Review: The Wonder Wash
Posted by Heather
When we first considered using cloth diapers with this baby, the big looming problem with the decision to do so….was washing them. The thought of hand washing diapers every day or even every other day, was almost enough to put me off completely.
We’re apartment dwellers and that whole thing seems to work well for us….I love that I can hypothetically call someone and go “Hey, my dishwasher just blew up and is spewing glass and caked on stewed tomatoes all over my kitchen!” and they come up and fix it and I have a new dishwasher before I get home from work the next day without an extra cent coming out of my pocket. However, awesome as it is to not have to worry about repairs and all the other tedious crap involved in home ownership….we don’t have a washer and dryer.
Naturally we have wash facilities in the building and the wash room is really only about 50 feet from the door to our apartment. But, it runs about $3.00 per load, $2.25 if I use the short dry. So, while not out of the question for the occasional total stash wash, not really a cost effective way to cloth diaper on a daily basis. So I started looking around……the internet is a marvelous thing, ya know.
Several weeks ago, I ordered a Wonder Wash. I ordered mine from Amazon but it comes from The Laundry Alternative, located in New Hampshire. Within about 2 hours, I received a notice from Amazon that my washer had shipped and it actually arrived about 2 days before Amazon’s early estimate which just blew me away.
I barely had the washer in the door at home before DH had the box open and was putting it together. It was super easy to assemble. Everything is made from heavy duty plastic. The base snaps together very securely and has suction cups on the bottom for added stability. Then, all we had to do was mount the barrel to the base and attach the handle. Best part – no tools required!
For our first trial run with the Wonder Wash, I tried to put in a decent sized wash that wouldn’t be too much of a hassle but would still give us a good idea of what the machine could do. I ran one of DH’s Jersey short sets, my favorite long nightgown, a couple of pairs of socks, two of BBv1’s t-shirts and two pairs of her jean shorts. Once I added the recommended amount of detergent and warm water for this size wash, the machine wasn’t even half full and I was already impressed.
After screwing on the lid, I started to crank the handle and at first it seemed a little stiff. I’m not sure if I just needed to get used to the mechanism or if it actually just had to work itself into a groove. It did get much easier. Both DH and BBv1 also gave it a try and both agreed that it was much easier than any of us really thought it would be. After the initial minute and thirty seconds that we agitated with the detergent and warm water, I drained the grey water. It took me a minute to get the drain together and I actually wound up with a bit of water on the kitchen counter before DH stepped in….I blame it on not being able to actually bend over far enough to see where to insert the drain – lol! – and I haven’t had a problem since then. Once it was done draining, I hand expressed a little more water and popped the drain back out. I then added some cool, clean water to the barrel for a rinse cycle. Another minute and a half cranking, drained and done.
Now, ultimately my drying plan is to get a drying rack like this one to pop up out on the porch when it’s nice. For now – and for days when the weather is less than cooperative – I’m using one of two drying racks that I ordered with the washer. After squeezing the excess water out of everything, I hung it all up to dry overnight in the common bathroom and checked it all out when I got up the next morning. Not only did everything smell fresh and clean, it all looked like it had just come out of the washer and dryer down the hall – BBv1 is rough on socks and even they came out perfectly clean!
Since that first wash, I’ve used the Wonder Wash more than a few times. Usually running moderate sized loads, but twice I ran it stuffed to the gills – it holds just shy of 5 lbs.!! Each time, I am happier than the last that I bought this thing. Not only does it do a decent job of getting everything clean, but with not having to use the machines down the hall for every little thing – and the fact that I only have to use a smidge of detergent – it’s saving me money!! Oh, and ya know it doesn’t use any electricity and uses a whole lot less water than you’d use for the same amount of clothes in any standard washer so you’re saving the planet and all, too ;^)
The one and only “complaint” that I have about the Wonder Wash is that the drain is fixed in one position. Whether it’s in my kitchen or in either of the bathrooms, it has to be set up on the right side of the sink. The drain empties to the right. And I’m right handed and the handle is on the right. This is by no means something that would keep me from using the machine – or from recommending it highly to everyone I talk to about it!! Frankly, I don’t see how it would be possible for the drain to swivel from side to side on the barrel without compromising the barrel itself, allowing leaks. For me, especially right now, the simplest solution is to set up the machine with the drain facing the sink – so that I don’t have to pick it up and turn it around while it’s full, ya know? It’s not that big a deal for me to have the handle on the other side and DH is a lefty that’s adjusted to living in a right handed world so he could care less. And really, if I had more counter space on the left hand side of my sink, I probably would never have even noticed!
The Wonder Wash is a win, that’s all there is to it. As a cloth diapering newbie, the practicality of having one of these is just off the chart – no time-sucking hand washing and no wasting money on half full washers! But really, I can’t see anyone not being thrilled to have one of these in a pinch…..so go get one!!
Posted on 09|07|2011, in attachment parenting, awesome-cloth, crunchy mama, hippie mama, natural living and tagged apartment, apartment living, cloth, cloth diapers, crunchy, diapers, green, hippie. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.