Twin tub

We spent a week away in mid March at a home education camp, CampFestย (new post over a Pint Sized Permies ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Whilst there we stayed in a motel room at Hilltop Resort and one of the perks of the room was a washing machine in each room. Nice hey. ๐Ÿ™‚ To my surprise the rooms each had a small 5kg twin tub machine.

I’m no stranger to a twin tub as my Nanna used one until she moved into the nursing home. I remember back around 1990 when her old one broke and she was devastated. She tried to get Gil, one of the handyman in their town to have a look at it but sadly it was rusted to pieces. Likely it would have been 20ย years old I reckon, if not older. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was time for a new one. I am sure her children tried to talk her into a less hands-on top loading all in one machine as she would have been late 60’s back then, but she would have nothing of it and bought another twin tub. When she moved into aย retirement home complex she took her twin tub with her, scorning to use the top loaders provided. Stubborn much? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, it felt like one of those moments when my Nanna was watching over me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I got stuck into the camp washing, keeping up to date with clean clothes which meant that I didn’t have a huge pile to get done once home. I discovered something rather horrifying though. Clothes we’d worn once but were in need of a wash (a dribble of food down the front for example) yielded far dirtier water than I would have thought they would. Turns out that my front loader is wonderfully gentle on clothes and far too gentle on the dirt. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Once we got home Martin and Iย had a long discussion about buying a twin tub. Not just to replace a machine working fine and for fad reasons but also because twin tubs are wonderfully economical on water. With a normal machine, top or front loader you have a cycle which you choose. It adds water, which you may have some control over, agitates the clothes, drains the water, rinses the clothes and agitates again, drains the water, spins the clothes and done. A twin tub you choose when to drain the water. ๐Ÿ™‚ You also choose how much water to add and the water temperature you desire too, not just what the machine offers. ๐Ÿ™‚ The water is then gravity drained, saving power on needing to pump it up a hose and out against gravity. What I liked about it was that I could add my water and soap, put on the first cycle (choosing between 1-15 minutes), drain the dirty water, add more water and agitate to rinse then transfer the wet washing straight into the spin tub. Yep, a separate tub to spin dry the washing (not a heated spin dry). Once spun the washing is ready for hanging. The rinse water is leftย in the machine, ready for some soap and the next load of dirty washing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Very economical on the H2O

We talked then talked some more but I wasn’t willing to spend to buy a standard twin tub, new or used (few and far between) until I saw the price of the small 5kg units they had on camp. Again, much discussion and we decided to go ahead with it. Yes, we bought something not strictly necessary but we hope that having the ability to be very frugal with and reuse the water, to be able to send it to water our planned fruit trees easily and the considerably shorter wash cycle which means less power used, will all balance out and work in favour of the purchase.

The machine arrived Monday. ๐Ÿ˜€ The postie laughed at me jumping up and down, “squeeing” in delight. The kids also thought I was mad. I picked up the machine (it weighs far less than any of my kids ๐Ÿ˜‰ย ) and took it out to the back deck, hooked up the power, a short piece of hose to the tap and sorted the washing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I finished about 10 loads in the time it took to send the cloth nappies through the front loader (not interested in water containing poo going through my gardens thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Admittedly those loads areย ยฝ the size the front loader takes but with a 15 minute maximum wash (unless you reset the timer) and a 1-5 minute spin to have it nicely dry it is a far shorter cycle than normal anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love my little pink washing machine. ๐Ÿ˜€

I had 3 kids clamouring to help with the laundry too! Even Orik was a star, pulling the spun socks and jocks out of the tub and into the basket ready for hanging. Allegra was a champion at loading the spin tub. Jas helped me load line wet (it’s actually raining here ๐Ÿ˜€ ) sheets in to the spin dryer, one at a time to spin out the excess rain water to dry them inside. He was quite able to manage the job alone too. So easy that a 5 year old can do the washing! Now thatย has to be good right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pretty in pink

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26 thoughts on “Twin tub

  1. […] the kids to help keep the room clean too. The washing machine in the room was a delight to use (read the post here) and the kids enjoyed helping out and Jas turned out to be a star helping with drying the dishes. […]

  2. Kylie A. says:

    Oh how I love the twin tubs!! Mum has one on the farm, its had better days though so now you have to put a brick on the lid when spinning but other than that its great. We’d hook a long black hose and run it out onto the garden, saves so much water. I almost feel guilty using a front loader now we are back in the city!

