Date: 14 February 2019. Best Choice
ran on at the fingertips. You might wish to pour yourself a
beverage. This is a long article.
Over the years I have changed the
way I do laundry aboard Seaweed. About a year ago I decided to buy a
portable electric washer. On Amazon I found one for just $55. My experience
with said unit has been both frustrating and fabulous. Today I'll
share my triumphs and the not-so-great details of Blue.
This ↓ is the washer/spinner I
bought. It is the
Best Choice Portable
Machine with Drainage Tube 6.6 lb capacity
The reason I chose the
Best Choice brand is because of price. Additionally, it has a
small spinner basket. That feature would eliminate the need to
wring out my clothes and bedding. Squeezing water out of sheets
is not easy.
There was an issue
right off the bat. The washer was taller and wider than the Amazon
description indicated. Unfortunately the height was just the First Problem.
The unit would not fit in the locker under my bunk.
On any vessel it
is critically important that our gear fit in its designated spot.
Aboard Seaweed I really don't have a good place for the washer
I bought. In
the meantime I am looking for a piece of 3/8" thick starboard to
build a shelf for the thing.
If possible, I'd like to store my washer/spinner just
above this ↑ step.
Frankly I am
intimidated by the whole construction process. Ideally this washer
will wedge under the side deck. It will be secured to a shelf attached to the
inner liner of my cabin. Just above the step into my forward cabin
is the perfect spot.
Unfortunately, every angle in that
location is wonky.
The washer has to be raised because otherwise the
unit would take up too much of the step. Because the boat slants
outbound for the hull lifting it 9" above the step would be ideal.
Maybe!!! And that ladies and gents is the Second Problem.
Because the washer is taller
than I anticipated,
it won't fit in a locker with 18" of head space.
Regardless of the grumbles, I still love the dang
thing some of the time. Here's why:
I can wash a load and a half of
clothes in just 9 to 12 gallons of water. That includes two rinse cycles.
To fill the washer is a chore. The spigot
part won't attach to my galley sink.
HOSE ↓ fits here.
↑ keeps water from
This part is supposed to
attach to my sink faucet.
My faucet is too large for the hose opening.
Even if the hose attached I would still have to turn it on
to fill, then off when the water was at the proper level.
All in all, even in the best of circumstances this is a
manual machine. It requires a lot of physical work.
the pails and bending over to fill the washer tub is not
Instead of the hose I use a pair of buckets.
Years ago I bought three round storage pails from the
Dollar Tree. I've used them as wash basins.
Now I use them to fill the washer.
It's not the easiest chore.
The pails are sturdy. Two fill the washer to
the three gallon level.
Water is always at
a premium aboard a boat. In order to use the least amount of water
possible I have a laundry system.
First I fill the
Choice washer to the half way mark. Then I add just less than a
tablespoon of Tide laundry detergent. In order to get the soap well
mixed in, I stir the tub with my measuring spoon. This removes the
detergent residue so I can put away a clean spoon.
Side Note: I like the smell of
Tide. Because my loads are so small and the amount of Tide used is miniscule
I don't feel too extravagant in buying the high-dollar name brand
Regardless of the hassle involved when using the
washing aboard the boat is far better than hauling everything to
Prior to washing I split my clothes into two piles. One contains the
least dirty items. That would include my shower towel, a nightie or
two, and shirts. Dirtier items such as those worn in bilges or while
working on the boat would be separated into a second pile. Those
clothes that are least dirty are washed first, thus the initial wash
water can be utilized for both loads.
If I washed the
grubby bilge clothes first the water would be too dirty for the
second load. That would cost me 3 extra gallons of water.
I select the cleanest half of my laundry and add it
to the washing machine.
The agitator is powerful.
It is at these times that I love
Choice washer. Even though I have been hand washing my clothing
for years, there is a special feeling of contentment when I don't
have to scrub shirts and sheets clean. Washing bedding by hand in
the sink is a real pain
in the transom. This washer does a great job of that chore.
agitation is aggressive. Therefore I bought a laundry bag to
protect my special items.
