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Seeking a Salad Spinner that Isn't Plastic

Despite how much I despise one-use type gadgets in working in the kitchen, my wife has finally convinced me (or just insisted for long enough) that its time for us to invest in a salad spinner. As much as I hate gadgetry, however, I also hate buying things made out of plastic. I've managed to find a Rosle brand salad spinner that is stainless steel, and am looking for suggestions on other options.

Does anyone know where I can purchase a salad spinner made out of something other than plastic? Price is not an issue. When we were putting together our wedding registry I seem to recall finding one that was ceramic, but now I can't locate it anymore.

Any suggestions welcome!

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  1. I worked at a kitchen store for years and don't remember seeing one. Good luck.

    1. I actually own one but it was purchased about 30 years ago. I don't think they're made anymore. It is a wire mesh basket that encloses the greens. You have to pump it in the sink unless you want water all over the kitchen. I stopped using it, however as soon as the OXO was invented. Of course, there's the old standby of rinsing salad greens by spinning them round -n round in a clean cotton pillowcase.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ambimom

        Do you mind letting me know what brand the one you own is (or, if you've stopped using it, maybe you just want to sell it to me? :-)

        1. re: Ambimom

          Hello! I have been looking for the French Salad Spinner you mentioned for years! Do you still have this? I want to buy it from you:)!
          Thanks so much!

        2. You could seek out an old French style collapsible stainless mesh basket. You need to go outside to use it because you need to swing it vigorously.

            1. re: phofiend

              The outside bowl is stainless but it appears the inside spinning basket is plastic. Don't know if you needed all non-plastic.

              1. re: escondido123

                Yes, I've not seen any where the basket is not plastic. I have a Zylisss spinner with a stainless bowl, but it also has a plastic bowl.

            2. When my last salad spinner broke, I bought myself a $3 cotton bag instead.

              If I'm only making two servings, I use a few kitchen towels to wrap around the bag before spinning it. I usually fold one of the towels and put it at the base of the bag because that's where the water leaks out. Never had a problem with water all over the place since doing this.

              When I'm serving a lot of salad, I put the whole bag into the clothes washer and turn on spin-only. Got this trick from another CHer here. :-)

              Not missing having a salad spinner.

              1 Reply
              1. I bought the Rosle brand stainless spinner, and it broke within a month. Fortunately, Amazon took the return. I next bought the Oxo stainless spinner (FYI the basket and the lid are plastic), and I've had it for a couple of years with no problems.

                2 Replies
                1. re: roxlet

                  Love the oxo, have it, too. Plastic, shmastic. That thing lasts forevah.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    Same here. I've had mine for six years and use it every other day. Rounding down that's still over 1000 uses from my OXO.

                    If it really MUST NOT be plastic then the salad dryer bag is the way to go.

                2. For something that needs to be both lightweight and rust proof it is hard to beat plastic. I can't think of a good reason to go with metal, except if you are trying, as a matter of principal, to avoid contract with plastics. Don't forget that food is in contact with the plastic for only a brief period of time, and at room temperature.

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: paulj

                    I'm trying, as a matter of principle, to avoid plastics, period--not simply contact with them. Plastic is a non-renewable, energy-intensive, fossil fuel based product, and therefore something I prefer to avoid if at all possible.

                    1. re: mdzehnder

                      Yah, but if it lasts you your entire life I'd say that's reasonable.

                      1. re: mdzehnder

                        Is steel less energy-intensive? Sure it is recyclable, but it still takes a lot of energy to do that, energy that comes from fossil fuels. Plus an all steel spinner will need some form of fossil fuel based lubricant - oil in expensive ball bearings, or plastic bushings.

                        While sustainable, low energy, renewable, etc are worthy goals, a 'no-plastic' credo is a shortcut around the tough job of evaluating which options really meet those goals.

