A tiny washing machine on my kitchen counter? It's more likely than you think, if you live in a tiny Japanese apartment. The Swash Petite Laundry model LA5 from King Jim saves time, money and water if very small loads are all you need to wash.
The 14,700 yen ($155) Swash LA5 may look a lot like a plastic Hamilton Beach blender but don't try to mix a batch of smoothies in it... not while you're doing the wash, anyway. It isn't such a far-fetched mistake, by the way, considering the tiny washing machine sits on your kitchen counter just like a blender. Can't you just see some late-night washer eager to clean a lipstick-smeared shirt finding out their clothes really do blend? But where were we...
Ah yes, the Swash Petite Laundry model LA5 from King Jim: big name for a small wonder indeed. The washer is right at home in any kitchen as it plugs into a normal wall outlet (normal in Japan being 100 volts) and not one of those clunky jumbo megawatt outlets designed for standard-sized washers, dryers and electric cars. It also has an articulated waste-water hose that can be directed into a bucket (if you save and recycle gray water) or the kitchen sink if you don't).
The aquamarine green bodied Swash stands just 440mm (17.6 inches) tall, is a mere 290mm (11.6 inches) wide, and weighs only 3.6kg (7.93 lbs) unloaded. A standard wash load should weight around 250 grams or about a half pound and to do that, 5 liters (17 fl oz) of water is required. Set the timer, push the start button and 15 minutes later the evidence, er, the dirty laundry is clean as can be. They'll still be soaking wet, though, but you can always blame it on the rain. Hey, it worked for Milli Vanilli.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Small portable washing machines are also available in the U.S. This miniature washing machine gets good reviews.