This blouse has beautiful
I was afraid the buttons would be ripped off by the
swish of this washing machine. Thus I went to Walmart and
Evercare Delicate Garment Mesh Bag.
← affiliate link
impressed by the fabric in this item. The zipper is hidden and
will not snag on other items in the washer. It is standing up
well to use. This
Evercare Mesh Bag
is far superior to those I've seen at discount stores. The
holes are of a finer mesh. Though costly at $5, I believe this
is an item that is worth retail pricing.
Mine was purchased at
Walmart on the laundry aisle over by the housewares department. It
is sold near the irons, clothespins and laundry hampers, not where
the detergents and cleansers are shelved.
But I digress...
After washing the initial cleanest batch of clothing, I remove said
items and place them in one of my Dollar Tree buckets. Then I place
the final stack of clothes into the washer and run the cycle again.
I reuse the initial wash-water.
IF my clothes were
filthy or stinky I would start the second load with fresh water.
This washer uses three gallons per cycle.
By using the same wash water I can do two small loads for a total of
nine gallons of water. On occasion I will do the final rinse for
each load individually. That increases my total water used to 12
for washing two loads of laundry
one and (reusing water) wash load two
one and load two
for load one
for the second load of laundry
If the second rinse water for
load one appears clear after agitation, I reuse
for the final rinse of load two. Thus I use just 9 gallons
versus the 12.
There is a SMALL WHITE HOSE
↓ on the right side of the
washer. Lower it and the water drains out of the tub:
The water empties via gravity. When I forget to put
the hose in the upright
position after draining the tub I can flood my deck with the next
bucket of water.
You would be
impressed by how quickly I can
attach that hose in the proper raised position.
On the top are two dials. The one on the left sets
the wash or spin cycle. On the right, that dial is a timer. This is a simple unit, with the motor beneath the tub.
It is electric, and uses 30
watts for two loads.
Kill A Watt
meter reads 0.03Kwh.
That equals 30 watts or 3Ah.
Though the instructions say one rinse, this is the
color of the rinse water after the first rinse:
That water is
icky, thus I do two rinses. I have experimented by pouring water
into the tub as it is draining. I do not believe that works well.
The second full rinse does the job. The water runs clear on rinse
There is a small bucket that attaches inside the washer for
The lid must be on the spinner to keep the clothing
in a few easy steps:
Fill tub 1/2 full of
water (hot or cold, at your discretion) then add 1
tablespoon of laundry detergent.
Add clothing until
the water level is approximately 2/3rds full.
Set the dial on the
left to Wash, and the timer on the right to six minutes.
After the clothes
have washed, drain the tub by lowering the white hose on
the right side of the unit.
Remove all contents
from the machine. I put them into one of my plastic
Place the spinner
basket onto the base inside the machine. It snaps in
The next procedure is
to place a small quantity of said clothing into the spin
basket. Replace the lid.
Not everything in the washer fits the basket, so
having a spare pail for the spun clothes is helpful.
I figure three to four spin cycles per load of wash.
Because I do not like over-loading my unit I am cautious.
Also, if I put in too much in the spinner, it will make a
racket and the basket will detach from the base.
Turn the dial on the
left to Spin. Three minutes is sufficient to remove most
of the water.
*REPEAT, at least once.
I like my rinse water to run clear. For me, that means two
rinses though the manufacturer says one is sufficient.
*REPEAT: what that
means is I start out again with #1 doing everything
except adding soap. First I refill the machine to the
half way point. Then I add the already washed clothes. I
set the dial to Wash, and the timer to 3 minutes instead
of the six I used for the initial wash cycle. Wash,
My goal is
to rinse out any remaining soap residue. Sometimes one rinse
is sufficient. Most of the time I double rinse. I am
cautious because I don't want any soap sensitivities to
spinner container is so small, it takes much longer to spin a load than
it does to wash one. Not many things fit into the bucket/basket.
