Clean Clothes off the Grid: The Laundry Alternative The Wonder Wash

Get fresh clothes without electricity

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

4.4

The Laundry Alternative WonderWash 0.7 cu. ft. High Efficiency Portable Washer

The Laundry Alternative Wonder Wash

The Spruce / Katie Begley

What We Like
  • No electricity needed

  • Uses less water

  • Fast washing times

What We Don't Like
  • Small loads

  • Requires manual washing

  • Drying space needed

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an off-grid washing machine, The Laundry Alternative's The Wonder Wash is a fantastic investment.

4.4

The Laundry Alternative WonderWash 0.7 cu. ft. High Efficiency Portable Washer

The Laundry Alternative Wonder Wash

The Spruce / Katie Begley

We purchased The Laundry Alternative's The Wonder Wash so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.

As environmental sustainability becomes more and more important to today’s consumers, many companies are looking at ways to make everyday items less negatively impactful on the earth. After finding my favorite green laundry detergent, I was ready to take the next step. My family of five generates a lot of laundry each week, so I was thrilled to be able to try The Wonder Wash from The Laundry Alternative as a way to make my daily cleaning greener.

The Laundry Alternative Wonder Wash

The Spruce / Katie Begley

Some assembly is required for The Wonder Wash. The included instructions are easy to read, and the illustrations answer any questions that you may still have about assembly. Once assembled, it is very hard to take the pieces apart again. I found that it was much easier to store the washing machine assembled rather than try to take it apart again.

The Laundry Alternative Wonder Wash

The Spruce / Katie Begley

Using The Wonder Wash is pretty simple. Just add your clothes, water, and detergent to the drum. Put the lid on and turn it to lock it in place. Make sure that the included drain hose is not attached or you will let all of the water that is meant to clean your clothes out too early. It does have suction cups on the bottom of the base. This keeps it from sliding around as you crank the handle.

The Laundry Alternative Wonder Wash

The Spruce / Katie Begley

Turning the handle was easy, especially on smaller loads. As your wash load increases, the drum becomes heavier and takes more muscle power to turn. My 3-year-old and 4-year-old enjoyed cranking the handle, although they did get worn out after less than a minute. Fortunately, the washing time is very short.

Most washes can be done in just two to four minutes, but the exact timing will depend on the amount and soil level of your items. The Laundry Alternative does include a guide that details the amount of detergent and time needed for a quarter, half, three quarters, and full load. Because different materials wash differently, you may need to deviate from the guide as you go.

The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash

The Spruce / Katie Begley

After your clothes are washed, add the drain hose to let the water out of the drum. You will want to complete this step over a sink or other area where you are okay with the dirty water going. When using the washing machine outside, I just stepped away from my main camping area so that I wouldn’t accidentally track the resulting mud around.

The Wonder Wash doesn’t use any electricity to wash a load of laundry. When you consider that many standard washing machines use anywhere from 350 to 500 watts of energy, cutting out this energy use quickly adds up. My family washes at least one load of laundry on most days (sometimes more).

Most washes can be done in just two to four minutes, but the exact timing will depend on the amount and soil level of your items.

The Wonder Wash costs between $58 and $69. When you consider the hundreds of dollars that you’ll likely spend for a standard powered washing machine, this is a major difference. Keep in mind that you are paying for convenience with the higher-priced machines, so you’ll need to be okay with some manual washing if you go with The Wonder Wash as your primary washing machine.

This is an ideal washing machine for small loads, such as kitchen towels or a day’s outfit. It is all but impossible to fit really large items like sheets or comforters in the drum. You will need to take these items to a laundromat or use your standard washing machine if you have one. I tested this washing machine with a few types of laundry items: kitchen towels and washcloths, kids’ clothes from a normal day, kids’ clothes after playing outside, and a couple of bulkier bath towels. I found that I needed to wash my items longer when they were heavily soiled. I even changed out the water and rewashed one particularly muddy load.

The Wonder Wash worked best with smaller items. As they spun, the water was able to get in-between clothes resulting in the best clean. The larger the item, the longer I needed to wash them to get the same results.

I did have to practice with the speed at which I turned the hand crank. Turning it too fast resulted in clothes that didn’t get uniformly clean. This is likely because the detergent that I added was not able to get to all parts or items. If I turned the hand crank too slow, the same problem happened because the items were not tumbled enough inside the drum. If you have to choose, start slower and speed up as needed.

I found that I needed to wash my items longer when they were heavily soiled. I even changed out the water and rewashed one particularly muddy load.

I recommend using The Wonder Wash as a supplementary machine or when camping. I really liked all the features but it just didn’t have the capacity for me to use it for all of my washing. It would be ideal for road trips or camping trips, however.

The Laundry Alternative provides a three-year warranty. I always appreciate an included warranty, as it lets me know that the company believes in and stands behind its products. I didn’t have any problems with my washing machine. It is constructed from heavy plastic and doesn’t have any motors or other moving parts. As long as it is stored smartly, I think that The Wonder Wash will last for years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much laundry can I wash per load?

