How to Save Money By Switching to a Manual Clothes Washer

How to Save Money By Switching to a Manual Clothes Washer

Switching from an automatic clothes washer to a manual clothes washer can help you save money on your utility bills and water usage. Manual washers require more physical effort but are an inexpensive, eco-friendly alternative. Here’s what you need to know about making the switch and how it can benefit your wallet and the environment.

Reasons to Switch to a Manual Washer

There are several compelling reasons to switch from an automatic to a manual clothes washer:

Save on Electricity and Water Bills

Automatic washers require electricity to power the motor and heat water. Manual washers use no electricity, saving you money on your utility bills each month.

They also use far less water since you’re not filling up a large drum. I’ve found I can wash clothes using just a few gallons per load in my manual washer as opposed to 20-40 gallons in my old automatic machine. Less water usage equals lower water bills.

Lower Cost of Ownership

Purchasing a new automatic washer can cost $500-$1500. In contrast, many quality manual washers cost $100-$300.

In addition to the lower upfront cost, not having to repair an electric motor or computerized controls saves you money over the life of the appliance. The simple mechanical design of a manual washer requires far less maintenance and repairs.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Because they don’t rely on electricity, detergents, or plastic components, manual washers are an environmentally sustainable option. You have more control over the washing process, allowing you to conserve water and use less detergent.

The lack of computerized controls also means there’s less electronic waste produced when it comes time to replace the machine. Overall, switching to a manual washer is a green lifestyle change.

How Manual Washers Work

Here’s an overview of how manual washing machines allow you to clean clothes without power:

  • A hand-crank or lever mechanism agitates/rotates the wash plate or drum to scrub clothes clean with water and soap.
  • Clothes and water drain through holes in the wash plate. Fresh rinse water can then be added.
  • An internal or external wringer is turned by hand to squeeze water out of clothes before hanging them to dry.

So in essence, manual washers use elbow grease instead of electricity to wash, rinse, and wring clothes. It takes more physical effort but the cost savings can be substantial.

Choosing the Right Manual Washer

When selecting a manual clothes washer, consider the following criteria:

  • Size – Pick a washer with enough capacity for your household’s laundry needs. Standard sizes are 18-25lbs.
  • Wringer design – Models with both rollers fixed in place vs. one movable roller each have pros and cons.
  • Wash plate material – Stainless steel, enamel coated steel, and plastic are common options.
  • Agitator – Center post vs. finned disk agitators clean differently.
  • Drain plug – Larger drain holes speed up draining.
  • Mobility – Rollers make it easier to move the washer.
  • Warranty – Look for at least a 1 year warranty from manufacturers.

I recommend The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash for its quality and low price tag under $100. It’s a good starter manual washer.

Tips for Using a Manual Washer

Washing clothes in a manual machine takes some getting used to. Follow these tips for best results:

  • Sort clothes by color, fabric type, and soil level. Heavily soiled clothes may need pre-treatment.
  • Use less detergent since agitation is done by hand – 1-2 tbsp is often enough.
  • Let the washer agitate for 3-5 minutes per load to scrub clothes clean.
  • Drain slowly to avoid splashing dirty water on clean clothes.
  • Check wringer tension and re-wring items if needed to remove more water.
  • Repeat the agitate-rinse-wring cycle for extra dirty clothes. It takes some elbow grease!
  • Disassemble and air dry the washer after use to prevent mold growth.

It does take more physical labor, but once you get the hang of the process, operating a manual washer can become second nature. The money you’ll save is worth it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about switching to a manual clothes washer:

Is hand washing clothes sanitary and effective?

Yes, manual washers do a thorough job of cleaning clothes when used properly. The mechanical agitation and wringing action removes dirt, bacteria, and odors similar to automatic washers. Adding bleach or other sanitizers helps remove germs as well.

How long does washing clothes by hand take?

It takes about 15-20 minutes of active washing time per standard load, similar to an automatic machine. But you’ll also need time to transport clothes and hang them to dry. Overall expect the process to take 45-60 minutes per load.

What kinds of clothes can be washed in a manual machine?

Nearly any fabric type except very delicate lingerie or woolens can be washed in a manual washer. Sturdy cotton, linens, synthetics all do well. Just check clothing labels for any special washing instructions.

Do I need to get my laundry perfectly clean?

No, you don’t need to try to mimic an automatic washer’s cleaning power exactly. As long as clothes are hygienic and presentable, some minor stains are acceptable. Bleach alternative products can help tackle tough stains.

What if my clothes have sentimental value or I can’t risk failures?

For delicate heirloom fabrics or clothes where you can’t risk shrinkage, then sticking with an automatic washer is a safer choice. You have more control over the wash process.

Make the Switch for Savings

Transitioning from an automatic to manual clothes washer requires some effort but can pay off with lower utility costs, environmental benefits, and affordability. With quality construction and the right washing technique, manual washers can handle most laundry needs. Spend a bit of elbow grease in exchange for keeping more green in your wallet. Give this eco-friendly appliance a try – your bank account will thank you!