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How To Do Laundry In Your Apartment – Even Without Hookups

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why a portable washing machine is a lifesaver for apartment dwellers

This is the blog post I was hoping to find four years ago. This is the blog post where I share with you how to do your laundry in an apartment without hookups.

Once upon a time, we lived in an apartment without laundry hookups and were determined to use cloth diapers. Since we didn’t want to lug around a basket of stinky diapers around to the laundromat, or sit there with an infant for hours on end, we got creative.

Options For Laundry In An Apartment Without Hookups

There are actually a lot of options for doing laundry in an apartment if you aren’t opposed to doing a little bit of work. Here’s the quick version:

  1. Laundry POD
  2. Laundry Alternative Wonderwash
  3. Mini Portable Washing Machine
  4. Portable Washing Machine

First, we got a laundry pod. This thing looks like a giant salad spinner, fits about 3 diapers at a time, but it does work pretty well. Of course, this process takes pretty much all day if you have more than 3 things to wash. We hung them to dry on folding dryer racks. I had to do laundry every night, just to keep up with the cloth diaper demand. I did get a pretty good arm workout in, though.

After a few months of hand cranking my child’s cloth diapers, I decided we needed a different option. I did hours of research. Surely, someone had to have come up with a solution for an apartment washing machine, right?


I already listed several options of budget-friendly laundry options above, each with their own benefits, depending on the size of your space and what features you’re looking for, any of those will function well. For me, what was most important was a full-sized washing machine. I wanted a washing machine that was small enough for an apartment, had enough space for all our clothes, and was still portable. I literally searched “washer that doesn’t need hookups” and began the search that led me to my favorite machine ever, my amazing powerhouse of a portable washing machine.

Portable Washing Machine

This washing machine became my new favorite appliance. In complete honesty, it is the best portable washing machine available, especially for someone who is used to doing laundry in their own home. At 2.1 cubit feet of space, it was big enough to fit our queen comforter, but small enough that I was able to maneuver it around with ease. It also had standard hookup capability, so we were able to use the same machine when we moved to a place with actual washer hookups. We did diapers in what felt like a flash, and hung them to dry. We bought more dryer racks because we could now do all our own laundry in our home. It was so exciting!

Portable Dryer for 110/120V

Most dryers require a special plug to run, requiring specific wiring (aka, “dryer hookups”). When we arrived in Iowa, our house had washer hookups and a dryer hose vent, but only the standard 110/120V plugs. It was then I found this dryer that can plug in to any standard 3-prong outlet. We were able to donate the drying racks and do all our laundry on our own, in only a matter of hours! We had a vent hookup in the Iowa house, but if you don’t, you can purchase this nifty little lint trap and keep it vented inside.

The biggest difference with apartment-capable washers and dryers is obviously the capacity. The washer we had did not have an agitator in the center, which meant that we were able to fit more in. Everything we washed came out clean, so we didn’t even miss the agitator. The dryer took a little longer than your standard 220V dryer did to dry a load, but that was fine with us since we were finally able to do laundry on our own terms, and multiple loads in the same day.

When we moved into the RV, we sold our washer and dryer, since the RV came with a washer dryer combo unit. We now live in a townhouse with our own laundry room, and we purchased a standard washer and dryer set. Aside from the size difference in capacity, I haven’t really noticed any difference between clothes cleaned in our apartment washer vs. our new traditional one.

Get a set of wool dryer balls for just $3 for only $3 with promo code DRYERFIX2018 

As you might imagine, it is less expensive to purchase a portable washing machine and portable dryer than a standard set. The savings are especially high when you consider the time, effort, and money spent per load doing laundry at a laundromat. I love that our portable washing machine and dryer allowed us to do laundry and continue on with our lives, without the need to go back and forth to a laundromat/apartment laundry center or try to entertain little people for hours on end while doing laundry.

