Laundering involves beating and scrubbing dirty cloth. End of story.

It is hard work even with manufactured aids like washboards and soap to help. Clothes washer technology developed as a way to reduce the drudgery of this scrubbing and rubbing process by providing an open basin or sealed container with paddles or fingers to automatically agitate the clothing. The first English patent under the category of Washing and Wringing Machines was issued in 1691. A drawing of an early washing machine appeared in the January 1752 issue of “The Gentlemen’s Magazine,” a British publication. In Germany, Jacob Christian Schäffer’s washing machine design was published in 1767. In 1782 Henry Sidgier was issued a British patent for a rotating drum washer, and in the 1790s Edward Beetham sold numerous “patent washing mills” in England. In 1862, a patented “compound rotary washing machine, with rollers for wringing or mangling” was shown at the 1862 London Exhibition, done by Richard Lansdale of Pendleton, Manchester. And the history just continues.

By 1940, 60% of the 25,000,000 wired homes in the United States had an electric washing machine. Many of these machines featured a power wringer, although built-in spin dryers were not uncommon. Bendix introduced the first automatic washing machine in 1937, having applied for a patent in the same year. In appearance and mechanical detail, this first machine is not unlike the front loading automatic washers produced today. Although it included many of the today’s basic features, the machine lacked any drum suspension and therefore had to be anchored to the floor to prevent “walking”. And the history just continues.

But I digress…..

So why do I even mention all of this? I mention it because as any couple of family prepares to transition into a tiny house they certainly have the one conversation that is perhaps the most difficult. Do we make room for a washer and dryer? How can we? Won’t it use too much electricity? They take up too much room!

In fact, upon closer inspection one will notice that very few – if any – examples of tiny houses and tiny house trailers specifically found in a Google search will make mention or show a washer and dryer. Is it not essential though? Have we not grown up in a society where clean clothes and convenience is our right! Have we not fought for ever home to have a washer and dryer as a sort of liberation of women in the home? I think so!

But for us it never seemed much of an issue. For nearly two years now we have worked on a steady rotation of “borrowing” laundry facilities from various people for a small amount of money that provides us with a means to wash and provides them with an offset to their water bill. In emergencies we have either gone to a laundromat or hand washed. Come to think of it, we actually don’t mind handwashing. And air drying. In fact, I personally became enamored with life sans dryer when I came across Project Laundry List.

Our thought process has been altered as of late though. Upon the birth of our daughter and our decision to cloth diaper we have begun thinking about some sort of hand crank washer with air dry or even a washer/dryer combo unit. With anywhere from 8-13 diapers a day we can’t truly keep up with demand by hand washing and relying on cool, winter air for drying. Perhaps the summer would be much different. But we have to think of all seasons now.

Which is where this post comes in. What washer and dryer system works best in the tiny house scenario? What is overpriced? What underperforms? What is fad? What is archaic? What do you use? What do you think?

In our next post to come at week’s end we are going to review or at least research a few options that come from your comments (either here on the blog or on our Facebook page) and try to make some decision as to what may work best for us. So do let us know. What do you think about washing and drying for our family of 3 in our tiny house trailer?


Washing machine history courtesy of Wikipedia