Frequently Asked Questions on Portable Washing Machine (FAQ’s)


Get Your Questions Answered

If you’re considering buying a Portable Washing Machine you’ve probably got quite a few questions in your mind – how to choose Ideal Portable Washer?, How to troubleshoot portable washers?, How do you wash clothes in portable washers? Portable washing machine manuals And so on.

In this Portable Washers FAQ section, we try to answer most of the questions that are frequently asked.

If you have a question that’s not listed? Please send us your questions via our contact us page and we’ll try our best to get you an answer and add it to our FAQ.

Table of Contents

What are portable washers Or Portable Washing Machine?

A portable washing machine is also known as a portable laundry machine or portable clothes washer used to wash clothes, towels, bed sheets, and other laundry items. It is smaller in size, capacity, and design than other conventional washing machines, therefore making it easier to move from one storage area to another.

Due it lower capacity and relatively smaller size, these portable washing machines can be used anywhere and anytime. It utilizes lesser space and also saves electricity due to smaller moving parts.

Since many portable washing machines come in different sizes, purposes, and capacities, it’s recommended that you choose the one that actually meets your requirement.

To learn more about choosing the best portable washer you can refer to our Beginner-friendly Buyers Guide.

Do portable washing machines really work?

Yes, it does provided you choose the right one as different types of portable washers have different purpose.

The right type of Portable Washing Machine not only cleans the laundry items but it’s also easier to move from one place to another especially because of its size and design.

You can find our in-depth analysis here.

How do you use a portable washing machine?

Not all Portable washing machines are the same as they differ from each other based on the type, size, and purpose. Having said that, the fundamentals of a portable washing machine remain the same as larger non-portable versions.

For example: If you are using the Pedal Powered type, you will need the physical intervention of manually rolling it to wash the clothes.

Likewise, if you are using a fully automatic version, it will do the end-to-end process, right from washing to drying. It uses a set of sequences which makes it so high-tech.

Similar to a conventional washing machine, portable washing does have an inlet hose for water supply to its main tub from the tap, and an outflow hose for water to drain, but uses less electricity.

Do portable washers use a lot of water?

It depends on how large the tub is, but a mini washer uses an average of 3.96 gallons of water per cubic foot when doing full loads.

You can expect approx. 4 gallons of water for the wash cycle and 4 gallons of water for the rinse cycle, having said that this also depends upon the laundry size and how dirty it is.

How Many clothes can you put in a portable Washer?

Putting too many clothes in the machine leaves less room for the water to circulate which reduces the cleaning efficiency.

In general, a standard 7kg machine can wash up to 35 t-shirts. An 8kg machine can wash up to 40 t-shirts, likewise, a 10kg washing machine can wash up to 50 t-shirts. For effective cleaning simply follow these basic guidelines.

1.) Do not fill the tub completely, instead try to fill the tub up to three-quarters of its total capacity.
2.) Loosen the clothes before putting them in your portable washer.

Refer to our Buyers Guide to get detailed info on choosing the appropriate capacity.

What size of portable washer do I need for a family?

Different types of washing machines and water holding drums are available in the market, some have extremely less capacity whereas some have a medium capacity, enough to maintain hygiene.

For one or two-person, a medium-size washer (1.8 cubics to 3.5 cubic ft) should do the trick. A family of more than three people should opt for a large size washer (3.6 cubic ft to 5.1 cubic ft).

Our take is, For a family of 3-4 members a front loading washing machine with a load capacity of up to 7 kgs may be suitable for doing the majority of the task.

Having said that these do not consider the purpose, for example, if you are a frequent traveler, you should opt for the smallest and the most portable version to avoid any hassles.

Likewise, if you are researching a portable washer for RVs, it’s recommended you go for a small to medium-sized washer.

Here’s a detailed guide on choosing Portable washers for RVs.

How do you hook up a portable washer to the sink?

If you do not have a proper plumbing connection for the washing machine, then it’s recommended to hook the flexible tube pipe to the sink. By using a flexible tube, sink aerator thread can be used to connect the hose to the sink faucet directly, and the other end of the hose to the back of the washing machine.

How do you wash clothes in a portable washing machine?

