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Old 08-07-2008, 11:47   #1
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Washing Clothing While at Sea?

What methods do you use for washing your clothing while at sea or in primitive locations ? I stumbled across this manual washing machine that I may purchase, has anyone ever used one of these?

Wonder Wash - The Laundry Alternative
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:52   #2
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I have one in the garage but have never used it. Generally, we try to sail in that part of the year when we don't need clothes.
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:57   #3
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To be honest, we usually go ashore. When away from laundromats, I have successfully washed my clothing in salt water in a bucket and rinsed. Of course... there are levels of filth. ha ha

I don't want to get into how dirty my clothing was on parts of my recent delivery from FL . Suffice to say, sea water works when there is nothing else available! lol
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:09   #4
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I have a Wonder Wash. Haven't used it in 3 or 4 years. Almost all harbors have laundry service and/or washing machines available.

At sea, you just need a couple of pairs of nylon shorts. Wash them in the sink.
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:18   #5
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We're lucky - we have a Splendide washer/dryer aboard Dulcinea and a 33GPH water maker. Both a huge luxury, but really appreciated and enjoyed!
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Old 08-07-2008, 13:36   #6
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Wonder wash does work quite well, but takes up a lot of room.

a number of high quality black plastic refuse bags allow warmer water (solar heating through the black bag) easy splashing around, and take up very little room.

They are also a lot cheaper!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-07-2008, 13:40   #7
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Some of my cruising friends have them. It's still labor intensive because of the capacity of the unit, then you have to wring out the soapy water by hand, then rinse and wring again, maybe twice. I wish there was a larger capacity unit.

Another option is the "cowboy washing machine", using a five gallon container with lid, strapping it into the back of a pickup truck or the bow pulpit, and bashing around for awhile. There's still the wringing-out issue and rinsing.

I am sooooo jealous of folks who have the room, and power, and freshwater to have even one of the "mini-washers". I want to tie up alongside them.
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Old 08-07-2008, 13:56   #8
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I've seen them before. Most folks that have them tire of them soon. What is handy on a boat is a good wringer but the good ones aren't cheap.
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Old 08-07-2008, 14:02   #9
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How much fresh water is needed to rinse a bucket full of clothes washed in salt water?
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Old 08-07-2008, 15:00   #10
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I concur with Talbot's Black bag idea, it works exceedingly well.

Regards

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Old 08-07-2008, 15:22   #11
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We have a Slendide - the unvented one- its a good washer but a terrible dryer. We end up "festuning" our boat with laundry - learned that word at Canille Bay Resort. My wife prefers to take the dirty stuff ashore and let someone else do it.
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Old 08-07-2008, 15:26   #12
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How much fresh water is needed to rinse a bucket full of clothes washed in salt water?
They do say a lot of it. Some say more than you would use to just wash in fresh and rinse in fresh.

It depends on the item being washed. Things you need all soft and comfy (like sheets) might not be the best candidates. I washed board shorts, t-shirts and stuff in salt no problem. I even rinsed in salt...

They were a bit stiff, but they were just outer garments.
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Old 08-07-2008, 15:40   #13
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Do a simple test. Take a clean pair of underwear and a teeshirt, soak them in a bucket of saltwater. Rinse them in a bucket of fresh water, wringing out as well as you can. Dry them and wear them. Now repeat with the same salt water soak and two complete rinses and wringings. You'll notice a major difference. Now try it with three rinses. The problem is that salt is hygroscopic. Even if the garment is dried out, the remaining salt attracts atmospheric humidity. The more rinses, the less salt, the less mildew of your teeshirts. But the real problem is that there still remains very small amounts of salt, reducing with each rinse. It's kind of like Zeno's Paradox. Or trying to clean dirty fuel by constantly pumping it out one end and pumping cleaner fuel back the other.
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Old 08-07-2008, 15:56   #14
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Do a simple test. Take a clean pair of underwear and a teeshirt, soak them in a bucket of saltwater. Rinse them in a bucket of fresh water, wringing out as well as you can. Dry them and wear them. Now repeat with the same salt water soak and two complete rinses and wringings. You'll notice a major difference. Now try it with three rinses. The problem is that salt is hygroscopic. Even if the garment is dried out, the remaining salt attracts atmospheric humidity. The more rinses, the less salt, the less mildew of your teeshirts. But the real problem is that there still remains very small amounts of salt, reducing with each rinse. It's kind of like Zeno's Paradox. Or trying to clean dirty fuel by constantly pumping it out one end and pumping cleaner fuel back the other.
Excellent point about dried salt attracting moisture. Don't do as I did if in a humid environment. I did this while in FL. Went to the laundromat other times. It worked well down where it was warm and dry all the time, but having salt crystals in my clothing in Maine? Bad idea!

Good post.
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Old 08-07-2008, 15:57   #15
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A shoreside laundromat is the best option for us, but when that's not possible, we put a gallon or so of fresh water in a bucket with a half cup of ammonia. Slosh the clothes around in it this solution, wring them out well and hang to dry. No Soap Necessary. No Rinsing Necessary. The clothes will dry sweet smelling on the boom or lifeline. No ammonia residual smell, and you don't spend forever trying to rinse out salt water.

Sometimes when there's an expensive laundromat nearby, we use the laundromat for clothing and still use the ammonia wash for sheets.

Sounds weird, but it works. The bucket we use for this activity is our acrylic bottom "look" bucket. It's nice and deep for sloshing, usually is the cleanest bucket on the boat.

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