Portable Washer #2

Welp, I took my portable washer for a test drive yesterday!

I guess this is going to be part well, my life… and part review.

Once again, this is the Magic Chef 2.1 cubic feet portable washer, which I chose because all things considered it had good reviews and appeared to meet the needs I was looking for. There is a 1.6 cubic feet version, but I went with the bigger version because, you know, go big or go home. Boy, did I get what I asked for.

This machine, honestly, intends for you to have a designated space for it, preferably one that has washer/dryer hookups. But, since you live in an apartment, you most likely will have neither of those things. That means you will be storing it in one place and running it in another. This machine makes some further assumptions: first that the sink you’ll be draining into will be conveniently higher up than the washer and deep enough to sufficiently drain high volumes of water, and second that the machine will be close to an outlet. The power cord is very short. Extension cords are not recommended; it needs to be plugged directly into a grounded three prong outlet (I’m using this in the US so I can’t say about international use). So find one close to where you’ll be using the machine. Bathrooms may not have the luxury of an outlet close by, so most people probably end up using their kitchens. I got lucky, since I have an outlet right outside my bathroom and that is where I used mine.

But, well. This machine, being two thirds of my weight and height, is very difficult for a small person to move around. I’ve parked mine right outside my bathroom so I only have to move it a few feet, but those few feet are ten minutes of straining to get it into place. And then there’s figuring out where all the hoses go. I had to put a stool behind the machine and sit out the cycle so I could jump up and hold the drainage hose into the bathtub when it needed to drain. Here’s a picture of this thing so you can see how big it is in a standard sized bathroom:

magic chef portable washer

As you can see…it’s big. It’s hard to maneuver. There are limitations on where you can use it because the hoses and power cord are rather short. You have to plan ahead and know exactly where you will be using it, and even then surprises will come up and you’ll have to improvise. BUT. The ability to do your own laundry in your own house? The ability to have clean clothes in 45 minutes? The ability to have complete control and autonomy over the laundry aspect of your life? TOTALLY WORTH IT.

It cleans your clothes. It uses what you have on hand to do your laundry in terms of voltage power and tap water. It’s super quiet. Poli was in the other room and he couldn’t hear anything. I watched it like a hawk during its first run and I would recommend not leaving it unattended, because you will find yourself with some small floods if things aren’t hooked up or secured properly. But, all in all, I have a good system in place and it was very easy to use.

A couple of words of advice if you plan on getting one of these:

The first thing you’re going to want to do is take the time to figure out what all the parts are for, how they hook up, and what you’re supposed to do. I watched a lot of online videos because I’m no plumber or anything and there are some things you have to do to get it hooked up to your sink. Like learning what an aerator is and how to remove it. You’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything right because your first flood will come from leaking connections if you’re not careful.

Do a pre-wash with no clothes to rinse out the packing material. Unfortunately you will be getting packing granules in your clothes for probably a few washes because they are hard to wash out of the machine, but shaking your clothes or spin drying them should take care of what sticks to your clothes.

Have some kind of filter or mesh strainer to have your drainage hose pour through. The reason for this is that it will drain solids like packing granules and lint, and you don’t want these going down your drain. I used a hand strainer and held the hose pipe over it, but I’m going to buy a mesh strainer just for this purpose to catch fabric and lint (or things like tissues if you forget and leave one in your pocket!) so it won’t go down the drain.

Like I said, have a good drainage area. Bathtubs and kitchen sinks are designed to drain high volumes of soapy water. Bathroom sinks are not. I almost flooded my bathroom sink the first time I ran my machine. Good thing I used the lowest water setting.

And forget about using these kinds of machines if you live in an older building. I lived in an apartment complex once that did not have grounded outlets, which I may not have even thought would cause problems. You need to know your pipes, water system, and electrical system can handle this. These are designed to run using the kind of limited supplies you will have in an apartment setting, but if you live in an ancient building with commodities that have not been updated, using these machines may be problematic.

It spin-dries well. I bought a dryer to heat dry my intimates and other things that need proper drying, but you can spin-dry clothes or hang them to dry afterwards. The next day the clothes I hung were all dry and everything smelled like fresh laundry.

There are wheels at the back to move it around, but these wheels don’t work on carpet. It’s best if you are tall, large, strong, and able-bodied to move it around on carpet, because you will be pushing an 80 pound machine around. If you aren’t these things, you can consider getting a furniture dolly or something.

Would I recommend the smaller (1.6 cubic feet) over the larger one? Depends. From what I have seen, the smaller one doesn’t appear to be much smaller in terms of sheer machine size, and the ability to do more clothes in one load ultimately cuts down on the amount of loads you’ll have to do. I got the bigger one because I tend to stuff my loads to get it all done at once (bad) but now that I look at it, I’m not sure I needed the bigger one. For a regular apartment life, the smaller unit would probably have worked just fine. You do, ultimately, want to consider the size of the space you’ll be using it in.

Portable Washer

So, I got a new portable washer.

Oh, wait, did I tell you I moved? Holy shit. Let’s back up a little.

It all started with this in February:

Ceiling

But it took a few months to get the ball rolling on moving out, getting the ceiling repaired, and all that. In the meantime I had been occupying myself with work, friends, and furthering my obsession with personality theory.

So this August we finally found a place in town. It’s a great little place, with a balcony/porch we can sit outside on and plenty of space. Pretty much perfect, except, well, the laundry hassle.

The laundry hassle. I can’t comfortably or easily use laundromats (OCD) so currently I drive 12 miles to wash them in a home machine. But it takes so long, especially when you have to do multiple loads, and the whole experience of lugging your laundry in the car and up and down stairs is such a pain. So I sprung for this:

Magic Chef Portable Washer

And, whoa. Let me say a few things about this machine.

This is a Magic Chef Portable Washer, 2.1 cubic feet. (I got a matching portable dryer from Panda but I haven’t received that yet.) This guy has gotten pretty good reviews online and from all accounts does what a regular washer does. Imagine my surprise when I open the box and realize I have ordered a small private jet. And I have to find a place to put this.

I have not used it yet. I’d love to tell you about that, but first, let me tell you what to expect if you are looking to supplement your laundry needs with a private, portable machine. I did not see the 1.6 cubic feet model, but what I had in mind was a machine about the size of a mini-fridge. What I got was a giant behemoth that is 2/3 of my weight and height. It is, technically speaking, portable, in the sense that you can hook it up to your faucet and move (drag, strain) it away when you’re done. Other than that, it is by all accounts a respectable washer. I think it might even have more load capacity than the ones at our laundromat. The picture above doesn’t do it justice. If you were looking at just this photograph (and others like it on the internet) you might assume this machine was reasonably smaller than a permanent washer. Pretty much, no. You can’t do huge loads like large comforters but I don’t anticipate having any problem with my typical laundry needs. The problem is more how to integrate a giant-ass machine (x2 when the dryer gets here) into my life. Think I may have bitten off more than I can chew!

I’ll have to let you know how it goes.