Hand washing your clothes is a less resource intensive option than using a machine… but if it’s your only option for all of your laundry needs, you’d probably start looking for a more efficient choice. After all, do you want to spend hours washing your clothes? If you live in the developing world, that may be the only alternative for clean clothes, though: hand washing in a river, lake or other body of water. It takes a lot of time, it puts a lot of wear on the clothes, but if you don’t have electricity, what other choice do you have?
Philadelphia University industrial design students Aaron Stathum and Eliot Covena started playing around with that question, and came up with the Up-Stream, a washing machine that requires only four readily available items to build, and some human power to run. Take a look at the short video they produced to see how this device is made and operated:
If you’re interested in a closer look at the thinking that went into developing this product, the two have also published a free ebook that goes into much greater detail. They do plan to develop this concept further to scale up production, and get the price of the Up-Stream down to as little as $4. We’ll keep an eye out on further developments.
Image credit: Screen capture from “Up-Stream: Developing World Washing System” video