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Old 11-07-2016, 18:04   #1
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Hand washing clothes on board

Since my newly-acquired boat has no working plumbing at the moment, I have to carry fresh water to the boat on a dinghy.

I have no problem with washing my dishes and pans in a small plastic bowl. However, washing my clothes is going to require maybe half a bucket full of water, maybe more.

I wonder if anybody here has washed their laundry in salt water with much success.

Of course the clothing will be rinsed in fresh water before it is hung out to dry.

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Old 11-07-2016, 18:15   #2
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

Yes.
On a long voyage, Used a five gallon plastic bucket, but smaller would work too. Fill half with salt water. Add appropriate soap. Use a clean rubber plumbers helper on a stick to plunge the garment up and down and agitate to rlease the soil and oils from the fabric. A small scrub brush helps remove soil or mud.

Finish the wash cycle, empty the water them proceed to rinse with clean salt water. Use the plunger again. Then wring them out.

The plunger will make everything easier. Faster. Efficient and cheap.

Rinse in a little fresh water. Wring and then hang to dry.
---------
I was recently in the Philippines for a few months, where I also washed my clothing by hand, using buckets and bar soap.

I much prefer wearing new "wicking" or "dry fit" synthetic and polyester shirts and synthetic "travel" pants now, as they retain little water and dry quickly. Much easier to wash.
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Old 11-07-2016, 18:16   #3
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

In the USN (1960s), all our work clothes were washed in salt water. I think rinsed in fw. I don't remember any problems. Salt will bleach whites, but our laundry gradually turned whites yellow. Uniforms, anything good went to shore laundries. White navy hats were soaked in barrels of sw with more salt added and came out nice.
Commercial fishing before watermakers were affordable, clothes were done in sw only, but would dry the skin over time and lead to rashes.
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Old 11-07-2016, 18:24   #4
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

Just addingbthat soaking for a few hours really helps loosen the grunge. Also, minimize soap use in your wash. A little goes long way and makes your clothes easier to rinse. Adding a liitle baking soda and vinegar also help with mildew smell.
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Old 11-07-2016, 18:39   #5
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

It takes (far) more fresh water to get all the salt out than a normal rinse would use, so you're not ahead by using salt to wash.

Instead of using soap, use some ammonia in your (fresh) wash water. Ammonia doesn't need so much rinsing. Something on the order of 1/2-1 cup NH3 per 3 gallons H2O if I recall (check that). DON'T use bleach and ammonia together, though

If you google 'washing clothes onboard' or similar, there are LOTS of discussions on the subject. Here, The Boat Galley, The Monkey's Fist Collaborative.. Laundry onboard is a frequently discussed subject
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Old 11-07-2016, 18:48   #6
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

Thank you, gents. I am starting my first sea laundry right now. I appreciate your advice, and I'm amazed at the fast response. CF is brilliant. :-)

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Old 11-07-2016, 19:14   #7
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

What are some recommended washing soaps to use? Preferably US brands but popular brads in other parts of the world too, so I can search for this thread in a few years time.
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Old 11-07-2016, 20:34   #8
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

I used a small squirt of Johnson's Baby Shampoo. I learned years ago it has multiple used. :-)

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Old 12-07-2016, 03:48   #9
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

get a rectangular bucket and use your bare foot..learned that from the local women in some of the more remote islands,they also taught me.....................oh, never mind....................

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Old 12-07-2016, 10:44   #10
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

The Boat Galley just did a column about hand-washing laundry onboard.

Doing Laundry By Hand
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:46   #11
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

Get a mate to drive your dink around the anchorage while towing you behind it on a ski rope. (with no ski)

Wear the clothing you want cleaned.

Squirt a liberal amount of soap all over yourself, then roll off the dink and yell "hit it."

Don't have a clue as to the rinse cycle.

Cheers!
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Old 12-07-2016, 17:36   #12
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

Quote:
Originally Posted by AD28 View Post

Instead of using soap, use some ammonia in your (fresh) wash water. Ammonia doesn't need so much rinsing. Something on the order of 1/2-1 cup NH3 per 3 gallons H2O if I recall (check that). DON'T use bleach and ammonia together, though
Please do not use "Ammonia" it plays hell with the gills of all marine life. Its a nasty, and is not depleted by the death of a fish, but goes on and on. Previous water company I worked with spent millions upgrading there sewerage treatment, and they were tight.

Admittedly, I haven't seen the science. Bleach on the other hand should not be a problem as its made by electrolysis in salt water.
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Old 12-07-2016, 18:06   #13
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

Wash in salt, rinse in fresh. Yes. Put them in a 5 gal bucket with lid and tie alongside just in the water. Each wavelet or wake will agitate the load.
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Old 12-07-2016, 18:24   #14
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

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Originally Posted by dkroar View Post
The Boat Galley just did a column about hand-washing laundry onboard.

Doing Laundry By Hand
I was just going to post this too.
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Old 12-07-2016, 18:26   #15
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Re: Hand washing clothes on board

My two cents worth washed our cloths in salt water, much to my wife's chagrin, in a 5 gallon bucket with a fresh water rinse. To her surprise once dry they were fresh smelling, not sticky, and felt great.
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