Home › Forums › SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION, ENERGY and WATER CONSERVATION › Sustainable Energy & Energy Conservation › Hand Operated Clothes Washer
July 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm #257176
Thought I’d share some info on a product I have recently invested in:
I had to purchase it from America as there were no suppliers in Australia. I’ve got two pictured to give you an idea of the pieces and the assembled product.
I’ll get the length measurement and also the details on the instruction sheet and post that next. I’m having trouble posting here lately so I will do it in small amounts or I’ll lose all the info :angry:
brbJuly 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm #526595
Here are the Directions for Use:
Use a 5 gallon (@20ltr) pail, sink of bathtub or anything that would hold water deep enough to immerse clothes in and provide adequate agitation space. Normally 1 1/2 gallons (@5litres) in a 5 gallon (20ltr) bucket would be sufficient for 1 garment, adjust by adding more water as needed if more clothes are involved. Depending on the container the agitation effect on each article of clothing may be a problem if too many articles are washed at one time. This is especially true if used in a constricted space like a sink or pail.
Add water to container first, then add clothes and soap (1/4 tspn per garment)
If heavily soiled items are being washed, rub some soap into the soiled area and proceed to wash as normal
The Rapid Mobile Washer like a plunger is operated by hand in and up and down motion. You will feel the suction action take place after a couple of downward movements and while moving the washer upwards. Normally a couple of minutes will be sufficient to wash your clothes as the water is pushed and pulled through them.
Rinsing the clothes – the same amount of water should be sued with rinsing as washing to provide the necessary agitation Squeeze out as much excess water as possible and hang clothes to dry. A hand wringer will get more water out shortening drying time.
To assemble the product, the small piece sits on top (you can see in the picture on the box) and then the large solid cone with the webbed piece inside the solid cone, when all those pieces are aligned the handle screws into them from the top.
I’ve had mine now for about a month and I have to say that it works well, better than I had expected!!
A word of warning though, if you just an average person doing average things this will make your arms VERY tired when you first start using it!!July 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm #526596
fully assembled the unit stands about 75cm high and that is quite a nice height for me to use while standing up without hurting my back or shoulders. I was very surprised that my arms ached when I first started using it but I started by washing socks and undergarments, tea towels etc and worked my way to bigger things :clap:
As the instructions say, it does take a few minutes to wash your clothes and yes probably about as much water as they say but since I tip my wash and rinse water together in a large bucket and then straight onto the garden it’s not a problem for me. The real savings is in electricity!! I also have a glass washboard and a plastic “camping washboard” that I bought from China (before I got the glass one) and I use them for heavily soiled clothes as well as the plunger. Even leaving heavily soiled articles to soak overnight – I have found that the plunger does NOT clean them, but my camping washboard fits nicely in the 20litre bucket and I don’t have too many heavily soiled garments.
I only work part time so I have TIME to attend my washing throughout the week, I can wash nearly everything with the plunger, sheets, towels, jeans, jackets – but only ONE item at once!! I like to have a bit of water in the bucket over the top of the garment to get some nice sloshing going (makes me feel like the clothes are really getting a good clean) and I also rinse items TWICE.July 25, 2012 at 1:47 am #526597MiaowzenMember
That sounds great fruitful!July 25, 2012 at 1:52 am #526598AndreKeymaster
AND .. you save on gym fees! :woohoo:July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm #526599
Hi Miaowzen and Andre, you are both right, it is great and I get a work out for free!! I had to go to work yesterday so didn’t get to finish up.
I ended up purchasing this product (I got multiple because I’m a bit greedy :pinch: from Grant over at
as you can see it is just under $20 US. I had looked around and found this was actually one of the better prices but the reason I got it from here was because Grant was REALLY really helpful and prompt and got things going really quickly for me. The other places I had enquired either weren’t flexible enough to “think outside the square” regarding postage etc. Postage is going to set you back the price of the product again and one place wanted a telgraphic transfer which my bank was going to charge me another $25 for!
The best thing would be if you knew someone who was going/coming from America, they could put it in their suitcase for you for free, but the next best thing is to get together with other like minded people and put an order in for three or five, Grant packs them in the one box and the postage gets less the more you purchase, I also arranged insurance because we have had more than a few things go missing here in the postal service and I’ve been told it is even worse over in America.
Anyway, I use this enough to be able to give you an example: each weekend I wash my work clothes, a pair of jeans, a top with the company logo, a tshirt I wear underneath in winter and a jacket I wear over the top. Since I don’t actually get ‘dirty’ at work I wash the jacket first, followed by the t shirt and top with the logo and then the jeans and I do this in the same bucket of wash water! I take each item and put it in another bucket til I have washed all my uniform and do the same with the rinse cycles. It probably takes me about 20 minutes which includes getting the water from the back tank and also tipping the end water over whichever plants get it on that day. I have all weekend to dry my clothes so I don’t take special care to wring them out (e.g using a mop wringer bucket) too much, might be different if I had to wear them the next day!