                        1. re: paulj

                          This debate could go on forever, but to put it briefly, I've not taken any shortcuts. I've carefully thought through my options, and decided that a "no plastic" credo is a good place to START in terms of reaching those goals. Certainly doesn't excuse me from continuing to make nuanced and careful decisions about what options I choose beyond that (I'm not employing an, "as long as its not plastic anything goes" mentality), but after consideration I've decided that "no plastic" is a good jumping--off point. As to whether steel is less energy intensive, I think it has the potential to be. Yes it requires energy to recycle it, and even to initially refine and produce it, but those energies could potentially come from renewable sources. Plastic will always, unavoidably, be based on fossil fuels for its production. Additionally, you'll notice in my OP that my first choice would be ceramic, not stainless.

                          Finally, however, there's more involved than just sustainability. While that's an important goal for me, I'm not a fanatic--even I have not figured out a workable alternative for ziploc bags and the plastic lids to my glass leftover containers. When it comes right down to it, I simply don't LIKE plastic--it makes me sad. I love a good vintage--retro feel in my apt as a whole but especially in my kitchen, so anything that can be wood, metal, glass or ceramic--materials that in my mind actually have some character--over plastic is going to be.

                          1. re: mdzehnder

                            If you want a "green" option, than I think you're best bet is to forgo a gadget altogether and use a simple, lightweight cotton pillowcase (organic, unbleached cotton, if you prefer) that you reserve just for this purpose. Toss your greens in and give them a good shake, a couple pats, and a spin through the air with your arm and voila!

                            I just wash my greens in a colander, give them a good shake to get as much water off as I can, and then toss them onto a clean towel. I pull up the edges of the towel and do what I just described above. A pillowcase would probably be a tad easier and it would certainly hold more if you're making a very large salad for guests. I don't have room in my smallish kitchen for another gadget, hence no salad spinner for me.

                            1. re: mdzehnder

                              Ceramic is probably a worse choice than steel. It tends to be heavy, brittle, and much better in compression than tension. Do you have any ceramic 'baskets' with lots of holes? I can't think of anything around my place that approximates a ceramic basket.

                              And being heavy it would require expensive heavy duty bearings.

                              Speaking of baskets, how about one woven from bamboo, or ratan?

                              My 20 yr old plastic spinner weighs 14 oz. 6 in the main bowl, 6 in the top with spinning mechanism, and 2 in the inner basket. It's that 2 oz part that would hard to replace without increasing the weight and expense of the whole thing.

                              Being all plastic I can immerse everything in water. In fact it's designed to first wash the greens under running water, and then spin them dry.

                              I have a number of wire baskets, but most are enamel or vinyl coated.

                              1. re: mdzehnder

                                Not that there's anything you can do about the plastic lids on your current glass jars, in the future you might consider using mason jars which have metal lids. They come in some large sizes and I really haven't found anything to store that a mason jar can't handle.

                                Depends on how you use ziploc bags. However, it would seem to me that any tupperware contaioner would be the preferable option. Both are plastic, but the plastic container (tupperware or whatever) lasts indifinately where the throw away bag is one use. Switching over to the tupperware, I haven't found anything I personally buy that reauires a ziplock bag. However, that;s just me. You might need them for something else.

                                I am so against plastic bags after a year in Guatemala where almost everthing is put in a baggie and the countryside and rivers are chocked with them.

                                So to me it is the choice of one evil plastic over another, the throw-away bag being single use. YES, I KNOW some people rewash them, but that has never seemed sanitary to me. You really can't clean a plastic bag.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  If one is concerned about the plastic coating in regular canned foods so much that one doesn't purchase canned foods any longer, then they are faced with the use of the lids that go on top of canning jars, for the same reason, when they can their own foods.

                                  There is an alternative. Not that I'm suggesting to buy them, I've looked at them - the metal lids that go on the top of Ball jars, under the metal screw-on ring - one can buy them from a U.S. company. I believe they are re-usable. They ARE expensive.

                                  1. re: Rella

                                    the metal rings are reusable -- the inner round lid is not.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      They are not reusable ONLY if using the jars for canning. I am suggesting that someone who is using glass jars with plastic lids ... and who has a concern about plastic ... use mason canning jars for food storeage.

                                    2. re: Rella

                                      I don't believe any plastic is involved in the lids of metal mason jars due to the temperatures required to can food.

                                      A dozen large quart mason jars, Ball included, go for about $8 - $10 new., The replacement lids are about $2 - $4 dollars for a dozen as well. How is this expensive? Maybe there is a misunderstanding about what I was posting about?

