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What Exactly are Portable Washers? Read This Before You Buy One!


In contrast to non-portable washers, which are large, heavy and connected to a building's plumbing system, portable washers are small, lightweight and easily transported to any room offering a working faucet. Great for apartment or mobile home living because of their space and water-saving features, portable washing machines require minimal installation--just wheel the washing machine up to a sink, hook it up to the faucet, plug the machine into a three-prong outlet and load the stainless steel drum with up to 11 or 12 pounds of dirty clothes.

Can You Easily Take Portable Washing Machines Around the Entire House?

Yes and no. When portable washers are full of water and in operation, it is highly recommended that they be kept off carpeting and on level, uncarpeted flooring. In addition, while having a faucet nearby facilitates filling the washer, it is possible to manually fill portable washing machines using a bucket or other container, if the washing machine must be stationed in a room that does not have a working faucet.

When draining a portable washing machine, it's more convenient to have the machine near a sink or floor drain so the drain hose can be placed in the sink to allow used water to drain out after a cycle is completed. However, you can drain portable washers anywhere there is an appropriate place for several gallons of water to drain, such as a campsite or backyard.

When emptying a portable washer manually, remember to unplug the unit from the wall before pouring water into a sink or other receptacle. Make sure the washer and cord are thoroughly dry before storing the washer so that plugging it in the next time doesn't result in an electrical short or shock.

Who Would Benefit from Using Portable Washing Machines?

Apartment Dwellers

Anyone living in an apartment that doesn't have washer/dryer hookups. Most coin-operated washers charge between $1.50 and $2.50 to do one load (and it can't be any other coins except quarters). In addition, you don't know who's been using the washer or what they may have washed in that washer. Using your own portable washer means you won't be desperately searching for enough quarters and knowing your clothes are not being washed in somebody else's leftover dirt.

Mobile Home Dwellers

Although most mobile homes have washer/dryer hookups, they don't offer much extra space. Portable washing machines can be stored in a hall closet when not in use and easily moved when necessary.

Frequent Movers

For those that need to relocate several times a year because of their jobs, portable washers expedite the moving process and fit into any apartment or home. Moreover, they are quick to set up so washing clothes at the last minute is never a problem.

wonderwash-4College Students

Dorm living is cramped and hectic enough without stressed college students being bothered by having to lug several loads of laundry to the nearest laundromat or to mom's house every weekend. With a portable washing machine, college students can cram for their exams, save money and clean their clothes without leaving the campus.

Families with Small Children

Portable washing machines make convenient and cost-effective complements to regular-sized washing machines. For families with young children, they handle unexpected messes involving smaller loads of clothing more quickly and more affordably than conventional washing machines. Portable washers are also excellent for washing cloth diapers, onesies, baby wash clothes and items that typically need washed every day.

Anyone Who Wants to Save Money and Reduce Water Usage

Standard-sized washing machines contain many components that require a lot of electricity. This chart provided by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that a non-portable washing machine is the fourth biggest energy waster in your home--and the second if you don't have a spa or pool.

Desired Capacity Per Family v. Single Individuals

Indoor Water Use



Washing machines








Portable washing machines come in several sizes to accommodate single people and families. For example, portable washers offering 1.65 cubic feet of space that comfortably holds 12 pounds of clothing is suitable for a family's washing needs. Alternately, one or two people would find portable washing machines that provide 1.0 to 1.2 cubic feet and a six-pound to 6.6 pound capacity fully adequate for their washing needs.

Since portable washers are only about one-third the size of a regular washing machine, they also use much less water. With less water, you don't need as much detergent nor will your hot water heater need to run constantly while you are washing several loads.

  • Non-portable washing machines use between 30 - 40 gallons of water per wash.

  • Portable washing machines use between 10 - 15 gallons of water per wash.

  • Depending on how much your local water company charges you per gallon, your annual savings could approach $200 or more by using a portable washing machine instead of a traditional washing machine.

Features of Portable Washing Machines

  • Easy Controls:
Customize settings with the easy convenience of precise controls that allow you to set water level, water temperature, pause the cycle or see the status of the cycle instantly.


