Hand washing your clothes used to be a back-breaking job done using rocks, pieces of wood or a washboard. In 2012 I was looking for something to use when I went on longer camping expeditions. What I found was the Breathing Mobile Washer/ Ball Compact Washer a truly revolutionary approach to washing that filled every request I had. I purchased and used this amazing tool for the last 6 years now.
Recently the inventors’ son contacted me regarding possibly doing a review. Honestly, it has been on the list to review for over a year, however, because of the sheer number of items I have used and use it never quite made it to the top. After all in a small trauma bag alone I carry 10+ items, all worthy of a review. This review is the result of 6 years of sporadic use, and the recent addition of the Breathing Mobile / Ball compact washer as well as the deluxe version I felt it was time for a review (and one of my poorly made videos!) Check the links above for the compact washer $20 shipped and the deluxe version $23 shipped!
What are the benefits of the Ball compact washer? As you all know by now I love my lists, it makes information easy to present.
- No need too bend over or work on your knees! (for people like myself who have extremely bad backs and knees this alone is worth the purchase!)
- Cleans the clothing better than using any of the other hand washing approaches! (Again experience and at $20 average price shipped for one, hard to pass up!)
- Little to no actual force necessary to clean the clothing, my kids can do it easily and have!
- Made in the United States for USA buyers and users and made in India for international users (same specifications and after speaking with a friend who uses one in India, they are just as well made!)
- The company has provided aid for flood, fire and earthquake victims around the world. I personally enjoy assisting in times of crisis and find that private efforts as per data available (linked here is data regarding private assistance versus FEMA type assistance)
- It works, it cleans clothes that our mechanical washer and dryer cannot!
The inventor Jonathan Ball and his wife Barbara worked on the design while in Boise State Engineering and Technology Center. The main idea was to invent a light-weight portable clothes washer that could be easily affordable and utilized in multiple areas by many different people. It is an amazing product for college students and young people who live in smaller residences and have to use pay laundromats. For myself and many other people, it is perfect for use in your home as well as camping, prepping and survival or doomsday type applications where water is a commodity and clean clothes a must have!
Currently, Robert Ball the inventors’ son has continued his legacy with this amazing product. He related that the company provided washers for victims of the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and all over Puerto Rico. In addition, their washers are used around the world by humanitarian organizations like Peace Corp and a large variety of medical and missionary missions. Some of the stories they have gotten back are regarding the use of this washer for pet-related items in disaster areas simply because pet hair can easily clog regular washers and these continue to work regardless! Now I personally have used this with homemade detergents as well as store bought and even without detergent which as you see in the video attached actually works quite well with little effort!
How do you use it? After assembling following the easy to read instructions, fill a sink, bathtub, bucket (get them from your local donut/cake shop for pennies on the dollar) or washtub with clean water. If you are going to use detergent (which is advised for the smell alone) then make sure you have another container for rinsing the clothing. Fill the bucket a few inches, I found for a couple pieces of clothing or single smaller blankets etc., using approximately one gallon of water is perfect.
Add detergent, mix it in too the water well, and then add the clothing you are going to wash. Place the plunger directly over the clothing and without taking it out of the water, simply use a churning motion lowering and raising the plunger side on top of the clothing, from what I can tell it creates a suction affect and quickly separates dirt from the clothing.
Next step is easy, take the clothing out and rinse it with your hands or using the drained plunger in the rinse and then hang it up too dry! For larger pieces of clothing like blankets etc., you will need to either do multiple cycles or use a larger container. However, for the vast majority of items I have and use in camping a setup with two 3 gallon frosting buckets has worked perfectly since 2012!
While I am sure other approaches exist for the money and ease of use this is truly one of the most beneficial pieces of hardware you can have in your preps! Remember your gray water can be used for washing clothing, a shemagh or cheesecloth to strain sediment out and a quick run through a water filter and you can reuse the water especially of you wring out the clothing well before hanging them up. Yes, some water will always be lost, however, by incorporating a few minor changes into your daily approach you may find that you use easily half or less the normal water load.
As always if you have any questions or information feel free to add it below!
Free the mind and the body will follow.