  3. I didn’t know you could still get these! My first ever washing machine was a secondhand twintub, 38 years ago, and I swore I would never have another! Every single load ended up a terrible mess, babies nappies would take ages to untangle lol. And everything started going raggy. It sounds like they are better now though if you are happy with it…this one is cute ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’ve have four twin tubs over the last 25 years, each one bought second hand when the one before finally gave up the ghost. They last an amazingly long time. Cheap to buy too – there is a whole generation of Nannas who swore by them. I love them – economical for time and effort, washing powder, water, and electricity as well as to buy. When we are being really frugal with water, in el nino years, I even reuse the washing water, sheets followed by undies and town clothes followed by work clothes followed by socks, then the same sequence for rinsing. I can give the sheets hot hot water and a longer wash and spin so they dry fast, then add a bit of cold water so the town clothes get a warm short wash and a short spin so as not to be thrashed. I can also put the tablecloth with the red wine straight in on its own in just a little water and leave the work shirt with seaweed brew on it for last on its own. Mine reverses the direction of the agitation every couple of minutes so things don’t tangle. I think nannas of the last generation were onto something.

    • My little machine I don’t have hopes for it lasting until the cows come home (it’s a lot of plastic really ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) but since we have a perfectly good and functioning front loader I couldn’t justify spending too much on what amounts to an experiment for us if that makes sense. I intend to insure it’s not an experiment but even so. I would like to see us off grid for water in the near future (and electricity too one day) so water saving will need to be firmly addressed. I love your idea of reusing the washing water too. Do you have a bucket you dump the wet stuff in whilst you wash it all before rinsing it all?

  5. foodnstuff says:

    Well done. I’ve never had a twin tub, but you make it sound so good. Something to think about when the current top loader dies. Can I ask what soap you use and whether in hot or cold water? I have no worries about water use because it all goes into my grey water system which waters fruit trees, but I do have to be careful about what soap I use for that reason. I use Earth Choice for just about everythingโ€”laundry and kitchen, anyway.

    • I make my own. It’s really easy, and easier still with a Thermomix. I get a bar of petrol-free soap (surprisingly challenging in Ballan) and grate it in the Thermy (hand graters or food processors work just fine too) then add 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda (sodium carbonate). Mix and I was using about 1-2 tsp in my front loader (about 1-2 tbsp in a top loader) but this being a smaller machine although top loader I used about the same as the front loader and the water colour indicated it worked.
      Borax is a hard one to research. The jury is out as some say it’s highly toxic but others say an acceptable risk, others say it’s great. Boron is a vital trace element for animals and gardens but as I said, jury is out about Borax.
      I use Earth Choice for washing up liquid and an ecover (I think) dishwasher powder but the EC washing up liquid still contains Sodium laurel ether sulphate (SLES) which is no better and a little worse than the SLS it replaces so I’m not so sold on its greeness.
      I’ll take and add some more photos about the machine later once I have my head firmly around it. It’s a great option for those with little water or little washing to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Linne says:

    Awesome buy, Jess! I love machines that give you control over heat, amount of water and length of agitation and spin.

    I had what I think was a twin tub ages ago; gave it away when we moved to the country and didn’t have power anymore. I still have a (newish) wringer washer in storage in BC.. We had one when I was a teen and used it in the bathroom. Hot water and soap in the washer, agitate as needed, then through the wringer into the tub, which was full of rinse water. Then through the wringer again (it could be swivelled so the soapy water went back into the washer and the rinse water back into the tub), caught before falling into the tub and put in the basket to take out and hang up. Mum was in hospital at least once a year and from age 12 I would stay home from school and take care of the littles, do some housework and most of the cooking as well as the washing. I don’t remember ever resenting it, either; it was just how life was. Good training for when I had my own kids,, too.

    Jess, I’d love to see a pic of this washer showing all of it and another showing the inside. It sounds like a great choice.

    I’ve often thought if I had a place, I’d have a ‘water building’ separate from the house to avoid flooding. It would be set in the middle or on the highest edge of the garden / orchard, to make using the grey water easier. I’d love one with a laundry area and drying cupboard, a wood-fired water heater of some sort, a Japanese style hot tub, a sauna and an old-fashioned clawfoot iron tub. The laundry area would have room for my ironing board, too. A tea trolley cart would make it easy to move stuff from the house to the water building. Go ahead and laugh (I do); I love to dream . . . but it’s not exactly the ‘tiny house’ ideal, is it? ~ Linne

    • I’ll post more pictures later. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I debated building a small solar powered shed for the laundry but in our case the back deck works just fine. ๐Ÿ™‚ Basket down the stairs and onto the basket trolley for easy moving to the clothes line.

