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Washing clothes on the camino

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Pasha, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Pasha

    Pasha New Member

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    Ok... so I've read a lot on this forum and often hear people saying they rinsed clothes out and dried them too... how are you all doing this? Is there some kind of laundry service or am I being ridiculous even thinking that... is it just a bucket and soap
    Thanks again folks
    Paula
     
  2. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

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    Hi Pasha - not ridiculous just not that common...! Most who stay in Albergues tend to hand wash their items and sinks for doing so are often provided but you'll need your own soap (I read numerous people who use a all-in-one soap bar for clothes, hair, skin, etc). Some will have coin operated laundry machines but not too many. More common in private Albergues they will offer a laundry service (wash and dry) but usually in my experience, pretty expensive 7-8 euros. Since you generally have very few items to wash, if you don't mind sharing you can get together with other like-minded Pilgrims and share the cost.

    Oddly enough, I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed hand washing my clothes. It became part of my daily ritual, chores if you will, done after checking into the Albergue for the night and then hung on my clothes line so they had time to dry overnight, which they did even in winter.
     
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  3. Pasha

    Pasha New Member

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    Thanks for reply Jozero
    I just wasn't sure if they even provided somewhere to hand was or dry clothes.. but clothes lines ... perfect ..!!! Not that I'm going for long or plan in having to wash much.. I'm going in may so hoping I won't need too many heavy clothes and the clothes I do take shouldn't take up much room.. least that's the plan I think...
    Thanks again
    Paula
     
  4. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

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    I should also mention not everywhere has a clothes line (EDIT: to clarify, not everywhere I stayed had anywhere to dry clothes inside I could use in the winter months or space on the line if you arrive last like I usually do...) so I carry my own which weighs only 1 ounce. I wrap it around my bunk and hang my towel and wet clothes so it has a dual purpose, dry the clothes while adding a small privacy barrier :)
    s2s clothesline.jpg
    Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  5. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Generally, most people just have two sets of clothes - the ones they are wearing, and the ones that they will wear tomorrow. Today's clothing gets washed at the end if the day, and become tomorrow's clothing.
     
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  6. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I have never encountered an albergue without a place to dry clothes.
     
  7. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

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    During the winter, cloth lines outside didn't help me much...! Was happy to have my own in my clothes line.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  8. domigee

    domigee Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Yes, very much so. Actually a sink and soap and albergues have clothes lines. I walk in the Summer so it's no problem drying stuff. It is quite nice from time to time to use a washing-machine, they are more and more common on the camino francés. Depending on your budget they can be quite expensive so it is worth sharing with another pilgrim. (electricity IS expensive in Spain so they are not having you on...)
    If staying in hotels washing/drying is more difficult - unless you are in a hotel that has laundry service :cool: No clothes lines either so I carry my own.
    If NOT walking in Summer....I'd advise taking three changes of undies/socks. They don't dry as easily.
    Buen camino :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  9. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    What are you talking about? :D
    IMG_4917.jpg
     
  10. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    The clothes washing ritual was not one I relished @jozero :oops:
    The facilities indeed varied a lot. I stayed in 2-3 Albergues that had a laundry service.
    Mostly I washed my own clothes at the end of each day (first chore usually) and got them out to dry, before doing anything else. To ensure they were dry for next day.
    O'Cebriero has a laundry service next to the small store... That was handy.

    Mostly it was wash the clothes in the sink in my room and hang up in my room, using my own washing line and safety pins (as clothes pegs)
    A couple of Casa Rurals also has a laundry service...
    Hotels never did. I couldn't work that out o_O

    One of the reasons many people use very lightweight 'tech' clothing, is that it dries very quickly.....
    The socks take the longest to dry and would sometimes travel next day pinned to the outside of my pack.
    Ready to be swapped during the day.

    Afternote........ Of course I then had to go and look at the list of places I stayed....:oops:
    Out of 40 nights on the CF (mainly in casa rurals and private rooms in Albergues)
    I had access to a washing machine 10 nights !
    Only a couple included drying.......
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  11. domigee

    domigee Veteran Member Donating Member

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  12. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    together again :-)
    Love the use of Poles. Never thought of that!
     
  13. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    These creative challenges, which change every day, are among the joys of the Camino. Taking a purchased clothes line is too easy! (Although you would usually need to rig up a contraption to hang it from.)
     
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  14. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Mine is a long length of this elastic bought in a haberdashery shop. When my wife Pat is with me and we have a 'double' laundry task, our room can look like a laundry 'Cat's cradle'.... :rolleyes:
    Never needed to rig up a contraption, the elastic gets tied around all manner of things..........
     