  • Easy to Load and Remove Laundry

With a wide washtub circumference that facilitates loading dry clothes and pulling out wet laundry, you won't ever have to "fight" with getting your laundry out of the washer or worry about stretching delicate pieces of clothing.

  • Safety Settingsspp55aw-3

For households with children, portable washing machines are equipped with a childproof feature that sounds a loud alarm if the lid is accidentally opened while the drum is running. Additionally the washer will start draining automatically if the lid is opened to prevent serious accidents.

  • Comes with Adjustable Feet or Casters

Leveling feet helps balance and stabilize portable washers while casters facilitate moving portable washers anywhere in your home.

  • SanitaryStainless Steel Drum

Durable and easy to wipe clean, a stainless steel drum enhances the longevity of portable washing machines while ensuring your clothes are not damaged during the wash, rinse and spin cycle.

  • Quiet Cycling

Portable washing machines are equipped with a noise damper plate that surrounds the stainless steel drum to minimize agitation noise of the drum.

  • Other Features

Some portable washers have tubs that are made of polypropylene instead of stainless steel. Durable and sanitary, polypropylene tubs resist many acids and chemical solvents staining work clothes or rags. Other washing machines may have an automatic shutoff that is triggered if the machine is left idling too long while in mid-cycle as a safety precaution.

What Accessories Do Portable Washers Need?

When you buy a portable washing machine, everything you need will be included with your purchase, except for a screwdriver, pliers and wrench, which you will need to hook up the machine's hoses to an appropriate faucet. If you find the hose that is included with your portable washing machine is not a desirable length, you can also replace the shorter hose with a longer hose.

Portable washing machine accessories include hoses, castors, adjustable leveling legs and lint filter.

Replacement hoses, as well as replacement drain pumps, belts, adaptors and other components may be found at Air-n-Water or at from the maker of the portable washing machine you purchase.

Tips for Using Portable Washersspp55aw-5

  • Allow at least two inches of open space between the sides and back of a portable washing machine.
  • Load the drum evenly with clothes; uneven laundry may produce vibration or noise.
  • Empty pockets before loading; hard items such as nails or coins could damage the washer.
  • Always plug portable washers into grounded wall outlets. Never remove or cut the third prong from the washer's power cord.
  • Before starting a portable washer, make sure it is supported by a level, hard surface in an adequately ventilated area.
  • When placing portable washing machines on carpet, make sure its ventilation openings are not obstructed by carpet piling.
  • The only maintenance your portable washer will need involves cleaning the filters, making sure hoses are clear to prevent clogging and wiping out the interior tub regularly, especially after using starch or bleach.

What are "Green" Portable Washers?

Tabletop or "green" portable washers require no electricity and are small and lightweight enough to be carried anywhere and used anywhere. All you need is water, laundry detergent and a few minutes of your time to operate this handy portable washer.

Since green washing machines do not need electrical components, they last years longer than traditional washing machines and never require maintenance or parts replacement. It also eliminates the need to wash delicate fabrics by hand because no agitator exists inside the machine that may snag or stretch them.

Fully portable and requiring no hookups whatsoever, "green" portable washers clean about five pounds of clothes per load and are perfect to take along on camping trips, in your RV or wherever you go that makes it difficult to wash clothes. In addition, a handy drain spout allows you to empty manually-operated portable washers without having to carry them an appropriate draining area.

Tips for Drying Clothes Without Using a Tumble Dryer

Save even more on your laundry bill by drying clothes without using electricity. Options for drying clothes naturally include:

  • Hanging them on a clothesline outside (remove any wrinkling by quickly "whipping" clothing once or twice and smoothing the fabric while folding the item)
  • Hanging them on a clothesline in your basement or attic
  • Draping sheets and towels over your shower curtain rod
  • Hanging clothes over a wooden clothes rack (expedite the drying process by directing a large fan towards the rack or using a hair dryer if you need something quickly)
  • Hanging clothes on hangers in your closet

Stop lugging bags of laundry to the Laundromat, scrounging for quarters to do one load at your apartment building's laundry room and wasting water and electricity on half-full loads in your conventional washing machine. Invest in a portable washing machine today and discover all the benefits you've been missing.

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