There should be a flexible tube attached to the portable washing machine, and the other end to the faucet in order to fill water.

Then load the drum with clothes you need to wash making sure it doesn’t jam up the motor or else it will become difficult to rotate. Add some detergent liquid, it is mostly preferred because it dwells well along with waster and clothes easily.

Can you use bleach in a portable washing machine?

Yes, Bleach can be used to clean your portable washer.

It’s important that you don’t make it a practice to clean the washer on a daily basis. Using bleach once in a while is ok but using it frequently can actually damage your washer.

Furthermore, make sure you check the user’s manual before cleaning your washer with bleach as it may void the warranty.

Lastly, to clean the washer follow the below instructions:

To clean your portable washing machine with bleach, add 30 ml bleach to your detergent drawer then run the machine on a hot cycle. Make sure to run an extra rinse cycle to ensure the bleach is flushed out. It’s important that you run another empty cycle if you can still smell or find any trace of the bleach.

Can you put a portable washing machine in the bathroom?

Since portable washers are relatively smaller in size you can easily fit it anywhere in the bathroom. All you need is a better plumbing system and faucet that connects to the washing machine hose.

As the portable washing machine utilizes very little space it will surely fit in the majority of small bathrooms.

But before you could place the portable washer in your bathroom, make sure you check the instruction manual OR check with the manufacturer as some manufacturers do not allow this. Also, this can void the warranty with some manufacturers.

What is considered a large capacity washer?

The normal capacity of a washer is between 3.1 and 4.0 cubic feet, it will allow to load up to 5-7 kgs of laundry, similarly, a large capacity washer ranges anywhere between 4.2-9.0 cubic feet which can hold anywhere between 6 kgs to more than 10 kgs of laundry.

What should I look for when buying a portable washing machine?

There are a few things you need to pay attention to while buying a portable washing machine.

1.) Your portable washing machine should not be very heavy or else mobility would be challenging.
2.) Your portable washer should have wheels attached to it so that maneuvering is easy (Most do have these days).
3.) It should have a hose that gets easily connected to the sink faucet or bathroom tap (We frequently get this question).
4.) It should come with a good amount of cycles in its entire lifetime (Preferably more than 4000 cycles)

Lastly, the portable washing machine should have a good capacity to hold a decent load and should also be energy efficient for less electricity consumption.

While the above points are just a basic guideline or a checklist that you should keep in mind before making a buying decision, we recommend you go over to our detailed Buyer’s Guide before making a buying decision as it covers in detail on what to look for and which one to buy.

Can you wash sheets in a portable washing machine?

Yes, we can wash bed sheets, blankets, and other sheets. But most portable washing machines are small, washing such big sheets can be a little frustrating. While it can wash sheets, it’s not recommended to do so due to the size.

How do I choose a Portable washing machine capacity?

Choosing the correct size and capacity of the washing machine is important as it would decide what and how much load it can take for efficient cleaning.

In general, a portable washing machine with a capacity of at least 6 kgs should fulfill the majority of requirements for a small family. It can efficiently wash large sheets, blankets, and clothes.

But if you have very large bedsheets, like the one used for king-size beds, it’s recommended you go for a washer with a 9 kgs capacity.

We recommend you refer to our in-depth buyer’s guide to make an informed decision.

How many towels can you wash in one load on Portable Washing Machine?

Usually, the average-sized portable washer can handle up to 6-8kgs of loads, or 4-5kgs loads of bath towels. So if you have a portable washer with a 4 kg to 5 kg capacity it can fit approx. 4 to 5 towels for efficient cleaning. You can load more towels, but the cleaning efficiency will deteriorate.

How long do Portable washers last?

The average lifespan of a portable washer is approx. 11 to 14 years. It’s important that when you buy a portable washer be sure to check how many cycles it can handle. On average if your portable washer can handle more than 5100 cycles you can expect it to last for 14 years, provided you maintain it.

However, judging the lifespan based purely on cycles may not be a wise idea as you also need to maintain the portable washer by cleaning it and regularly servicing it.

A portable washing machine typically holds 3-4 days of clothes for one person, so if you can reduce the cycles by efficiently utilizing the washer’s capacity, you can extend the life further.

