giradora foot powered washer and spin dryer giradora foot powered washer and spin dryer
aug 03, 2012

giradora foot powered washer and spin dryer

‘giradora’ by alex cabunoc and ji a you

alex cabunoc and ji a you based in los angeles have developed ‘giradora’, a human-powered washer and spin dryer which has been designed to increase the efficiency and experience of washing clothes in areas which do not have access to running water. the project evolved while the two were students at the art center college of design where they were challenged by a south american NGO to create a product as part of their ‘safe agua peru’ – a project that alleviates water poverty in the slums of lima, peru.

travelling to the neglected area of cerro verde, peru, cabunoc and you conducted first-hand field research, and realized the livelihoods of families depended on clean clothes – whether for work or children’s school uniforms, clothes needed to be presentable – but with no running water or drainage, and difficult conditions to trek to retrieve water, what might seem like the simple task of hand-washing clothes, is in fact quite challenging. based on additional research, they found washing clothes on average takes up to six hours per day, 3-5 times a week and can poses health risks including tenosynovitis from the constant wringing of clothes; chronic lower back pain from squatting; hand pain from cold water; asthma as mold clothes can take up to three weeks to dry in the winter.  

the ‘giradora’ seeks to make the process of cleaning more ergonomic, economic, and ecological in the long run.

the user sits upong the drum-like basin which is powered by foot making it ergonomic

targeted towards families earning between 4-10 USD per day, the resulting unit costs less than 40 USD. the design is composed of a drum whose shape is similar to that of a water barrel. within the basin there is the main washing tub which is then covered by a cushioned lid. the user is meant to sit atop the appliance and pump the pedal at the base of the cylinder with her foot – a more ergonomic position in which they are no longer constantly leaning over a wash basin. this action agitates the water, cleaning and rinsing the garments inside. when water is released the same action spin dries. cabunoc and you have conceived ‘giradora’ so that it is comfortable and economic, while doubling productivity and increasing health. by being foot-powered, the user’s hands are removed from being in contact with cold water, the use of water is reduced as things are rinsed more efficiently, and the risk of tenosynovitis from wringing clothes is eliminated as one’s hands are no longer doing all of the work.

the design is lightweight making it easy to carry

the washing system is powered by one’s foot pumping the integrated pedal mechanism which agitates the water and cleans the clothes

illustration of the ‘giradora’ in use

testing out preliminary concepts

exploded view of the proposed design

product use: 1. place clothing inside ‘giradora’. 2. fill bucket with water, a couple inches above clothing. 3. add detergent. 4. the user sits on the lid of the appliance. 5. the user pumps the pedal with her foot, which agitates, cleans, rinses then spin-dries clothes. 6. a drain makes it easy to capture grey water in a tub for re-use. the design team selected a color palette based on peruvian ‘cultura chicha’ known for its bright colors and folk patterns

‘giradora’ information video video courtesy of team giradora

hands in the mist – a short documentary in collaboration with latin american NGO, un techo para mi pais and its innovation centre. the film follows the design matters safe agua peru project. video courtesy of erik anderson

‘giradora’ has won an international design excellence award and has been nominated in fastcompany’s 2012 innovation by design awards.

  • felicitaciones mil, al equipo por este proyecto y mas por la motivación, gracias por hacer de el diseño una herramienta de cambio en mi país, que mejora la calidad de vida de personas que lo necesitan!

    rdavila says:
  • Its a fine idea but at least in USA there has been a very nice hand-operated model on the market since at least 1980 so this didnt need to be created. It would be easier and faster just to contact that company and become a dealer for it and send them all over the place for use in your region.

    charles says:
  • Charles, care to provide the name of the USA company you refer to here, along with maybe a URL? Thanks so much!

    Rori says:
  • Well, it’s not because you have a Ford that other manufacturer sould not produce, improve, develop new cars…

    Docster says:
  • Wow, I love what you have dreated here! I have been looking for just such an aapliance for sooooo long, all the ones I could find were just washers, but because they didn’t also spin they were not much better than a plain old lidded bucket. I would be so keen to have one of your giradora washer/dryers myself. Probably early days yet, but would you consider making them available more widely? I was thinking that if I could have the opportunity to buy one, I would also like to buy one for someone in one of the countries you hope to reach who maybe couldn’t otherwise have one. What do you think?

    Sonya says:
  • What a wonderful idea. Are the Giradora washers going to be available for sale in the US? I would love to purchase one and have several friends who are interested in owning one also.

