Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Clothes Washing Experiment #1

Anyone who has left their swimsuit to hang over the shower curtain in Florida can quickly guess the problem with hand-washing your clothes in the sink: drying. If you're living in your swimsuit for a week, it's probably not a big deal. However, if you're sitting on buses and hiking around hotels and castles all day, another one-word problem comes to mind: chafing. Shirts might dry, socks will tend to get gamey, jeans take forever to dry. So fine, what next?

  • Finding a laundromat seems to be the best option. A friend just came back from Germany and informs me that a lot of stuff closes down after 5 p.m. Great! After walking all day, I'll just find the laundromat and...psssst! What if the laundromat is closed, pal? Hm.
  • Buy and pitch clothes along the way. Frees up more room in the bag, might help me look more "European," but also requires regular visits to clothing stores instead of playing tourist. Not a great idea, nor the most efficient/fun use of my time. Still, it's not outside the realm of possibility.
  • There's the Rick Steves Pack Mate, which lets the air out of clothing, condensing the amount of space it takes up. It can also help to isolate wet/stinky clothing from whatever else is in my bag. Great! That doesn't solve the drying problem, though.
  • Hair dryer?
  • Tough it out and bring some sort of petroleum jelly to deal with the "chafing" issue. Ick.
  • Febreeze to "freshen" clothing? Already bought a couple of those. After three weeks, I'll smell like sweaty lavender--or something. Rick Steves sells an unscented "clothes freshener" as well. Might as well stick with the Febreeze and save myself from the shipping charges. Or at least contemplate the Rick Steves stuff before it's too late.
  • Disposable underwear--at least. Assuming I stay indoors and walk around a lot, my clothes will dry out eventually, though I'll probably feel cold and slimy all day.

Hm. This is why I practice these things in advance. There's still time for contingency planning. Recommendations welcome.

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