How many times can we use a Portable washing machine in a day?

You can use the portable washing machine as many times as you can. There are no daily limits set by manufacturers. However, if you are conscious about making your washing machine last for a long time, you need to be efficient with its usage.

On average, a decent portable washing machine can handle up to 4000 cycles in its lifetime. So if you want to make it last for more than 10 years, you will need to be very efficient in using up all those cycles.
Off course, that does not mean it cannot go more than 4000 cycles, it’s just a benchmark to understand how long it can last.

Should you leave the portable washing machine door open after use?

It is important to do so because the musty smell and odor are very tough to remove, a hot water cycle run is suggested in order to kill the bacteria. Keeping the door open will not only make your washer prone to fungal growth but also make it smell.

Can vinegar damage your portable washing machine?

Vinegar is very effective in removing odor or stains from clothes, at the same time it can pose a problem because the acidic nature of vinegar may not be suitable for seals and rubber hoses.

It is also known to damage the seals and hoses to an extent where it can cause leakage. We would suggest you refer to the user’s manual in order to maintain the washing machine’s hygiene. Most manufacturers these days provide you the instructions on how to clean your portable washing machine using their recommended cleaning agents.

Vinegar can still be used to clean your machine, but it has to be used wisely. Daily use of vinegar for cleaning is a big NO-NO as it can surely damage sensitive parts. It’s always best to use as scarcely as possible.

Are Mini Portable washing machine illegal?

A portable washing machine may offer great benefits of saving space, electricity bills, and maintenance costs. As some of the portable clothes washers (like the ones designed for dorms) are so small they can easily fit anywhere and do not need any legal formalities.

Having said that, If you are in a rented apartment and want to go ahead with the larger versions that have higher capacity, you may need to check with your landlord.

The best way to check the legality of a portable washer is to check the Lease agreement also known as the rent agreement in many places. Some landlords may not allow the heavier version of portable washers.

If there is nothing mentioned in the lease agreement, check with your landlord if you can attach the portable laundry machine, in most cases, they allow it as these washers are not very heavy.

The challenge of legality most comes up if you are in a rented house or apartment, otherwise, these laundry devices are the most legal friendly thing you can buy.

How does a Portable Washing machine work?

In general, the majority of portable washer comes with a standard configuration where you get an inlet hose that connects to the sink tap, to fill the water and the Outflow hose, to drain the water.

Every brand that makes a Portable washing machine may be different from the other as it comes in different sizes, shapes, purposes, and capacities. Having said that, the fundamental principle of how this mini laundry machine work remains the same. It uses the same “centrifugation” principle just like the larger version to achieve strong rotation.

Can any of these Portable washing Machines be used in an actual laundry room with Hookups?

Portable washing machines are usually suggested if you are doing your laundry at home without any help from anyone.

Portable clothes washers are suitable for those who like to travel or change their location frequently especially due to their size, design, and ease of mobility.

Also, a portable washing machine has limited load capacity, therefore making it inefficient to use it for actual heavy-duty laundry tasks. Using one in the laundry room is usually not recommended, but a decent size portable washer works well for a family of 1 to 4 individuals.

Are Portable Washing Machine worth it?

Portable washer machines make an excellent fit especially for those who change their location frequently OR for frequent travelers. These mini washers are great for cleaning clothes easily and also do not require large space.

If you don’t have the space to set up full-size laundry, these Portable washers can help you in cutting down space and doing the laundry work efficiently.

Furthermore, if you are traveling, camping, or traveling in RV, live in a small apartment, and want to maintain your clothes hygiene, mini portable washers will suit you more as compared to their larger versions.

Although portable laundry machines come in a variety of variants i.e. Fully automatic, semi-automatic, and manual, you can buy the one that suits you the best.

Do portable washing machines consume a lot of electricity?

Most portable washing machines are energy efficient.

The majority of manufacturers design the washers in such a way that it is not only energy-efficient but also give the desired level of cleaning.

Most of the energy (approximately 80 to 90 %) is used by a washing machine to heat the water.
If it is already connected to the heated water, the energy consumption will be even low.

The machine components like pumps, automatic valves, and digital control panels use a very little amount of energy.

