Great Green Find: Wonder Wash Manual Washing Machine Pt. 3

This is the seventh day my family has used the Wonder Wash portable, manual washing machine. Technically it’s a portable, manual clothing washer and not actually a washing machine, but for the sake of familiarity we’ll call it a washing machine. I week ago, when I began experimenting with the Wonder Wash, my goal was to use the Wonder Wash for seven days in order to report from experience on its benefits (or lack thereof) for regular household use. Before we discuss all the reasons I love this little washer and provide a few tips on using it in your own home, let’s talk about how it works

How Does the Wonder Wash Work?
On their website The Laundry Alternative Inc., makers of the Wonder Wash, explain how it works: warm or hot water is placed into the washing container and the pressure lid is put into place and tightened, air inside the container absorbs heat from the water and expands, and the pressure inside the container forces the detergent (diluted in the wash water) through the pores in the fabric effectively cleaning the clothing very quickly.  The Laundry Alternative Inc.’s website doesn’t detail how spinning the container aids in its use, but I assume it helps build pressure inside the container and gently agitates the clothing to assist in getting it clean.

My Findings
I’ve found the Wonder Wash very helpful. With it, I’m able to wash small loads of laundry as they become dirty, which I prefer to washing large loads at the laundromat. However, large items, like blankets, sheets,bath towels, etc., still require a trip to the laundromat. I would probably be able to wash bath towels in the Wonder Wash, but wringing them out might prove to be a challenge.

Things I love about the Wonder Wash:

  • I’m able to wash small loads of laundry as they become dirty so they are less likely to pile up.
  • Wonder Wash requires no electricity and can be used anywhere, including in my yard or on a camping trip.
  • It saves regular trips to the laundromat.
  • I am able to save most of the money my family would spend at the laundromat.
  • Wonder Wash is portable, takes up very little space, and is easy to put away.
  • It’s eco-friendly.
  • It makes washing delicate articles of clothing easier, and they get much cleaner.
  • My six-year-old daughter likes to help wash laundry by spinning the container.
  • Using it is a mini workout.

Here are a few tips I learned this week while testing my Wonder Wash:

  • I soak my laundry in detergent water in the Wonder Wash for a couple of minutes before actually spinning the washer.
  • I always make sure the lid is on tightly before spinning (I learned this tip the hard way).
  • I keep a small towel or sponge available to mop up any spills. Each time I attach and remove my drain hose a small amount of water escapes the container.
  • I allow time for two rinse “cycles”. Most of the loads I washed were a little soapy after just one rinse.
  • I hang clothing outside when possible, as hand wrung clothes tend to drip a little, but hanging them to dry inside is good too.

Several Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing a Wonder Wash

  • How will you remove excess water from newly washed laundry? Will you wring it out or use an electric laundry spinner?
  • Where and how will you dry your laundry? Will you opt for an outdoor clothes line, an indoor rack, or another eco option? If choosing an outdoor option remember to consider the weather.
  • Where will you store you Wonder Wash? It is a very small appliance, but it still takes up some space.

Who is the Wonder Wash Perfect For?
I would recommend the Wonder Wash to anyone, but the following people might find it especially helpful: parents with diapers, bibs, or children’s clothing to wash, apartment dwellers, green enthusiasts, campers, people who live off-the-grid, college students, thrifty folks, and single people.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my review of the Wonder Wash, a Great Green Find.

Wishing you the best of days!
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Great Green Find: Wonder Wash Manual Washing Machine Pt. 2

After a week and a half of travel followed by a weekend camping trip for my birthday, this the perfect week to try out a new laundry appliance. Beautifully sorted piles of brights, towels, jeans and delicates, await my attention. So it’s off to my new portable, manual washing machine the Wonder Wash. This is my second day of testing the Wonder Wash and reporting my findings.

Receiving and Assembling My Wonder Wash
I knew the Wonder Wash was light, but when I received my model by UPS I was still surprised at just how light it was. My petite (yet mighty) 6-year-old daughter came in carrying the feather weight box. Last night I assembled my Wonder Wash and set it out on my kitchen counter in anticipation. I was pleased by the ease of assembly, as most of the parts seem to fit together in a logical order. The instructions that accompanied my Wonder Wash explain how to wash clothes with this unique appliance, and they include a small set of pictures that describe how to assemble the model. Although I figured out where everything went, with the assistance of the images, I feel the assembly directions could be a bit more detailed. There are two random pins I’m still not sure about, but I think they are in the right place.