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No laundry hookups? No problem! Here's how to do laundry without hookups

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  1. Floby Carrasco-Villaralvo

    January 5, 2018 at 8:31 am

    We also live in an apartment now and it is very hard to find where to and how to do it properly. Helpful for me, we live on the 3rd floor and it is very challenging

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      January 5, 2018 at 10:02 am

      I’m so glad it was helpful for you!

  2. The Crumby Vegan

    January 5, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Great ideas for something that I hadn’t even realised was a problem for some. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I can’t do my washing at my convenience let alone having a baby with cloth diapers (well done you on going the environmentally-friendly route btw!!) 💚

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      January 5, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Cloth diapers are the best! 🙂

  3. Amanda Zimmer

    January 5, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Honestly, most apartments where I have lived had laundry units on site or in the unit. I’ve opted to use a laundry mat a few times, but had I heard and know about these portable devices when I could have used them, I probably would have bought them.

    My husband and I tried the cloth diaper thing for a short period and we reverted to regular diapers because the cloth diapers were just too much of a hassle and not easy to keep stains out of. I, likely like many others appreciate this post. I think more people should know about these portable devices and that they’d help people who are struggling financially and who don’t have a washer/dryer hookup.

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      January 5, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Our complex had a laundry area in the building, but the people living in the other apartments weren’t very clean and there was always loads of hair and dirt all over and inside the washing machines. It was disgusting, so we didn’t use them.

  4. Leah

    January 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    This is so interesting!! I never knew there was such things!! Well I learned my something new for the day, and will be ready next time this happens to me… all that money I wasted in the laundry mat

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      January 5, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      I’m so glad! I was most excited to find a washing machine that could be hooked up to either a sink or actual hookups. It wasn’t just something to “get me by” until I moved, but was truly versatile!

  5. Pua

    January 6, 2018 at 3:50 am

    I didn’t even know if anything beyond the traditional washer/dryers out there and that one that looks like a salad mixer. I have a friend who has to go to the laundromat and I’m sure she’d like the idea of looking into one of these. Thank you!

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      January 6, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  6. Amy @ The Quiet Homemaker

    January 10, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Wow, what a great idea!! We are living in a camper while we finish building our house and a washer and dryer was on of my top concerns. Ours does not have the space for a combo unit. Thankfully we were able to bring our and put them in a shed. But I have done quite a bit of hand washing, which I love if I have the time.
    Thanks for the info and thanks for linking up at #LiveLifeWell!!




    January 11, 2018 at 5:57 am

    You were deteremined. 🙂 I’ve never lived without hookups. So, I haven’t had to give this much thought, but when you were talking about your struggles and trying to wash cloth diapers, I could picture the challenges. I couldn’t imagine washing 3 diapers at a time. We cloth too and love it. I’m sure this post is going to inspire a lot of ideas for others who don’t have hook ups. Thank you for sharing at Live Life Well. 🙂

  8. Asiya

    January 14, 2018 at 6:26 am

    I live in dubai so just hang wet clothes outside

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      January 14, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Wow! I would love to hang clothes outside if we had a place to do so! Outside clothes smell so fresh.

  9. mapsandmonograms

    January 15, 2018 at 7:48 am

    Whoa! This is awesome! This would be excellent for an apartment or an RV. Sharing with my folks so they can check it out for their RV.

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      January 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Awesome! We lived in an RV for a month. It had its own washer/dryer combo unit, but this system would definitely work in an RV!

  10. rakhiparsai11984

    January 18, 2018 at 4:11 am

    This is a great post. Living in India never made me realize that laundry can be this challenging in apartments.

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      February 6, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      I’m still surprised that most people don’t know they have options!

  11. Heather @ The Pennywise Playbook

    February 10, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Wow. I don’t know what to say other than that I’m really impressed, lol!

  12. Alexis

    February 10, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    We are planning on getting an RV and being FT in there – never thought about this laundry idea!

    1. Mrs. Crunchy

      February 11, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      Yes!! When we lived in an RV, we had a mini combo, but if you have the space I would definitely recommend these portables over the combo. They hold so much more!

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