Laundry On the Off-Grid Homestead ~ 2

The Charming Spinner

In our quest to efficiently do laundry off-grid for a family of eight, we looked into wringers and other options for removing water after washing a large load of laundry.  Our Mobile Washers worked well for washing, and our bucket laundry press squeezed out excess water.  But how could we remove enough water efficiently to allow the clean clothes to dry quickly on the line? 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, eventually we learned about a spinner called the Charming Spinner which is what we ended up with.  Here is why.  The hand wringers are fairly sustainable if you get a commercial one that will last, but also expensive and still take a lot of time to run a large load through.  Electric wringers are even more expensive.  A spinner didn’t cost any more than a commercial hand wringer, and will make clothing quite dry in two minutes.  In fact, it makes it as dry as if spun out in a washer and then put in a dryer for 20-30 minutes!  It does take electricity for those two minutes so it is not quite as sustainable, but if we are able to get solar panels as our power source, it will be a pretty good deal.

Checking out a really OLD wringer washer

I do hope to get a commercial wringer someday as a back-up, but let me tell you about this spinner!  Many Amish people use them, as well as missionaries in foreign countries.  Some people use it with a regular washer and dryer.  The two or three minutes of spinning before putting it into the dryer means using your dryer about 30 minutes less with each load.  The spinner works well with alternative power systems so it is ideal for using in an off-grid setting like ours as well.  It handles about half of a super capacity washer load, so depending on the size of our load each day we have three to five spinner loads.

The spinner works well as long as it has a balanced load.  It spins so fast that if it’s a little heavier on one side than the other or top-heavy it causes problems.  It’s quiet, and after only two minutes the clothes are so dry that it takes only several hours in this Florida humidity to hang dry them. 

View of clothes inside the spinner from above with the lid open

As far as I know, there are only two ways to get them.  You can order them online here, or call the Amish owned store in Charm, OH at (330)893-3033 and order from them (same price).  That is how we got ours, and I promised I would let everyone know how it turned out.  If you order it from Ohio, tell them folks at LiveReadyNow.com recommended it.  We don’t get any kickback, but we want them to know we’re keeping our word about telling you.  They are great at answering questions and giving tips about using it as well.  We’ve used ours for four months now, five days a week, and we are happy!  No more sore fingers from wringing out by hand. 

There is another similar spinning machine on the market for a little less money, but the reviews are not so good and I read too many complaints about customer service.  I feel confident that the people at this Amish store will back up their products.

When we could finally order the spinner I was so excited.  We were weary of the time consuming job of wringing clothes out by hand.  When I put the first load into the spinner nothing happened…no matter what I did.  Bummer!  Wasn’t it going to work with our battery bank and inverter?  Then I realized I wasn’t waiting long enough.  It spins much faster than a regular washer does, but it starts so slowly you can’t even tell it’s doing anything for about 10 seconds.

A pleasant sight...

Now we can hang our hand-washed laundry in this humid climate, and as long as it’s out by 9:30am it is easily dry by lunch time.  That was unheard of even with a washing machine!  We can face the rainy season knowing we will usually be able to get laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away all in the same day, even with daily afternoon showers.

Tomorrow I’ll share things we’ve found that make the whole process run more smoothly.

Blessings,

Homemade Cottage Cheese and Butter

PS.  Be sure to read the other posts about Laundry on the Off-Grid Homestead part one and part three!

Linked w/ Barn Hop, Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable, Live Renewed, Our Simple Farm, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives ThursdayMy Simple Country Living, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post,  and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.

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14 thoughts on “Laundry On the Off-Grid Homestead ~ 2

  1. Thanks for this review. I am always thinking about laundry off-grid. It is such a big task. I have about decided that a washer and once a week laundry is the way to go for us. It is what we do now on the grid. We utilize the solar dryer for drying. ;~)

    Your journey has been an encouragement to me.

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  2. What a fascinating machine! Fortunately, I have a fairly new washer that has a setting on it for line drying and it spins the excess water out really well. If I can get my clothes on the line or drying rack by 10:30 at the latest my clothes will dry even in all this humidity.

    I’m counting my blessings and am so grateful now for my washing machine (that I’ve taken for granted) because I didn’t realize that line drying would be a problem here in our humid state with a different machine.

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  3. I have often wondered if we would be able to go “off the grid”. I’ve just discovered your blog and have spent the last 20 minutes reading your previous posts. You’ve pretty much confirmed that I couldn’t make it…unless I had to. I have been nudging my husband to allow for more self sufficiency regarding food, we have a few acres and I think it should be used for more than grass. I am very impressed with your fortitude and character.

    I have a hard time keeping up with laundry for our family of 7 and I have machines! I do love spring and summer for hanging clothes out to dry. Minnesota doesn’t allow for that in the fall and winter. The drying rack works inside then, but I would need another as it doesn’t fit an entire load. My husband didn’t enjoy coming home to clothes drying in the middle of the living room, either ;-). We are hoping to get an add-on wood stove this year. Drying clothes in the basement next to that would be wonderful in the winter.

    Thank you for sharing your adventures, I look forward to learning more from you!

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    • So glad you stopped by and introduced yourself! I understand what you mean about not being able to make it. Just several years ago (after 15 years of marriage) my hubby finally convinced me to line dry clothes instead of using the dryer. With little ones and lots of laundry it just felt overwhelming to me. Now we have incorporated line-drying, as well as many other energy-saving methods, into our lifestyle and it is no big deal as now we are used to it. I think a lot of it is the expectations we place on ourselves and what we have always been used to. But it is possible to learn new ways, as I am living proof. 🙂

      And this lifestyle requires that everyone on the team participate in the work and in the play. There are many things that only the older ones or hubby or myself can do, so we have a rule: each job in this household is given to the youngest possible family member (within reason). I generally don’t do any jobs that a younger person can do, and on down the line. This way things are spread out more evenly. I could never do this if I had to do all the laundry myself, and quite frankly I believe I would be robbing my children of learning important things like responsibility, diligence, life skills, belonging, sustainable living, and value on the team. That often means taking more time initially to train and teach them while they are very young, but the rewards are worth it.

      All of our children feel sorry for people who have to live like “normal” in town. 🙂 Sometimes I have to laugh at the craziness of that thought in the eyes of most people. Ha! I love it!!! It is truly a life of adventure and teamwork, and children generally love that.

      Sorry about the long comment, but just want to encourage you to not totally count yourself unable to live like this. You may have more of it in you than you think (like me). 🙂

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  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences with laundry off-grid or low grid with the charming spinner. I am looking into one. I’d sure like to have one so that I can get a little less on-grid. Thank you for sharing Rose Petal. Have a wonderful day.

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