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Washing clothes in Albergues

AidanC

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future- August 2022
Hello Pilgrims
Are there washing machines and washing powder/liquid in Alnergues to clean clothes?

Many Thanks
 
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Depends! Where I am for the moment, yes. However, for the most part pilgrims who arrive with enough time go to the sink around the back and use the excellent handwashing bar of soap, and hang up their clothes on the line. The other day, a couple arrived late and the hospitaleros didn't blink before offering to wash their clothes on a short cycle, so they would dry before night. Some albergues charge for the service. Some do not allow pilgrims to use the machines, but do it for them - fewer hands, fewer breakdowns...
 

wisepilgrim

Camino App Maker
Time of past OR future Camino
Many
Washing machines are widely available, but not always. Dryers less so.
Some places don't have a machine to wash but do have a centrifuge or a wringer to get out as much water as possible before hanging. Other places it is pure elbow grease.

In whatever case, make certain to give extra attention to your socks. Dirty socks are worse than no socks.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We carried a half bar of laundry soap this summer and it was handy for places without a machine and for hotels. I cut the bar in half and carried it in a plastic ziplock sandwich bag and am still coming home with a quarter of it. A little goes a long ways. Got our clothes cleaner than shampoo, body wash or bar body soap.

In albergues if there is a machine, soap is included. Normally the hospitalero will want to run the machine so they are not overfilled or accidently put on the wrong cycle.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I bring a 3 oz. bottle of Dawn and only spot stains. I also rotate days of spotting underarms/ collar etc. Then I gently rub the spotted areas because scrubbing clothes will wear them out faster. Then, I rinse, towel blot the clothes and hang them. Some may not care because they intend to throw away their camino Ropa when they are done. Mine are quality clothes which I want to get wear for a number of years. In addition, I never put them in a dryer, not even at home.
 

Ianinam

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
In Roncesvalles we wash, dry and fold your clothes for 4 euro.
We also have sinks for those who want to wash by hand. After the handwashing we put the clothes in a centrifuge (spindryer). And it is always my guilty pleasure to learn young men how to wash their undies and socks ... The washing is not the difficult part of it, but rinsing, and rinsing and one more time rinsing is the important part of it!
 
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Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Another thought: sharing a load in a washing machine either paid or free, with a net bag that zips you can be sure to collect all your own clothes and leave those of others!
Good tip!! Slightly embarrasing, walked a half day once in a t-shirt that just didn't 'feel' right. Swapped it back that evening at the next albergue, other pilgrim had the same problem!!
 
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Most of the municipal type of basic albergues I tend to stay in don't have a washing machine. Generally a row of deep clothes-washing basins with a cold tap, out the back. These are fine for day-to-today requirements in the warmer months. None of them ever have a plug, so I bring a travel one with me - the trick is to find a way to remember to pick it up each time after you use it.
Us older members of the forum, left over from more uncouth times, like to wash the clothes we've been wearing that day in the shower, by letting the body suds wash down onto them and stomping while you shower. But the forum has a much smarter set these days and this kind of thing is now generally frowned upon by the majority (of contributors at least).
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Another thought: sharing a load in a washing machine either paid or free, with a net bag that zips you can be sure to collect all your own clothes and leave those of others!
One time when I was at an albergue where they washed your clothes for you I did this, but apparently they didn't understand, and took my clothes our of the mesh bag.

I will once again post my method for hand washing clothes that works well for me without a lot of effort.
I've mentioned my method of using a dry bag as a "portable washing machine" before. IMO definitely preferable to stomping on my clothes on the shower floor.

