Nina Soft Spin Dryer

A lot of my projects use wool, silk, and other fabrics that are recommended as “dry clean only”. Well, I believe that unless it is something really bulky and a major pain to press – like a winter coat – just about anything can be hand washed instead. It is partially to save money but also because I just don’t like the chemicals they use in dry cleaning. Plus I hear the horror stories every so often on PR about how the dry cleaners lose a treasured item. So I do a lot of hand washing.

One of the problems with hand washing is that you are never going to be able to squeeze out as much water as a washing machine can spin out. I do my best with squeezing it out but it seems like after hanging for a few minutes it is dripping water like crazy. In the warmer months I just hang it outside on the clothesline because no one cares if it drips on the ground, but in the winter I have to set up a drying rack in the shower and let it dry to the point of not dripping in there. That gets tricky if someone wants to take a shower a little earlier or later than usual, plus it is awkward getting the drying rack to even fit in the shower.

Another problem with drying on a clothesline is the weight of the wet fabric can stretch your yardage out of shape. A lot of times I can press it back into shape with a lot of steam but it takes time to do that.

I came across the Nina Soft Spin Dryer on Dharma Trading. It is small, energy efficient, and somewhat inexpensive ($145 including shipping). It spins things nearly dry rather than drying them completely with heat, so it is great for wools and delicates. It had a lot of positive reviews.

ndry-301

 

I ordered this from Dharma Trading on Sunday night, and had it on my doorstep tonight! (Rather than shipping from the Dharma Trading warehouse in CA it is drop shipped from the manufacturer in New Hampshire.) So of course I had to try it out.

You operate the Nina by first putting some sort of container to catch the water – I used a dishwashing pan – under the spout. Make sure you do this first because sometimes it starts dripping water as soon as you put in the laundry! Next put in your wet laundry (making sure to balance the load), then  push the pink “stopper” into the drum, making sure you press it down so it is holding the laundry in place. Then close the lid and plug it in. It will start spinning. The operation is very quiet. You can either wait for it to stop spinning after a minute or two (the lid pops open) or you can manually pop open the lid yourself to stop it. Wait for the drum to stop spinning (takes about 10 seconds) and then reach in and take out your laundry. That’s it! Make sure you leave it with the lid open so the drum gets a chance to dry out. I also left a small cup under the spout because it does tend to drip a little for a while after you use it.

I ended up “drying” 4 loads tonight. My first consisted of a silk jersey wrap dress, 3 yards of silk charmeuse, and a silk charmeuse slip. It spun for several minutes and I manually popped open the lid. The silk charmeuse and even the silk jersey were nearly dry. Had I wanted to I could have taken it directly to my ironing board and pressed it dry.

My second load consisted of 2 weeks of bras (most of them foam cup, some with “bump” padding) and some pantyhose. For this load the lid ended up popping open after a couple of minutes, indicating it was finished. Same result – everything felt almost dry. The foam cups (particularly the ones with the “bump” at the bottom of the cup) were damp but nothing came close to dripping.

My third load was 2 yards of a 60″ 100% wool basketweave suiting. It was dripping when I put it in, but after only a couple of minutes of spinning it was nearly dry! And anyone that has hand washed wool knows how it loves to absorb water…

My fourth load was 3 yards of a sopping wet 59″ 100% wool crepe. Same result – put it in dripping and after a couple of minutes it was damp but was not dripping at all. The water collection from this load was a little over 1″ in my dish pan.

I’m sure some of you are wondering about the capacity. It is bigger than it looks from the picture. A good rule of thumb is whatever you can comfortably wash in a 5 gallon bucket will fit in this. This is great for washing the yardage for a pair of pants or a jacket, but I wouldn’t recommend drying 5 yards of a wool melton coating. Personally I wouldn’t put more than 4 yards of 60″ wool suiting in it.

I am very happy I bought this! No more dripping on the floors and it is going to save me SO MUCH TIME when it comes to prewashing yardages by hand. Less time drying = more time to sew! I highly recommend it if you wash yardages and finished garments by hand.

