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Old 07-12-2019, 01:29   #1
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Washing machines, graywater, energy

I've been lightly researching washing machines (for clothes and dishes) on sailboats.

Most of the newer, bigger boats (from cruising monohulls to performance catamarans) seem to offer those as options, but are you people really extensively using them irl?

It would be very nice to get some real life feedback on the following:

- Do you use the machines when out sailing? I assume you have to do it either with a generator or an alternator running? Watermaker a must? Graywater straight out into the sea?
- Do you use the machines in a marina? I assume most marinas (at least in the future) won't accept boats leading their graywater straight into the sea? Or?
- If you have both a dish washer and a clothes washer (or either), do you find one more useful/problematic than the other?

I assume a watermaker will solve the water supply challenge, diesel can be used to get enough energy, but the graywater -- I have no idea?

(Splitting out from this thread: Catamaran vs Monohull Crew Safety)
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:26   #2
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

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Originally Posted by mglonnro View Post
are you people really extensively using them irl?

Do you use the machines when out sailing? YES, about once a week.

I assume you have to do it either with a generator or an alternator running? NO, we can run ours off the house (450w solar and 450w wind keeps it well charged). But often we consolidate electrically-hungry tasks like charging batteries, running the watermaker, laundry, and maybe cooking prep like electric pressure or rice cookers at the same time so kick on the gennie for an hour or two.

Watermaker a must? Depends on the tankage. Our amel has 1000 liters freshwater, and the washer uses something like 25 liters per full load. AMAZING! And so a load or two once a week doesn't detract much from the tanks. But we do have one.

Graywater straight out into the sea? Yup. Amels have no choice anyway, bilge collects all graywater and is pumped automatically into the sea. We use enviro soaps, you should too.

Do you use the machines in a marina? I assume most marinas (at least in the future) won't accept boats leading their graywater straight into the sea? Or? YES. Run it at night if an issue. But I run it as I please, no problems thus far.

If you have both a dish washer and a clothes washer (or either), do you find one more useful/problematic than the other? Boat had both, removed the dishwasher. That seemed excessive, altho now I regret it
Answers above in red. But our machine is a beaut, a Kenwood rapid mini 1150. Whisper quiet front loader, has a 30 and 40 minute cycle using 20-25 liters per load, can't hear it but for the boat's water pump coming on as it fills. Brilliant, but expensive and very hard to find (try switzerland for some reason). Next to a watermaker and solar, hands down the handiest major gadget on a liveaboard boat. Frees you up from dinghy runs, laundry becomes a simple happy 5 minutes-of-actual-work task instead of an hours long slog.

EDIT: I just learned how to do the red thing and I'm quite pleased with myself
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:29   #3
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

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Originally Posted by Sojourner View Post
Answers above in red. But our machine is a beaut, a Kenwood rapid mini 1150. Whisper quiet front loader, has a 30 and 40 minute cycle using 20-25 liters per load, can't hear it but for the boat's water pump coming on as it fills. Brilliant, but expensive and very hard to find (try switzerland for some reason). Next to a watermaker and solar, hands down the handiest major gadget on a liveaboard boat. Frees you up from dinghy runs, laundry becomes a simple happy 5 minutes-of-actual-work task instead of an hours long slog.

EDIT: I just learned how to do the red thing and I'm quite pleased with myself
Oh, how happy I am to hear these answers! Well, actually my co-captain was even more happy, but that spread over to me as well

I checked that your Kenwood weighs about 49 kg, which isn't really very much at all.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:35   #4
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

You're quite welcome! 49kg huh... Here's the size vis a vis a chubby cat...
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:15   #5
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

I have a dishwasher. It's not installed yet but I plan to install it for sure. Potentially a clothes washer/dryer as well. The dish washer is so lightweight, I see no reason not to have one if you have the room, water and power.

Cooking is a very important activity in my household and life. We make a mess of dishes making lots of meals from scratch. The number of hours saved not cleaning the dishes by hand is priceless in my opinion.

Plan for grey water overboard just like a shower. No difference, really. We do have a water maker.

I can't report on actual usage yet, but am keenly interested in the conversation, want to subscribe to the thread and will offer my experience once it's installed.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:49   #6
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

An in-between alternative that may work for some. Our buddy boat still washes by hand in a bucket. But due to age and/or lack or strength in hands/arms for whatever reasons, they have a spinner. The spinner is just a high speed ringer which really get the water out of the clothes. When hung up they dry in about 1/2 the time.

I believe it is a 110V machine and they run a little Honda genset when they do laundry.