How much you wash depends on the type of items and soil level. Bulky items are hard to wash in The Wonder Wash. I was only able to wash one large towel at a time. Smaller items, like socks or underwear, can fit much better into the drum.

 The Laundry Alternative considers a 1.1-pound load as a quarter load. A half load is 2.2 pounds and a three-quarters load is 3.3 pounds. A full load is 4.84 pounds. This roughly amounts to one adult outfit (pants, shirt, socks, undergarments) as a half load and two adults outfits as a full load. I preferred to keep my loads smaller to allow enough room for the water and detergent to circulate as I spun the drum.

There aren’t any noticeable markings on the drum itself, so you will need to estimate when loading up The Wonder Wash. I found that the more I used the machine, the better I became at estimating how much water, detergent, and time it would take for a particular load.

The Laundry Alternative does offer “retro” color options for the Wonderwash. In addition to the standard white, it comes in mint green, pink, blue, and yellow. It was not sleek enough for me to leave out as part of my decor, so having a special color was not a selling point for me. The standard white version stores easily enough for me to be unconcerned with how it looks.

Storing The Wonder Wash doesn’t require any special steps. I opted to keep mine put together even while stored. If you plan to use it often, storing it assembled is the best choice. It measures 12 inches wide, 12 inches deep, and 16 inches tall. The drum does swing a bit, so don’t plan to store anything on top. It’s best to keep the lid off until the drum is completely dry. I left the drum open overnight and was able to store it the next morning.

Does this washing machine use hot or cold water?

You can use hot or cold water with The Wonder Wash. As expected, hot water resulted in a better clean for my clothes. I mostly used the washing machine at home where I had easy access to hot water from the tap. When camping, it can be harder to have access to hot water. If you want to heat water over a camp stove, you can combine boiling water with room temperature water to get a temperature that is warm enough to get your clothes clean.

How much water does this washing machine use?

You control the amount of water that goes into The Wonder Wash drum. A full load will use six quarts of water and four tablespoons of detergent. You will need to use additional water to rinse the clothes at the end and to rinse the drum after you are done. I found that I preferred to rinse my clothes twice to make sure that all detergent had been rinsed out.

How long does it take to wash clothes in this washing machine?

The Laundry Alternative recommends washing a quarter load for 1 minute, a half load for 1.25 minutes, a three-quarters load for 1.5 minutes, and a full load for 2 minutes. If your items are heavily soiled, you may need up to an additional 2 minutes to make sure that all of the dirt and grime is washed out.

You will also need an additional minute or two to rinse the clothes after you drain the dirty water and add clean water. You can also complete this step by hand under a sink or faucet if you prefer. For very dirty clothes, I rinsed them by hand so that I could give them a quick visual inspection before moving on to dry them.

It took me around ten minutes from start to finish to wash a full load of clothes. That did not include the time to remove the clothes, ring them out, and hang them up to dry. Even so, this is still considerably faster than a standard electric dryer.

How do I dry my clothes?

The Wonder Wash does not have a drying feature. After washing and rinsing your clothes, you can line dry them outside or by using an indoor drying rack. You can also use an electric dryer (full size or mini). The clothes are pretty wet when they first come out of The Wonder Wash. Ringing them out before drying helps cut down on drying time.

Can I wash delicate items in this washer?

Because The Wonder Wash does not have any moving interior parts, like an agitator, it is ideal for hand wash or delicate items. The only things that your items will be exposed to while in the drum are water, detergent, and the hard plastic of the interior. This greatly reduces the chances that they will get snagged or ripped. 

I washed undergarments and high-performance workout clothes in The Wonder Wash without any issues. If you have a lot of items that you need to hand wash, I would recommend this washing machine just for that purpose alone.

The Laundry Alternative The Wonder Wash vs. the Competition

I have two washing machines in my home: The Wonder Wash and the Samsung 5.0 cu.ft. Top Load Washer with Super Speed. After a full month of use, I’m able to say that I prefer The Wonder Wash for small, daily loads. While more convenient, the Samsung washer costs almost $1000 and requires electricity use. It also takes a lot longer to get through a wash cycle. There are plenty of days that I need the convenience of an electric washing machine, but The Wonder Wash is a great supplement for my daily washing.

If you are looking for another non-electric option, the EasyGo Washer Mobile Hand Powered Washing Machine from EasyGoProducts functions much like The Wonder Wash. At around $50, it is a little bit cheaper than The Wonder Wash and has all of the same features and size. Either option is great for eco-friendly, fast washing that doesn’t use electricity.

Final Verdict

Yes, buy it.

As someone actively looking to reduce their carbon footprint, The Wonder Wash was a great addition to my household chores. It's great for washing small loads when you're in a pinch or daily washing.

Specs

  • Product Name WonderWash 0.7 cu. ft. High Efficiency Portable Washer
  • Product Brand The Laundry Alternative
  • Price $69
  • Weight 5.5 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 16 x 12 x 12 in.
  • Color White
  • Warranty 3 year