You’ve been traveling for 2 weeks and though you only packed enough outfits for 3 days, you have somehow gotten away with not doing laundry. At some point you thought you smelled bad, but now you don’t notice. It’s not because your clothes are magically clean. It’s because they are so disgusting your body has shut down the majority of your olfactory system as a survival tactic to keep you from losing consciousness from the smell. Laundry is an inconvenience when you could be exploring castles, hopping train cars, and photographing wildlife, but it’s necessary. What isn’t necessary is paying someone else to do it.
Fill the sink with
hot water and add whatever soap solution you have handy. If your sink does not have a built-in, functional stopper, use a garbage bag, piece of plastic or any other malleable, water-tight material to plug up the drain. Swirl the hot water and soap together so that they are thoroughly mixed. Avoid adding soap before you fill the sink as this will usually result in a bubbly mess that is at first fun and then frustrating.
One article at a time, starting with the clothes that are the least disgusting, submerge the clothes in the hot soapy water and scrub. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out how to scrub clothes, but in general, cloth on cloth action is pretty effective. If the counter or shower in your bathroom is tiled, try scrubbing against the the tiles which will act like a old-timey washboard. Feel free to sing while washing.
Empty the sink and fill with cold water. Cycle your clothes through a first rinse cycle by submerging them in the cold water, squeezing them out and submerging them again. Once finished, drain the water.
Fill the sink once again with cold water and repeat the rinse cycle! Washing machines usually perform at least two rinse cycles, so you should too. Besides, letting soap dry on your clothes may cause stains.
Once you have finished with the final rinse, squeeze each article as tightly as possible to wring out all excess water. Then, place an article of clothing on a bath towel and roll the towel up tightly to leach any remaining water out. Your clothing items should now be, at the very most, slightly damp. End the drying process by hanging the clothes up on hooks, hangers, light fixtures, ropes, coat racks, and bed posts. If possible, place near a well ventilated area. If you plan on doing lots of sink laundry, bring a simple length of cord that can substitute as a drying line.