                                    3. re: rworange

                                      I still use ziplock bags, but I am aware of my use of them. I do put garbage in them that I wouldn't pour down the sink. I, too, don't wash them out or re-use them for any food products after they've been used. My main use is putting bread that has been baked and sliced by me, then frozen. I've not come up with any alternative yet to ziplocks. If anyone has a suggestion, let me know.

                                      I use ball jars constantly, all food that comes into the house goes directly into Ball jars.

                                      I can imagine what the countryside must look like with all the plastic around. Many countries don't have 'appropriate' landfills,

                                      1. re: Rella

                                        If your Ziploc have only contained bread, couldn't you just let them "air out", throw away the little dry crumbs afterwards, and just re-use them to store more bread? I do that often when I store leftover baguettes for French Toast. I don't wash Ziploc either, but I do try to re-use them.

                                        1. re: rewok

                                          Am I the only person in the world who persistently re-uses the Ziploc-type bags? I wash them (by hand), air-dry them, and the ones that have holes in them can hold smaller knitting projects, the ones that are intact I use for things like a half-eaten can of cat food.

                                          1. re: lemons

                                            You're not the only one. I wash and air dry as long as they haven't had meat or anything gooey in them.

                                            1. re: Sooeygun

                                              I'm exactly the same. I wash the quart and gallon ones that haven't been used for meat or fish or something sticky... sometimes 3 or 4 times. ... if my sandwich size are dry and cleanish I reuse for a similar thing... eg: crackers in my lunch.

                                            2. re: lemons

                                              That sounds reasonable for non food products. I just don't feel comfortable re-using them for food I plan to consume that doesn't require washing. I don't want to re-use it for sandwiches for example. Yes I might just was all that mayo off, but then again, maybe not. Even with re-use they don't last all that long.

                                              1. re: rworange

                                                I've found some I used in the freezer and dated, and they're now well into their third year. Of course I'm using them for other things than food - index cards, yarn, junk jewelry. I don't buy the house brands, I admit.

                                              2. re: lemons

                                                No, you're not alone. I reuse mine relentlessly. I wash them out and dry on a wooden drying rack made expressly for that purpose. I throw out ones used to freeze portions of raw meat but otherwise, reuse until they break.

                                            3. re: Rella

                                              Well, it is not the perfect solution as you are using plastic, but the Fresher Longer food storage containers are good for bread in the freezer. I use mason jars primarily for keeping berries fresh in the firdge. A while back I compared Fresher Longer to mason jars for that purpose ane the mason jar won. However, for freezer storage I found the Fresher Longer works very well.

                                  2. I want to gently suggest that some items are best made of plastic, particularly if they might get frequently wet. My plain old OXO is probably about 10 years old and I wouldn't be without it.

                                    To each his own, but I think plastic for a salad spinner makes more sense than metal.

                                    1. Are you looking for both bowl and spnner basket in steel or only the bowl? I'm another satisfied Oxo fan but the basket is plastic. The annoying thing is none of the descriptions for any spinner mentione what the basket is made of.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: rworange

                                        I found a picture at the Williams Sonoma site that showed the inside basket was plastic--not mentioned anywhere in text.

                                        1. re: escondido123

                                          shows 4 Oxo spinners. Note the similarity in shape, and top. One model has ' the elegance of a stainless steel serving bowl', but the pump mechanism is the same as the others. In one of the detail pictures you can see that the top is clear plastic. The clear and green spinners clearly show the light plastic basket. I have a fully functional spinner from the 1980s with a similar basket.

                                          Mechanically it makes a lot of sense to keep the basket light and impervious to any water damage. It will only contain light salad greens. A heavier basket will require a heavier duty spinning mechanism, and possibly more effort. I suppose a light stainless metal mesh basket would work, but it would be easier to bend or dent, throwing it off balance.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            Just want to ask about the stainless steel + water = bad thing that you've mentioned....I'm in India and all my dishes are stainless steel, as are my cups, jugs, and most of my utensils and pots. The two lota (kind of jugs but without handles) that I keep water in the fridge in are both stainless steel. No water damage, no problems. So what is the issue here?

