Housekeeping on big trips

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 14:01
ThreadID: 55202 Views:2567 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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Hi all!
My hubby & I are planning a trip around Oz, and had a 'discussion' last night about 'our' expectations of where & how to camp, and housekeeping such as washing clothes, linen.

My question to those families who are out there already, or have been is: How do you cope with keeping clean linen & clothing generated by 2 adults and 2 little kiddies? What sort of items are out there to deal with this chore?

My thought was to call into a caravan park overnight occasionally, and use their machines, but hubby doesn't want to do that. He's virtually suggested getting the old wash board out and doing the washing in the nearest creek. Our ancestors used to do it, yada, yada....

All comments and suggestions gratefully accepted!
Just a housewife.

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Reply By: Notso - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 14:06

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 14:06
A sealed 20 litre or so poly barrel is good. Chuck your washing in it with water and detergent, screw the lid on before driving to the next destination and take it out and rinse it when you get there.

There are small washing machines available but you need power for them.

And you will need extra water as well.

Make sure you only take wash and wear, and expect to toss most of it out when you get home.

AnswerID: 290902

Follow Up By: Moose - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 14:29

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 14:29
The 20 litre bucket works OK if you restrict the amount in it so will not be much good for large things like sheets. Also it needs agitation to wash - OK on rough roads but not all roads travelled are.
If hubby refuses to go to caravan parks, make him use the wash board :-)
An alternative is that when you hit town for restocking, use the local laundromat.
There are small hand operated washing machines but I have no experience with these.
In all our years of travelling we have used the bucket, caravan park and laundromat options.
Usually though if we are camped in the bush for a couple of days we'll do the washing manually (without a wash board) and thus keep on top of it - otherwise you end up with heaps and spending a day doing the washing isn't appealing.
Cheers from the Moose

FollowupID: 556325

Follow Up By: Vince NSW - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 21:24

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 21:24
I don't agree with you Moose. I have used this method (20 LT screw top drum) since 1968 army days. Even on long runs ob the black top you seem to get enought splash from bends and stopping / starting to wash the gear. Sheets are a problem I agree, so we carry a coupel of sets and do when we hit the big smoke (caravan Park)
Cheers Vince
FollowupID: 556426

Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 15:53

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 15:53
Hi Kym

Our travels so far have not been long term (3 months being the longest). We also leave the kids behind (we didn't travel until they were old enough to leave in charge at home).

We travel with 2 buckets with lids for washing and rinsing. They sit in the 'bathroom' of the caravan. Even on rough roads, they don't give a good agitation with our very stable dual axled caravan, but they get the washing fresh.

Around once a week we go to a CP or laundromat in a town to give everything a good wash, including sheets and towels as needed.

I like to go to a CP or pay for a shower at a servo to give my long hair a wash weekly also. While at a CP we can usually fill the water tanks, and the buckets ready for the next few days washing. This of course depends on where we are travelling, as towns may be few and far between. If visiting an urban area (rare) there is little choice but to go to a CP.

We carry a rope to use as a clothes line in the trees, and also have a fold up clothes airer which make it easy to follow the sun for a small wash, and bring inside overnight if the air is very damp as it often is inland.

As for your husband's comments about the creek (make sure you don't use any detergents or soaps in a waterway or animal drinking source), we recently spent a week at a village in Bali. There the local bathe, wash their clothes and dump everything in the irrigation channels / road side drains. They wash colourful clothes and lay them to dry on the ground alongside. Then when they dress up, they always look exquisite in clean unstained unwrinkled clothing.


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AnswerID: 290920

Reply By: Steve63 - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 17:55

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 17:55
Just a house wife,
Creeks are a no no for washing clothes and people. Seriously, polution of waterways is a serious issue and even washed off sun screen can cause issues in a small pool. Much of the smaller wildlife is sensitive and it is not as though they can move to a new area easily. I think you need to discuss more loudly. In reality you usually need food, fuel etc. As you go though a town (or even many of the fuel points like well 33 on the CSR) they have washing machines. Take a break for a few hours and run them through a machine. Try to keep things similar so they can be washed together. Any delicates leave at home. Some towns have laundramats so don't need to stay in town if you don't want to. You can hand wash but you need water and it takes time. You can get bucket type arrangements that self aggetate as you drive.