Though I selected this washer because of the basket spinner option, I am
Skipper is ready to ride to the dinghy dock. Then I
have to carefully secure the clean clothes in my dink Algae.
Loading and unloading Algae with the newly
cleaned clothes can be a perilous too, especially if the wind is
much work it is to drag everything to a coin-operated laundry causes
me to suddenly I like the Best Choice washer better. Not best, just
better. Though the process is physically arduous it is WAY easier
than hauling everything to shore.
The spinner basket attaches to the
agitator bits at the bottom of the washer tub:
Those bars at the bottom don't look like "enough"
however they are Very Powerful.
Most important of all, everything
comes out clean.
I used to hand wash almost exclusively. I still do wash my daily
clothes each evening. It only takes me a few minutes to do so.
Everything dries overnight. My attire is chosen by how fast it dries
on a hanger, and if it wrinkles or not. I do have a system for hand
washing that I'll post in a month or three.
Just know this: A
washing machine is a wonderful addition to life afloat. It is not a
necessity. It is a luxury. Mine because it requires so much manual
attention is in a precarious spot. If someone would offer me $50 I'd
sell it in a heartbeat, going back to washing everything by hand.
I washed two small loads of clothes in one hour and four minutes.
I am not thrilled, though I am
happier than hauling everything ashore. This is better. My system is
still being tweaked. Half the time I don't like the unit at all, and
then when everything is clean and put away I again like it. If I had
a bigger boat I would buy a real washer that is totally automatic
like this one:
Giantex Portable Compact Full-Automatic Laundry Machine
Lane: I was born and raised aboard our
40'er. When I moved ashore my stateroom (aka cabin/bedroom)
became the laundry. Daddy had plans for a tool room. In the
meantime Mother ordered a washer and dryer. Both were delivered
within two days of their arrival back in the states.
I suspect there was some
advanced planning involved...
Frankly I would like the
Choice washer better if it had fit where it was supposed to go. It
won't though. Additionally, due to the motor being mounted beneath
the tub I do not believe it would be safe to store the washer in any
position other than upright.
Driers are speedy however with
strategically placed LINES
↓ I prefer to hang
my clothes inside.
I also picked up a
Laundry Alternative spin drier (the smallest one sold) and it is
WONDERFUL. I wish I'd bought the spinner and not the washer. It gets
everything almost totally dry after being spun at 1750 rpm. If I had
bought the spin drier first I would not have bought the washer.
Clothes come out nearly dry
↓ after being in the Laundry
Alternative spin drier.
Now that I have $55 in the washer I'll get my money's worth out of
it. But I'm not thrilled until it's time to wash the sheets, at which time I change
my mind yet again.
Honestly, I've gone back and forth
regarding the washer since the day it arrived. Were I smarter, I would have
returned it immediately when I discovered the discrepancy between
description and actual height. If I sound whiny about the washer, it
is because I am ambivalent. I wish I had not spent so much $$ on the
unit. It doesn't fit anyplace.
So that's my take on the whole
Choice discount washer/spinner. I paid perfectly good money for
this item. Actually the washer is worth the price paid. Given a vote, I
would say buy one if you've got a place for it. It is a true
blessing to not have to go ashore with dirty clothes.
This of course presumes you
have the water and stamina to run such a unit. I am grateful to have
it, some of the time!
Golly gee though, those spiffy combination units the
bigger boats have sure are amazing. The
Splendide vented models are
particularly interesting for those with the funds, space, and power
to utilize same.
Side Note on the Splendide units:
The vented ones do dry quite well. The secret is you must remove
about half of the load you washed before drying. Much like my little
washer, the machines are designed to wash a larger load than they
can dry at one time. Split up the load for drying and you should be
Having a washing machine aboard a
boat is fabulous in theory. Mine requires a lot of work to operate, though
far less than hauling everything to shore. I am indeed fortunate.
Thank you for reading.
Do you hand wash, use a machine aboard or take everything to
What is your process for laundry?
Battery Cap Fiasco ~
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