                                            1. re: Muchlove

                                              I'm not an expert on stainless steel, but I do know many grades/types exist and are used for different reasons depending on their characteristics/strengths/ weaknesses. I have used two bowls, both stainless steel but of different types, to hold plain filtered tap water, and have found that one bowl was relatively inert, while the other bowl gave the water a certain metallic smell.

                                              I think in context to this thread, the duration of contact is usually short, so as long as the type of stainless used is appropriate for food contact, the issue should only come down the weight and how it impacts durability of the various parts.

                                              1. re: Muchlove

                                                Stainless steel is fine with water, but plastic is lighter. And easier to form into a smooth, lightweight, and resilient basket.

                                                I know stainless steel is a favorite kitchen material in India. Do you have items that could be described as a stainless steel basket? Not just a colander with a drain holes, but something that is more like a mesh.

                                                A lot of cooling racks are made from steel, welded together, and then chrome plated. Other steel racks are coated with plastic or enamel (e.g. in dishwashers)

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  Thanks for clarifying on the stainless steel thing.

                                                  With regards to your question paulj, I have a mesh colander that I use for washing veggies, rice, dal, etc. But I usually just leave stuff to drain either in the colander or on my (stainless steel!) rack so I don't know about draining salad effectively! Then again, most "salads" in India are based on carrot, mooli, onion, tomato, cucumber, etc and not leaf based.

                                        2. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. As I feared there don't seem to be any options available. I've looked into getting one of the old French-style ones before but haven't yet done it. I'll probably either do that or go with the cloth bag method.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: mdzehnder

                                            You could use a metal colander, though, as Muchlove mentioned. I use a metal colander inside a mixing bowl to wash greens and other vegetables. To drain greens I place a clean dish towel over the opening, and holding the corners of the towel against the colander shake the whole thing over the sink. It works...

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Gio--do you turn the colander upside-down before you shake it, or shake it right-side up? I've tried a similar technique before and can never seem to get it to work properly. I don't know if its the size or shape of the holes in my colander or what the problem is, but there always seems to still be a good bit of water standing in the inside of the colander when I'm finished shaking...

                                              1. re: mdzehnder

                                                To start I turn the colander upside down. That is, the cloth is down the colander's feet are up. But I do it both ways to make sure I get as much water out as possible.I have several colanders and the one I use has smaller holes than the others but it's easier for me to hoist and shake. There's a bit of water left so I just blot it up with a corner of the cloth then loosely wrap the lettuce in a dry cloth. I also use this method for other veggies as well..green beans, broccoli, etc.

                                                This is not a perfect method but I like that it's quick and easy to store. Also, it's one less plastic whodingie in the kitchen...

                                          2. I think choosing to live responsibly is a commendable goal. I think buying cases of bottled water is horrifying, and seeing them all lined up in a market, is also horrifying. If your community recycles plastic, then great. I commend OR (or is Portland, I can remember) for outlawing plastic shopping bags! Great move, and I wish my state did the same. But the fact remains that plastic does work best for some products, among which would be salad spinners. And, wouldn't the plastic from the salad spinner be recyclable? However, I think it is wonderful that you take this issue seriously. I don't know why the cloth method would not work for you.

                                            And, I am curious, if you ban paper towels from your kitchen? And if you do what do you use instead? That's the issue that is bugging me right now.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                              I'm not the OP, but I also like to think I'm pretty "green", though I do use plastic, as long as it's for something long lasting (i.e. not a cheap throw item from the dollar store or water bottles).

                                              However, I've never understood why people need paper towels that much. 1 roll will last me over 2 months. I mainly use the paper towels when I cook bacon, to line the plate and absorb the extra fat. Sometimes I'll use a half piece to wipe a very greasy pan before washing it. DH does use them more in his shop, because of motor grease, oil, ..., but for my kitchen, I often think about removing my holder from the countertop! I do have tons of dishcloths on hand to wipe down, wash the dishes.

                                              1. re: rewok

                                                I went through a phase of not using paper towels for a year. I used more precious water (and soap) washing up those dirty, soggy, smelly towels than I care to remember. I kept a container sort of like a dirty diaper container (if anyone remembers those days) to throw them in until I got a washer load.

