Sunday, October 23, 2011


I've found when cruising one does not need to wash a lot of clothes too often. I pretty much live in a couple of pair of Columbia Shorts and some Columbia fishing shirts during the summer.
These can be easily hand washed and dry fast when hung over the life lines. Though every once in a while the availability of a washing machine is a welcome sight for this cruising sailor. Even better is a marina that offers a free use of a washing machine. Like the 79th Street Boat Basin in New York. While I can pretty much get by with doing hand laundry for the shorts and shirts I usually wear. There are some items that are easier to wash in a washing machine. I'm talking about the fitted bed sheets and towels I carry on board along with other clothes like jeans and other long pants. These items require a lot of water and I find are best done in a machine. To me one of the simple pleasures of being on board a boat is climbing into your bunk at night with freshly washed sheets. It's one of those Ahhh moments. So when a washing machine is available I try and take advantage of it.
When I lived on board in New York back in the late nineties I had to walk several blocks to a Laundromat because the marina I was at had no laundry facilities. Not exactly convenient and in addition to the laundry I had to carry the detergent along. Unless I wanted to pay an extra dollar at the Laundromat to buy a box from the vending machine. I also had to find a place on board to store the bulky detergent container. 

 The choices were powder which came in a card board box. Which on a boat has some advantages and disadvantages. For one thing you could use baggies to make single load portions like I did instead of carrying the whole box to the laundry. But, you still had the bulky cardboard box to store on board and the worry that it could get wet and spill it's contents inside a boat locker. You could also use a liquid detergent which is mostly water. It still comes in a bulky container  but, requires you to carry the whole container to the laundry room and means you had a plastic container you would eventually need to dispose of.  I recently discovered and alternative that makes a whole lot of sense for a cruising sailor. It's a laundry product called METHOD.

It's a high concentrated laundry detergent which comes in a pump spray bottle. A 20 oz bottle does 50 loads.  Plus it  takes up a whole lot of less space on board and weighs a lot less than the normal powder or liquid detergents.  You can get refills of METHOD in space saving packaging so you don't keep carrying around extra plastic containers on board and then looking for a place to dispose of them. I bought a bottle over the summer and found it to clean just as well as the detergents I get from the supermarket. Just four pumps provides enough concentrated cleaning for a whole machine load of laundry. It can also be used for spot cleaning and I've also used it for hand washing in a bucket on board with very good results. It takes up less room on board and won't spill like powder laundry detergent can and you are not storing big container of liquid detergent either. To me it just makes a whole lot of sense to carry it on board to do laundry.

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