Tiny House Laundry: Cleaning Clothes in a Small Space

When you make the transition to tiny living there are undoubtedly some sacrifices that need to be made. Giving up all of your modern conveniences does not have to be one of them. Many people think that they are going to have to sacrifice some of their major appliances, and normally the first one to go is the laundry machine. But with the options available on the market today, you don’t automatically have to forgo your washer and dryer. Here are your options when it comes to doing your tiny house laundry.

Outsourcing: Tiny House Laundry at the Laundromat

First, let’s not necessarily rule out going to the laundromat. Today’s laundromats are hipper than ever and some even have libraries, cafes and even bars in or attached to them. This great article from Bon Appetit shows bars that not only make your shirts clean, but serve up delicious drinks and food as well.

There are a few options when it comes to buying washers and/or dryers for a tiny home. Here are the details:

Manual Washing Machines

Manual washing machines are great for energy conservation. Well, let’s say they are great at house energy conservation, but not human energy conservation. Most of the units downplay in their advertising the time that it takes to actually wash the laundry by hand. You may not want to repeat a crank or foot pump for ten minutes and then have to do it six more times to get all of your laundry for the week done.

The WonderwashTiny House Laundry - Wonder Wash, a five pound capacity, manual crank washing machine has been around a while and gets pretty good reviews.  The price point is nice at only $45.00 but keep in mind that you will not have a dryer which means you will have to have room to dry your clothes somewhere.

Tiny House Laundry - DrumiNew to market, check out the indiegogo campaign for Drumi.  This system is a five pound capacity, manual foot pump washing machine. Its sleek look and small footprint make this a great option for tiny home living.  You once again won’t have a drying availability and you will be spending $239.00, but think of how cool you will look! :-)

Combo Units

Combo units are really for the person that needs to have a washer and a dryer. They save space by doing both tasks in the same footprint and can have up to three times the capacity of the manual machines. Now keep in mind that you want to be careful choosing a machine here because you will have to choose between 110v and 220v and although the 110v will take a bit longer to dry your clothes, you don’t have to worry about trying to find special hookups/wiring that the 220v necessitates.  

Tiny House Laundry - PandaThe Panda Small Compact Portable Washing Machine has a 7.9 pound capacity and checks in at only $149.00. This machine offers a full washer and “part-dryer” meaning that it dries clothing by spinning only with no heat. Which means you will still have to have the room to hang clothes to dry.

Tiny House LaundryNow the
Westland (Splendide) WD2100XC WhiteVented Combo Washer/Dryer really does do it all for you. This is the combo unit that we install in our houses. The 15 pound capacity and heated drying cycle makes for a much more space economical choice.  You will pay for it, however. The price is $1,142.99 for this vented unit.

A quick word here about vented/ventless options on dryers. You can get the ventless units, but although they have a condenser to help cut down the amount of humid air that is going to be blown into your home, they do not stop all of the moisture from getting in.  Also you have to dump out the condensation tray at least once a wash. We highly recommend that you go with a vented unit if you have a choice.

So how important is washing and drying clothes for your tiny house laundry plans? Do you use / would you ever think of using a manual washing machine? Let me know in the comments below.


This entry was posted in Tiny House Living and tagged , , , by Tom Bastek. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Bastek

Tom Bastek is the Director of Marketing for Tiny Home Builders and has been on the tiny bandwagon for years. In his spare time he enjoys improv comedy acting, pinball, LEGO building, bowling, craft beer and the New York Jets. He resides in Atlanta with his wife and his hound Josie, who takes up most of the bed. He can be reached at tom@tinyhomebuilders.com or on twitter @tinyhousetom.

16 thoughts on “Tiny House Laundry: Cleaning Clothes in a Small Space

  1. Gil Palmer said:

    You forgot the good old Yukon Plunger and a bucket, Tom. Arguably less human energy (and cost) than the Wonderwash or Drumi. Equally effective.

  2. Gloria said:

    I own the panda washing machine and i love it! I have it hooked up outside my trailer, the spin cycle on the dryer spins out the excess water from the cloths and i just hang up to dry, and in the winter i use the dryer at our park

  3. Rose Govanus said:

    I really wouldn’t use a manual washing machine. The plus side is you would get in your exercise for the day. But if I was going to wash my clothes in a tiny home I would want to dry them also. The only places you could line dry year round would be places like Florida. But then again one of the reasons I would want a tiny home is to cut down on housework & have more spare time to do the things I love, which is certainly not laundry.

    • Dan Louche said:

      I would only have a manual machine as a backup if I typically used a laundromat. I couldn’t image sitting in front of the TV every night cranking away, but it could save you on a bad laundry day :)

  4. Vickie Hicks said:

    I love to learn about the
    tiny house movement. I think it is a great thing even if the banks don’t.

  5. Richard hicks said:

    No on manual washer. Must have vented combo,stacked.

    • Dan Louche said:

      That is definitely going to be the easiest, although not the cheapest, option. It’s what we usually install :)

  6. Penny Burke said:

    I used the Panda model and in my opinion it uses A LOT of water to get the soap out of the clothes. The spinner did work well. Not sure this is conservative as far as water goes.

    • Dan Louche said:

      Thank you for sharing. I’ve never actually used this particular unit, but read a lot of the reviews. Perhaps this is only a better option if you are concerned about space and not as much conservation.

  7. We moved into an RV whilst building our tiny. This has turned out to be a great way to do it as it’s caused us to realise what we need and also moving into our tiny house will actually be a step UP.

    We used to use bikes to commute, but bought the truck to help with getting materials for our build. Prior to buying the truck, we would have to ride our laundry to the laundromat. Not the most joyous thing, but with a large back pack it’s possible. The truck has made it a more pleasant job and as there’s a coffee shop right next door to the laundromat, it’s a good excuse to get out the house. Laundry, coffee, treat.

    it’ll take over 2 years of using a laundromat to equal the cost of the washing machine in this post (not including the electricity and water) and as going tiny, is about owning less, downsizing and moving towards environmental sustainability, reducing the number of appliances that each individual must own is surely heading in the right direction. How long will your washing machine last before you need to pay for repairs anyway? Or before you need a new one?

    It might be a small chore to head to the laundromat once a week, but for a couple, with no child, i feel it’s the way to go for now.

    I think we will continue without the mashing machine for now, but I plan on wiring/plumbing for one, incase we ever change our minds in the future.

  8. Andria Fort said:

    Thanks for the useful info.I am in the planning stages of my TH. Although I would prefer a gual machine washer and dryer in one. I am not sure it will be in the budget yet.I do want people to think when in a TH how many clothes are U really going to have? Line drying outside hrre in NJ can be done 3/4ths of the year.How about an indoor drying line that is retractable for the freezing days.Not so much work and environmentally a plus. Isn’t it why some of us are doing this tiny home anyway?
    Andria Fort

  9. Marie Banks said:

    I am planning on using 2 (12×24) storage buildings fastened together for my home. I am sure this will be just the right size for 1 person and maybe an overnight guest sometime. I have the plans drawn out as I like for the interior, but not sure what to put on the kitchen floor, have been looking at tile that looks like planks that I really like. I would like the washer-dryer stacked.

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