Cross-cutting efforts

Bicilavadora: Green Washing Machine

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Photo Credit: Gwyndaf Jones



In Peru, many women earn their living by washing clothes by hand, which limits the amount of laundry they can do each day.

How does it work: The bicilavadora is a pedal-powered, foldable, horizontal axis washing machine. The outer shell of the bicilavadora is a modified, water-tight oil drum. Inside lies a free-to-rotate drum which holds the clothing to be washed. This design is much like typical horizontal axis washers today. Both drums have access doors to insert the clothing easily from the top. The inner drum is driven by a drive train powered by the attached bicycle, which easily folds in and out for easy transport. The user can easily change gears, as they would with a normal bicycle, to switch between wash and spin cycles. When one wants to relocate the bicilavadora, the bike is simply folded in, using the stand to hold the bicycle in place. The washer easily lifts onto two large wheels to be driven like a doubly-wheeled wheel barrow.

Our Story:

The Bicilavadora has been a design challenge for a MIT class called D-lab: Design since 2006, when a group of students worked with the NGO Maya Pedal to develop the first MIT prototype. In December 2009, a bicilavadora was implemented at an orphanage called Sagrada Familia in Lima, Peru. It was here that we heard about the possible interest by Peruvian women for this device. Our team started working on the bicilavadora the spring of 2010, attempting to address the issues of portability and manufacturability, so that our product could address the needs of women entrepreneurs who travel house-to-house to wash clothing. As undergraduate students, we dedicated as much time as possible to our manually-powered washing machine, hoping it would at least hold water and wash some clothes by the end of the semester. Premature washing attempts in a non-water-tight oil drum, filled with gallons of water, ended in a bit of a flood in our working lab. Later attempts were much more successful.

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Maysun Hasan Brooke Jarrett Connie Lu Benji Moncivaiz


Locally manufactured


Lisa Tacoronte, Adam Talsma, William Chin, Josh Geltman, Kathleen Li, Radu Raduta, Maya Pedal, Gwyndaf Jones, Suprio Das, Amy Smith, Victor Grau-Serrat, Nate Cooke, Bernard Kiwia, Dennis Nagle

USAID Sector:



2005 - present


India, Guatemala, Philippines, Nepal, Peru (portable and non-portable)

Investment to date:

$62 USD per unit

Cost: Running Cost:

$350,000 annually


Completed initial prototype; Preparing for market detail identification and feedback
impacts over 20,000 people a year








(2013). Bicilavadora: Green Washing Machine. Retrieved from


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