Wonder Wash, Spin-drying Sidekick to the Rescue

Updated mini washer, new small dryer team up to save you from that dreaded bucket washing.


The value of space onboard a boat means that just about every piece of equipment has to have at least two uses. For the portable Wonder Wash, may we suggest colors and whites?

Mini Countertop Spin Dryer


Reviewed in

Practical Sailor in September 2002, the Wonder Wash has recently undergone two minor modifications. The manufacturers changed the machines lid screw and the drain spout.

Our last review found that the compact, plastic Wonder Wash does small loads well and quickly (one to two minutes per load). It requires no electricity and no maintenance, uses less water and less detergent than washing machines, is rust-proof, costs only $43, and sits a night watch…well, you can’t have it all.

The Laundry Alternative Inc., makers of the Wonder Wash, found that the knob that goes into the lid can strip the threads inside the lid if installed improperly, and they changed the lid screw so that it cannot be screwed in past the point where it can damage the threads. The drain spout was modified to make it easier to slide in and out of the fitting at the bottom of the tub.

Weighing 5.6 pounds and measuring 12 inches x 12 inches x 16 inches, the Wonder Wash is roughly the size of a milk crate. Youll have to decide whether skipping those long mornings spent with a 5-gallon bucket are worth the space the Wonder Wash takes up.

Mini Countertop Spin Dryer

Mini Countertop Spin Dryer


Wonder Washs newest partner in grime is the Mini Countertop Spin Dryer. The spin dryer cuts laundrys line-drying time in half by extracting water from the clothes during a high-speed spin cycle. Two pounds of laundry (one towel and two shirts, or a pair of wet jeans) take 2-4 minutes to dry. Because it is not a tumble dryer and does not use heat, clothes come out slightly damp.

After washing several loads of laundry in the Wonder Wash, we loaded the spin dryer with 2 pounds of clothes and set the timer for 2 minutes. Cotton shorts, T-shirts, and underwear came out of the spin-dry cycle only slightly damp and required about an hour on a clothesline in full sun to dry.

For comparison, testers hung on the same clothesline an identical pair of shorts and underwear and an identical T-shirt that were not previously dried in the spin dryer. That set of clothing took more than two hours to dry.

Towels, jeans and socks were tougher customers. The spin dryer fits only one small- to medium-sized bath towel at a time, or else the spin cylinder gets thrown out of balance. Still, towels that went through the spin cycle took half the time to “clothesline dry” next to towels that were not put in the spin dryer. Jeans were difficult to dry because they have to be evenly distributed in the spin cylinder to keep the tub balanced. Spun-dry socks took up to two hours to line dry while socks that were just air-dried took three or more.

Wonder Wash


The laundry loads spin very quietly at 1600 rpms. The machine makes almost no noise, unless the cylinder is thrown off-balance by a heavy or uneven load. The tabletop dryer weighs 11 pounds and measures 13.5 inches x 13.5 inches x 15 inches. It runs on 110-volt, uses 82 watts and costs $70. The Laundry Alternative Inc. also makes a bigger, 12.2-pound capacity spin dryer for $130.



Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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