Using My Wonder Wash
After assembling my Wonder Wash I wanted to get a jump on my laundry and test a couple of small loads. I purchased a wooden laundry rack about one month ago, so, even though the weather was rainy, I was prepared to hang my laundry to dry. The Wonder Wash has suction cups in the corners of the bottom of the frame. I found this feature very helpful to keep my Wonder Wash stable on my counter as I turned the handle. The directions include the prescribed amount of water, detergent, and spin time for a quarter load, a half load, three-quarters load, and a full load. I followed the directions and found I had a better result when I let the clothing sit in the detergent water for a minute or two before spinning for the recommended amount of time. I did two small loads of laundry this way, and I’m pleased with the result. They look and smell clean and fresh.

Twisting and Squeezing
The Wonder Wash is a great manual clothes washer, but it does not spin the water from the clothing, so it is necessary to wring each piece of clothing or to invest in a clothing spinner. The Laundry Alternative Inc. has an small electric clothing spinner available, perhaps that’s an idea for another post. Since I don’t have a spinner I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to wring most of the water from the clothing so that it wouldn’t drip on the floor, but it was no problem twisting and squeezing the clothing before I hung it to dry.

A Lesson Learned
Today I did two more small loads of laundry with my Wonder Wash manual washing machine. While washing the last batch I was a bit distracted and neglected to check that the pressure lid was secure. As I gave my Wonder Wash it’s first spin, several quarts of water gushed onto my kitchen counter and floor. So, with towels soaking up the water in the kitchen, I refilled my Wonder Wash with a lesson learned: always recheck the pressure lid.

All in all, my second day of Wonder Washing went well. I’m enjoying experimenting with this little appliance. In my next post I’ll explore how the Wonder Wash works… stay tuned!

In Joy and Peace,
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Great Green Find: The Wonder Wash Manual Washing Machine

In my continuous search for eco-friendly products that add green-convenience to family life, I recently stumbled upon the Wonder Wash, a portable, manual washing machine that requires no electricity to operate. The Wonder Wash is manufactured and sold by Laundry Alternative Inc., a company that has been in business for nearly ten years specializing in green laundry products. On their website Laundry Alternative claims to truly care for the environment and to only carry products that meet their high standards.

I was overjoyed to find the Wonder Wash for several reasons:
–It’s a green appliance that requires no electricity, uses much less water than a conventional washing machine, and is compatible with biodegradable detergents.
–It’s a manual washing machine that I can use my own muscle power to operate.
–It’s made by a reputable green company.
–It’s small, which makes it easy to move and store.
–Using Wonder Wash will save my apartment dwelling family money by replacing many trips per month to the laundromat.

In my excitement to get my hands on a Wonder Wash, I contacted Laundry Alternative Inc. asking to review the little beauty. The owner happily responded and sent a model to me. I was already impressed with Laundry Alternative‘s business and environmental ethics, and, after our interaction, I became impressed with their down-to-earth approach to customer service.

On Friday I received my Wonder Wash, and over the next week I’ll test it out and report to you what I find. I’m taking a whole week to report on Wonder Wash since it will give me an idea of what it’s like to use the small manual appliance for long-term household needs. Stay tuned!

In joy and peace,
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Still Glowing After an Amazing Family Reunion

I’m sitting in a little laundromat in Savannah, Ga on our way home from a family reunion in Jacksonville, Fl. It’s a homey little washhouse with wood paneling on the walls and counters, and no change machine to speak of, meaning the operator of the laundromat must personally change bills for quarters all day… I like it. The laundromat operator has just asked me if I’m reading something funny or if I just like to smile. “Definitely the second option,” I reply with a grin.

The Reunion

Little Lotus on Aunt Vivian's lap

Our family reunion was phenomenal! I expected it to be amazing, but I had no idea just how much effort had gone into this year’s event. My Jacksonville family, Auntie Monie, Uncle Arthur, and cousins Emius, Essie, Kevin, and Alicia did an amazing job organizing. We got to connect with family members from all over, some of whom I hadn’t seen since we were children and some of whom I was meeting for the first time. What is it about being around cousins that brings out the playful child in me? My favorite part was seeing Little Lotus cuddled by aunties and uncles that hugged and cuddled me as a youngster.

Great Grandmother Essie

My amazing cousin Essie researched and wrote an almost 200 page book detailing the generations of our family complete with pictures of great-great grandparents. It turns out my great grandmother, also named Essie, was a mother and land-owner who built her own home on her land. When my great grandmother Essie lost her first plot of land (through eminent domain), she relocated to Georgia, worked, and sold vegetables until she could buy another parcel of land on which she built a home, a school, and a church. Hmmmm I wonder where I get my determined and incurable homesteader streak?

