A Plunge into Off-grid Solutions Old and New


What did we think of the mop bucket and spinner as a laundry machine? It made it neat and easy to launder single items in a repeatable way for testing. In fact, it was a good deal easier on the hands than wringing. However, you can only spin one item at a time, and as a result it was no faster or drier.

Weve also tested Laundry Alternatives Wonder Wash, a modern take on a hand-crank bucket-spinner that dates back to the previous century (See PS March 2007). We also tested their compact plug-in spinner. We tried variations on placing the laundry in a net bag and walking on it; we often laundered a few things at marina showers by tossing them on the shower floor and marching around on them while showering, followed by a good rinse. It worked, but not a miracle-solution.

We still subscribe to the bucket and plunger school. Let the laundry soak for 30 minutes (hot water helps) and then churn away for 5 minutes. There are many variations.

A Plunge into Off-grid Solutions Old and New
Lehman’s washing plunger

Were dating ourselves, but we grew up with a wringer washer, and as a budding engineer, one of our first jobs was fixing the thing when it was overloaded by feeding too much at once. The extreme pressure between the rollers reduced the retained water by about 30 percent, making rinsing more efficient and drying faster, but they can also be hard on clothes. All zippers must be closed. Delicate items should be placed inside T-shirts. Buttons must be folded in or they will crack. They still make clamp-on hand wringers (see the Callinger wringer pictured above), both for people that like it old school or have a cabin, and for car wash towels. Theyre not going away.

A Plunge into Off-grid Solutions Old and New
Laundry Alternatives’ mini spinner and Wonderwash


Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. 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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