Most of it is used by the motor that agitates and spins the drum. Hence, use hot water so that the energy usage becomes even more efficient.

A typical portable washer generally consumes anywhere between 400 to 1300 Watts. Having said that, Modern models use even less energy ranging anywhere between 400 to 800 watts.

While the technical details look good to hear, a lot depends on the washing machine is being used.

If you are using it effectively and correctly then surely it will have a positive impact.

Despite all the discussion, portable washing machines are efficient in energy consumption as compared to the traditional ones. So if you are looking for a cost-cutting strategy, go for a portable washer.

How many gallons of water are used by portable washing machine?

Approximately, an average washing machine uses four gallons of water per wash cycle and an additional four gallons for the rinse cycle too.

If your clothes are dirtier, then they may need an additional rinse cycle and hence utilize more than four gallons.

Yearly, you will be using approximately 3274 gallons of water (That’s the average).

Large washing machines of about 4 cubic feet use an average of 11.75 gallons per full wash load and 4606 gallons per year.

On the other hand, a mini washer uses more water per cubic foot of capacity. If loading it fully, it will utilize average 3.96 gallons per cubic foot and a large-sized washer uses 2.93 gallons per cubic foot.

In past, the washing machines used to require a lot of water, approximately 45 gallons for a full load but modern and new washing machines use 40 gallons or even less.

In General, since the portable washing machines are smaller in size as compared to the regular ones, they consume much less water within a single washing cycle.

However, their capacity is low as compared to a full-sized washing machine, hence it requires more wash cycles.

How to drain a portable washing machine?

For draining, you need to start by unplugging the machine and emptying the tub.

When the wash cycle or the rinse cycle is completed, turn the knob that sets the cycle to drain, and it will automatically drain the water.

Make sure that the drain hose is attached correctly and tightly fixed to both ends, with the machine outlet valve on one side and on the other side where the water is to be discharged.

Place the drain hose at a lower height from the surface, like on the floor or in a bucket so that it may utilize gravity and easily drain water.

You can also place it in the toilet to avoid any water spreading on the floor and easily draining out in a flush.

Make sure that the nozzle of the hose is appropriately attached to whatever thing in which the water is to be drained.

If it is attached to the sink, make sure the connection is tight otherwise the hose may get out of the position and end up flooding the floor with dirty water.

When the machine has gone through the wash or rinses cycle, applying the drain option will cause the machine to drain the water on its own. This is quite simple.

If you face any issues with draining or poor machine performance, refer to our Portable Washer’s troubleshooting guide.

How do portable washing machine work?

Portable washers work just like a conventional washing machine,
It uses the same centrifugation principle.

“Centrifugation is a process of separation that uses centrifugal force to settle down the particles in a solid-liquid mixture”.

This force acts on the radius in an outward direction and it throws the water molecules on the clothes in an outward direction radially during the spin cycle.

Furthermore, fast-spinning applies a force on clothes, thereby forcing them to stick to the walls of the washing tub and forcing the water out of the clothes through the holes present in the tub and hence drying the clothes.

With any Portable washers, they first need to be plugged into the power socket and the hoses should be attached with the machine’s inlet and outlet valves, and also to the faucet for water intake and drain.

Then you need to set the cycle to run normally, gently, or in any other mode.
After one cycle is completed, drain the water by changing the machine’s mode from normal to drain.

Then run the rinse cycle by the same procedure and again drain the water.
Transfer the clothes to the spinning tub and spin for about 3 minutes. The clothes should be ready, fresh, and clean.

Best detergents for portable washing machines:

The top US-based detergent is “Tide” and it continues to stay Amazon’s best-selling and most popular laundry detergent for years now.

At a suitable price, it offers a refreshing smell and has the best cleaning ability.

Some of the top laundry detergents are Persil ProClean, Tide Original, Persil ProClean Sensitive Skin, Tide Purclean, Kirkland Ultra Clean premium laundry detergent, Gain Original (plant-based), Purex, Arm & Hammer Clean Burst, All Free & Clear, All Mighty Pacs laundry detergent, gain flings, Grab Green Natural, Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent, Eco Nuts, Seventh Generation, NaturOli Soap Nuts and soapberries, Mr. Mayer’s detergent, Biokleen, Earth-friendly products eco liquid laundry detergent, green shield organic free and clear laundry detergent, woolzie 100% natural laundry detergent, total home, and Hero.

