The Breathing Mobile Washer

Plunger for agitating laundry

The “Breathing” Mobile Washer is a manual agitator that helps me do as good a job as a conventional washer machine, even better in my opinion. We do almost all our laundry at home in the tub, using the Breathing Mobile Washer and the previously-reviewed large spin dryer. The washer is sort of like a plunger, only made of rigid materials. The cone is articulated, so air is allowed to escape — unlike a plunger, you don’t get a build up of air pressure. Inside, near the bottom, there’s a plastic grate. When you push down, water is driven through whatever is under the grate. Unlike the agitator in a conventional washer does, this washer doesn’t just move the items around in the water. It literally forces water through the material. At the same time, though, it’s gentle on clothing. There’s lots of surface area, so there’s little chance of anything tearing from potential stress. And, of course, being manual, you decide how hard to go at something. A dirty pair of jeans is always going to get a more thorough plunging than a delicate sweater or blouse. Soaking and pretreating laundry does most of the hard work. We do find it’s important to still pre-treat stains, but we had to do that with our conventional washer, too.

Overall, using the mobile washer does not take too much work. I can throw the equivalent of 2-3 loads into the tub, agitate them for a minute or two to ensure everything is soaking well, then leave it for ten minutes or so, come back in, agitate it some more, leave it for another ten minutes, then give it a final agitation before loading it into the spin dryer in 2-3 batches. Since we usually use only one load of wash water and one load of rinse water for multiple loads of laundry, we’re essentially doing 3-6 loads of wash with the same amount of water, detergent, and softener as we’d normally use in a single load. (Note: we use white vinegar in the rinse water instead of fabric softener).

According to the manufacturer, the Breathing Mobile Washer is actually a revamp of an old patent from the late 1800’s. The old version was made of heavier metal that supposedly rusted. This one is lighter; the cone is made from plastic and the handle is wood.

-- Christine Mank 10/29/08

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