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  15. CaminoDebrita

    CaminoDebrita Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I love this thread, as I'm also one who enjoys the challenge of staying clean...and I do like freshly washed clothes. Here are Deb's hints:

    1. Don't be that person who puts clothes in the washer or drier and then goes drinking, leaving others to deal with your clothes! Be Johnny on the spot.

    2. Use your quick-dry towel to SQUEEZE the last bit of moisture out of socks and underwear. In fact, if you need to, roll up damp clothes in quick-dry towel and walk on the towel. Then, wash the towel out afterward. Towel dries fast. Wool socks, not so much.

    3. As others have noted in other threads (this is not the first laundry thread, my friends!), put your dirty clothes in the bottom of your shower. As you wash and clean, agitate your clothes! Don't fall!

    Merino wool undergarments can keep you smelling fresh when you're not, which is why so many of us like them!

    Buen Cleanino :)
     
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  16. Telelama

    Telelama Member

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    Hi Deb, agree completely, although this one needs the caveat that if there's people waiting for the shower, laundry should be done at the sink. We've experienced pilgrims washing their clothes in the shower that took too long and used too much hot water for the volume of pilgrims in the albergue at that time.
     
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  17. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I don't get this. How do you wash your hair and various parts while stomping on your clothes, especially without falling or taking a long time and thus using a lot more water? :eek:It seems harder than the trick of simultaneously patting your head and rubbing your tummy in a circle.

    Surely agitating the clothes in the sink for an extra minute or two makes more sense! :confused: On the other hand, maybe it's good that you are cleaning the shower floor for us!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  18. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

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    My wife will be the first to say this was pretty out of character for me!! Can't explain it very easily but something about finding a routine in my day allowed my mind to be free for the real reason I was there. Luckily I managed to snap out of it when I stepped off the plane at home :D
     
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  19. TMcA

    TMcA Active Member Donating Member

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    Bring a few clothes pins (pegs). Occasionally there is a shortage in the albergues and this will allow you to: 1) hang your clothes out to dry and 2) attach anything still damp to your backpack the following day (the so called "pilgrim's clothesline").

    Some prefer safety pins for attaching their wet socks, shirt, etc. to their backpacks. Probably more secure. Your choice.

    Buen camino.

    Tom
     
  20. CaminoDebrita

    CaminoDebrita Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Well, one must be vigilant in choosing the shower floor, of course! Many variables at play here.

    Just pretend you are stomping Rioja grapes while participating in a nude festival?
     
  21. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I think I would rather get out of the shower quickly and go sit, fully clothed, drinking the wine! :D:cool:
     
  22. David Tallan

    David Tallan New Member Donating Member

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    I brought a clothes line and never used it. Definitely bring clothes pins (or safety pins) to attach your clothes to the line.

    I thought I would be handwashing clothes every day. But I was travelling with my son and we had three sets of clothes each (one on us and two in the backpacks) and I found I often machine washed the four sets every other day. It was worth it to me.
     
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  23. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    I can't stop laughing at this one :D
    So imaginative. Remembers me of the old albergue (no longer existed) in Villamayor de Monjardin in 2009:

    0361-Albergue Santa Cruz (Villamayor de Monjardin, 26.05.2009).jpg
     
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  24. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    And they are collapsible so you can really adjust them for your needs :D
     
  25. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Does anyone else have this experience at home...? I decide it is time to do the laundry so I get the basket of dirty clothes and start sorting whites from the darks. Often now, I think "I would just wash all these things together on the Camino." And I toss them all into the machine! :p
     
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  26. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I used a dry bag (mine is a 12 liter from Osprey which weighs just 1.2 ounces/34 grams) to wash my clothes in. I put my clothes in the dry bag as I was getting into the shower, added soap and warm water, sealed it shut and shook it up a bit while I was showering. (I usually rinsed my socks a bit before adding them to the bag, as they were usually quite dirty) As I dried off, and got dressed my clothes got a good soak, and I would agitate the bag a bit more. Then I took it to the laundry sink and dumped out the wash water and rinsed the clothing. I would wring them out, then lay out my quick dry towel, and wrap the clothes in it, and wring them out further before hanging them on the line. I brought these mini clothespins that I found in a crafts store which worked better than safety pins on most clothes lines.
    clothespins.jpg

    Here's a video that shows how to use a dry bag to wash clothes:
     
  27. hel&scott

    hel&scott Active Member

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    You are a domestic goddess... Must admit I left the washing to Scott and I went off to get the cold beer...
     
  28. CaminoDebrita

    CaminoDebrita Veteran Member Donating Member

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    My scepter is my walking stick....