    Linda says:
  • Love to get a GiraDora. Please let me know when it becomes available. Live in an apartment that does not allow washers and do not have a vehicle. This would be perfect for me.

    Esther says:
  • this is all well good, but the problem with society is not poverty but inequality where some people have loads and some have very little. Until equality is exercised fully all these little projects here and there are futile. People need to stand up to inequality, these students will go home to their luxury homes and live these people still feeling discontented even though they now have a washing machine to make life a little easy. With regards to the lady who walks 8 times up and down the stairs to get water her problem is based on the fact that some people in the same world she lives in today have water running from their tap in their houses and have more time to go up and down the stairs 8 times at their local shopping mall (am not condoning consumerism either)while she can only dream of that type of life. If everyone was going 8 times to fetch water she would not have a problem with the situation. Until human beings love one another enough to equalize the resources in this world we are all going round and round in a cycle. Am 100% sure these students will not give up their lives back home in America with any of these people even though at this point they are considered loving people. If you love your neighbour as yourself you would fight that the get the same as you thats just what you would want for yourself as you love yourself, nothing less, what we need are not new inventions but love for the brethren to share. Until then we will always have think tanks like GIRODORA who believe they are changing the world but really the real issue is been swept under the carpet. Good work with the washing machine though

    shanna tyler says:
  • its a great idea and good washer.

    altantamir says:
  • Hi there, we’ve just been directed to your product and would love to get a few of these to take out to our children’s home in Kenya in April 2013. Would that be possible? Who could I contact about this? Kind regards, Christy

    Christy says:
  • Are these available for purchase for here or to sponsor for over there?

    Melissa Baker says:
  • I would like to purchase one. Whom do I contact?

    Michelle says:
  • I would like to purchase one as well 🙂

    Emi says:
  • Where can I buy one?

    Cole higley says:
  • would like to buy the giradora washer

    jane says:
  • I live in the woods upstate N Y in summer do most wash by hand……how can I buy a GiraDora pedle powered washer…? thanks so much for any information you can give me……Bruce

    Bruce Medanich says:
  • Where / how can I purchase?

    Gray Macy says:
  • For goodness sake!!!! Can’t we get an answer on where to buy one???
    Or is this just a concept?

    michael mitchell says:
  • No, it’s not a real product. Did you not notice how superimposed their pictures are?

    Why The Deception says:
  • WHERE can these be purchased HERE in the USA ?????

    jaay says:
  • I would like to buy GiraDora washer.
    Thank you

    Mark Markovic says:
  • I plan to go to an off the grid lifestyle soon and I would really need your washing machine. Please tell me how I can buy one. thank you victoria

    victoria Holliday says:
  • I would like two please.

    Theresa says:
  • Can you please tell me how i could get a GiraDora washer please.
    Thank you!

    Lucy says:
  • This washing machine is a perfect addition to allow my family to further go off grid and save resources. How, when and where can I purchase one? If they are not going to be available in the US, could you offer a set of plans and material list? It is a wonderful thing that you are doing in undeveloped nations however there is a movement in the US to take a few steps back to the sanity of the way things were. I truly look forward to our next communication

    Thank you in advance for any information,
    Jeff Lockhart
    Branson, MO.

    Jeffrey Lockhart says:
  • I would like to buy one for my use and also contribute to your project. No info about these options is on your site, but the interest is clearly there. When your group has a moment, could you respond please?
    Cheers and ta!

    Eve says:
  • Just frogging GOOGLE hand powered wash machine….duh!
    For those too damnably last to use the web……look up wonder washer.

    Get off your dead assets and figure it out!

    Mary says:
  • The wonder washer is not the same, as it is hand powered and this is foot powered and as it is only a washing machine while this is an all in one, and is an inferior concept to the model proposed by the op. I have a wonder washer myself. Having to kneel over it and turn the crank by hand (I switch sides so neither arm is strained more than the other) is okay for me but for someone who is elderly or handicapped it would be difficult to impossible. Additionally the GiraDora seems to offer the ability to use it as a spin dryer as well. My current drying method involves trying to wring out the clothing by hand hanging it to drip over night and then usually wearing a wet set of clothing the next day or two because of how long it takes to dry. Yes the company that makes the wonder washer makes a dryer I could buy but it is a separate unit and electric powered. I would ditch mine and buy this in a heartbeat if it were ready for sale

    Rebecca says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

design news