Boat Life: Laundry

One thing is becoming obvious living on a boat.  There is no escaping dirty laundry. We finally found a hamper that isn’t too big and will fit under the V-berth.  Without it dirty laundry was spinning out of control.  It was everywhere!  There are three contributing factors to how much dirty laundry we generate.  1) the temperature outside; 2) how dirty the boat project we’re working on is; and 3) how many trips to town we have to make to complete said project.  Rich is a sweater.  In the middle of winter, outside temperatures hovering around 35 degrees and he will work up a sweat doing anything; sleeping, eating, vacuuming, cleaning the cat box (mostly because he’s dry heaving.)  Fuhgeddaboudit in the summer when the temperatures are actually hot.  He practically bursts into flames.  His shirts can only be worn once even if it’s for just a few minutes.  Most all boat projects (on our boat at least) are dirty jobs.  Dirt, grime, grease, oil, sludge, gunk, goop – we encounter at least one of these substances with every job.  And lately we get part way through a job and realize we don’t have this or that to finish the job.  Depending on how dirty we are there may be a wardrobe change before heading to the store.

All this adds up to loads and loads of laundry.  Our marina doesn’t have laundry facilities yet, so Rich and I trudged to the Highway 12 Laundry (so original) in Rio Vista on Friday.  I can’t remember the last time I did laundry at a Laundromat.  I think I was in elementary school and I vaguely remember my sister’s favorite pants being stolen.  I had sticker shock at the price.  It was $2.75 per load!  I was stunned.  I thought maybe 75¢ to $1.50 per load max. Luckily Highway 12 Laundry has free drying with every wash (for a limited time) otherwise we would have spent a small fortune just to clean our clothes.  We ended up cramming everything into three loads so it “only” cost us $8.25, but I noticed that some of my clothes weren’t very clean afterwards.  And I’m not sure how long our clothes are going to last if we keep washing them there.  When we took the clothes out of the dryer we couldn’t even touch them they were so hot!  The machines have three settings and I put one on permanent press and two on the cotton setting but they were both the same temperature.

That night when we were getting ready for bed we both thought long and hard about whether or not what we were wearing was actually “dirty.”  Underwear and socks are a no-brainer.  Shirts are usually dirty after one wear, but it could be pushed to two maybe.  Shorts should be worn at least twice as long as they don’t have any visible dirt, grime, grease, oil, sludge, gunk, or goop on them.  I’m thinking jeans should only be washed occasionally, like once a month.  I have lots of jeans so I can cycle through them for a long time before washing.  My big hang up is towels and sheets.  Washing them once a week has always been my norm, sometimes more often for towels.  We both shower at night (kinda have to when we are constantly dirty and sweaty from boat work every night) so the sheets we can probably push to two weeks (which is a small relief because changing the sheets requires me wriggling under the mattress to pull the far edges of the sheets taught at the narrow end of the V-berth.  I’m not sure if a 7’ giant or a 4’ little person would be better suited to the job.  I just know it’s not for me).  The towels I’m not sure about.  I also bought some clothes pins so we may have to sneak in a little hand washing in between trips to Highway 12 Laundry.

16 Years – Where has the time gone!