In case if you’re wondering, here’s the other components of my hand washing setup:

  • Eucalan (silks and wools)
  • Forever New (everything else, including lingerie and pantyhose)
  • 5 gallon bucket, available from hardware stores
  • Mobile Washer (helps agitate and make sure that you get all the yardage soaked)
  • Y-shaped drying rack (drying indoors during the winter, and flat drying heavy coating outside during the warmer months)
  • An outdoor clothesline during the warmer months

16 thoughts on “Nina Soft Spin Dryer

  1. We had a spin drier like this when I was small, probably around 1960. I cheat and use my washing machine (front loader) to spin handwashed items as it has 4 spin speeds and 2 intensity programmes for spinning. I think this is essential to avoid the weight of water stretching knitwear out of shape.
    Glad your happy with the new appliance.

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    1. From what I understand the top loaders spin at around 700rpm, and this does 1800 rpm. I think the front loaders are faster (around 1000).

      My mother’s washing machine is a top loader that must be pushing 40 years old so I’m not even allowed to touch it to try to use it for a spin cycle 😉

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  2. How cool! Thanks so much for posting this!
    I can see how helpful this will be for lots of people, maybe even me!

    I “share” the front-loaders that we use in my Shirtmaking Studio, with our general ‘family’ laundry tasks. And much like the commenter above, for any delicates I use the Hand-wash/VeryLow-Spin cycle of my washing machine to get the results you describe.

    But….I can see this being of great use to me in my shirt-making studio….for at least one specific task (and maybe more)….like when we need to do the ‘final wash’ (to remove any remaining chalk marks, or ‘mystery smudges’ ) before pressing and sending a client his completed shirt(s)! Less time/water needed, and it could be used while the big machine is busy “pre-washing” several lengths of shirting fabrics, or in use for my general laundry! A second one could be used just to starch the shirts…hmmm….this nifty little machine might prove to be very useful for me!

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    1. That’s why I posted it! I figure there must be other people out there that have a use for something like this, and you almost never hear of spin dryers in the US anymore…

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  3. I’m surprised it dries so fast. I don’t really know anything about washing clothes (except to put them in the machine and turn the dials). I guess I should learn. It seems like my clothes washer and dryer put more wear & tear on my clothes than me wearing them does.

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    1. My clothes never wore out so fast as when I lived in an apartment in college with very poor airflow and had no choice but to use the dryer.

      I’ve heard that clothes dryers are not nearly as common in other parts of the world as they are here.

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  4. Can you tell me what the drum is made of? I don’t care if it is not stainless steel, but I don’t know if I would buy it if it had a plastic tub. Is it enameled steel? Something that will rust?

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  5. I wish I had one of these when I wore business attire to work, it would have saved me so much time. It would be perfect for silks. Thank you so much for bringing it to everyone’s attention.

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  6. Hi Anne,

    I’m new following your blog, however, normally when I get a “new post” on my email I can then go into your blog and read it there. In this case what seems

    Like a post from 24th September, 2013 has arrived today July 2016 and does not appear on your blog. I hope there is nothing wrong with your blog (virus)

    As I said I am fairly new to this and just don’t understand why I would get an email for a new post dated September 2013.

    Cheers and confused

    Kerry JJ

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    1. I have a bunch of issues when I migrated my blog last year, so at the time I made a bunch of old posts private so I could fix them at my convenience. I just re-published this particular post as public, that’s all.

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  7. Greetings Anne. Thank you for this post, timely indeed, as I was about to hand wash a number of sweaters. I did a little more research and promptly ordered one. For any Canadian readers: I like Dharma Trading very much but found that Amazon.ca (Canada) shipped via Canada Post for only CDN$5.54 ( via a U.S. company ‘The Laundry Alternative’) VERY inexpensive shipping and a direct exchange rate. I am so pleased! Thank you again.

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    1. It does a great job with anything smaller like that – much faster and with less damage (due to the smaller size of the tub) than the spin cycle of a regular washing machine. Much more effective than trying to use towels, too.

      Thanks for sharing about Amazon! I wonder if that was an option when I first posted this three years ago.

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