When we moved into our 536 sq ft house, we were pleasantly surprised to find washer and dryer hookups in the hallway.
But our house is REALLY small, so our hallway is REALLY narrow.
Putting an apartment-sized, stacked washer/dryer unit was suddenly out of the question. We had to think outside the box with respect to laundry.
As we explored laundry alternatives, we also began thinking about how to do laundry in our future tiny house, even though that’s years away. Tiny house living will likely be off-grid in the south or west, so we have to consider what is likely to be an area of great concern in the future: water and septic.
What are our sources of water?
What do we do with wastewater?
How do we wash our clothes?
How do we wash ANYTHING?!
Fortunately, we live next to a laundromat today. But if we’re in a slightly more rural setting, a laundromat might be a hike. Also, laundromats are a little expensive…
Initial Attempts to Tackle Our Laundry
At first, we tried to become regular customers of the next-door laundromat.
Beyond crayons ruining some of our clothes one time, the costs for using the machines are high…way higher than we anticipated. At $20 a week, it was pricey, albeit convenient.
Drying racks helped us cut our costs, but then there was still the question of what we’re going to do in the future. Could we try to do laundry today in a way that would also work for our future tiny house?
Future-Proofing Our Laundry Game
Since we’ll be off the grid, being conscious about how much water and electricity we use will be critical. Minimizing our impact will also be a top concern.
In Garrett’s research, he located a low-cost, energy-efficient way for us to tackle our needs now and in the future: a Manatee Washer and Spin Dryer.
Enter the Manatee Washer and Spin Dryer
We purchased the Manatee with the intent that it would eliminate our dependence on the laundromat. Here’s the review that Garrett put together…
You can tell it’s super professional because we shot it with our iPhone, no lighting, and I’m laughing in the background because we tried to shoot this one video about 14 times.
With that said, we’re huge fans of the Manatee. The Manatee cleans our clothes better than any washer we’ve used before and it runs off 120V, so we can plug it into a standard outlet.
Impact of the Manatee on Our Budget
After our initial investment of $200, the impact of having a washer and dryer has been a surprise to us. We thought that having a washer and dryer always means an increase in water and electricity, right? Well, not always…
Since we made the switch, we have seen a slight increase in our electric bill, about $9. Not bad.
With respect to our water bill, we haven’t seen any increase since we continue to be within the 1,000 gallon/month threshold we are already paying for. Winning!
Overall, we save nearly about 90% each month that we use the Manatee over going to the laundromat.
How to Use the Manatee
It’s pretty straightforward, but if you do purchase your own Manatee washer and dryer, here are some tips!
- The Manatee is narrow enough to fit in the tight space between the bathtub and the toilet, but it takes up too much room to leave in there 24/7. If you have enough space, perhaps a bathroom that’s not used often, you could leave it up hooked up 24/7.
- We store the Manatee in our hallway when it’s not in use. It’s light enough that either of us can pick it up and move it into the bathroom when we need to start the laundry.
- Use pantyhose on the drain to prevent lint from going down the drain. The towel we used in the video didn’t have the surface area it needed to properly drain or catch lint.
- Pants and sweatshirts are heavy when waterlogged, so put fewer in the washer until you see what the motor can handle. Putting too many items in the washer won’t allow the motor to properly wash clothes.
- Wash and then rinse in the washer’s drum. Directions say to use the spin dryer’s drum instead, but this created a mess. In between the wash and rinse cycles, simply drain the washer’s drum and then fill with clean water to rinse.
- The dryer doesn’t use heat–spin dry only! Consider purchasing a drying rack to hang clothes once you remove them from the spin dryer.
Where to Buy the Manatee
You can purchase the Manatee from Amazon.