The Forest Garden
Things at the Forest Garden were amazing, although not as permanent as we had hoped. We learned so much and we plan to go back soon to help build the necessary structures for the farm. Visit my fundraiser page to learn more about this project
Wishing you a day full of magic and fulfillment!
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A Quick Trip to Tuskegee Institute

I’m writing from the Kellogg Conference Center at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. This morning, Uzuri, Little Lotus, and I found we had received scholarships to an organic farming conference held at Tuskegee Institute, complete with hotel room reservations, so we quickly packed and drove for several hours stopping at fruit stands along the way. The conference actually began today, but we’ll attend a day of organic farming classes tomorrow.

I love being here. There is a bust of the founder Booker T. Washington in the Lobby and lots of cultural and historical art decorating the walls. It feels profound to walk on ground that Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver stood on. I am humbled.

Things at the farm are going beautifully. We’ve finally finished weeding the hoop house, and we’re beginning to harvest zucchini and sweet peas. Uzuri and Little Lotus harvested two big drinking cups full of sweet peas to eat during our ride to Tuskegee. They were delicious. After eating sweet peas fresh from the garden, we are all baffled by the thought of cooking them. They are so tender and flavorful when fresh and raw.

Our happy household has decreased by two. The lovely Rasta couple moved last week. Beginning an organic farm from scratch is an adventurous idea, but the reality is a lot of work. It’s not easy, but it can be a wonderful growth inspiring experience.

In love, joy, and peace,

Weeding and More Weeding in an Alabama Garden

I am rising earlier each morning and establishing a routine. Because we’re closer to the equator than we were before, 8 o’clock in the morning feels like noon, so waking earlier comes naturally. This morning I rose, made a pot or yerba mate, did my morning yoga asana, and headed to the hoop house in the garden to weed.

Uzuri working in the hoop house

Most of our work this week has been weeding. I know we’re making progress, though, because the children in the neighborhood say the inside of the hoop house doesn’t look like a forest any more.

Yesterday Yawah, her daughter Uzuri, Little Lotus, and myself headed to the hoop house together for a day of work. We all wore straw hats and smiles. I got to use a hoe for the first time, and, I swear, my arms are going to be well-defined by the time our garden starts to produce. We got so hot while we worked that we drenched ourselves in water and worked some more. We got dirty and muddy and worked some more. I loved it. By the end of our work day about 15 people from the neighborhood had joined us in the garden. Some helped work, some just had conversations, one little lady played piano, and lots of children ran around playing. It was amazing,

Our garden fresh lunch

Today we made a delicious pate from sunflower seeds and wrapped it in romaine leaves fresh from the garden. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

In love, beauty, and light,
Asante George

Our Journey to the Forest Garden

Our journey so far has been amazing! I’ve finally found internet access in a tiny library in a little town near the little town we are staying in.

On the last leg of our road trip, my little one and I found out about an amazing blues festival happening about 100 miles away and planned to go. However, as we approached the crossroads between the blues festival and our friend’s farm, we felt road weary and ready to reach our destination.

After the flat green terrain of Mississippi I was unprepared for the hilly forested cove in Alabama that my friends garden/farm is nestled in. It’s beautiful! Her home and garden is in a little secluded neighborhood of a handful of homes. Across the road from her garden, she’s planted bamboo that now stands over 100 feet tall in a towering bamboo forest.

The trailer we are staying in is a bit run down, but I was prepared to camp so it doesn’t bother me at all. Our housemates include my good friend Yawah, her wonderful 26 year old daughter (who already feels like an old friend), and a lovely rasta couple who are expecting a baby in just a few months.

On our first morning here my little one, Yawah, Yawah’s daughter, and I hiked into the woods to pick wild berries. We picked wild huckleberries and dew berries, which look just like blackberries, but they grow much closer to the ground. The garden needs a lot of weeding and watering so we do that most days.

On the day of our arrival, as the sun went down, I went out with Yawah to plant tomatoes by moonlight. Planting seedlings at night gives them time to get use to new ground and strengthen themselves before enduring the hot sun. In the midst of flowering zucchini and pungent basil, Yawah told me, “Some people think they want to be farmers, but they romanticize what it means to be a farmer. It’s a lot of work”. In that moment with the moon shining over evergreen trees and nighttime forest sounds rising around us I could understand the tendency to romanticize the life of the farmer.

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