    My backpack is my throne....

    A floppy sunhat is my crown,

    and domestic goddess, a title I now own!

    HAIL TO ME!
     
  29. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I now use the Scrubba. Recommended by @Kanga I think.
    It works very well, and has a kind of 'washboard' effect on one side.

    But the dry bag in the video above is probably just as good!
     
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  30. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    As the Cry went up...........

    "All Hail Deb"
    "All Hail Deb"
    "All Hail Deb"
    "All Hail Deb"
    "All Hail Deb"
    "All Hail Deb"
    "All Hail Deb"
    "All Hail Deb"
     
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  31. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Hmmm. Quite the image!
     
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  32. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I chose the dry bag over the Scrubba because it weighs quite a bit less, and costs less too.
     
  33. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member

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    Great idea, @trecile . A portable manual washing machine!
     
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  34. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I would too. But I have the Scrubba now :oops:
     
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  35. Penbaysail

    Penbaysail New Member Donating Member

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    I brought a fine mesh zipper bag that weighs practically nothing. My dirty clothes & soap went into the bag for soaking, agitation & rinsing. The handiest thing was that the walk to the clothes line didn't have me dropping socks and other pieces of clothing along the way, and a small hook on the mesh bag allowed me to hang it on the line rather than dropping clothes on the ground.

    Also worked when gathering clothes from the line, especially the mad sprint when it's started raining on your drying clothes. All part of the daily ritual.
     
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  36. Nekodemus

    Nekodemus Certified insane

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    Always planning the next wee walk.
    I have. Several actually. Admittedly, most of those had a coin-operated dryer, but not all.(see my take on dryers below)

    Then there are quite a few albergues with insufficient space for drying clothes. Albergues with room for something like three persons drying their clothes for every 20 beds (or less) :eek: are, in my experience, quite common. Just to mention a few, I seem to recall that Albergue de peregrinos in Roncesvalles had beds for 183 and drying space for less than 20, while Jesus y Maria in Pamplona, last time I was there, had beds for 114, but only drying space for something like eight persons (two small racks). The lovely Xunta albergue in Betanzos is not exactly over-endowed with drying space either. On dry days it usually works out fine, as most of the others will use the dryer(s), but on rainy days, all bets are off.

    Also keep in mind, that some of those albergues with plenty of drying space, have it located outside, which is fine in dry weather, but on rainy days, a dryer is usually the only option :(.

    Dryers may be fine for some, but I won't mistreat my woolies by putting them in a dryer :rolleyes: (reduces their useful life significantly), so I usually carry my own (twisted) clothes line, plus some large safety pins, for drying things while walking. The line is nice to have on those rainy days :)
     
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  37. FrankieBallz

    FrankieBallz Wandering; Not lost. Donating Member

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    You listed every trick I learned on my first camino! It doesn't take more water or longer time if you have a routine before you step in. I shared this with many Pilgrims last year.
     
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  38. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member

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    Great idea! I already use those laundry lightweight, inexpensive bags in my backpack for my "stuff" instead of noisy plastic bags, so now they will become multipurpose items for my next Camino!:)
     
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  39. Magnara

    Magnara Maggie Ramsay

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    Like trecile, I have two sets of clothes. But I do it differently - I have one set for day and one for evening, which really cuts down the washing. The day ones can go for several days (I wash the undies and socks daily and shirt when it really needs it). I do wear ultrafine merino wool tops, which have a natural anti-"aroma" quality, so that helps.The other set I just use for evening, put on after the shower, to wear till bedtime. They hardly ever need washing at all. Makes life very simple.
     
  40. David Tallan

    David Tallan New Member Donating Member

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    I should add that I brought the Scrubba with me and hardly ever used it. I would avoid the weight next Camino. As I said above, I often used the machines. When I didn't, I generally found that albergue had nice large laundry sinks with ridges for rubbing your clothes against to keep the clean. It was easier for me to use them than to fill and empty the Scrubba multiole times without getting water everywhere and deal with a wet Scrubba afterwards. Others above obviously had more success with the Scrubba (or similar) system.
     
  41. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    Finisterre ('11, '16),
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    Invierno ('14),
    Levante ('15+'??),
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    Bayona ('16),
    Salvador ('16),
    Ingles ('16)...
    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    I say: soak the stuff in the sink with some shampoo while you're taking the shower, then scrub them a little, rinse them thoroughly (soap could be irritating for the skin), hang them on a line or whatever seems usable and go for a COLD BEER :D
     
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  42. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    This is my approach too. Socks and undies get washed every day. Walking clothes only when needed - maybe my base layer top needs washing every day or two in hot weather, but other things don't. They don't smell, and will just get dirty again tomorrow! My evening/night wear gets washed every week or two.

