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Washing on the road

One of the Easy Key laundries


Cleaning still needs to be done, regardless of where you are, right, or unless you have a live-in housekeeper ‽  

So I have been considering how to make sure we have all that we need for when we are on the road. 

Thankfully the space will be smaller so that ought to reduce the time and amount of product needed; but it also means that we need to be more mindful of what we are using as we are in such close quarters.


At home we have a stainless steel culinary shaker filled with baking soda for cleaning the bathroom, and a spray bottle of vinegar for cleaning the table and kitchen surfaces.  Both of these will be going with us.


We blend our own clothes washing powder in the food processor from 125g of grated soap and 1kg of soda ash. [Usage:1T per 6kg load.]  The soap we have begun to make ourselves from olive oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil and caustic soda.

[Usually I add some vinegar to the rinse cycle.]


We make our own toothpaste too: 3 Tablespoons baking soda, 3 teaspoons salt, 10 drops orange oil, 3-4 drops clove oil; and use a simple disinfectant in the toilet.


So that's: vinegar (acetic acid), baking soda, soda ash, salt, orange and clove oil, disinfectant and our homemade soap for: washing kitchen surfaces and sanitary areas, cleaning teeth, washing clothes and bodies.  Not bad for simplifying.  We could make the clothes washing powder in bulk so do away with taking the soda ash; and possibly vinegar/salt might replace the toilet disinfectant.


Though how, oh how, are we going to physically wash and dry the clothing and linen?

I've seen a mobile washing device called the Wonder Wash - a hand-cranked container that boasts that a 3-minute session is enough to wash your clothes.  While foregoing a standard washing machine does seem a little on the insane side with a little one still in nappies, I am not sure how running an electric machine would fit into our desire to run totally self-sufficiently.  The electricity draw would be too much on solar alone, and a regular machine uses a lot of water.  The same company who manufacturers the Wonder Wash have a centrifugal spinner, which looks to be a necessary companion (note it is 110v though).  

Perhaps we could compromise, and run a generator when we had to use a regular washing machine (note: front loaders generally use less water than top loaders) while we're sited at a dump station so we could refill that precious commodity of H2O?

In the process of looking around the 'net I also stumbled upon this amazing-looking washing machine - the Xeros.  I wonder when they will have a domestic model available for trial - I'd be a starter.  No water at all!

Of course there are public self-service laundromats (also called launderettes or simply laundry) with some operating multiple sites using a key entry system (one in the lower North Island is called Easy Key and charge $4 per load to wash or dry).

We already line-dry our clothes under the back deck at home, which works all year round for us, but this isn't as tenable on the road.  I've heard stories of the police and council being called when locals take exception to seeing washing outside a motorhome that was parked in a public place.  A drying rack of some sort in the bathroom will definitely be required; and perhaps one or two nights a week away from civilisation may allow us to get all the washing dry outdoors.

Staying at camping grounds would usually take care of the clothes washing, with many having laundry facilities, but they're not really an option (financially) for long-term stays.