Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Washing nightmare

As always, laundry is piling up at our house. Lots and lots of dirty clothes everywhere. It's getting close to that point of the semester that we start wearing all the granny and grandpa underwear hidden in the bottom of the drawer just because nothing else is clean.

Luckily our landlord installed new washers and dryers and it's a bit less disgusting to do the laundry at the building, but now it works on plastic tokens that we have to buy from his daughter, whenever she happens to be home. And people still have the nasty habit of feeling free to take out my damp laundry from the washer before the end of the cycle to put their owns, which I'm not really fond of.

We end up using our whole wardrobe to then rent a car2go and take the 5 tons of everything we own to the laundromat once every 3 months, more or less, to wash it all at once. The closest laundromat is not exactly heaven on earth and just thinking about how close we are to that time of the year that we spend a whole free saturday washing and drying and folding clothes makes me sad.

That's when I have the excuse to not do what I was supposed to be doing and window shop online for laundry alternatives!

We have absolutely no space for a proper washing machine at home, but there are several options that might be possible for us and I have been studying them for the 3 1/2 years that I've lived in this apartment.

Apparently the best option could be the Haier portable washer, that could fit in our coat closet if we take out everything else that's in there, and the roll it in and out of the bathroom every time we do laundry. It does fit a whole set of queen size sheets or about 15 t-shirts. It also does all the work by itself and has an integrated spin cycle. But it's the largest of the options, which would force us to have it in the middle of the bathroom all the time, squeezing in and out to get to the toilet. It has the looks of an actual washing machine, good reviews everywhere and an used one on craigslist costs $150, or $250 for a new one. 43x45x76cm

Panda is a chinese brand (well, at least it's all chinese, not only the manufacture) that has some interesting things. A while back I almost bought the mini washer. It's tiny like a bucket and also has great review. It would fit perfectly fine under the sink for storage and then inside the bath tube during work hours. But it's only an agitator. You have to fill it with water, let it work, put the hose down for draining the soapy water by gravity, then fill it with clean water, agitate again to rinse and have an absolutely soaked laundry to air dry, which takes forever. Having a Mini Panda also meant I would have to buy a separate spin dryer, to make the drying time a little bit better. Laundry alternatives sells a spin dryer that apparently even people that have full sized washer and dryers use to have the items almost dry before putting in to the dryer, to save energy, so it must spin even better than a regular machine. It isn't the most practical combo, but it's small enough to have it at home and it does mean not having to go to the laundromat... It fits only on queen size sheet at a time, or one pair of jeans and a few t-shirts. $99 for the Mini Panda plus 145 for the spin dryer, which adds up to quite a lot!

But in January Panda came up with a new washing machine that was only available in China before! It's a more automatic version of the Mini, with a spin dryer attached to it! From what I understood, you still have to fill it with water in the beginning and then again to rinse, but it drains more automatically and better than the Mini and the spin dryer is supposed to dry really well. It fits inside our bathtub while it's washing and comfortably in the coat closet afterwards, it does the whole cycle (washing, rinsing and spinning) in about 15 minutes and can wash more than the Mini one.

(I would be as happy as that little guy with one of these!)

This youtube review quite well the struggle with it, but it isn't all that bad!

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jmQKnX1tRTI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The best alternative would be if a smart person rented one of the ground level stores on the new apartment building they are building right across the street from us and made it a laundromat as amazing as the one we saw in Bellingham by the Trader Joe's, all clean and really pretty, with brand new fancy machines, a coffee shop and wifi to make your time waiting less painful. One can dream, right? It was just a while ago that we had to commute to the super market, and now we have the best one right on the corner, why not this one too?

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