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  #1  
Old 11-07-2007
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The laundry dilemna

Does anyone have a reasonably easy low water consumption solution to doing the laundry on-board a cruising sailboat with limited space?
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Old 11-07-2007
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Not to be smart but..........

1) hang it from the rigging in the rain....

2) Wash with Salt Water, rinse with fresh, in a bucket.....

Look at camping solutions as well.

Fred
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Old 11-07-2007
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The Wonder Wash: Amish-approved.

http://www.laundry-alternative.com/washing.html
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Old 11-07-2007
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I'd second the wonderwash.
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Old 11-07-2007
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I once put my dress white uniform in a laundry bag and dragged it behind the USS ranger at about 30 knots. It got incredibly clean. Even the rust stains cae out.
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Old 11-07-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hertfordnc View Post
I once put my dress white uniform in a laundry bag and dragged it behind the USS ranger at about 30 knots. It got incredibly clean. Even the rust stains cae out.
Damn, there's never an aircraft carrier around when I need to do my laundry!

I wonder, does the method still work as well at 3-6kts?
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Old 11-07-2007
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Has anyone actually used one of the Wonderwash units? How did it do?
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Old 11-07-2007
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Anybody ever use one of these?



We've actually got one up in our attic - from my wife's grandmother.
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Old 11-07-2007
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Have looked at the Wonderwash and have heard great things but never have used one. I have been concerned at storage of yet another bulky item. My answer to laundry is a bit rough and ready and comes from bouncing around Australia while car-camping in a 4x with the kids. I have a large plastic bucket (the type that sheetrock guys carry their paste in) with a top that seals tight. When not a laundry machine, it sits in a cockpit locker filled with all sorts of gear. When a laundry machine - I fill it 2/3 full of hot/warm water and liquid washsoap; seal; and let bounce around while underway for a day. Next day, wring out the soapy water, put 2/3 fresh water in and bounce around for another day UNLESS there's a nice rainstorm and I put the stuff in cockpit well and rinse it there. This works pretty well - only drawback is when I overload soap and the stuff never rinses out via the bucket rinse. Advantage is I have a laundry solution, a place to hold odds and ends and another bailing bucket!
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I do laundry a few different ways.

If there is a laundromat I use that.

If it's something important, dress shirts for example, so far I am only willing to do those at a laundromat, two cycles, cold water, good detergent, etc. Follow that by a fluff in the drier and then hang them up so they don't get wrinkled. I haven't tried washing dress shirts using any of the methods below, but I might try it soon with one shirt just to see how it goes. My concern is that my hand washing methods might not get the cloth clean enough and that over repeated wash/dry cycles it might start to show.

If it's something like a suit of course that has to go to the dry cleaners.

If it's gore-tex I have just been washing it by hand with a cloth but I am thinking about changing that procedure and putting it into cold water using the methods below, but making sure not to rub the gore-tex against anything for fear of ruining it.

If it's anything else then I use one of two methods depending on how much water I have.

1) If I don't have much water then I use a wash board. I have two sizes of wash boards, the kind that have fiberglass boards. Works great, takes a little doing because you have to be patient. I will sometimes warm up some water to do this but that is mostly just so my hands don't get cold when the water is very cold. Sometimes I will use detergent, sometimes not, it depends on how much water I have to rinse them with. Usually they are fine with just a wash and letting them hang outside to dry.

2) If I have a lot of water then I use something akin to the plunger method. That's putting some clothing into a big bucket with water and then using a plunger to wash them. I have a "special" plunger that I got from the same place I got wash boards that seems to do a pretty good job but I wouldn't recommend it because it is also corroding and I am probably going to switch to just using a normal plunger. Since I have lots of water when using the plunger method I usually use detergent, and rinse well, then hang the clothing up outside to dry completely. I think the plunger method is probably best for gore-tex but I haven't tried that yet.

If it's cold enough to freeze clothing then you have to hang them where it is warm. Don't leave them in the sunlight for days in a row or eventually they will fade. And keeping them in cedar is a good idea to keep the moths and mice out of them if that is a problem where you are. Moth balls don't hurt either.

Big things like blankets, sheets, and things like that I don't wash by hand. Just have enough spares packed away so that you can change them out when they get dirty and eventually wash them all at a laundromat.

Some tips - when using a wash board it's not the scrubbing action that cleans the clothing, that is a common mistake. So don't press down really hard, you're just going to wear your clothing out doing that. What cleans the clothing is the oscillation of the water through the cloth, that's why the board has ridges on it, so that when you move the cloth across the ridges the water quickly squishes through the cloth in both directions. So when you use a wash board you are really just trying to be patient, keep moving the cloth back and forth and let the board do the work. I have not had experience washing clothing on a rock beside a river but I understand it is the same principle, you don't want to do something like scrub the cloth against the rock, you're just going to wear a hole in it. Instead, you just want to squish the clothing against the rock like you are trying to get all of the water out of it, then plunge it into the water to fill it with water and repeat, keep repeating until it is done.

It sounds like it is difficult but it really isn't. The wash board especially is really easy to use and doesn't take much time at all. You just sit there and keep moving the clothing across the board, plunge it into the water occasionally, and the clothing just gets clean somehow.

Gore-tex in my estimation is really the biggest trouble. The whole method of washing is to have water go back and forth through the material to knock the dirt out. And the whole purpose of gore-tex is not to let that happen. So there really isn't an easy way to clean gore-tex using normal methods of doing laundry.

And ... don't buy or wear white clothing.

Edit - Underway I would want to drag the clothing in a net.
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Last edited by wind_magic; 11-07-2007 at 12:06 PM.
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