Others like Dreft stage 1 and stage 2 is for newborns, it is hypoallergic liquid baby laundry detergent. These laundry detergents come in powdered and liquid forms. Also, single-dose packets are available for easier use.

For portable washers, the most suitable ones are the liquid washers because they don’t form clumps (as the powdered detergents form clumps) and can easily mix with water.

You can refer to our detailed analysis of the best detergents for portable washers here.

How do you use a kuppet portable washing machine?

First, place a portable washing machine near a sink and a place where you wish to drain the water.

Attach one end of the hose with the machine inlet valve and the other end with the water faucet.

Place the end of the drain hose to where you will be draining the water after the user.

Now turn on the water from the faucet to fill the tub.

Plug on the washing machine.

Now, put your laundry in a tub containing water.

Add a suitable amount of detergent/washer.

Close the lid and set the machine on the normal mode/mode of your choice.

After that, switch the machine to drain mode.

Turn off the drain, and repeat the same procedure to rinse.

Transfer the clothes to the spin container and set a timer for about 3-5 minutes.

Take your clothes out and dry them.

For more details on how to use a portable washer, refer to our How-to guide.

Are there any portable washing machines that use internal water as compared to the faucet?

No, we didn’t find any such machine that would use internal water.

For any machine to take in water, a faucet and a hose are necessary.

Or an alternative option is to fill the machine by using buckets full of water.

But this would be troublesome and is not an easy and convenient method to pick up a heavy water bucket and throw the water inside a machine tub.

This method can be applied to a smaller-sized washing machine that is generally carried during a journey or camping.

Hence the easiest method is taking water through a faucet.

How to troubleshoot a portable washing machine?

If the washer won’t turn on, check if it’s getting power or not. If the switch is on and it’s not getting power, check your household electrical panel.

If draining does not occur properly, check the drain hose if there is any clogging.

Remove any foreign material if found.

Adjust the clothing load to keep the washer in balance.

Do not add too many clothes otherwise, it will not spin properly.

If the washer is leaking, check hose connections, and the drain hose.

Moreover, if it has any cracks then replace it.

Lessening the amount of detergent will eliminate the over-subsiding problem.

If the washer is making noises, then replace the faulty parts or remove any blockages.

Lastly, if you portable washer stinks, clean it monthly. Remove molds if found.
Refer to our detailed troubleshooting guide here, which covers many things in detail.

Who should invest in a portable washing machine?

Those with Limited Space:

Portable washing machines are suitable for those who have a challenge with less space Example: College Students or Single workers living in small apartments.

These portable machines come in a variety of sizes and shapes that can be fitted anywhere.

It is quite annoying to run up and down for laundry services and have to wait for a long time to get the clothes back.

Hence portable washing machine provides comfort to whoever wants peace of mind with limited space.

Frequent Travellers

If you are a frequent traveler, you don’t need to take a lot of clothes along with you whenever going on a journey or camping. You can easily take a small-sized and lightweight portable washer with you.

For those with a tight budget

As these washers save money, Individuals with a tight budget can get such a washer that will use less electricity and water bills, furthermore, it also consumes less detergent.

For the ones living alone or with a roommate, this type of machine makes a perfect fit.
These portable washers are also gentle. Those people who complain of getting their clothes rough should better buy a portable washing machine.

If you are confused about an ideal size for you, refer to our portable washing machine buyer’s guide here.

How portable washing machines are different from full-sized machines?

Portable washers are smaller in size and capacity as compared to a full-sized washing machine.

They consume much lesser water and electricity compared to the normal washing machines. Hence, they are slightly more energy efficient.

Their agitating ability is different from full-sized machines. Full-sized machines contain a central agitator that applies strong force. Instead, portable washers use a smaller central point to rotate clothes gently.

Portable washers are less powerful than large ones. The chances of their damage are also high if not handled appropriately.

They are easy to move from one place to another, that’s why it is called portable. Whereas, the full-sized washer has to be kept in a fixed place.

