PAM SAYS: Some Helpful Hints When Doing Laundry While Cruising


If you are the ones to be worrying about fresh water consumption, where to find fresh water, and keeping your water makers in good maintenance while enjoying clean and fresh laundry, you may just want to read this!

Besides having to be a teacher for our two young children as we sailed around the world, I think the worst part of cruising, especially with a family, is having to do the laundry!

Unfortunately we have a large clothes hamper in our head area that holds a lot of dirty laundry. So, when it gets over loaded, well, that means there are a lot of things to clean.

laundryWhen fresh water is at a premium, as it so often is, here are a few things I learned to do that made washing clothes and sheets and towels a lot easier, and in some cases quite fun for all of us!

First thing is to always keep your dinghy clean! Every time you use your dinghy, you have at your feet the bottom of a great washing machine!!! Keeping the dinghy clean of sand, salt water, dirt from feet, fresh caught fish slime, your dogs hair, etc., allows you to have a perfect water catchment for rain water. By having a big sponge in the dinghy, and keeping the floor totally clean every time you use it, if a squall comes up, voila! You can catch a tremendous amount of great soft rain water for laundry, or fresh water baths!!!

I love having a dingy full of rain water after a long night of rain squalls. I jump into the dinghy with two five gallons buckets and use my water scoop (a white plastic empty gallon container of bleach cut out to scoop water out of the dinghy). I fill these two buckets with the fresh rain water and set them on the deck for rinsing the clothes.

Next thing is to get that laundry bag and throw everything into the water that collected in the dinghy. Then the fun begins! Put some detergent in with the clothes, get into the dinghy, or send in your two children, and have them pretend to stomp on the wine grapes!!! You know what I mean, just swish the feet, stir the water, lift and throw the laundry around, and it is amazing how clean it gets everything.

Then ring out the excess water, and rinse in the buckets on deck, and laundry done!

Then we would immerse ourselves in the left over laundry water, and have a quick body bath all courtesy of mother nature! No fresh water consumed.

Hanging out the clothes to dry is another art in itself for quick drying. Remember, dark things dry almost twice as fast. Our sheets and towels are not white, but navy blue for quick drying on the lifelines. Peg things like pillow cases that can open in the wind facing forward or into the wind, if they can open up in the wind they dry so much faster. Be smart and hang everything so it drips off quickly from some point, and have that be the lowest point from the pegs.

And when you take down the fresh smelling laundry, it is amazing how good you feel not to use anything but what is there all the time for your free usage, the rain, the sun, and the wind. All laundry helpers!