travel laundry

My great laundry adventure
(a page from my Travel Journal)

This really happened to me during my first trip through Argentina. It was my second last day in Bariloche and I decided to send some of my clothes to the hotel’s laundry service. I looked up the procedure and the prices and got a bit of a shock: EUR 1.50 for a pair of socks!!! I don’t think so! Told myself to forget that idea and maybe just wash the essentials myself.

When I embarked on my trip, I’d bought several small packs of washing powder (which were still unused) so I decided to do the wash in the bathroom sink. I walked into the bathroom and had a wonderful brainwave. It just so happened that my room had a jacuzzi in the bathroom and when I saw it, I thought, hey, that would make a fantastic washing machine. So I filled up the tub (the jets were quite low in the tub so I didn’t have to fill the tub completely), threw in the washing powder, added bath foam (for extra strength) and…another brainwave, hair conditioner as a replacement for fabric softener. I figured, its purpose is to condition and soften hair so why couldn’t it do the same for cotton, right?

I soon had my clothes in there (since the tub was so big, I threw in any bit of clothing that was remotely dirty) and the water-jets were shooting away, spinning the clothes around and around. Perfect. I felt terribly pleased with myself.


I left the bathroom and let the water-jets and suds do their work. Ten minutes later, I walked into the bathroom and was confronted with a bubbly wonderland!! There was a mountain of bubbles that almost reached the ceiling and a carpet of bubbles that had spilled over the tub’s edge!! The suds were just everywhere! I almost crumpled to the floor in horror!

I beat myself a path through the bubbles, found the switch for the jacuzzi and turned it off. Right, that was step one. I then waited a bit for the mountain of bubbles to subside before draining the water. There was still a lot of suds left but after several washes, the tub was rid of them and my clothes looked incredibly clean!! The tub didn’t though: its white surface had turned a brownish-grey! So after hanging up my clothes to dry, I got down on all fours and scrubbed the tub clean.

Anyway, for those travellers out there who are reading this: doing your laundry in the bath-tub is a good idea (to save on laundry costs). Please skip the jacuzzi though! πŸ™‚ Go easy on the water and the soap and be prepared to clean the tub afterwards – leaving that to housekeeping would be really mean!

25 Responses

  • Haha. funny! Try to figure out how much your fee would be if you had to pay yourselffor doing the laundry πŸ™‚

  • Hahahaha! Hello Lucy! Now that’s hilarious! Looking back now, that was a hilarious episode. Not at the time… I was totally freaking out! πŸ™‚

  • OMG, that’s hilarious, Keith! I’m sure it wasn’t at the time, though. It reminds me of an old episode of I Love Lucy. Heh. πŸ™‚

  • Nice tip Keith!
    but i really like sound of “Bubbly wonderland” though!!
    Thanks for great tip! will do only in bath tub then! haha
    useful information indeed!


  • Great story. Don’t blame you for using your initiative to get around rip-off laundry charges. Vera, I laughed at your “such a guy thing” comment, then laughed again when I remembered I have also made the same mistake! (hotel bathroom in New Zealand overwhelmed by bubbles – took forever to clear up).

  • This is a very funny way of washing your travel laundry.
    My family owns a little holiday studio, which is an apartment. I let a friend stay in it for a while and rented it out long term after that. When the tenant left he pointed out that somebody had glued the plastic handle of the washing machine door lock. Of course, this didn’t last. The tenant than showed me how to open the lock with a pair of scissors. I have a problem with that. Had I known that somebody would ruin my machine so easily I wouldn’t have placed a washer in the bathroom of this flat. After all, there is also a communal laundromat by the swimming pool, which belongs to a Tenerife hotel. This is an unusual service, though. When you go to the town of la Orotava, you also find an old washing installation where town people scrubbed clothes in the olden days. Now it’s a museum. Actually, I must try to locate the spare part for my washing machine now. By the way, many holiday homes in Tenerife are fitted with washing machines.

  • Great story. I don’t feel so silly washing stuff in the shower with me now.

  • Hi Sonya,
    Thanks for your comment. That’s definitely a good investment. I got myself an ultra-light, super-absorbing, quick-drying towel last year and it was fantastic! πŸ™‚

  • This is a fun post about doing laundry on-the-road. I’ve had fewer travel laundry adventures after investing in quick drying clothing. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you Amy, Jen & VM for your comments! Yes, I’m sure the kids would’ve loved that bubbly wonderland. πŸ™‚
    Hey, that’s a great quick-drying tip Vera. I’ll try that some time… after I’ve cleaned up the mess I made in the tub! πŸ˜‰


  • Ok. Sorry but I can’t help but giggle at the picture of the bubble mountain. I’m sure my kids will enjoy the sight if that do happen. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  • Keith, this is TOO funny!! You are very smart to have thought of that, though! I guess, when you’re on the road, you have to be really resourceful! What great memories you have!!

  • I’m roaring with laughter at the sight! Such a guy thing!!

    By the way, John Steinbeck, in Travels With Charley, rigged up a solution. He cleaned out a plastic garbage can and put his clothes and some soap in that. As he drove, the truck jounced around and sudsed them up. When he stopped, he would rinse them in a stream or in a handy faucet. (Not recommended in these more environmentally insightful days unless you are using biodegrable soap.)

    Another tip for travel, besides the detergent packs, take one of those big round flat rubber universal plugs, since not all sinks will have a plug.

    One more: to dry faster–roll in a towel and stomp on it with your bare feet, before hanging.

  • @Sandy.

    Hi Sandy, unfortunately laundry is only free on an African Safari if you are staying in one of the posher places. In East Africa they normally refuse to wash underwear so Keith’s alternative washing machine might come in handy over there.



  • Thank you for the comment Sandy! Free laundry with an African Safari vacation?!! Wow, I’m in! πŸ™‚


  • Hi Keith – this is so funny because I’ve been there, got all the laundry detergent in the tub and got raw hands from scrubbing!! If you’re taking an African Safari vacation tho, you get all your laundry done for free – yeah!! Thanks so much for a fun article. I’m enjoying your travels through your blog, keep it up. Sandy

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