They are also cheaper. But that does not mean they are not efficient. Sometimes with certain brands, they can work better than a full-sized washing machine.

Full-sized washers sometimes damage the clothes due to a rough agitator. But portable ones clean them gently maintaining the cloth fabric.

Portable washers can be carried for a long journey. The ones who have large-sized washing machines do not have this advantage.

How big or small, a portable washer can be?

These washers come in various sizes and types. The smallest ones can be carried in a car for a long journey and the largest ones are to be kept in a proper place at home.

A standard washing machine can have about 85 cm height, 59 to 60 cm width, and 50 to 60 cm depth. The drum capacity could be between 4kgs or 13 kgs.

In general, an average weight of a small portable washer can range anywhere from 5kg to 15ksg, their depth could be 44cm to 60cm.

Mini portable washing machine such as kuppet is 10 lbs. Generally speaking, the amount of load added to a washer should match its capability. Do not overfill a small washer.

Does the portable washing machine save my electricity bill?

As the portable washers are small and have less capacity, they also use less electricity and less water.

However, the number of wash cycles may increase per month.

Power consumption depends upon the electric motor that rotates the drum/tub and on the heating equipment that supplies hot water.

The heating equipment uses about 80-90 percent of electricity/power and the rest is used by the motor and other components.

A portable washer is designed in such a way that it can take hot water from the hot side of the faucet and hence cutting down the bill that will be used to heat it.

This cuts approximately 90 percent of energy consumption and consequently reduces the bill.

Hence if you utilize the heat up option, the machine can use about 2 kWh or in other words, 2 units of energy.

And if the heat up option is not utilized, then it can utilize anywhere between 0.3 to 0.5 kWh of units of electricity.

Once you invest in a portable washer, it will provide you with long-term benefits.

Best portable washing machine for a single person:

Different types of washing machines are made for different purposes, the portable washer that suits one may not be suitable for you as it completely depends on your requirement.

To learn how to choose the best portable washer for yourself, refer to our buyer’s guide here.

Having said that we like “Costway Mini Washing Machine” as it meets the general requirement. This machine is small enough to be kept in a closet.

It has 2 in 1 function. It means there is only one tub for both the spin function and wash function.

This mini machine is just 14 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 20 inches tall.
It is small enough to be carried for a journey and makes a good fit to be kept in a closet.

As it is small, it has less capacity for laundry. Its reviews say that this machine packs a big punch, cleaning clothes in lesser time.

It can also be easily kept on a kitchen counter. Though it offers little holding capability, it is well suited for a single person, as there could not be so many dirty clothes of a single person in a smaller time (In most cases).

It offers a quite simple operation that is easily understandable by a common person. Its time control knob and drain tube make it even easier to use.

It is compact and energy-efficient. It comes in two colors, blue and white, and has a beautiful design and amazing mechanism. It is eco-friendly utilizing very little water and energy.
Its clear lid allows you to see through and check the water level.

The brand is “cost way” and it is a top load. It utilizes 200 watts with a capacity of 7 pounds and a net weight of 11.5 lbs, lastly it is easily movable.

Refer to the Buyer’s guide if you are confused in selecting or deciding one for yourself.

What is the smallest size of a washing machine?

The smallest washing machine is about 3 to 6 kgs. Its depth is anywhere between 44cm and up to 60cm.

The one we found to be the smallest is DMR 3 kg Portable Mini Washing Machine with Dryer Basket (DMR 30-1208, Blue). It provides a 1-year warranty.

The top ten smallest washing machines found are Portable Washing Machine TG23 (best twin tub mini washing machine), Best Choice Products Portable Compact Machine, Zeny Portable Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine (best lightweight mini washing machine), Wonder Washer Machine, Lavario Portable Clothes Washer (best for traveling), Costway Mini Washing Machine (editor’s choice), Magic Chef MCSTCW09W1 (best compact mini washing machine), Kuppet Mini Portable Washing Machine (best for easy operation), The Laundry Alternative Mini Washing Machine (best non-electric mini washing machine), and Black + Decker BPWM09W Portable Machine.

Some of them are extremely small and highly portable enough to be carried along for journeys or camping.

They provide the benefit of keeping fewer clothes so they can be washed and used again during a trip.