This Compact Device Cleans My Laundry as Well as a Large Washing Machine and Costs Less Than $60

published Jul 30, 2021
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There are definite perks to having your own washing machine. Laundry can be done at your convenience, for starters, and you don’t have to worry about neighbors hogging all the machines in your complex. I haven’t lived anywhere with a washer and dryer in-unit in nearly four years, though. While I don’t mind transporting my laundry to my parents’ houses, there have been more than enough times where I’ve found myself needing to do a small load in a pinch. As long as I’ve got running water, hand-washing is an option; however, I recently began to consider non-electric washing machines. They’re a step up from doing it all by hand and a step down from using a full-scale washer. One that caught my eye immediately was an adorable little device called the WonderWash, a retro-style hand-crank washing machine that cleans clothes in five minutes or less.

The Set-Up

Assembling the WonderWash takes about 15 to 20 minutes, tops. The base snaps together, the washer drum fits into the base and is held in place by two extensions on either side, one of which is for the handle. It comes with a pressure lid and a draining valve that are used during and after washing clothes. When not in use, the handle can be removed and stored in the washer drum along with the valve. The only issue I’ve experienced in putting together the WonderWash was inserting the pegs that cover the holes on the base. If the base isn’t pushed all the way up (a snap can be heard when it’s secure), it can prevent the peg from fitting properly, but a little wiggling will set it on the right track.


A full load in the WonderWash is equivalent to a little under 5 lb. of clothing, and takes two minutes and four tablespoons of detergent to clean. For every 1/4 load, 1.5 quarts of water is needed to run the washer effectively. If you don’t have a way to formally measure, WonderWash founder Corey Tournet compares it to filling a rice cooker, stating, “You want to cover the clothes with water, but not much above the clothes line.” For my very first wash, I was able to measure the amount of water I was putting into the machine with a 5-quart mixing bowl, and found that the level of water was a little above the clothes, as mentioned.

Once the hot water, detergent, and clothing are all in the machine, everything gets sealed in with a pressure lid. From there, all that’s left to do is set a timer and get cranking. The instructions say that there should be one rotation every second for the recommended time. In the first few seconds, it feels off-balance due to the water sloshing around, but once momentum kicks in, it smooths out and the time flies by. Additionally, there are suction feet on the base to keep it from moving around too much as the clothes are spinning. Mine didn’t stick to the floor right away, but after some maneuvering, it stuck all the way through the process.


There were two rinsing recommendations given to me by Tournet: “You can either fill it with cold, put the lid back on and tumble for about 20 seconds, or you can dunk the clothes in cold water in the sink.” Though Tournet mentioned that he finds the second option to be the best one, I tried the first method — and I agree with him. 

That’s not to say that rinsing per the WonderWash instructions aren’t effective, because they are. You can see cleaning in action as you rinse and the dirty water that drains out of the machine gets lighter with the clean clothes. However, the draining valve can’t get every drop of water out of the drum. By taking the clothes out and dunking them in clean water ensures that the garments aren’t being tumbled with any of the old water. In the WonderWash, I rinsed twice as recommended, and by the second rinse, the water was running clear, indicating that the clothes were good to go.


For clothes drying, the only methods I have readily available are to press them between towels or wring them out with my hands before hanging them to air dry on a drying rack. Since there aren’t many clothes in the machine, it doesn’t take long to squeeze the water out by hand, but I think the drying process would be helped along by using a spin dryer. I have yet to find a worthwhile solution when it comes to speeding up air drying clothes, but I’m certainly open to recommendations.

As someone who’s only ever used hand-washing in the bathtub as an alternative to a full-size washing machine, I love the convenience and ease of the WonderWash. Even with cranking the machine up three times, the entire process from washing to hang-drying can be completed within half an hour for a single load. I’ll likely use it most for light garments, delicates, small towels, and reusable cleaning rags, and if I need to wash a small amount of clothing in between my usual laundry days. I’m looking forward to many more rounds of cleaning with the WonderWash. After years of not having a washing machine in my apartment, I only wish I’d found it sooner!

Buy: WonderWash, $56.00 (originally $58.00)