloration, you just scrub it a bit, either against itself or with a brush, and it gets cleaner than a machine can do. If I had to wash clothes for more than myself it would be a burden, though.

Rinsing is often the most tedious part of the job, especially for anything quilted or fleecy. But getting clothes cleaner than a machine does really takes only a few seconds.

I think maybe we've been tricked into thinking that washing clothes by hand is humanly impossible, just like producing some of our own food is.
 
Rebecca Norman
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If you find that clotheslines leave your clothes wrinkly, maybe you don't know about snapping the items once or twice before hanging them.

(Obvious for those who know, I'm sorry, but it seems that some people don't know that)
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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No, didn't know that!!! Glad you said something! My outfit will be snappier for it.
Rebecca Norman wrote:If you find that clotheslines leave your clothes wrinkly, maybe you don't know about snapping the items once or twice before hanging them.

(Obvious for those who know, I'm sorry, but it seems that some people don't know that)
 
jacque greenleaf
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:No, didn't know that!!! Glad you said something! My outfit will be snappier for it.



Yup. Also, button the buttons, zip the zippers, smooth the collars, cuffs, flaps, and pocket bags. (I like cotton, and I hate to iron...)
 
Dan alan
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When we are off grid we just use the plunger thing with a one way check valve in it. It really does a good job without to much work.

Along with a manual ringer. It works great proving everyone is allowed only 2 sets of clothes and each washes their clothes when before they go to bed.
breathing-washer-sm.jpg
[Thumbnail for breathing-washer-sm.jpg]
 
Al Freeman
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Here's a cool trick for laundering your dish rag:

I use a dish rag instead of a sponge, because sponges never dry out and stink.  That said, this would work for any small garment probably.  I put about an inch of hot water in the kitchen sink add a little Dawn dish detergent and swish said dirty dish rag around until the water is yucky. 

Next, I let out the dirty water and replace it with fresh water and "rinse" the soapy dish rag, then wring it out.  So far, nothing earth shattering, but .  .  .

Here's the cool part.  Pop the wet dishrag into the microwave and nuke it on high for about 10 seconds.  It kills all the wee beasties and makes it smell good again.  Now just let it dry someplace and you're finished.

Oh, by the way, I've tried all sorts of "alternative" washing machines and I'm back to a standard top-loading model I bought second hand 5 years ago for pocket change.  It only has one "cycle" but it's kept me in clean clothes, so no complaints from the "old guy" (me).
 
Jason Learned
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I saw these things called washing holes in Dalmatia once, if I ever have a river or stream I'm going to try them.

If you are ever in Dalmatia in Croatia there is the river Krka. You can take a boat up the river and upriver from the island monastery there is a little mill town called "Skradinski buk" taking advantage of the falling water. Where the water exits some of the mills they have it flow through round holes in the ground. These washing holes are stone lined in a cylinder shape, like a shallow well. The water flows through these washing holes in a fast whirlpool fashion. The locals have these wicker baskets that fit into these whirlpools and they told me that you put your dirty laundry in them for five minutes and you pull out clean laundry with no soap needed. It was the coolest washing machine I have ever seen. No moving parts, they've been in use for over two hundred years and they clean like the dickens!

Here is a link to the town: http://www.np-krka.hr/stranice/water-mills/106/en.html

I had a picture, but it got lost with time. Maybe not possible for every location, but it could be a great addition if you have the right conditions.

Jason
 
BeeDee marshall
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I used a james washer for two years.   it never really got clothes clean and was very energy intensive as far as my arms and back were concerned..  the hose would clog and kink and the wringer was a bitch to turn.  I had used a wringer washer (electric) years ago and remember the wringer being much more stable and easier to wring clothes out...of course I was younger then😉 

I think the plunger with bucket would be the way to go with no electricity, but we have a couple of solar panels (480 watts total) and it will run the small washer we have now. Panda XPB 36. https://www.amazon.com/Panda-Compact-Portable-Washing-Capacity/dp/B00AW04ZMM

It gets clothes clean and the spinner really does a good job wringing out the water.  It will do a king size bottom sheet, but not the top, so i hang those on the line on a rainy or snowy or windy day and let nature do its thing.  I only wash one pair of my husband's work pants at a time and am very careful how much I put in the washer in general.  We have had it two years and it is still doing a great job.  My back is very happy. 

I fill it from a 5 gallon bucket, but it can be hooked up to a sink.  It is easy to move.  Basically,  I think it is a good value.
 
Alan Loy
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When camping we put clothes, water and soap in a tub in the back of the car.  After travelling clothes are washed, just need to rinse.

If you need to travel during your week this might be a way of "stacking functions"

I guess it would work on other vehicles as well (tractor...)
 
Lakota Myers
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Alan Loy wrote:When camping we put clothes, water and soap in a tub in the back of the car.  After travelling clothes are washed, just need to rinse.

If you need to travel during your week this might be a way of "stacking functions"

I guess it would work on other vehicles as well (tractor...)
My mom used to do the same with her old Dodge Ram. Plenty of bumps on gravel roads means lots of agitation.
 
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