                                                Now that I have a huge tub (even though I have a water saver setting), I find it impossible to keep that many yukky towels waiting for the tub. I also find that I like to limit the amount of bleach I put in my septic tank.

                                                Just another point of view from someone who has been there.

                                                1. re: Rella

                                                  I don't use paper towels. I have a roll of semi-resuable cloth towels. Basically they can be rinsed out or fully washed several times but they are quite flimsy and don't last forever. Still, it's better than a one use paper towel. I don't machine wash them, I just wash by hand.

                                                  I also have several cloth towels but I try not to use them for really messy spills. Paper towels really aren't necessary.

                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                    You've tried it out quite a bit, and it doesn't seem to work for you! I'll explain how I manage it, in case it helps anyone. When I put those rags away in my laundry "closet", I place them over the side of my dirty stuff basket, so they are like "suspended". Since they dry out quickly, they smell less. Washed with warm/hot water, Oxyclean & laundry soap, they come out fresh smelling and clean (I don't fight stain however). And I run a load of dishtowels, washcloth, dishcloths, ... about every 10 days anyway, so it's not an extra laundry load. I do have a front loading washer, so in term of water savings, it's great!

                                                    I see you have a septic, so I understand your concern about limiting the water used is key in your house, but in reality, paper towels cost enormous amount of water to produce, so the total cost of water is probably in favour of the cloth! (But it does help with your septic)

                                                2. re: sueatmo

                                                  Eliminating the plastic shopping bag bugs me. IMO, they are not single use. Many people use them for garbage disposal. So eliminating the plastic grocery bag just m eans someone is buying plastic garbage bags.

                                                  For all the virtue people might feel in this the point is that most are still using plastic bags to put loose or wet produce such as mushrooms, lettuce, cherries, etc., The same stores giving the recyclable bag pep talk are selling grapes, tomatoes, etc in plastic containers.

                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    Paper towels are not completely banned, but I do try to limit the use of them as much as possible. Like rewok below, draining bacon after cooking is one of the uses for paper towels for which I've not come up with an acceptable substitute, as is wiping oil onto my cast iron pans to season them after use. Since paper towels are compostable, however, using them doesn't bug me nearly as much as does the plastic issue.

                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                      If you buy things second hand, you become the recycler. My plastic salad spinner came from a thrift store so that's my way of trying to be "green." (Got Redel wine glasses there last week and a sturdy old Cuisinart the week before....prices are wonderful.)

                                                      1. re: escondido123

                                                        Riedel glasses and a Cuisinart? Good for you!

                                                        And this is why (to tie this back to the "stuff we keep" thread) -- we should just LET GO of all the crap gathering dust in our cupboards...whoever took those glasses and Cuisinart looked at them and said "why the hell do I own those" -- and found space in their cupboards...and Escondido is tickled pink by finding something that was on the wishlist without spending a bucket of cash.

                                                    2. Since price is not an issue, you might be able to commission someone on etsy to make it for you.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: LabLady

                                                        Brilliant. Why didn't I think of that? I'm going to combine this suggestion with the woven ratan/bamboo one mentioned above and see what I can find out!

                                                        1. re: mdzehnder

                                                          That is a great idea.

                                                          You've been a great sport on this topic, since most everyone basically told you to bite the plastic bullet (including me, for which I apologize). Ethics or no, I totally understand personal taste. I can't stand gold-tone or brassy anything in my house. First thing I did after buying my condo was switch out all the doorknobs. Nobody would notice except me but trust me when I tell you *I* noticed. I was forbidden from switching out the hallway side doorknob, and whenever I leave or come home I regard that ugly 'antique' brass as a true demarcation of where 'Mary-land' begins and ends.

                                                      2. Hello mdzehnder, I know this is an old thread but I was looking for the same thing. I want a metal-bowl salad spinner because I've found flavors tend to build up in the cheap plastic ones. I found two metal-bowl salad spinners besides the Rosle. OXO makes one with a metal bowl, but the same plastic top/spinner mechanism as on its plastic-bowl spinner. (Personally I have not had good luck with that mechanism -- it tends to break.) Also there is a brand called Kuchenprofi that makes a metal bowl one. Let me know if you've found any other solution. Thanks!

