Friday, August 7, 2015

Laundry - The Chore That Keeps On Growing

Laundry aboard a cruising boat is a never-ending chore. In the tropics you sweat, sweat, sweat everyday; boat maintenance is grubby work; salt water seems to get on everything; and you can't let it pile up because it gets mildewed; so laundry must be done frequently.
Ask any woman cruiser and she will tell you the thing she misses most from "land life" is her washing machine. I know the dream of walking the laundry room any time, popping a load in the machine and having it come out clean 30 minutes later certainly haunts me!

When we were in Mexico lavanderias were common and easy to find, but here in Panama they are difficult if not impossible to find. So we find different ways to do laundry....

While underway we wash it in the sink and hang it on the lifelines.

In Kuna Yala we went up the Rio Diablo and washed it in the murky water, but at least it was fresh water! 

Recently I have discovered this little Laundromat at Panamarina, another marina about a 15 minute dinghy ride away. The wash costs $1.50, but there is no hot water and it takes 30 minutes just to fill the tub so a load takes at least 45 minutes. The dryer costs $1.75 and runs on propane, so if the propane tank runs out while you are drying, no heat. Plan to be there during their regular business hours which are 8:00 to 9:30, 12:00 to 1:30, and 5:00 to 7:30, closed Sundays and Mondays. That way if anything goes wrong, or you need quarters, someone can help you. Oh, and bring bug spray, because the noseeums are fierce there.
Here is the route to get there.
Go out of Linton Marina past the monkey island. Go across the bay and into the mangroves. Come out at Panamarina, go to their dinghy dock, carry your laundry 200 yards past the restaurant to the restroom/shower area, and there you are. I did three loads the other day while Malcolm was installing the new battery charger and it took me about 3 hours.
I have recently heard of another way to do laundry on a boat: you simply put water in a 5 gallon bucket, add 1/3 cup ammonia, add the laundry and agitate it with a toilet plunger, let it soak for a couple of hours, wring it out, and hang it outside. The sun and breeze remove the ammonia smell and the laundry comes out clean and fresh. Ammonia supposedly removes perspiration and sweat stains quite nicely. I will be trying this soon here on Thistle, because using Tide and rinsing, rinsing, rinsing uses a lot of fresh water and anything that uses less fresh water is a definite plus.

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