Everything you need to know about buying and using a portable washing machine

Last year I moved into a cheap but handy apartment with one major flaw: no on-site laundry. Because I live in a city, I expected the laundry issue to be better. The city is dotted with laundromats. Except for my neighborhood.

With a mile to the nearest laundromat, I attempted every imaginative idea. I lugged my laundry a mile, took Ubers to the laundromat, and even had it picked up and delivered. Every month, I was spending about $100 and hours doing laundry.

To recuperate some of my time and money, I bought a portable washing machine, a little washer that connects to your sink.

But as I tried to use it, I realized I had so many questions. Was I going to flood my apartment? Do I have to run the water the whole time? What would I do?

I’ve learned the hard way how useful a portable washer can be. I’ve reclaimed hours of time and saved money. What to know before buying and using a portable washer

Should I buy a portable washer?

A portable washer is a godsend if you don’t have laundry in your apartment or home. A portable washer allows you to do washing in your kitchen or bathroom.

Even if you have access to community washing, a portable washer can be more convenient and reliable than waiting for machines to be free, or worrying about someone stealing your wet laundry and leaving it on a dirty counter. They’re also common in RV and boating communities, and some dorm rooms and tiny houses.

Which portable washer should you buy?

A excellent portable washer should be compact, easy to operate, and energy efficient.

I bought the Magic Chef 0.9 cu ft Compact Washer after considerable study. It was one of the smallest washing machines I observed. This machine has always worked efficiently, is easy to set up, and leaves my garments feeling and smelling great. So far, so good.

How to operate a portable washer

Step 1: Collect laundry

Portable washers usually only hold a modest load. One person’s clothes can fit in a standard wash three to four days. To keep up with net-zero washing, my fiancé and I normally do a load every other day or so.

We got a smaller laundry basket to avoid laundry pile-ups. The Sterilite 1.5 Bushel Square Laundry Basket is great. It’s little and discreet, and when it’s full, I know it’s time to do laundry.

Step 2: Pre-soak anything unusual

Portable washers lack the features of full-size washers. Prep any discolored or special-treatment items beforehand. In addition to removing stains, OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover helps protect color. Presoak your garments in a bucket, tub, sink, or even the washing body. Alternatively, you can fill the washer and let it soak on its own.

Step 3: Hook up your washer

Almost every portable washer has an inlet line that connects to your sink faucet and an outflow hose that drains. To connect your washing machine’s hoses to the machine’s body, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. A wrench is required to tighten the hoses to the unit.

Initially, connecting to the tap is a bit tricky. It has a fast release and a screw-on nozzle. Remove the screw-on nozzle by depressing the quick-release valve. Screw the nozzle onto your sink, lining up the threads with your tap’s threads. If your sink tap has an aerator, remove it.

A pack of adapters from Amazon can be used if the nozzle included with your machine doesn’t fit your sink tap. A good fit means minimum nozzle leakage (minor leaks can be okay). Install the nozzle, then attach the quick release hose and turn on the water.

Step 4: Insert the drainage tube

After hearing terrible stories of drain hoses falling out of sinks and flooding floors, I tighten the outflow tube with thread. If you fill the washer in the bathroom sink, you can put the outflow in the bathtub.

 Step 5: Remain

When I initially used my portable washer, I sat next to it and turned the water faucet on and off as it filled and agitated. This is wrong. Keep the tap running throughout. Depending on the load, you can use cold or hot water. However, you can use hot water for undergarments, linens, and towels.

Step 6: Start your machine

For a three-prong outlet, you may require an extension cable Plug in your machine and turn it on. Start by choosing your load size and laundry mode. Immediately start loading the washer with water.

Step 7: Add detergent

Most portable washers don’t have detergent dispensers, so just dump it in. To avoid clumping, do this while the water is flowing.

Our top selection, Tide Free and Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent, works well with portable washers because it mixes easily with the water. Simple Clean & Fresh Liquid Laundry Detergent is another concentrated alternative.

Laundry pods like Tide Pods 3-in-1 work well, but place them near the water flow. If a pod is encased in a bulky item, it may not fully dissolve. One laundry pod or half a cup of detergent should do one load. Use only laundry soap.

Step 8: End cycle hose disconnect

After the cycle, turn off the tap and wait a few seconds before removing the quick-release valve. Disconnect the water hose and let it drip dry in the sink.

Clothes drying

The spin cycle should have removed most of the water from your clothes, but they must still be dried. We have a clothesline on our back porch in the summer. The Hawatour Elastic Travel Clothesline can stretch up to 10 feet and includes built-in clothespins for easy attachment.

In the winter, a clothes drying rack is ideal. The Amazon Basics Foldable Clothes Drying Rack is ideal for portable washers. When not in use, it compresses virtually flat for storage.

Keeping your portable washer

When not in use, I place the hose ends inside my washer to prevent spills. Despite its compact size, the portable washer is very heavy. This Spacecare appliance dolly makes transferring your portable washer a breeze. It also just adds a few inches to the machine’s footprint, allowing it to fit in a small closet or room corner.

Taking care of your portable washer

It’s necessary to clean your washer, just like any other. Run the washer empty with bleach or appliance cleanser every six months. It easily eliminates dirt, germs, and soap buildup.


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