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Heroes

Getting off the grid just got a bit easier thanks to this low-tech laundry machine.

It's not easy getting off the grid, but this machine makes it a little less challenging.

Getting off the grid can be tricky, but one little washing machine might be a sign that we're on the path to an easier way to disconnect.

This little bin is called the Drumi, and it's a lightweight, compact, foot-powered, and affordable alternative (with some restrictions I discuss below) to your standard, everyday washing machine.


Each cycle takes about five minutes, and can hold roughly five pounds of clothing (six or seven items).

Operation is really simple: Open the container; add clothes, water, and detergent; close the container; and use the foot pump.

When the cycle is finished, you simply open it back up, and drain the water out through the bottom.


The whole thing is really cool.

It has its limits, such as the rather tiny load capacity, but it's a huge step in a much more environmentally-friendly direction.

I don't know about you, but when I do laundry, I tend to have more than six or seven items of clothing.

Also, while it is just five minutes of pedaling, I can see how that might not be doable for people with some physical restrictions.

Still, when you compare it to standard, old-school washing machines, it's a nice way to save on some energy and water.

Like these bad boys shown in the photo below.

Photo by We Make Noise/Flickr.

Older washing machines can use as much as 40 gallons of water per cycle (newer, energy-efficient models use anywhere between 14 and 27 gallons of water). The Yirego Drumi uses around 2.5 gallons per load (but again, it's a pretty small load).

Off-the-grid washing machines have existed for a really long time, but it looks like we might be on the path to having more commercially viable options in the near future.

The machine shown in the below image features a water barrel, water boiler, agitator, and mangle (handles and paddles basically). It's certainly not portable, likely wouldn't be particularly affordable these days, and likely didn't do much in the way of saving on water.

If demand for off-grid washing machines exists, here's hoping that we'll start to see more options that address some of this model's shortcomings and bring us closer to a more environmentally-friendly world.

A woman is shown using an early machine designed to make washing clothes by hand easier, circa 1860. Photo by Chaloner Woods/Getty Images.

It seems like these we won't be seeing these in homes until July 2016. In the meantime, however, you can check out the Drumi promo video.

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