Monday, 5 August 2013

A Washing 'Machine' for Campers

Portable Washing Machine / Spin Dryer - Pedal Powered

No Mains Required!

* HALF PRICE * WAS £59.95 NOW £29.95

This may be one of the silliest things I'll buy during 2013 and I do hope that it hasn't been done in vain, as it's a tiny item that is costing more than it has cost to give my entire bedroom a makeover!
 
When the washing machine went bang and I was left hand washing my 'smalls' every night, my hands were beginning to look like white prunes. As for my nails, well... they are very clean, that's about all I can say in their favour.

The search began for a cheap and cheerful alternative, rather than diving in with both feet to invest in a new washing machine. I want to at least give the old one the opportunity of being fixed - but the local 'fix-it' man is ill and can't get to us until he's fully recovered. I may even start taking the machine to bits myself, but not having the correct tools could be a bit of a pain.
 
Keep in mind my recent 'airing of the tent' escapades and my passing thoughts of 'wouldn't it be fun
to have a camper van', then consider several more power cuts in our area and you can see where all this is leading. You got it - off grid alternatives!

We do have a stream running through the bottom of our garden but the thought of slapping clothes off rocks on a daily basis is a little too far-fetched, even for the likes of me.
 
Search Lotto is my friend - it's my free ticket to the Lotto millions, so off I went in search of an alternative to an automatic washing machine, something to save my poor hands until I have my machine fixed. (Or replaced - perish the thought!)

I found the Ventus 'TWISTER' Pedal Powered Portable Washing Machineas seen on TV's 'The Young Apprentice'. On closer examination, the price tag on most of the camping store sites and, even, Amazon, made it look ridiculously expensive, but I then spotted those magical words displayed on an eBay advert - * HALF PRICE * WAS £59.95 NOW £29.95 *
 

The description included things like:

  • Just fill with water, add clothes (ideal for underwear...) add a little washing powder and pedal gently for a few minutes.
  • You get clean clothes, and a little exercise!
  • No power bill / No batteries / No inconvenience!
  • Uses water sparingly and efficiently.
  • Perfect for camping / caravanning / power outages / or simply use at home when a small load does not justify the cost or energy of your regular electric machine.
Well, I was won over almost instantly, but with an alternative thought in mind!

To all intents and purposes, this looks like a glorified salad spinner housed inside a small pedal bin, so I am assuming it is going to be tiny. I have a 3 litre plastic bowl, looking at that I suspect that the 4 litre interior basket of this pedal-powered gadget won't hold very much, but should be large enough to 'rinse one's smalls of an evening'. I figure I'll be setting up said contraption in the corner of the shower, for ready access to hot and cold water, rather than using it outdoors. Of course, during sunny, summer days and doing a cold rinse, it will be ideal for doubling up as a garden watering device, as the amount of soap used will be minimal. (This is the plan, to date.)

The other wacky idea I had is developed from my desire to create a 'tiny house' come bird hide come mini-summer house in what will, one day, become the secret garden. All of these handy little gadgets should be ideal for next year's summer camp if 9 year-old grand daughter decides that it sounds like fun to camp out at granny's!

I'll follow up this blog post with a second one as soon as my clothes washing salad spinner arrives, letting you know how I get on and how well it performs. In preparation, I have made a fresh batch of frugal laundry cleaner.

Until then, best wishes from a prune-fingered Frugaldom.
 

 

18 comments:

  1. Maybe I should try washing my smalls in the actual salad spinner to see how effective it is :-)

    Let us know how good this little machine is after you've been using it for a while. As it's pedal powered it should be good for a spot of exercising while you're in the shower too, just remember right foot one night and then left foot the next!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't even considered doing my washing while I was in the shower, good thinking! I love the way ideas adapt, expand and then take on a life of their own when a few like-minded individuals start communicating. :)

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    2. You will not believe this Sue, but I have tried 'spinning' some smalls in a salad spinner!! It was suggested by someone in a camping magazine but when I tried it whilst we were travelling it did not work that well, I can wring out more water with my hands!!

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  2. Check out you tube 'salad spinner laundry' - there are loads of great clips!!