                                                        1. Is size an issue? Look at honey extractors

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Alan408

                                                            Interesting idea, Alan408. Honey extractors are indeed all metal and do the same kind of thing. But looking around they seem to be at least $200.

                                                            There are two reasons I'm interested in a metal spinner. 1) I use the salad spinner bowl to serve myself salad, and sometimes the things I put in there (e.g. fish) leave a definite lingering taste in the plastic. 2) General durability. I use the salad spinner a lot, and plastic mechanical parts just tend to wear out. I've had several OXOs and in a way those are the worst... some fussy little parts of the drive mechanism are easy to break and impossible to repair. I've gotten more mileage out of a $5 Ikea spinner. At this point I'm kind of eyeing the Kuchenprofi spinner, which the one review on amazon says is very reliable, but the price is steep.

                                                          2. I've been silently following this thread for a long time and searching and searching for a plastic-free salad spinner solution. I finally realized my mistake: thinking a salad spinner had to be a certain kind of gadget. Thanks to Candy for mentioning the French style collapsible stainless mesh basket. I bought one from someone on Etsy and tried it. And thanks to those who recommended some type of cloth (pillow case, etc.) On Thanksgiving, I did a little comparison and posted it on my blog. An organic cotton produce bag spun over my head outside was the clear winner. It was fun, too. If you want to see the details with pictures, the post is here: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2013/11/...

                                                            1. Hi mdzehnder-

                                                              We have 3: 1 stainless Rösle at home, and 2 Zyliss in rental properties.

                                                              The inside baskets are plastic, the ages range from 8 to 10 years old. They all work well, probably because they are not used that much. In fact, I have used the Rösle stainless bowl for fruit, or even a salad bowl, more than to spin leaf greens. When the Zyliss spinners crack or break, they will not be replaced.

                                                              Your desire to avoid plastic might be served using a stainless or silicone and stainless colander, such as those made by Rösle. My reasoning:

                                                              1. They are not made of plastic, but 18/10 stainless steel and medical-grade silicone.
                                                              2. They are easily cleaned by hand, or in a dishwasher.
                                                              3. The silicone/stainless colanders can also be used as a steamer insert in a corresponding sized pot and lid. It does work.
                                                              4. The silicone/stainless colanders are flexible and can fold down to fit away flat, plate size, or even in a drawer.
                                                              5. The silicone/stainless colanders are great for pasta or Asian noodles to drain in the sink, versus our attempts to replicate a wok kitchen and have them up hanging to drain over the sink using a large stainless mesh basket skimmer for frying. Where the skimmer basket can hold only so much in the way of noodles, the colander capacity size is quite large.
                                                              6. There are 2 sizes of the Rösle flexible colanders: Large and medium. We fold 1 into the other, stored upright in a sink cabinet.

                                                              I purchased the Rösle salad spinner on sale, most likely for the reason that the sale price was less than the price of a similar Rösle mixing bowl. But the reality is that we wash and rinse fruit, and vegetables in our colanders and let them drain and dry while making the rest of a meal.

                                                              If silicone is acceptable to you, take a look at the colander by Rösle. You might find it much more useful, and more practical.

                                                              I hope this is helpful.

                                                              1. Hi again mdzehnder, plasticfreebeth, et al - I've been meaning to reply to this for a while, and saw some other people were still interested in the thread too. I also wanted to make a plastic-free-salad spinner, but not because I hate plastic -- it was mostly for aesthetic and reliability reasons.

                                                                After thinking about salad spinners way, way way too much :) and actually doing some performance tests, I've learned there are lots of ways to spin-dry salad with stuff you already have around the house... metal, plastic, cloth, you choose. There is no need to buy a salad spinner at all.

                                                                The salad-in-a-pillowcase method people have talked about on this thread actually works quite well. However, for the convenience of serving and storing in the same bowl, I prefer a method involving a steel bowl, a steel colander that fits into it, and a cloth bag that you swing the whole combo in.

                                                                It's all detailed in this blog post -- http://bottleworld.net/?p=637 -- where, if you get sick of reading, you can watch a video with a demonstration.

                                                                Happy spinning! :)