Electric washing machines use a lot of resources. Even “high-efficiency” washing machines use at least 10 gallons of water per load and require 500 watts of electricity. And they take up a lot of space. Fortunately, there is a time-honored, sustainable, and smaller alternative.

Hand-crank washers are easy to use and use way less water than electric washing machines. They’re a good option for anyone who wants to slash their utility bills. If you live in an apartment, you’ll save yourself trips to the laundromat, quarters, and the accurate sense that your clothes have been washed in someone else’s body odors.

If you live off the grid, you’ll be able to avoid using electricity or conserve what you store up in batteries from solar, hydro, or steam plant charging.


Hand-crank washing requires three things from the person doing the laundry: strength, time, and patience. A higher capacity unit can demand less of your time and patience, but a good deal more of your strength.

Water Usage

We’re big on conservation around here. We’re also big on hauling fewer buckets of water from the well. Home washing machines use between 10 and 20 gallons of water per load. Once the wash is done, all the water is flushed away. When you use a wringer washer, you may use the same amount of water, but you can reuse it for multiple loads. And when you’re done, you can use it to water your garden.

Wringer Or Barrel

A wringer will speed up the drying process and allow you to reuse more water, or press clothes that you’ve just steamed. A barrel washer will allow you to wash more clothes faster, but you’ll have to do the wringing yourself.

The Best Hand Crank Washers On Amazon

Hand Crank Clothes Wringer by Calliger

calliger wringerEstimated price: $140-170

The Calliger washer features 14-inch wringers, large enough for bit items like towels. The rollers are smooth and durable due to their zinc coating.

The Calliger will allow you to reuse whatever water you’ve drawn because it has a movable plate that allows you to direct the flow of used water back into the laundry bucket.

Find it at Amazon

Here is one of the reviews from this unit:

The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash

wonder washEstimated price: $40-50

The Wonderwash is an all-plastic, hand-cranked barrel washer. The Laundry Alternative claims that the Wonderwash uses even less water than hand washing.

It can wash up to 5 pounds of laundry at a time—not that much if you’re doing laundry for a large family, but plenty of capacity for a single person.

You can simply pull washed clothes out after you’ve cranked a cycle—the water won’t have a chance to splash out of a basin as it would with a wringer.

Find it at Amazon

Avalon Bay Ecowash

avalon bay eco washEstimated price: $50-60

The Ecowash is very similar to the Wonderwash.

In fact, the main difference that between the two is that according to Avalon Bay, “The unique design of the Avalon Bay EcoWash features none of the agitators or protruding elements on the inside, unlike other mini-washers that end up tearing apart your clothes.”

The EcoWash hold 5 pounds worth of clothes and has a 30-day money back guarantee if it doesn’t work for you.

Find it at Amazon

Jumbl Portable Manual Washer

jumbl washerEstimated price: $30-50

The Jumbl works in the same way as the Avalon Bay and Laundry alternative washers, but it’s smaller and more portable.

That makes it perfect for apartment dwellers who are tired of the laundromat.

Despite its smaller size, Jumbl claims that the machine can wash “as much as five pounds” of laundry.

Find it at Amazon