  7. Rebecca Sullivan says:

    I love my twin tub! My hubby is a plasterer and we have 3 children so we have been through 3 washing machines over 13 years plus all with rather expensive repairs. Over a year ago I brought a second hand twin tub for $90. The timmer went about 3 months ago and hubby ordered a new part and fixed it himself cost us $15 we could never do that with a newer model. My friends still look at me like I have two heads when I tell them I own a twin tub though lol. Happy washing, Bec ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Two heads would be two brains though right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a great testimony to twin tubs. Aside from a little extra involvement in the washing and a little twisting up of the washing itself, I don’t think I’ve heard a bad word against them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. narf77 says:

    Lubbly jubbly ma’am, glad to see you have reverted back to last century when washing machines were actually efficient and life may not have been easier but it was certainly more satisfying ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sure is more satisfying. It also encourages stopping and actually enjoying the moment. When there are a few minutes left on the wash cycle it’s not much point wandering off to do something else so I get to stand and watch my kids playing in the garden or the chickens clucking around or the veggies growing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I would love one of these! I currently wash clothes in the bath as we don’t seem to be able to run an automatic washer from our generator.

  10. anthonypickering says:

    I had one when I moved out of home might still be at my parents place should check as it got dumped there when I ran off overseas for 3 years.

  11. Margaret says:

    I had a few twin tubs in the early years, they are great on a farm with limited water supply, if you have any realy dirty clothes , agitate for about 10 minutes then let soak for about an hour, then finish as normal.
    Grain dust ground into work shorts were never properly clean until a quick dash into town one day left the wash on hold…..bingo….perfectly clean, lesson learned.

    • Duly noted. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve noticed my machine doesn’t always switch off at the end of the timer (timer jams up a little) and when I forget it’s running by heck is that water filthy. Not so good on the power consumption then but it’s not all bad at least. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Jackie Clark says:

    Sooo glad you have one! Years ago in Cornwall, UK I had one with 2 young children, country life, grubby hubby, etc. etc. I found I could do all the nappies and have them on the line in no time. [Actually, allowing for almost constant wet weather, owing to being almost in the Atlantic, washing was more often dried on the Aga rail!]

    But, I had a Servis twin tub, which I don’t think ever came out to Oz? Anyway, the rinsing took place in the spinner, not the washtub. Servis had pioneered a non-tangle action which meant having none of the stress several people have mentioned in sorting out heavy, wet stuff. I could adjust the temperature of the water (with the Aga we had plenty of boiling hot water coming out of the kitchen tap) to what you needed. A pair of laundry tongs was terrific at sliding the wet stuff into the spin tub. First spin soapy water back out into the wash tub. Then you connect the water hose into the spinner and while spinning – at a speed you choose – it is also rinsing. Finally, when you have judged the rinsing is enough, just spin. So quick, easy and reliable – and water-saving. With young children underfoot, it makes no difference whether you have to stand there and do it or can walk away. Oh, I forgot to mention that all our clothes were SO much cleaner than an automatic can do.

    IMHO, time expenditure is assessed at your own values, not anyone else’s. If you feel you are not wasting it, then who can judge you?

    The day we ‘upgraded’ to an automatic was a sorrowful day for me and I would go back in a flash. Where can I get one of the quality I had in the early seventies?

  13. myselfishdream says:

    I admit i never read all of your post. I stopped after the part where you went away to some kind of eco school and stayed in a chain of hotels that are anything but eco friendly. My advice….just do it! I live totally off grid with not a utility company in sight. Solar, rain collection etc it is still a learning curve. In my experience there is a lot of misinformation out there that can suck you dry on the money front. I will gladly impart my knowledge for free

    • We went away on a home schooling camp, not an eco school. We had limited choices as to accommodation. No available tent and no caravan so we made the best of what we could. We took our own food and recycled or took home our waste (including compost) so our footprint was much smaller than you assume.

      As for living off grid, we will when we can. We are installing rainwater as the funds become available to do so and we have solar panels but we’re awaiting power companies to do their thing now. Once we better understand how we use our power we will be looking to batteries and at least a hybrid system. We are working on our gardens, perennial and annual, have enclosed our back deck in reclaimed windows for a passive solar greenhouse and given that we have 3 small children whom we homeschool and it’s only me home during the day I think we are doing a pretty good job to be honest.

  14. Amy says:

    Thanks for the info on the Wasser Twin Tub… Just wondering how it is performing a few years down the track?

    • I love my little machine. It won’t wash big items like doonas but we use the local laundromat for that. I had a HUGE pile of washing to put through over the weekend and we have our machine in our glass enclosed back deck. I sat in the sunshine with a book, standing up to change over the washing when it needed. It’s coping well with 5 people including 3 very mud-loving kids. ๐Ÿ˜€ In saying that, it is a lot more time intensive than a more conventional machine. If you wash little or you have the time to manage it, I love my little Wasser. ๐Ÿ™‚

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