Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Doing Laundry on the Camino

I've had a few folks ask about doing laundry 
while on the Camino.
I think I've blogged this before.
But I can't find it so here goes…

If you are walking on your own 
and staying in albergues, 
there will almost always be a place 
for you to do HAND laundry 
and hang it out to dry.

If you are walking with us on our Best of Both, 
here is a list of what I know to be true:

SJPP:  Hand laundry in bathroom and racks to dry
Roncesvalles:  Hand laundry in laundry room and racks to dry. Also washing machines (lavadoras) and dryers (secadoras)
Zubiri:  Hand laundry and dry on line in back yard
Pamplona:  May be possible to wash small loads in sink and hang on balcony
Puente de la Reina:  Lavadoras and secadoras. Also a line to dry.
Estella: Hand laundry and dry on rack
Los Arcos:  Our hospitaleros will do your laundry for very little cost
Viana:  Wash in sink and dry on lines on balcony
Logrono:  Not sure. Hotel may offer service.
Burgos:  Not sure.  Hotel may offer service.
Astorga:  I washed clothes in the sink here and hung out on balcony BUT this is an expensive hotel so they may complain.
Rabanal:  Wash in sink and dry on lines on patio
Acebo:  Not sure but I assume they have hand washing facilities
Ponferrada:   Hotel will do laundry for a fee
Villafranca:  Hospitaleros will do laundry for a small fee
Sarria:  Not sure but assume they have facilities
Portomarin:  Albergue has lavadora/secadora and hand washing options. Lines to dry outside.
Palas:  I washed in sink and dried in window
Castaneda: I assume they will have a sink and lines to dry outdoors
Pedrouzo: Sink and lines to dry outside
Santiago:  Hotel may have facilities - otherwise wash in sink and hang in window or bathroom

Washing By Hand

Oh my! This is a lost art, isn't it?

Well, you're about to learn to do it just like grandma did!

First, buy yourself some hand washing soap. 
I use Fels Naptha but there are others, like Lirio.  
Go to the market and look in the laundry aisle. 
You are looking for a BAR of soap, not a liquid. 
 If in doubt, ask some nice lady,
 "Este es para mi ropa?"

It looks like this inside the wrapper.

Or, another brand might look like this.

Sometimes they have really nice gentle soap for baby clothes.
Once you get the bar, cut it into 4 or 5 pieces.
Share with friends! 
You don't want to carry all that weight, 
and soap is very inexpensive 
and easy to find on the Camino. 
Remember to bring a baggy to keep the soap in.

So now you have your soap.

Next, locate the laundry sink.

It is most likely outside and looks like this:

Grab one of those plastic bins 

that are usually stored under the sink 
and put your clothes in it.
Those are also good to soak your feet in,
by the way!

Fill it with some COLD water. 
You won't have a choice.
 It's always cold! 

Now, rub the soap into your wet clothes.
Then rub them together, squeeze, etc.

Keep working until you make some nice suds!

Empty the water.
Put fresh clean water in the pan.
Rinse again until all suds are gone.

Wring out as much water as possible.

One thing you will find useful are laundry spin dryers. 
They're like an electronic salad spinner 
and they spin your clothes nearly dry! 

You must BE CAREFUL to balance the load.
 If they start jumping around 
and knocking against the sides loudly, 
STOP and re-balance the load.  
When you use these, 
your clothes dry in as little as an hour.

Your clothes are clean!

Now hang them to dry.
You might find a regular clothesline outside.
You might find a line right outside your balcony window.
More often, you will find a rack that looks like this one:

I always take safety pins instead of clothes pins 
to hang up my clothes.
They are less likely to blow off the line
or to walk away.
They also weigh nothing.

So there you go.
Don't be offended.
I know most of you probably already know 
how to do this.
But you'd be surprised how many people
have never hand washed their own clothes.

Be aware that if you have the hotel do the laundry,
it could shrink into something unrecognizable.
They use HOT HOT HOT water to wash 
and HOT HOT HOTTER air to dry.

I prefer to do my own laundry.

Good thing my Macabi skirt only requires washing 
every few weeks!

Buen Camino!

Joe does laundry in SJPP
PS:  I just found my old blog. 
Here is the link if you are interested.
There are some fun photos there:

Buen Camino!

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