As for the history lesson point out the short lifespans our ancestors often enjoyed usually because of the conditions they lived in. I supose you could issue two sets of clothes and then just don't bother doing any washing. Would be like sailing out from England in the 1800's! If that does not work give him a bucket, and a weeks washing at home. Turn the water off so he has to go next door to get any water (cold only of course). When he is finished ask him if it is a good idea. Or maybe he would like to spear a croc for tea?

AnswerID: 290946

Reply By: Member - Au-2 - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 19:16

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 19:16
Kym111, you don't specify what you will be living in ie; camping/tents, camper trailering or caravanning. We do the second of these options and don't travel every day, usually spend 1 - 3 weeks in one place. As we (3adults) go prospecting only, this involves lots of hole digging and we get pretty grotty fairly quickly. We also carry 320 litres of water with us and can top up if needed from creeks etc,.

My tried and tested method of washing is: 1 large bucket + 1 toilet plunger with longer handle + 1 x 20 litre solar water bag + 1 bottle of 'Woolmix'.

Put filled solar bag in sun in early morning -- empty hot water into bucket at lunch time -- shake/beat clothes to loosen dirt -- put smalls in first, add a small (1-2 teaspoons) amount of 'Woolmix' and, while eating lunch, pump plunger up and down to agitate washing. Wring out clothes, put aside while doing large/dirty items. after all washed, replace dirty water with clean and rinse all clothes -- should only need one rinse and plunger can be used for this, too. Hang them out on tent ropes and then lie down for afternoon nap.

The great thing about the 'Woolmix' is that it requires very little rinsing, as long as you don't use too much in the first place. I have not had to replace any clothing so far due to immovable stains but, that said, we only take old clothing with us anyway. Once we get home, a normal wash will restore all to normal cleanliness.
AnswerID: 290969

Reply By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 21:17

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2008 at 21:17
I wondered the same thing for our trip 18 months ago. We use sleeping bags and so every now and then gave them an air out so no sheets to wash. Even if you do go bush for upto a week, you can still do washing privided you find a creek somewhere....

We did no washing a birdsville and when we headed north and then west we had gone a quite a few days, almost a week I think, before we did some washing....when we camped on the Georgina River we did our washing...sure they came out dirtier, but boy did they smell nice!!!! If you take plenty of undies and socks then the rest can be recycled over a few days - makes you appreciate the clean stuff later!

When we got to Alice, between myself , Lyn and Maz we took over every washing machine and clothes line the park had to offer!!

Dont let the dirt and dust worry you....out there everyone is going through the same thing and you can all smell together!! Even get stuff for your hair that allows you to go a few more days without a wash!

I should mention when we went out desert way our girls were 1 and was keeping them entertained in the car that was on my mind!!

Hope this helps a little.....

Laura....just another housewife that terrorises everyone on here!!!!
AnswerID: 290996

Reply By: kym111 - Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 at 10:48

Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 at 10:48
Thanks for all your suggestions! The kiddies will probably be 4 & 2 by the time we get going, and we're looking at a 21' van (or thereabouts). they're used to running around in no clothes, so keeping to one set a day should be easy for them!

I think I'll go and invest in a couple of large buckets with lids, and as you all suggest, keep an eye out for laundromats along the way.

I'm a bit of a greenie at heart, so there's no way I'll be putting soap suds etc into our water ways! Collecting the water is one thing, stuffing it up for the wildlife is another....

Again thanks, and hopefully we'll see you out on the road!
AnswerID: 291112

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 at 11:24

Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 at 11:24
You can clear dirty water by sprinkling a little alum over the surface.

Also have you looked at the "Wonder Wash" or Bamix "Presawash" tumble washers.
"Wonder Wash" is available at Rays Outdoors for around $60.00 & they work very well.
FollowupID: 556520

Reply By: Wizard1 - Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 at 15:46

Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 at 15:46

I think your idea is the most sensible. Why would you want to waste water you have to carry on washing clothes and linen?

Is "he" going to do all the hand washing?

If you want to use a laundramat then where do you park a 21 FT van? Park it out of town, drive in and do all your domestics..please..reality check time.

You will find soon enough that for common sense sake, taking the odd nght in a park to use their facilities, run off someone elses 240 volt, have a decent shower and dump your waste is the way to go.

Once you hit the road you'll find out what the realities are.

AnswerID: 291162

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 at 18:05

Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 at 18:05
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FollowupID: 556574

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