“You can get a big tub and do your laundry by hand!” the Thai owners of my building announced happily when I asked them if there were any washing machines I could use, or some kind of laundry service.
Me: “Um….ok….um…how would I do that, exactly?”
Like most Canadians, I’ve washed one or two things out by hand in the sink, but any kind of large-scale laundry-washing endeavor has involved, you know, WASHING MACHINES. But washing machines are actually rare here, especially the real, modern kind so hand-washing everything is pretty common.
Of course, any place poor enough for laundry machines to be a novelty probably has lots of people I could pay to do my laundry. However, I like doing chores myself. Also, while it’s easy to pay people to do stuff for you in Thailand, it can be quite hard to get things done the way you want. (See: “it’s so hard to get good help these days”) — so in most cases it’s a lot simpler to do it yourself.
Here’s how you wash laundry by hand:
1) You need a big laundry tub, about 3 feet wide a laundry brush, and of course detergent. If you’re a princess like me, you need rubber gloves too. The giant tub is important, it really doesn’t work well to do a lot of laundry in your sink.
2) Put water and detergent in the tub, then the laundry. Make sure everything is wet, then let it soak for 1/2 hour.
3) Using the laundry brush, take each item of clothing and inspect it for stains, and give it a good scrub with the brush.
4) Drain the water, and put in new, clean water.
5) Let stuff soak a little bit more
6) Drain water, and twist out the water from each item. Once you have to twist out a towel or jeans, you will have a newfound appreciation for centrifugal force: it fucking sucks.
7) Hang each item on a hanger and put it out in the sun. In Thailand, where temperatures reach 40C, no one except hotels own dryers: it takes about an hour for clothes to dry in the afternoon sun.