The Pitch: "You'll never go to the Laundromat again!"
April 2009. The Wonder Washer makes a big promise -- that it will liberate you from carting laundry to a Laundromat. While most owners think the Wonder Washer is a pretty nifty gadget for laundering small items like underwear or baby clothes, it just isn't practical for doing all your laundry.
The Wonder Washer is a small, plastic washing machine that slightly resembles a large blender. The machine consists of a bucket that holds about two gallons of water that sits on an agitator base. It has an adjustable timer that can be set for up to 15 minutes and has two wash modes, standard and gentle. It doesn't need a water hook-up; rather, you add water manually.
Most owners of the Wonder Washer are pleased with how well it cleans, although the loads must be small (such as two shirts and a pair of pants); it works particularly well on baby clothes and undergarments. Most owners agree that you'll still have to use bigger washing machines for the rest of your laundry, particularly heavier and larger items like towels, sheets and jeans.
The biggest complaint about the Wonder Washer is that it does not have a rinse cycle. The soapy water must be emptied manually after use, which can be difficult because the bucket gets heavy, and garments must then be rinsed separately with clean water. A few people comment that the Wonder Washer looks cheaply made, and that it shakes and is noisy. Several caution against washing socks in this machine because they can become entangled. Also, the machine does not offer a way to regulate or measure water temperature.
Knitters have appropriated the Wonder Washer for an unintended use: to felt their wool. Knitters say that felting in a Wonder Washer is better than in a regular washing machine because the Wonder Washer allows you to control the amount of water that is used, and the lint and fibers that are left behind are easily removed from the bucket, instead of clogging up water lines.
The Wonder Washer has not been included in any professional comparison tests, but we found numerous owner reviews of the Wonder Washer on websites such as Amazon.com and AssociatedContent.com. Some of these reviews offer very detailed instructions and helpful tips. The use of the Wonder Washer is also demonstrated in several videos on YouTube.com.
The Wonder Washer receives mostly positive reviews from more than 70 reviewers on Amazon.com. Most reviewers say that the Wonder Washer cleans well and is a good substitute for hand washing. For some reviewers, though, the need to empty the bucket and rinse the clothing after washing obviates any convenience. A few owners note that the machine shakes and is noisy. Several people have trouble turning the knobs that set the washing time. These reviews also offer many helpful tips on how to optimize use.
Review: Wonder Washer, Contributors to Amazon.com
A handful of reviewers at this site for home accessories are pleased with the Wonder Washer. Two of the reviewers say they use it for all of their laundry, although others say it is best for smaller, lighter items.
Review: Wonder Washer, Contributors to TaylorGifts.com
Peter, an anonymous reviewer at this website about washing machines, tries the Wonder Washer and is not impressed. Peter thinks that the machine requires a lot of work, including filling and emptying the bucket, and rinsing and wringing the clothing after the wash. That said, he adds that it's as good as any other portable washing machine.
Review: The Wonder Washer, "Peter"
In this long user review, Yvonne Cote states that the Wonder Washer works "exceedingly well" and helps her minimize trips to the Laundromat. Cote does, however, have a few complaints. She thinks that the Wonder Washer is made of "very cheap plastic" and recommends that it be handled with care. Cote cautions that socks should not be washed in this machine because they can become entangled. She concludes that the Wonder Washer cannot completely replace a regular washing machine, but that it can substantially decrease trips to the Laundromat.
Review: Wonder Washer Review, Yvonne Cote, Oct. 21, 2007
In this long user review, Wendy King says that the Wonder Washer cleans small amounts of clothes very well and is especially good for baby clothes and undergarments. But King doesn't like the fact that the bucket must be emptied after the wash cycle. To rinse the clothes, King refills the washer with clean, cold water for another cycle. King concludes that the Wonder Washer is "a great buy."
Review: Wonder Washer Product Review, Wendy King, Sept. 27, 2007
YouTube.com contains several videos of the Wonder Washer in action. All of the reviewers like the Wonder Washer and say that it cleans small amounts of clothing well (a typical load is two short-sleeved shirts and one pair of pants). The owners also offer tips on use. One woman tries to run a rinse cycle using clean water, but finds that it does not work well and that she must rinse out the clothing in the sink.
Review: Wonder Washer, Contributors to YouTube.com
In this forum for knitters, several posters discuss their experience using the Wonder Washer to felt their material. The consensus is that the Wonder Washer works extremely well for this task.
Review: Felting with My Wonder Washer!, Contributors to KnittersReview.com