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Summer’s here and many of us will be soaking up what the sun and making the most of the longer days, whether it’s by stealing away for a few days in the caravan with your other half, taking the kids camping during the school holidays or enjoying the adventures of backpacking in some exciting and exotic land. Although restaurants can save you doing the cooking and washing up and your mind is far away from thinking about all other housework whilst you’re away from home, the one responsibility you can’t avoid on holiday is washing your clothes.
Sometimes, depending on where you’re staying and the nature of your holiday, laundry services and washing machines aren’t accessible and you have to settle for handwashing your clothes the old-fashioned way. But with these ten tips we’ve put together, handwashing your clothes needn’t ruin your holiday and put a dampener on the fun.
1) Get savvy with your laundry equipment: They might not be the top on your packing priority list but universal sink plugs, such as those available at very low prices on Amazon or the innovative multi-ring Wirquin plug available from B&Q, and a travelling clothes line, like this self-securing one on sale at John Lewis which means you don’t have to remember to pack pegs, prepares you perfectly for washing clothes no matter where your location.
2) Pack smarter: Filling your suitcase or backpack with light, thin clothes (if suitable for the climate and weather of the place you’re travelling to!) sets yourself up for an easy laundry experience. Garments made from polyester and nylon boast handy anti-wrinkle properties and are speedy when it comes to drying, saving you from the very un-holiday-like task of ironing!
3) Think outside the box when it comes to detergent: When aboard or on the road, you don’t just have to stick to the branded and pricey detergents that you would usually use at home. Save money that you can spend on something more fun like an excursion or holiday experience, by using things like soap or even shampoo, which wash your clothes just as effectively as conventional washing powder. Alternatively, multi-purpose liquid soap can be great for washing clothes, dishes and yourself on short trips, saving room in your luggage!
4) Ensure where you’re washing your clothes is clean to begin with: It may sound obvious but it helps to make sure the sink or bath tub you decide to hand wash your clothes in is free of dirt and grime before you tackle your laundry pile. If you have a large load of clothes to get through choosing a bath to wash them in is wise as you can avoid washing each garment separately, saving you valuable time.
5) Don’t neglect your hands: If you can, wear latex gloves or marigolds to protect your hands. If not, avoid soaking your hands in the water for a prolonged period of time and always wash your hands after you’ve done your laundry.
6) Don’t ignore the garment label: Although most of us dismiss instructions, when it comes to laundry it pays to follow them. Most clothing labels will say handwash in cold water, meaning you can simply add your chosen soap to the water that is filling the sink/bath tub and wash them by swirling the clothes around in the water, rubbing each garment’s material against itself to help eliminate stains.
7) Wash similar clothes together: Opposites do not attract when it comes to handwashing clothes. Though the water won’t be as warm as when a washing machine is used, the colouring on clothes is still susceptible to running, especially if they are new- not what you want when you’re on holiday!
8) The key to washing success lies in soaking: Soaking for half an hour or 1-2 hours for dirtier garments increases the chances of removing stains, whilst stubborn stains don’t stand a chance if you leave the items to soak overnight. Applying extra washing soap or detergent directly onto extra tough stains and rubbing intensely and vigorously also helps.
9) Rinse right: Clean clothes are no good if they still have soap suds on them, which can give them an unpleasant greasy feel. Drain the soapy water and rinse the items thoroughly under a running tap to get rid of any excess soap. For added ease leave clothes to soak for ten minutes in clean soap-free water, then rinse again.
10) Dry… then relax! To save you from having to bust out your hair dryer to remove excess moisture from your laundry, squeeze and wring them out as best you can. Placing your damp items in a single layer on your travel towel and then roll the towel up can help squeeze out further water. Hang the washing outside if you can or on your hotel balcony. If this isn’t an option hang them as close to the air conditioning or fan as you can and leave the windows open to avoid creating a damp smell.
Voila! You’re free to enjoy your holiday whilst your clean clothes await you!