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4 Tips When Using Your Small Portable Washing Machine

If you recently purchased a portable washing machine, but you have yet to use it for the first time, we wanted to provide 4 tips that will hopefully help you get the most out of your machine, plus save you stress, time, and wasted water.

If you’ve made the switch to a portable washer, you’ve already been sold on the benefits of having a smaller, lightweight, easily movable washer for your apartment or home. These machines are great for apartment and mobile home living because they not only save space, but also cut back on your water bill. Best of all, portable washers require minimal setup and installation, you just wheel your machine up to a sink, hook it up to a faucet, plug the machine into a three-prong outlet, and you’re set to start washing!

Starting tips for loading your portable washer

Before you wheel your washer out from its storage space, scope out the area you’re thinking about using. Your washer will need to be connected to a faucet, so check your washer and make sure you have the hose, and it’s connected on one end to your washing machine. Note its length. Almost every portable washing machine we know of (and definitely all the ones we review) come with a default hose. However, depending on your situation and space, you might need to purchase (or DIY) an extension hose in order to reach your sink. This is especially important if your sink is set back in your apartment or mobile home.

Clear your space and load your machine

Once you determine that your space will fit your portable washing machine, we recommend first loading your machine, so you don’t accidently bump the hose off the connector. For the most part, you should be doing small loads with your portable washer, and many washers only hold up to ten pounds of clothing. Your machine’s instruction manual will have specific specs for how much clothing your model will hold, but we recommend not overstuffing your machine.

Here are a few load tips:

  • Leave at least two inches of open space between the sides and back of your portable washer, to avoid spillage and malfunction
  • Load your clothes evenly throughout the washing bin – uneven loads may produce vibration, noise, or even water spillage
  • Remember to empty any pockets and check for forgotten items before loading clothes into the machine – did you remove the pacifier? How about loose change or paperclips? Hard items could damage the washer, and no one likes finding laundered money!
  • Just like a full-size washing machine, you can separate loads by color and fabric type – new clothes with vibrant colors might just as easily bleed over in a portable washer as they would in a normal wash!

Hook the hose up to a faucet

Once your laundry is loaded and you’ve positioned your washer where you want it to be during the wash cycle, it’s now time to hook the hose up to the faucet. Screw the hose onto your kitchen or spare room faucet. Make sure the fastener is tightened before turning your water on.

Some water tips:

  • Use the water temperature that works best for your clothing type. Cold water, warm, or hot.
  • Some portable washers have two different hoses: one to load the water, and the other to drain it after the wash. Refer to your instruction manual if you have any questions about which hose you’re connecting to the kitchen sink.
  • Most machines have a line inside the washer that indicates how much water you should add. Do not add water above that line, as it can create spillage and potentially damage your washer and/or your clothing.

Plug in your washer and prep your load

Once you have your washer hooked up, do a quick check and make sure that your plug is dry, and then plug your washer into the wall. Most portable washers require a three-prong outlet, so make sure you check for this prior to deciding where to set up your washer.

Never remove or cut the third prong from the washer’s cord, as you always need a grounded wall outlet. Portable washing machines do not work with extension cords.

You’re ready to wash!

Once you’ve done all the steps above, it’s time to wash your clothes! Here are our tips for washing:

  • Most machines have a washer timer – the dirtier your clothing, the longer you want to wash them
  • Once your cycle is done, remember to drain the dirty water – there should be a different nozzle to do this, which you place in the sink before you drain.
  • Be aware that a safety feature of your washing machine is that it will start draining automatically if the lid is opened – this helps prevent serious accidents.
  • Some washers allow you to customize controls, including setting water level, temperature, and cycle start or end.

Once the wash cycle ends, depending on the portable washer you own, you will need to drain the used water, and then fill it back up again with cold water for the rinse cycle. Check your manual to confirm. After the rinse cycle, you drain the water again, and begin the spin cycle.

Drying options with a portable washer

Once your clothes are washed and spun, you have a few options for drying. Ideally, if you have a portable dryer, you can move your clothes into the portable dryer and set the appropriate cycle.

You can also use a regular dryer or air dry your clothes on a drying rack, a clothesline, or even slung over your shower curtain rod.

Some last tips to effectively use your portable washing machine

There are several different portable washing machines you can purchase, and if you’re looking for suggestions on which ones to buy, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our favorite washers, and read reviews and insights from our experts. Thanks and good luck with your portable washer purchase!

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