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    1. I've just has a look at a few of these clips on YouTube and then I did a search on eBay for said 'commercial salad spinner'. Eek! They are so much more expensive than the foot pedal spinner I've ordered - you'd be cheaper buying a Ventus Twister to wash and spin your salad stuff. In fact, now that you've pointed this out to me, in a roundabout way, I can see what an exceptional bargain this really is, no need to even hold it down and turn the handle. Thanks for that. :)

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  3. I had a few years without a reliable washing machine and a friend used to lend me her caravan 'washing machine' It was a ball on a stand that you cranked a handle to spin. the whole thing worked on pressure built up inside and did a very good job. I would love one of them again, it also helps prevent bingo wings as you have to crank it for a good while and keep changing hands to ensure both arms are nice and excercised lol. The secret with washing clothes is lots of rinses as much as the actual soapy bit. You have reminded me I have run out of gloop...can't cope without me gloop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember these spinning washing balls! Perhaps my grandparents had one in their campervan or else my parents had one in their caravan? I must ask mum! :)

      Today's 'gloop' has been left concentrated so I just need to dissolve a spoonful into a jug of warm water and add it to the small spinny washer. I can't believe I'm getting excited about the prospect of spinning my smalls! You do realise that if this contraption works then I'll need to give it a better pet name than 'Ventus Twister'! LOL

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  4. but what about bigger items of clothing how are you going to wash those?

    Gill in Canada

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    1. I don't have a bath, so anything that doesn't fit in the sink is going to have to go into neighbour's machine and I'll reimburse them. It's OK while the weather is dry, as I can get towels etc into a big bucket sat on the shower but I'll not can do this once the rain gets here. Can't think of anything too heavy for a big bucket at this time of year - shorts or leggings & tee shirts weather, bath towels seem the heaviest items, they're even heavier than sheets!

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  5. I used to do all my washing by hand when my boys were small, indeed I didn't have a washing machine at all until my youngest was about one, so that was 8 years of washing by hand (and foot) including terry nappies for both of them.

    Yes, the larger things used to get washed through in the bath and trampled on to get the soap right through, lots of rinses on a hot summers day with cold water were bliss for hot feet.

    Even today I marvel at having a washing machine that does all this for me and never ever take it for granted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cheated when I had first child - everything was washed in the bath but I bought disposable nappies most times and only used terries when I really had to use them. Doing bedding was a nightmare but as my neighbour back then used to say, as long as the baby stuff was clean, aired and dry, that was the most important thing. :) I eventually got a second hand machine and then had a second hand twin tub for a while. This machine I now have was the first brand new washing machine I'd ever had - a cheapo Argos one bought about 5 years ago and that's the one that has gone bang! :(

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  6. I used to have one of these, it worked by a handle instead of a pedal tho.

    Basicialy my washing machine stopped pumping out and I couldn't afford a new one so my granny gave me this, it worked really well, I could only fit one pair of jeans in it but i did manage to get a whole load done in 2-3 goes and really very little time. I did use the washing machine first and pump the water out manually so not sure how well it cleans.

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    1. I'm honestly not expecting much from this gadget but it's an interesting experiment for me and I'm looking forward to finding out how well it performs. Should be able to let you know tomorrow but as expected, we're forecast for rain, so that's a bit of rubbish news as far as frugal laundry is concerned. LOL

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  7. http://www.amazon.com/The-Laundry-Alternative-Wonderwash/dp/B002C8HR9A

    we have the one above.

    its the mangle part that is missing. wringing out can really hurt your hands

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's quite like the type of think I remember from the past, minus a mangle. I'm amazed at how many people are commenting on this subject with the benefit of personal experience. Avoiding the need for expensive household appliances and saving on electricity are definitely things that many more people are thinking about than the media discloses, I think, otherwise such gadgets wouldn't be commercially feasible. Hoping my spinner/pedal bin arrives this afternoon so I can try it out in sunshine.

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    2. please do a review.

      I have quite a few things that some would deem "prepper".

      I also have a billy kettle, we used to use it at the allotment. a few leaves and some twigs and you have freshly boiled water for tea. We have also used it whilst camping.

      I wish we had a mangle in our garden sometimes I could use it on bulkier items to really get the water out.

      I also have an old fashioned phone, pulse dialing, like we had in the 80's in our house. I came across that idea when a lady called Green Twins Mummy (that was her blog), lost all power. No power means our cordless phones wont work.

      I think lots of people are really thinking about these things now.

      I would be most interested in your findings

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    3. Hmm... everyone I know has pulse-dial phones because here, in the more rural areas, power cuts are fairly regular occurrences. We have BBQs, camping equipment, a stand along log burner and I'm adding to my electricity-free collection all the time, having just received my latest gadget - the wind up torch that can also recharge a mobile phone or iPod. Brilliant for camping somewhere with a mobile phone signal, which we don't have here, either. :)

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  8. How did you get on with this? Would be interesting to see if it actually got your clothes clean.

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