Piyush Agarwalla developed his handheld washing machine for the millions of women in the world who still clean clothes by hand. He hopes it will make what is normally a back-breaking chore a little easier.
The Venus is like a powerful kitchen mixer. You clip it to the side of a bucket of water, add detergent and clothes, and spin until clean. It’s not as good as an actual washing machine but better than manual labor.
The Mumbai-based entrepreneur initially got the idea as he cared for his mother after she had brain surgery. “She used to soil her clothes and bed sheets and washing them was a big task,” he says. “Normal washing machines could not be used and we had no option but to wash them manually in the bathroom. I thought of a machine which is portable, easy to use for this purpose and easy to clean.”
The technology is simple. Inside is a motor connected to a belt that turns a wheel, which agitates the water. As we say, it’s like a kitchen mixer. The current version runs off a wall socket, though Agarwalla is now developing a battery-powered option.
Since launching the device, he’s heard from students, bachelors, salesmen and campers who are also interested in using it. He’s sold a few dozen so far, but needs to get into mass production to get his price down. He thinks $25 would be about right.
“At present, the cost of the machine is not what we would like to offer at to the poor families,” he says. “This can be achieved only when the machines are mass produced in larger numbers in a much modern facility.”