Living in New York City for the past six years, I’ve found that having a trustworthy laundromat within a couple of blocks of your apartment is vital. And so, when my laundromat temporarily closed very early on in March due to COVID-19, my wife and I were left with no choice but to handwash our laundry in our tiny Brooklyn apartment.
We had been doing so for the last few weeks, but it amounted to a multi-day project just to get a few essentials clean. We don’t really have any outdoor space (so no room for a clothesline) and handwashing in a washbasin in our closet-sized bathroom only allows for a few garments to be washed at a time. But it was the drying time that took the longest, sometimes a few days on our drying rack — and that’s just for lighter items like t-shirts and socks.
So we looked into a portable dryer. There are quite a few options out there, but far and away the most economical and space-saving product we found was the Mini Countertop Spin Dryer 2 from The Laundry Alternative (the brand also makes some portable washers as well). It’s originally $95 but currently going for just $72 on Houzz and for $79 from the brand itself. It weighs 11 pounds and measures 13.5 x 13.5 x 18 inches — even in a barely-500-square-foot apartment like mine, there’s enough room for it.
This mini dryer is powered by very low wattage (82W) to save energy yet still creates 1,750 RPM with centripetal force to literally suck the water out of the fabric — this also helps prolong the life of garments since heat is not being used. The Spin Dryer 2 only handles a 2.2-pound load capacity, which amounts to something around a few t-shirts and a few pairs of socks. But it’s incredibly user-friendly and only takes 3 minutes for each load, so we just end up doing a bunch of loads in a row without issue. And it dries things pretty well. Not dry enough to put in a drawer immediately, but put the garments on a drying rack for an hour and they’re ready good to go.
We can also do towels one at a time, so the process is slow but previously we were squeezing towels as much as we could and letting them dry for multiple days on the drying rack with a fan on them. Now, they only need a couple of hours afterward on the rack. The towels sometimes are too heavy and the load needs to be repositioned — you can tell because the machine starts bucking around and won’t actually start working towards the stabilizing centripetal force. Just pop the top and reposition everything along the sides and away from the center and it usually does the trick.
A few other quirks: the hose that runs out the back of the dryer being a bit too short, so it needs to be placed fairly close to a sink or shower so the water can drain. There’s also no stop or start and the load isn’t timed at all — once you shut the lid and it’s plugged in, the machine starts. It’s good to keep a timer going for 3 minutes for each load since the brand warns running the machine more than 4 minutes can shorten the product’s life.
But all those are minor inconveniences when it comes to handwashing and drying laundry in a micro-apartment. The Mini Countertop Spin Dryer 2 also comes with a three-year warranty so we feel we’re pretty set to do our laundry from home without a conventional washer and dryer even after the pandemic passes.
Other Handwashing Essentials
Loadout 5-Gallon Bucket by Yeti $40
Signature Detergent by The Laundress $21
Drying Rack by Cresnel $58
Collapsible Laundry Hamper by Yamazaki $48