Friday, 9 August 2013

Laundry With a Difference - Review of the 'Twister'

 Footpump Action Washer and Spinner!

I've been playing with my new toy, the Ventus Twister

Having done some quick research about easier ways of hand-washing than turning your hands into fat white prunes, I learned of this device online and then quickly discovered that others had done similar research and had devised all sorts of contraptions using commercial salad spinners. These, however, proved to be far too expensive for a frugaler, as did the £60 or so price tag on the 'Twister'. (I ended up paying £29.95 + delivery for mine via good old eBay.)
 
First appearances: It's much bigger than I had anticipated. I was imagining a tiny pedal bin barrel with a salad spinner inside, but this actually holds 14L of water in the main washing chamber. At the time of trying this, we had a power cut while upgrade work was going on in the area, so I had to do a cold wash (no hot water) and chose the filthy bath towel that I'd used to soak up the water from my flooded washing machine after it went 'bang'. Using cold water was through necessity, as the power outage lasted 6 hours.

 
Using the shower cabinet as a mini wet room, I got the towel into the basket, added some homemade laundry 'gloop', left it to soak for 5 minutes and then got started with the 'foot pump' action, which is surprisingly easy to do! It didn't take long to froth up the water, despite it being cold!

Pumping the water back out the 'bin' was easy, then same thing as above but without the 'gloop' until the suds were gone and water was running clear. The 'Twister' stays put (I was expecting to be chasing it around the shower base) thanks to the suction pads on the bottom of it, although I'm not sure how well these would work on grass in a wild camping situation.

Then it's spinning time... suggested at 50 to 60 half-size foot pumps per minute! This does get the basket fair whirling around and all the excess water was removed from the towel, which was impressive - no dripping wet towel to carry out to the line - but I still gave it a hand wring before hanging it on the line.

As you can see, despite it being a cold and quick wash, the towel came out fairly clean and dried quickly in the sunshine and breeze. Most impressed, as I wasn't expecting a towel to fit into the basket.

As soon as the power was restored, I tried a warm wash, just filling straight from the shower. I discovered that by removing the shower head, the flex fitted perfectly into the inlet hole of the 'Twister', so that was ideal, especially with the aid of an electric shower and all the varying water temperatures available!

The clothes were left soaking for a few minutes before starting the washing process. I'd easily know how well this works because the leggings and tea shirt I had in got a bit messed up when I accidentally dropped a skewer of toasted marshmallows on them! (Yes, we were barbecuing again!)

Washing, rinsing and spinning completed with a small load comprising leggings, t-shirt, undies and jammies - quite a bit more than what I was expecting to fit into this - and all hung out to dry. They were clean!

This is a great little contraption, BUT... I am going to share the things that should be considered before rushing off to spend your hard-earned cash on a washer that needs no power supply. In characteristic fashion, I am beginning with the cons, as opposed to the pros, because that's the way my mind works.

CONS

  • These could NOT be used indoors on the kitchen floor, for example, because the water needs somewhere to drain away.
  • It needs to be next to a source of water, although there is a length of hosepipe supplied.
  • It isn't big enough to wash a duvet cover - but I'll no doubt try to cram one in, as I'm a bit daft that way!
  • It doesn't spin all the water out of the clothes, only enough to allow you to lift them out without them dripping all over the floor.
  • It's too big to cart on a bike along with all the other camping gear you would need if going alone - you'd need at least one other bike to help.
  • Possibly uses much more water than an ordinary machine - I reckon you could easily get through 40 litres in one small wash, so not water meter friendly if you have one of those to consider... unless you recycle the water.
  • Clothes take longer to dry than if they had been spun in a machine
PROS
  • Money saving on electricity - no power supply is needed so this works anywhere you have access to water.
  • It's fairly lightweight for packaging into a caravan or car boot if you're going camping, or even onto the back of a bike if several of you are going camping.
  • The foot pedal is easy enough to be operated by hand.
  • 14 litres of water is quite heavy for carrying but I think it's light enough to sit on a sturdy draining board or in the sink, if you have one big enough, or even the bath. The hose pipe would reach from tap to washer, just make sure the drainage tube drains anywhere except onto your floor.
  • Small capacity still allows for a full set of lightweight summer clothing, meaning you could do an electricity-free mini-laundry every day after an overnight soak and reserve your electric machine, if you have one, for larger and heavier stuff like bath sheets, bedding, jackets and jeans.
  • Easy to utilise the rinse water for garden and plant-watering, assuming you aren't filling this with chemicals. Hmm... I wonder if I should use it in the polytunnel? That would certainly help the cucumbers!
  • Makes you appreciate modern conveniences, sunshine, the summer breeze and the great outdoors in a fun-sort of a way. I can always hang my washing in the polytunnel if it's raining!
  • I'm guessing these could help save money on nappies if you're using terries rather than paying for disposables.

So there we have it - a simple, plastic contraption that may save you money on  electricity and could help water your garden while encouraging members of the household or family to play at doing laundry outdoors.

I'll let you know how it copes with whites, but I don't have many as these are considered anti-frugal by me. :)

I'll keep on spinning,
Frugaldom.

2 comments:

  1. I would use that in the bathroom and just pick the bucket up and use it to flush the loo. I have a range of buckets in my bathroom and save shower water for loo flushing

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    Replies
    1. The bit in the middle is a drainer, so you can't actually pick it up as a bucket, but it would be easy enough to pipe the surplus water into another bucket for flushing. I probably would if water was costing us anything but I'm a prime example of your typical member of the public - if it isn't strictly necessary then I don't do it. (Bad, I know.)

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