    I don't take two sets of "walking clothes", since my preferred night/evening clothes are different from my preferred walking clothes AND because it means less need for washing.
     
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  43. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe Active Member

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    In keeping with the multiple-use discipline, for several decades now I have used my spare bootlaces as a field-expedient clothesline. All that is needed is to master the knot known as the Sheet Bend. (Tied properly, using the lace-tip to "cross-under", it absolutely will NOT jam.)

    https://www.netknots.com/rope_knots/sheet-bend
     
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  44. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    That where the dry bag soak comes in, as most albergues and your fellow pilgrims will give you the stink eye if you monopolize the sink while you're in the shower.
     
  45. Nancy Drew

    Nancy Drew New Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Beginning last week of September 2017
     
  46. Pasha

    Pasha New Member

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    Sounds good
     
  47. Magnara

    Magnara Maggie Ramsay

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    We have never walked in summer, so have needed to be canny. An elastic clothes line actually wrapped around the oil heater with the clothes sort of jammed between the line and the heater is the best option I have worked out. And (found this out the hard way very early on our first camino, in January) - the heaters go off after a couple of hours, so the little washing I did was the absolute first thing to do after dropping the pack on the ground. Find a sink, get it done, just a bowl of water and a bar of soap. Then ... shower, wander around the village, glass of wine... aah (while the socks and jocks cook quietly in the room).
     
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  48. Jodean

    Jodean Member

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    Found washers and many of the albergues that were great to share with others. Brings the price down to about 1€ per person.
    I used my dirty clothes to stand on AFTER I got out of the shower so I had a dry spot to get dressed.
    Also had an extra boot lace to use as a clothesline, but never needed it. It did extra duty by tying up my sleeping bag.
    Had large safety pins as well as cheap plastic clothes pins. Much preferred the clothespins. Seldom were the clotheslines straight, so all the clothes that had just been safety pinned to the line would slide down into each other .
     
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  49. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe Active Member

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    For each item of clothing put at least one of the pins (both is better) through the clothesline as well. Failing that (e.g. coated-wire clothesline), wrap the clothing fabric snugly against the line and place the pin parallel to the line. This should create enough friction and "grip" to keep the items reasonably in place.
     
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  50. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I much prefer using clothespins over safety pins on the clothesline. Quicker and easier to put on and take off. My mini clothespins worked well, and took up little space and weight in my pack. I also had a few safety pins for pinning socks to my backpack.
     
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  51. Phil W

    Phil W Member

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    I laughed while reading this or maybe it was the vision in my head!
     
  52. Elizabeth-o

    Elizabeth-o Member

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    I think Jozero is spot-on...Here's a little suggestion should you find you need to wash small items like socks and undies yourself: Take them along into the shower but be quick about it so you don't take up too much time or hot water. (Squeeze out as much water as you can, of course, before hanging same to dry.) ¡Buen Camino!
     
  53. Jeff Crawley

    Jeff Crawley Veteran Member

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    In hotels I put my sticks across the open window - this is the reason they are telescopic no? So one size pole fits all windows?
     
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  54. Jeff Crawley

    Jeff Crawley Veteran Member

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    Face the fact that your clothes will never, ever be really clean on the Camino - in the days of cotton teeshirts everything ended up a variety of grey colours - blue-grey, red-grey, yellow-grey. From a personal point of view, having worn the same tees for over a month, I never want to see them again and am just happy to rinse the dust out of them and hope they'll be dry by morning!
     
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  55. Nanc

    Nanc Active Member Donating Member

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    the albergue list indicates which have washers and dryers ( not that they will actually be functioning!)
    this was helpful however , in choosing an albergue when it rained or was particularly humid knowing my merino wool would not dry on the line

    i also found that the spanish dryers in albergues (the commercial ones in towns were fine ) are not strong enough to deal with the hand washed and rung clothes, so many times my clothes were left damp even with extra dry time

    having super light under wear was a big help as well as light weight pants and T shirts but the merino wool socks took for ever to dry - luckily i took 3 pair
     
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  56. long trails

    long trails Active Member

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    I tend to only wear merino wool these days, that's base and mid layers and underwear too.

    Pretty much odour free and when washed they dry so quickly. I have even dried them by wearing straight after a wash.
     
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  57. Nekodemus

    Nekodemus Certified insane

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    Been there, done that.

    Always planning the next wee walk.
    Argh! Hate having to do it on a cold morning, but I've done that as well. But rather than, than having to use a dryer.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017 at 3:04 PM
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