Update: The Drumi is finally in production as of late September, but without an exact ship date. Yirego, the company behind the electricity-free device, told us in late October that engineers are working to resolve final issues.
“No manufacturer has had any prior experience making a product like Drumi because it is so new and different,” Petal Wang of Yirego told Digital Trends in an email. The project is a great example of why crowdfunded projects take longer than expected to arrive — and sometimes don’t arrive at all.
Here’s our original article on the Indiegogo project, which we last revisited in July 2016:
For a lot of people we know, their unmentionables are sort of the limiting reagent in the laundry equation. They’ll hold off washing their clothes for weeks, until they absolutely have to in order to avoid being shunned from society. It’s either that or go out and buy more underwear.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just do a superfast load of laundry, with a few select items, so you could lengthen the time between loads? Pretty soon, you’ll be able to with a foot-powered machine that takes just a little water and no electricity. The 15-pound, 22-inch-tall Drumi takes five minutes, 10 liters of water, and a little bit of soap to clean five pounds of clothes, or about six to seven items. And now, the final design of the Drumi has been released and slated for delivery by early 2017.
To use it, you lift the plastic lid, add clothes to the drum, along with five liters of water, then close the lid and add the detergent to it. Pump the pedal for two minutes, then push the button to empty the soapy water. Add another five liters of water, pump the pedal for another two minutes, release the water, then pump for an additional minute to act as a “spin cycle.” The pumping motion turns the rounded drum, tumbling the clothes inside.
The updated design of the Drumi promises to improve the stability and overall efficiency, as well as the aesthetics of the device. We tested it out in late December of 2015, and found a few kinks yet to be ironed out. While the capacity of the little machine hasn’t changed, the Toronto-based product design company says it’s created “a better laundry experience.” Included in the new features are a new flat-topped lid and built-in measuring markers. Further, rather than a set of side handles, you can now pick up the Drumi by way of its aluminum top handle. Finally, the interior drum has now been made removable, which allows you to clean the Drumi between washes.
While the Drumi isn’t meant to be a replacement for a full-sized machine, it can conserve water and electricity. A standard washer uses 27 gallons (about 102 liters) of water per load, while an Energy Star model uses 14 gallons (about 53 liters). Using the Drumi as a secondary washer can reduce your carbon footprint by roughly 10 pounds a week, according to Yirego, the company that makes the Drumi. Obviously, it works best if you can pair it with a no-energy drying method, too, like, say, the sun.
Yirego expects the Drumi to appeal to apartment dwellers, new parents who frequently wash baby clothes, and even campers.
Updated on 07-21-2016: Final design of the Drumi released.