I use a 12 liter dry bag to wash my clothes in, rather than the albergue laundry sinks. As I'm undressing for my shower and the water is warming up I put half a laundry detergent sheet and water in the bag, then my clothes. Then I fill the bag about 3/4 full with water and close it up. I give it a few shakes and set it aside to soak while I shower and dress. I then shake the bag some more to agitate everything well before rinsing in the laundry sink. The detergent sheets don't create a lot of suds, but get the clothes clean. After wring them out well I roll them up in my towel and twist it. This method gets my clothes cleaner than using the laundry sinks alone in the albergues. I think that the long soaking time is the secret. I even use the dry bag to wash when I'm staying in a room with my own bathroom.
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Us older members of the forum, left over from more uncouth times, like to wash the clothes we've been wearing that day in the shower, by letting the body suds wash down onto them and stomping while you shower. But the forum has a much smarter set these days and this kind of thing is now generally frowned upon by the majority (of contributors at least).
The reason that it's frowned upon, is that it takes more time in the shower. I also know a couple who ended up with some ugly bleach stains from using this method.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
The reason that it's frowned upon, is that it takes more time in the shower. I also know a couple who ended up with some ugly bleach stains from using this method.
The other reason is you're likely to pick up some type of fungus.
Just don't do it.
Gross. lol!
 

xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
In Roncesvalles we wash, dry and fold your clothes for 4 euro.
We also have sinks for those who want to wash by hand. After the handwashing we put the clothes in a centrifuge (spindryer). And it is always my guilty pleasure to learn young men how to wash their undies and socks ... The washing is not the difficult part of it, but rinsing, and rinsing and one more time rinsing is the important part of it!
Was NOT impressed with your spin dryer! Clothes are NOT dry when finished.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Hello Pilgrims
Are there washing machines and washing powder/liquid in Alnergues to clean clothes?

Many Thanks
As many here said, some do, some don't.
If they DO have a washing machine, washing soap is included in the price always (in my experience).
HOWEVER, that said, it is STRONGLY SCENTED and makes my eyes water, so I don't usually wash in those machines.

Hand washing for me.
If I DO find a washer in an apartment or lodging, I'll often just wash in warm water with no soap.
There's generally enough soap residue in the washer AND the clothes to get them clean without it.
 

ken2116

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Someday. But have hiked the Sierra and the Pyrenees.
Hello Pilgrims
Are there washing machines and washing powder/liquid in Alnergues to clean clothes?

Many Thanks
Be cautious around washing machines, we've encountered several while traveling in Europe that were electrically "hot" and caused anything from a buzz to a shock, either the machines were wired incorrectly or insulation had failed, but had they been properly grounded they wouldn't have caused shock. Europe's 220 volts AC is nothing to trifle with. In the USA I was shocked while touching the shower faucet at a KOA campground. I've learned to first touch unfamiliar electrical equipment with the back of my hand, as opposed to grasping.
 
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xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
As soon as i get into an albergue, I take a quick shower then wash my clothes and hang them to dry. In hot Spanish sun they are usually dry before dark even if I wash at 1700. ALWAYS carry my own clothes line and pins and HAVE had to use them frequently. In fact on a few occasions people were starting to hang THEIR clothes on my line while I was tying it up. On Norte some Albergues would NOT let me tie up my own clothes line: On recent Primitivo trip most albergues would NOT allow anyone to use Washing machines due to some covid requirement. On Frances some albergues do NOT allow Americans to use dryers as they break them because they don't know how to operate spanish dryers.
 

Ianinam

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Was NOT impressed with your spin dryer! Clothes are NOT dry when finished.

No, it is not dry as It isn't a drying machine, it only gets a huge amount of water out of clothes that have been handwashed and they will dry quickly in the wind and sun. It only costs you a little donativo .....
The real thing, machine washing and drying will cost you 4 euro.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Tip from a hospitalera: For those that handwash in the sink without a stopper. Most albergues have plastic basins for your washing. You fill the basin with your clothes, soap and water. Then wash in the basin. Dump the soapy water and rinse in the basin. This saves water and you are not hogging the sink or running the water continously.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
Use the same soap for hair, body, and laundry and plan to handwash most days. There ARE machines available - but it gets very expensive if washing daily or every other day in machines (and if you are carrying enough clothes to wash more infrequently - you are carrying too many clothes weight wise). Most machines - you pay for the machine and soap is provided. Not always. But also a factor is the limited number of machines compared to the number of pilgrims needing to wash. The later you arrive the more likely to not get access to the washing machines. I always plan to machine wash 1-2 times a week and handwash the other days. One way to save money is to ask other pilgrims if they want to share a machine and split the cost.
 

