Do Laundry like a Nica in 10 (Not Very) Easy Steps

>> Sunday, October 12, 2008

For the most part, I think Paul and I don't really complain about missing the comforts of home that we lack here... the most notable exception to this is the washer and dryer. I have no idea what I was complaining about even when in college I had to carry my laundry all the way to the laundry room and then I had to be in the laundry room as soon as the washer or dryer finished to avoid some other laundry zealot taking it out and stealing my machine. I would now be happy to have to fight for my right to put an extra quarter in the dryer.

Here, laundry requires far more time and dedication, and your clothes end up far less clean and far more stretched out than they would in a machine. Just in case you don't believe me, here is how to do laundry Nica-style in just ten steps.

1. Gather all the supplies you will need: a big bucket for water, a medium bucket for soaking your clothes, and a small pan for rinsing; powdered soap, bar soap, an Aunt Jemima's syrup container full of fabric softener; a brush; a washboard; dirty clothes.
2. Fill up your clothes soaking bucket with water and your powdered soap. Let the clothes soak to loosen up all the dirt and grime. I don't recommend the "sun" scented Xedex; apparently the sun smells sort of moldy.
3. Lay your newly soaked clothes out one by one. First use the bar soap (Transparent Maravilla is the best) to get the clothes all soapy.
4. If the clothes are sturdy and not going to stretch out, use the brush on the tough-to-clean areas or on any particularly dirty spots. If the clothes are delicate or going to stretch out a bunch (I'm thinking of you, Old Navy tank tops), skip this step.
5. Run the clothes along the washboard inside and right side out. Watch your knuckles!
6. When you've completed steps 3-5 for each article of clothing, rinse each one until the water runs clear--no soap bubbles allowed! The easiest clothes to wash and rinse are, by far, underwear. The most difficult are jeans and other pants.
This shirt isn't done yet because the water's still soapy.
7. Rinse out your medium clothes soaking bucket and fill it with clean water and fabric softener. We suggest a maple syrup bottle as your fabric softener dispenser for its precision. Let the clothes soak in the fabric softener (from 15 minutes to however long you need to regain your strength from all the washing, rinsing, and wringing).
8. Wring out the clothes again as much as you can.
9. Hang your clothes up on the line. Make sure to turn them inside out first; clothes here fade mere seconds after being exposed to the sun. If your laundry line is inside, congratulations! If it's outside, keep a close eye on the weather (you don't want an extra rain rinse cycle) and bring your clothes inside anytime you're leaving the house--you don't want anyone to steal them after all that hard work. This is one of the Old Navy tank tops that started as a medium and is now probably an XXL.
10. Let the clothes dry and pray that it doesn't rain--you need the sun and don't want the humidity! In 24 to 72 hours (weather permitting) you should have dry and more-or-less clean clothes.


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