Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Doing Laundry in SVG

         Laundry is quite the process.  Its time consuming and its exhausting, as you can well imagine without a washing machine.  There are two methods when it comes to hand washing laundry.  Method #1: Most people have outdoor sinks that they do their wash in.  Method #2: I do my laundry more akin to those that use the public pipe to wash their clothes—in buckets.
         Clothes first need to be soaked down in a bucket with soap.  If they are heavily soiled, like my rugby clothes, I usually let them soak for about a whole day.  I put them to soak at night, and wake up in the morning to wash.  Or I put them to soak in the morning and wash them at night then let them soak in fabric softener overnight.
Method 1: Clothes soaking in the back outdoor sink.
Method 1: Probably way too much soap...
Method #2: Clothes soaking in a bucket in my bathroom.  Picture on left is dirty clothes soaking.  Picture on right is clean clothes soaking in fabric softener. 
Sometimes, the dye from clothes bleeds.  In this case, it really does look like I murdered someone in my shower.  But it is in fact, brand new red sheets.  The dye bled for about 5 washes after the initial washing.  Quite annoying, because now I have a number of pink colored clothes.

          After the clothes have soaked sufficiently, its time to do the actual washing.  This involves rubbing the clothes together vigorously.  It takes a long time and a lot of energy to scrub all the clothes. Therefore, I try to do wash every day or every other day, so as to not let it build up.  It’s easier to do a little bit of wash every day, than to let it build up and have to spend hours doing it on the weekend.  For really stained clothes, sometimes a scrubbing brush is necessary.  I try to avoid this, as it ruins your clothes faster. Once all the clothes are washed/scrubbed its time to rinse. The absolute worst things to wash are towels and sheets.  They are so big and so heavy.  It takes some real strength to be able to wash and ring them.  Other articles of clothing that are not fun to wash include pants, jeans, and anything made of thick material.  The easiest things to wash are underwear, thin cotton/linen shirts, blouses, and usually work clothes.
           Rinsing usually takes a long time, because I always end up adding too much soap.  If you hang the clothes to dry with a lot of soap residue, they are usually really stiff and brittle. This is no fun.  Rinsing takes a long time, and a lot of effort to let it saturate with water and ring and squeeze out all the soap.  I typically have to repeat this about 5-10 times.
Clothes rinsing, waiting to be rung, and rinsed again.

           After all the clothes have been rinsed free of soap, I let them soak in fabric softener.  While, this means an extra step of re-ringing the clothes, it’s usually worth it to have semi-soft, better smelling laundry.  Sometimes I wash clothes at night, and let them soak overnight in fabric softener.  And other times I was in the morning, and put to soak in fabric softener for as little as 20 minutes.
           Once clothes have soaked in fabric softener for a while I re-ring them dry and hang to dry.  Regardless of when I wash the clothes, I always hang them first thing in the morning.  That way they are dry by the end of the day (if its not particularly hot, sunny, or windy), or by late morning to mid afternoon if it is windy and sunny.  I do not like to leave my clothes hanging on the clothesline over night, as I have had some problems recently with people “tiefin” things off the line.
Clothes hanging to dry, looks like a rainy day, so they will probably take a while :-/
Alternative methods to drying clothes.  I have also seen clothes drying on bushes and on the road to name a few.

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