When away from a dock and laundry facilities for some time, the family laundry pile begins to grow…. Luckily while in the Sea of Cortez, we aren’t wearing a ton of clothing (mostly swimsuits!), so it takes quite a few days to fill our laundry bag. Once we’ve got a little pile going, I like to tackle it before it gets too big. It is easier to do a little laundry frequently than a huge amount all at once. Here is how we do it onboard Bloom!
Treat Stains, then Wash Clothes in Salt Water
Using salt water to wash your clothes can save a lot of your precious fresh water, so I fill a 5 Gallon bucket with sea water by dipping it off the back transom.I vigourously rub a stain-removing bar along any stubborn spots or stains that I notice. I then add a few drops of biodegradable, sea-safe laundry soap, add the clothes and start plunging with our washing wand. Plunging the laundry is an easy task to get the kids to help out with as it doesn’t take a ton of power to get a good agitation going and generally only takes about 5-10 minutes.
Rinse and Dry Clothes on Lifelines
Once your ‘wash cycle’ is done, it’s time to squeeze out all of that sea water from each item. I use another 5 Gallon bucket with a few inches of fresh water in it and after squeezing the sea water and soap out of each item, I rinse them one by one with a good swish through the fresh water. Another big squeeze and you are ready to hang your items out to dry on your lifelines or wherever you can find hanging space! It is amazing how fresh your clothes smell after they have had a chance to dry in the sun. The UV light really disinfects, whitens and freshens everything!
Here are some links to all of the laundry tools I find helpful and get the job done!
These buckets are fantastic! I use one for the washing and one for the rinsing. They are very sturdy and stay standing when full. The webbing straps are very strong as well and I have no problem dipping the bucket via the handles off the back to fill with sea water. The best part is that they collapse totally flat for easy storage! So far, these have been holding up just great and their uses are endless. Click here to buy this bucket on Amazon
This washing wand is definitely my favourite. The ‘wand’ end really grabs the clothes and agitates the water well. It’s only downfall is the plastic handle and shaft. We had it break while using it and so had to take out one of the ‘notches’, which seemed to make it stronger. Our friends on sv Giada Marina in La Paz found this to be their favourite as well, even after using a couple of different models available on Amazon. Click here to buy this washing wand on Amazon
This NaturOli extreme concentrated liquid laundry detergent is my absolute favourite! It is unscented, organic, natural and REALLY concentrated, so it lasts forever. (I like this 3-pack as each 8oz bottle gives you 96 loads, so almost 300 loads in total!) As we are currently cruising Mexico, this is an absolute must as the detergents here are loaded with toxins and heavy perfumes. As a family of 3, we really find this stuff cleans well, and we don’t worry about dumping the dirty water into the ocean once we’ve cleaned our clothes as it is totally ocean safe. Buy this laundry soap on Amazon here
Soap nuts are really great as they are all-natural, environmentally-friendly and ocean-safe and they do a great job of cleaning clothes! A little goes a long way, and 6 soap nuts in a little muslin bag (included with the soap nuts) will last you 6-8 loads before you need to get another batch of 6. They also have a ton of other uses that you can read about with the pamphlet that comes with the nuts! I like the 2Lb bags, which gives you enough for 480 loads and comes with a free sample of the liquid ‘Extreme’ soap, mentioned above. Click here to buy these Soap Nuts on Amazon
This stain removing stick works really, really well! A little goes a long way. You just wet the article of clothing, rub this stick on it (it is the consistency of a bar of soap) and let it sit for a while before washing. I’ve had great success with cleaning baseball hats with it too. It is also environmentally-friendly and 100% biodegradable, so you can feel good about washing it into the sea. Buy this stain remover stick on Amazon here
These are a little tricky to hold onto, but once you get the hang of them, they work well. I use one at a time and scrub the clothes with stain remover first, let them soak, and then scrub with one of these little gizmos while the article is still submerged. Works really well! I wanted to get a washboard, but opted for these for their space-saving and I love that these are super-small! Click here to buy these little washboards on Amazon