LesR

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
Hello Pilgrims
Are there washing machines and washing powder/liquid in Alnergues to clean clothes?

Many Thanks
IMHO, eau de pilgrim is a fact of life on the Camino, and necessarily not a big issue...

My strategy is to hand wash the day's clothes each night, and to put as much as I can through a washing machine once a week as the opportunity presents...

Washing machines may be convenient but also come with some logistical issues - getting access when you want them, having to stay with them while they are washing your clothes to allow others fair acess when you would rather be sightseeing, re-hydrating or socialising...
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Washing machines may be convenient but also come with some logistical issues - getting access when you want them, having to stay with them while they are washing your clothes to allow others fair acess when you would rather be sightseeing, re-hydrating or socialising...
Exactly! This is why I handwash most days - I'm in control of my afternoon, not the demands of a washing machine.
 

Jodean

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
I hand wash most days, but if there are washers, do a load with another 1-2 pilgrims. Shares the cost. The washers usually only take 30 min. or so, during which you can do something else. Seldom use the dryers unless the weather is damp and it looks like the clothes won't get dry.
For hand washing, have taken German hand washing soap in a tube, dishwashing detergent and the last time, used shampoo or body wash. The last 2 have been the easiest. Basin of water, squirt in a few dabs of shampoo, work it all through your clothes, and it is rinsed out easily. Saves water and time. Honestly, my clothes just aren't that dirty that they need to be scrubbed. It is only sweat.

Washers have ranged in price from 3-6 € per load. A few places have done the load for a set price, freeing you up to go have lunch. I found a lot more washers in Albergues on this past Camino in April-May, than on my earlier ones.
 

revdraligray

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
next from Leon?
I use Tru-Earth laundry detergent, it comes as dry flat strips- like thick paper. Very portable, dissolves easily & fully and smells pleasant. Good for hand washing or machines.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I use Tru-Earth laundry detergent, it comes as dry flat strips- like thick paper. Very portable, dissolves easily & fully and smells pleasant. Good for hand washing or machines.
I use a similar laundry detergent strip. I really like them because they get my clothes clean, but don't make a ton of suds that require lots of rinsing. And they weigh very little. I use a half strip to do my hand washing.
 

LesR

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
I use Tru-Earth laundry detergent, it comes as dry flat strips- like thick paper. Very portable, dissolves easily & fully and smells pleasant. Good for hand washing or machines.
Have found that Head'n'Shoulders hair shampoo is a very effective washing detergent - saves having to carry two 'soaps'...
 
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WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
Our machines were for the albergue sheets and towels. (And pilgrim clothes suspected of containing bedbugs). The machines were in a room pilgrims could not get to. But we did have spinners to get out much of the water and lines to finish the job.

Like someone else said, consider not counting on the albergue having clothes pins. We did, but besides the wind, some pilgrims will relocate pins already on the line.
 

Mercutio

Let us walk together
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CF 2022 (in progress)
Note that hand-washed clothes do not get the benefit of a washing machine spin cycle. Subsequently putting them in a clothes dryer may result in hard feelings and extra expense when they aren't dry after one cycle. If the weather is not conducive to hanging your hand-wash to air dry and the albergue doesn't have a separate clothes spinner, consider paying for machine washing and drying instead of hand-washing.
 

motero99

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019
Camino Portugues (2022)
I agree with LesR, shampoos works great for hand washing. I used something I picked up at an albergue for 1E. It even got out a wine stain from a leaky cup at the wine fountain. Not all allergies have bar soap at the washing stand.
 
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LesR

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
Note that hand-washed clothes do not get the benefit of a washing machine spin cycle. Subsequently putting them in a clothes dryer may result in hard feelings and extra expense when they aren't dry after one cycle. If the weather is not conducive to hanging your hand-wash to air dry and the albergue doesn't have a separate clothes spinner, consider paying for machine washing and drying instead of hand-washing.
Alternatively, carry your 'dirty' clothes for a day (or two) until the weather improves or you stay at an albergue with a washing machine - obviously only practical if you carry reserve walking clothes...!
 

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