In our February 2013 issue, Wendy Mitman Clarke shares her cruising washday woes in "My Beautiful Laundrette," and we were wondering what solutions you've come up with for doing laundry aboard?
We use a 5 gallon bucket and a plunger. It works great
When we bought our 1980 Tayana, it came with an old Bendix combination washer-dryer. Since it was already installed onboard, we used it dockside while we prepared the boat for our circumnavigation and while we cruised. That is, until we reached the Galapagos Islands. There some more experienced cruisers gave me such a hard time about the washing machine, and its water and power consumption that my husband and I decided to do our own research. We washed two loads by hand, monitoring how many gallons we used (about 15 gallons per load, with washing and rinsing) and how long it took (3 hours!!). We then calculated how much water our washing machine used (approximately 20 gallons) and the power consumption (approximately 15 amps - or one hour of solar power in full sunshine). We both agreed that the washing machine was worth every amp... If our next boat doesn't come with a washer, we will find the space and install one. We did not use the Bendix for drying. We dried our clothes on deck, but also got a retractable 4-line drying rack that we used during the winter in New Zealand and in soggy Suva (Fiji) when drying the clothes outside was impossible due to the weather.