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 clothes washer and dryer. But with the options available on the market today, you don’t automatically have to forgo them. Here are a few options when it comes to doing your laundry in a tiny house.
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.
Another option if you don’t want to spend your day at the laundromat is to utilize a wash and fold service. This way you can just drop your laundry off when you head out in the morning and pick it up later in the day, all clean and folded. My family and I recently took an extended trip and with three kids in tow the idea of spending any time in a laundromat was unappealing, so for a reasonable fee we opted to outsource the job.
If you don’t live near a laundromat or would prefer to wash your clothes yourself, there are a few options available to you.
Full Size Washer and Dryer
While a full-size washer and dryer may be a great size for a family needing to do laundry in a tiny house, there are some things to consider before putting them on your wish list. First, you’ll need to have the physical room and space for them in your design. In our experience, only houses that are 28 feet and longer should consider full-size units. With smaller houses, you will need to make a compromise, perhaps a smaller kitchen or less sitting area, to get them to fit.
Standard full-size dryers also have higher power requirements, specifically most will require 240 volts. More than likely, your tiny house is not going to have the power needed to supply a 240-volt appliance. Even if you wire your house to supply 240 volts to the dryer, you likely won’t be able to get that unless you are parked on residential land with access to full power (e.g. don’t expect to find it in an RV park). So if you are looking for full size units, be sure to limit your search to 120 volt appliances only.
Combo units are great because they offer both washing and drying in a singe machine, thus requiring only half the space of full size units. Keep in mind that these units also come in 120 volt and 240 volt varieties. While the 120 volt units will take a bit longer to dry your clothes, you can feel confident that you will have the power to do so.
The Panda Small Compact Portable Washing Machine has a 11 pound capacity and checks in at only $330.00. 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.
Now 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.
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 Wonderwash, 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.
New to market, check out the YiRego. 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 $299.00, but think of how cool you will look! :-)
Lastly is the Lavario Portable Clothes Washer. I personally like this one because it is much sturdier and has a higher capacity than the other manual washing machines. On the down side, it also takes up more room than the others when being stored. But, instead of storing it, it’s also attractive enough to be used as a hamper.
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.