Laundry: Second Load
09 May 2010 | Dirty Laundry, Cruiser, and Reality
The Admiral Speaks
If wishes were fishes then all laundresses would have machines, or at least enough tokens to get all of your laundry washed and dried. My ultimate invention for the civilized world would be an on board washing machine that did not require precious amp power. First, you would get a good size food cooler and strap it down onto the forward part of the boat, as it would most likely get good action up there. Then you would load it with dirty clothes, water and some soap. Plan your weather window for a fairly easy crossing that is not too bumpy but enough seas to give the clothes some good agitation, and then sail off into the sunrise. You would have to either do this really early in the day or make a night passage so you would have enough time to wring out the water and let the clothes dry in the sunshine. If you wash in the afternoon the clothes will not get dry before the sun goes down. If it is truly hot then this is not a consideration but if it is only warm with cool nights then you are stuck with day time drying. The times that I have been concerned about getting the clothes dry, I have gone on deck and turned them over and even moved them out of the shade. I am usually successful. I put the towels up on the bow as that is the place with the most wind. Next, up go the heavy clothes and finally the underwear goes in the cockpit. We are a little modest and Amy especially does not want the panga drivers looking at her unmentionables. Though, I must admit to having pictures of Rich's chonies flapping in the wind on halyards.
Wrinkles and cruiser clothes. I know of a few boats that have irons on them. I know of fewer that use them. They take a lot of power. The way I "iron" clothes is very high tech. I pull out what I want to look nice and crisp, as I did for Christmas dinner, and very carefully hang it out on the life lines the night before. I strategically put the clothes pins in places that will not show. Then I let the cool night air and dew do the work. Each time I have done this it has worked out well. If the dew is too heavy, I let the clothes hang on the life lines in the morning until they are all dry. Unfortunately, we do not have any hanging lockers on our boat. They were all converted to storage with shelves so we cannot hang anything up. We are almost always looking a little less than crisp.
Bleach, aahhh...I like bleach. It makes the whites white and only causes a few holes. You must be careful not to over bleach things as the sun, wringing, and hard playing already makes the clothes wear out faster. We have white sheets in our V berth and they get bleached when washed. I try to do the towels and sheets in a machine when near a town. If you have the room, carry extra sets so you won't have to do them by hand. If you do not get all of the bleach out and you are wringing out big items then your hands will pay the price.
Wringer. Man, I am still oogling that wringer online. It would be heaven. We would use less water, my hands would not hurt, and I would not have to listen to Rich talk about getting one more wearing out of the shorts that could already stand up by themselves because he does not want to help me wring the soggy clothes. I was just about to order one online and then we looked at this new/old boat. All of my thoughts of spending stopped. If you are going to go cruising then get a wringer NOW before you cast off the dock lines. It will make life so much easier.
The easiest thing to do with laundry is to take your clothes to a lavandria. For 8-15 pesos ($.72-1.80 US) a kilo, a nice lady will take your laundry, wash it, fold it, and put it into a nice big plastic bag for you to take home. This is the ultimate luxury. We used to do this when we first started cruising but it does not fit into the budget now. It is amazing how much a load of towels weighs. Maybe for Mother's Day.....