How to do Laundry in an Apartment – Without Hookups!

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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 when you don’t have 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.

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 usually did laundry every night 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, right?


This portable washing machine became my new favorite appliance. At 2.5 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!

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 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.

As you might imagine, it is less expensive to purchase a portable washer 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 washer 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.

If money is tight, check out my list of 25 ways to save money in 2018. This isn’t your standard “use coupons at the grocery store” list. These are tough love, actionable ways you can save big money this year. Implement an idea or two and put those savings towards your new system. It will pay for itself very quickly.

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21 thoughts on “How to do Laundry in an Apartment – Without Hookups!

  1. 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!!) 💚

  2. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!!



  6. 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. 🙂

  7. 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. 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!

    1. 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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