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Are you always allowed to handwash your clothes?


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Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2023
Funny question, but I was looking at services and accommodations of various albergues and some of them do not have the facilities or option for handwashing. Does it mean you have to manage in some way to handwash, without their facilities being equipped for it, or you absolutely have to use the washer?
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I can only speak from my experience, but on both my CFs i did not stay in a single albergue that did not have a handwash option. Sometimes they told you to use the sink, sometimes this was strictly forbidden.

But i always see that i can do a day without washing. For example if weather is bad or that i just arrive really late.
Me too did only use a washingmachine 2 times (rainy days) in 2019 on my CF. All other days I washed my clothes in the specialized sink. As I walked in summer, my clothes dried really quick in the sun.

As far as I am informed, you may face the possibilty that you aren't allowed to use the sink while there is a drought in mid summer and you are forced to use the washing machine together with other pilgrims. Therefore I got myself a laundry net. Comes very handy to store fruits outside your backpack, too :D
My experience parallels @Anhalter‘s. It’s good to ask the hospitalero/owner when you check in, so you’ll know what they prefer, sink or separate laundry area. Drying facilities are an important consideration — albergues almost always have them, but if/when you opt for a hotel stay, you might have to improvise. Sometimes there’s a balcony, radiator, or towel warmer than can help you get things dry (or partially dry at least), sometimes you have to figure out a place to hang your wet things without making a mess. But there’s always a way to do it!
At the new albergue in Canfranc Pueblo, there is no washing sink (lavadoro). The hospitaleros wash your clothes in a machine as part of the donativo services. It takes 15 minutes and uses less water. Washing your clothes in other areas can make a pretty big mess and tie up areas that other pilgrims may need. Also don't wet your clothes and stomp on them in the shower please to wash. It ties up the shower and uses more water than a machine and you don't know whose feet have been there before yours. If your clothes require special treatment discuss first with the hospitalera.
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Also don't wet your clothes and stomp on them in the shower please to wash. It ties up the shower and uses more water than a machine and you don't know whose feet have been there before yours
I met some pilgrims who did the "shower stomp" method and ended up with bleach spots on their clothes.
I met some pilgrims who did the "shower stomp" method and ended up with bleach spots on their clothes.
OMO powdered soap and the like are about 50% bleach and if you leave your clothes soaking in a basin with these soaps after a few hours out for a meal or a drink you might find yourself retrieving only rags from the basin.
I met some pilgrims who did the "shower stomp" method and ended up with bleach spots on their clothes.
There should be no bleach in a showering bar or shower gel.
If it was shower gel they might got stains from the Polyquaternium often used in shampoo and shower gels.

I use Aleppo-soap, it's all natural and really long lasting for body, hair and clothes.
One Alberque I stayed at would let you hand wash but not use the dryer to dry (it was raining) His logic was the clothes were too wet and the dryer would run to long to dry the hand washed clothes. So I split the cost of washing and drying with another pilgram. Shared full loads are the most economical, Like a bus vs a single use car!
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In 10 caminos, I maybe had 2 days that I did not wash my clothes. Almost always by hand, but maybe 5 times in a machine (3 of those done by albergue host). General convention is never do hand washing in the bathroom sinks and especially not in the showers. Not all albergues have hand washing facilities, and in those rare cases, I use the bathroom sink, and no albergue host ever complained about it.
Hostel Bulwark in Valenca doesn't allow handwashing, but will machine wash for a 5 euros line dry it on their small balcony. As it was only the day's underwear, socks and blouse that needed washing and I enjoyed this regular daily task, I was a bit put out. But they also don't have much outdoor space for drying.
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