Week 5: Hand Washing Clothes

While traveling in the Philippines a few years ago, I encountered a minor problem: I was out of clean clothes and I was at a hotel (and in a town) with no public laundromat. The front desk attendant gave me directions to a nearby shop that sold detergent bars, and handed me a basin to wash the clothes in. This was the first time I ever had to hand wash anything other than a nice dress or sweater too delicate for a washing machine, so I was in the dark about what I needed to get the job done right. Images of washboards and ladies in aprons from old movies popped into my head.

I got the job done, my clothes smelled and looked much better, but I had the feeling that the clothes weren’t as thoroughly clean as I would like. And at the next city I threw all my clothes into a washing machine and felt better about it all. I realized then, that I really should learn how to wash clothes thoroughly by hand so that I do not have to rely on electricity and a washing machine to feel good about wearing my clothes. But I tabled the thought for a couple years, and now I am ready at last to take on the challenge.

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