Washing Clothes on the Road

Oh, I have tried it all. At one time I had a large tub with a lid on it full of laundry and soapy water sloshing back and forth to the movement of the truck while we drove. Problem was we had to make many more toilet stops with this method.

You see I don’t want the freedom of my lifestyle limited by the availability of a washing machine. Here is what we do when we find ourselves in a rural paradise and don’t want to move or when we just can’t afford that washing machine. It is not actually all that complicated, the clothes come out cleaner than with most washing machines and we enjoy doing it.

First, we soak the clothes in warm or hot water overnight in big black tubs. Then next morning we find a good water source. Sometimes we will use the water from our jerry cans but normally don’t want to waste our drinking water on clothes.  We find another water source like a river or  sometimes even a small waterfall.

We don’t use strong detergents so normally use a bar of olive oil soap. We have a washboard and a couple of brushes to use on the clothes. Stones by the river can come in handy too.

 acme mangle

My precious for washing clothes is my mangle or wringer as some people call it. It is this ancient “acme” thing I bought before our first journey in Maggie. We just clamp it onto the truck and away we go. It makes life so much easier. The only thing I really hate about handwashing clothes is wringing it out and my lovely mangle does all the work for me.

drying clothes on teepee

That is it. Find a nice place to hang it up to dry like an unused teepee, a shrubery or maybe even a clothes line.  Hello clean clothes.

Oh yeah, one other thing. I soak all the clothes but everybody normally hand washes their own clothes in turns. Even TJ. Even Dad.

Easy huh. The extra bonus is all the great stories you get of the “old days” from those that see you washing your clothes this way.