Just an option..
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:31   #7
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

I have a Candy cloths washer. Made by Hoover. Works well. Does not use much water. Hang dry. Mainly clothes. It gets all the soap out.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:44   #8
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

I have a small (apt size) Haier washer and dryer. I wash at least 2 loads a week. On normal load it uses 7 gallons total. I use enviro-friendly soap so no issues with gray water. Local price is $4.00 a load so I save at least $30 month plus convenience factor. Washer will run on inverter, dryer needs gennie or shore power.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:54   #9
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

Just to second what Sojourner said -- we, like most larger cruising boats these days, have and use often a washer/dryer on board. It is a Godsend; one of the best pieces of gear on board. Ours was installed as part of the original build and has its own cabinet in the passage cabin. Grey water is no problem -- it's not worse than taking a shower and no one has ever complained.


We do not have a dishwasher, but I've sailed on boats with them. I think a dishwasher is an absolutely great thing to have on board. BECAUSE -- washing dishes in a dishwasher takes much less water than washing by hand, while doing a much better job with less risk of infection from badly washed dishes. The only issue is finding space to install it -- pretty difficult even on a large boat if it's not made part of the original build of the boat, or part of a complete refit of the galley joinery.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:31   #10
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by mglonnro View Post
I've been lightly researching washing machines (for clothes and dishes) on sailboats.

Most of the newer, bigger boats (from cruising monohulls to performance catamarans) seem to offer those as options, but are you people really extensively using them irl?

It would be very nice to get some real life feedback on the following:

- Do you use the machines when out sailing?
Yes once a week

I assume you have to do it either with a generator or an alternator running? Generator for us

Watermaker a must? no we have ridiculously large tanks

Graywater straight out into the sea?
Yes, no one in US or Canada has ever complained)

- Do you use the machines in a marina?Yes, we go into a marina every 7-10 days anyway, so I try to do most of the energy greedy chores there, it's just easier

I assume most marinas (at least in the future) won't accept boats leading their graywater straight into the sea?Not a problem Or?
- If you have both a dish washer and a clothes washer (or either), do you find one more useful/problematic than the other?

I assume a watermaker will solve the water supply challenge, diesel can be used to get enough energy, but the graywater -- I have no idea?

(Splitting out from this thread: Catamaran vs Monohull Crew Safety)
We have a Splendide vented washer/dryer combo. I think it's very good, my husband thinks it doesn't clean as well as the "house" models. Well...yeah... but the convenience factor, for me, makes it worthwhile. It does produce a lot of lint which in the winter time is a bit of an issue but not insurmountable.
I'd definitely do it again.

Dishwasher? Not yet. I don't really care one way or t'other. Good luck!
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:45   #11
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

You can also look at the Daewoo mini washing machine.

But you need to attach it to a vertical surface.

Although that might open other placement possibilities on a boat.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:50   #12
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

I cruised for years without the benefit of these handy appliances and made do as anyone would- handwashing onboard the majority of the time...

But once I experienced having a clothes washer/dryer onboard [2 boats ago] it changed from luxury to necessity.

Our usage is similar to what Sojourner outlined in post #2 above.

We have considered adding a single drawer dishwasher, but with only two of us most of the time, that use of space on our 43 foot ketch is still in debate... [Larger drawer style 2nd refrigerator, or smaller single drawer fridge and single drawer dishwasher? So far the larger fridge is winning...]

It is worth noting sometimes you have to think outside the box to get these appliances onboard; the previous owners of our boat had to disassemble the new Splendid washer and split the chassis in half and reassemble in place...

If you are interested, there are more details about that installation and our usage on this page...

Cheers! Bill
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:00   #13
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

I have been using a Splendide 2100, which is the vented type, for a load a week for the last 12 years. Run it either off the big built in 10 KVa generator or a Honda 2000i. It does not like the modified sinewave inverter. I do have a water maker which I rarely use since I mostly coastal cruise and water is readily available on the BC coast. I love the clothes washer. Don't really see the need for a dishwasher, but I am usually on my own.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:03   #14
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

Just installed a Daewoo Mini MKII model (16.5kg). It uses 100w when not heating water (which you don't need to in warm climates), and uses 30l for a normal 30min wash. I have a watermaker on board.

Considering that washing was often up to €20-30 a time in the Med, it won't be too long until it pays for itself.

The plan will be to do two-three small loads a week depending on what needs washing.

I'm not sure why you would worry about grey water any more than if you were using a bucket. Try to use environmentally friendly soaps all round.
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Old 07-12-2019, 14:50   #15
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Re: Washing machines, graywater, energy

Our boat is all manual, but here are some opinions anyway .

I'd be interested in a graywater tank, although in many places it is not needed. In small marinas and some natural harbours I would prefer to keep the water in for a while. An empty tank (or bladder?) would not add too much weight even in a light catamaran.

I'd like to have a separate pump straight out to the sea, or to a graywater tank. I.e. preferably not via the bilge because I don't want any dirt and hair in the bilge (since one day the bilge pump might get blocked).

Regular washing machines are quite heavy (to keep them steady). I wonder if they make models that rely on permanent installation rather than weight. The boat would act as the stabilising weight.

Maybe one could use sea water, and only rinse in fresh water. But maybe this is already too complex, and you would be already almost back in the plunger and bucket method .
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