Living in New York City, I am among the many with no access to laundry in our buildings, and no time to spend at a laundromat. My laundry is dropped off at the Wash and Fold on the corner and picked up a day or two later. This is something entirely new to me (and quite frankly easy to get used to), and I’ve always been sort of morally troubled by how the whole thing goes against my DIY philosophy. Not to mention the thought of strangers (the one in he facility I patronize has 5-inch orange nails) folding my underwear.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when I came across the Wonder Wash from a company called The Laundry Alternative. This ingenious low-tech gadget can handle about 5 pounds of dirty clothes per load and uses 90% less water and significantly less detergent. Best of all, it is very simple to use — load it up with clothes, fill it up with warm or cold water and detergent, screw on the lid, and tighten the pressure screw. This last part is what makes it all so efficient. Like a pressure cooker, the heat inside expands and forces the water and detergent through the fibers of the clothing. After about two minutes of hand-cranking, you are left with a clean load. It is easy, and ideal for delicate fabrics like underwear, scarves, and so on.
It could certainly be more visually pleasing, but as long as you have somewhere to stow it when not in use, that’s not a problem. The only real downsides are that you have to find space to hang the laundry to dry, and that it doesn’t handle heavily soiled clothing so well. Yet, at $42.95 the Wonderwash is a great deal, for your wallet and the environment. And then there is that certain satisfaction about performing the manual labor involved and doing it yourself.