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Doing Laundry

This photo shows freshly washed laundry being clipped onto a wall mounted drying rack.

 Always bring clips. Lots and lots of clips.

To avoid laundromats on a road trip, here are expert tips on doing laundry in the hotel room.

Rookie travellers pack three to five times more clothing than they’ll ever need or use. Remember that you’re wearing a set of clothes. So as a general rule, you’ll only need two extra sets, except socks and underwear, where you might want to pack a few more.

To avoid the raging excitement of coin operated laundromats, be sure to travel wearing light weight, fast-drying fabrics. It makes doing laundry in the bathroom sink a snap. Anything you hand wash in the evening, will be ready to wear by morning.

I always dress in lightweight polyester and pima cotton, from head to toe. My “uniform” consists of t-shirt, shorts, socks, sneakers and baseball cap. I also have a couple of hoodies (cotton jackets with hoods) that I leave in the car.

All the clothing, except for the sneakers are fast drying, so I can hand wash them in the evening and they are ready to wear by the morning. The wife wears the same type of clothing.

Normally I bring one set of long pants like jeans along, except mine are black nylon, made out of the same stuff as my shorts. They dry within two hours of washing.

For laundry soap, just use dish soap. That way you don’t need more than one kind of soap to sterilize the room, wash dishes and do the laundry.

If you can’t bear to wash your clothes in the bathroom sink, even after you sterilize it, consider traveling with a collapsible container instead. These portable sinks range from plastic pop up models, to foldable rubber ones for backpacking.

When it comes to washing cotton clothes, they can take two days to dry. To speed up the process, use one of the hotel bath towels as a dryer.

First, hand wash and rinse the cotton like usual, but wring out all the excess rinse water you can. Grab a bath towel and roll it out somewhere clean, like on the coffee table. Now place your freshly laundered clothes in the middle of the towel and roll it up.

Press down firmly on the rolled up towel. It will absorb most of the moisture from the clothes. Now unroll the towel and hang it up, along with the clothing to dry. It cuts drying time in half.

Another problem with cotton is that it wrinkles. Forget about ironing though. Hang up the clothes and spritz them with a spray bottle filled with warm water instead. It’s a great trick that you can use at home or away.

Wash your cotton, dry it with a towel and hang it up to air dry like normal. When it’s almost dry, mist the wrinkled shirt with the spray bottle, while smoothing it out with the palm of your hand. All the wrinkles will disappear by the time it’s dry in the morning.

If you’re trying to figure out where to hang your clothes, besides the closet, use the built in clothesline. Many hotel rooms have them.

Look inside the shower, or around the bathtub, for a round doorbell looking thing, with a little knob on the outside of it. That doodad is the retractible clothes line.

Loosen the knob by turning it to the left and pull out the string. Pull it all the way across the tub, or shower stall. There should be a metal groove on the opposite wall, that the knob slides into. You now have an instant clothesline.

When not in use, or when you shower, unhook the knob from the groove, and the clothesline should automatically retract back into its hub. (Sorry if that was obvious to some folks, but I know that little doorbell looking thingy in the bathroom is a mystery to most people.)

Personally I carry my own plastic hangers and plenty of clips. That way I don’t have to rely on the wooden hangers supplied by the hotel. I can hang my wet wash on the shower curtain rail, using my own clean hangers.

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