I probably cover about 1/3 of the washing needs of our family of five – 2 adults and 5 teens – currently while working part time, which saves us at least two loads in the machine on a weekly basis. I bought three washers so it will take some time to recoup my costs but I have no doubt that it will happen and so I can recommend this product quite happily knowing that it is a good investment!
Also just a tip about washing with a washboard – the trick is that you don’t actually bring pressure down on the board but rather it’s the friction of the clothes passing over the corrugated surface which cleans them. It is really good for when you see the kids running around in WHITE SOCKS :angry: . Simply slip you hand in the sock, dip it in the wash water, run a bar of soap lightly over the tread area and rub it back and forth over the corrugation (you’ll have to move the sock around over your hand to get the heels and toes thoroughly clean), it really does not take a lot of soap at all as it lathers up quite nicely on the board and you can have those socks back to their original state in no time. Even better get the kids to do it and tell them that is what will happen every time they run around in socks!
I have the bigger and older style glass washboard because I find it easier to get jeans and larger items washed – the small plastic camping board is great for the smaller items.
Oh and it seems to use another set of arm muscles entirely!!!
:tup:July 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm #526600GKindredMember
Interesting little device…
I was actually piecing together a design of where you get one of the 40l blue poly barrels, attaching a crank and just spin it 🙂 Because if that designed worked, you could add on a couple blades and make it wind powered 😉July 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm #526601KristyMember
Sounds really interesting fruitful, thank you for sharing with us 🙂July 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm #526602RobyneMember
They was a guy at last years caravan and Camping show was selling them, He had a lot of people around so I couldn’t get close enough to see what price it was.
I have one of those Bratix washers. You put the clothes in the barrel put in about 1/2 bucket of water some washing powder and screw on lid to form a vaccuum and spin th ehandle about 20times each way. then I pour it into an empty container and then do it all over again and in the mean time rinse the clothes and dry them. Fine in summer but winter its hard to dry the heavy wet clothes.
It doesn’t clean the work clothes properly I always have to scrub them cleanJuly 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm #526603
that’s great to hear that they are sold here, I don’t get to any kind of “show” anymore but if anyone was interested in it that would be the place to go. Be good if someone could get the info of the people that were selling it. I’ve always had my eye on a HotPot type machine but I might try to build a hay box cooker before I consider spending that money.
I have also seen on the internet people have gotten a normal plunger and drilled some holes through and used that instead of the product sold in the shops so there are lots of ideas if you don’t have money, it just so happens that I find an idea, try it out in a few different ways and if I’m not satisfied with the results then I save to purchase the product which is what I did here. I found it to be very good and would recommend it to anyone!
Thanks for your replies!
:wave:August 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm #526604pennyMember
When I was about 11 we visited my grandparents in Cleethorpes in England. They lived in a little two story council home with a scullery. My grandma washed clothes with a dolly. It looked like a three legged stool with a pole attached. At the top was a T handle. The clothes were placed in a tub on the floor and the dolly turned backwards and forwards and the dolly worked like the center part of a modern top loading washing machine. There was a knack to working it but I remember that the clothes came out really clean. The advantage was that both arms and the upper body got a great workout. Grandma used to do a full load at a time and used it until my Grandad died and she came to live here with my parents I think she was about 82 then and still using it!August 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm #526605purplehatMember
I’m very interested in getting one of those washers pictured! I looked, but can’t find anywhere in Oz that sells it, and I can’t bring myself to buy one for nearly $50 from the US. Argh.August 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm #526606
that’s an amazing story penny, I might have to do some research on that.
Purplehat, get to your next caravan, camping and outdoor show perhaps, maybe even the royal show?? It would be great if someone could get the info of whoever sells it at those shows and posts it, alas as I stated earlier I haven’t been to a major city “show” in years and don’t plan on going soon!!May 1, 2013 at 11:52 pm #526607
if anyone is interested in these I have noticed that redback trading are selling them, have a look
don’t know how much postage is but that is a good price
🙂May 2, 2013 at 3:25 am #526608casalentaMember
I have one of those rotary no-electricity washing machines: http://www.cleanairgardening.com/portable-washing-machine.html. Mine is a different model, and I’ve had it for a few years now and can’t remember where I got it, but it’s virtually identical to this one.
It works very well and doesn’t take much water or much effort. So perhaps another option for those wanting to avoid electric washing machines.
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