I thought I was an expert on doing bike-trip, sink laundry, until I wrote this post about it … and discovered I have a lot to learn. From you. I got scores of comments, tips and pointers, most of which were pretty darn good. So, thank you … and here’s the accumulated wisdom from several of the world’s leading bike-trip, laundry experts and cycling fanatics.
My original post focused on sink laundry and neglected the other major alternative: Shower laundry. My bad, I should have mentioned this method. Several people did, including …
Jay Blanchard: “I just come through the motel door and head right for the shower with my kit on. I would wash the kit while still on me using motel soap. Then just take it off and let it drop right in the tub or shower basin. While washing, body stomp on the kit. After shower, wring out and hang up.”
I have done a few shower-laundry loads on bike trips, usually when it rains and I’m already wet and a bit muddy. But my preference is the sink. It seems more sanitary, but probably isn’t. Plus, it’s difficult to take off a sopping-wet bike jersey in the shower. You could strangle yourself and/or drown! But it’s definitely a good option.
Then again, if you’re a rugged outdoorswoman and biking and camping …
Allie Strand: “River laundry is my specialty … no soap of course.”
Kendal Aitken: “Just jump in a river with them every few days … wear something else for a few hours and put the shorts on the back to dry as you ride.”
We’re just getting started!
John Mathews: “Once, on a long trip, I found a laundromat, stripped down to my underwear and did all my dirties at one time … It was quite the show for the locals.”
John Limb: “It’s really kind of disgusting when you think about it. In public bathrooms or hotels, people spit after brushing their filthy mouths that contain bleeding gum residue and who knows.”
So, John (who might be a dentist): Don’t think about it! Although now, I’ll never be able to do another load of sink laundry and not think about what you wrote. The words “bleeding gum residue” will haunt me.
Jessica Pu: “Not while biking, but while hiking I got caught several times washing underwear in the sinks of various McDonald’s and WalMart’s and got lots of strange and sometimes affronted looks, LOL.”
Ralph Barone: “I have a one-gallon, wide-mouth glass mayonnaise container (from a restaurant) in my bathroom at home, and I wash my cycling kit in there rather have it slosh around in my washing machine.”
It’s Time to Dry …
There seems to be an infinite number of effective and creative ways to dry your clothes in a hotel room. Here are a few, starting with the towel method that several of you mentioned …
Michael Carabetta: “Ask for extra towels. After washing put the towel on the floor, place your clothes on the towel and then roll your clothes up in the towel. Finally step on the towel. You will be amazed how dry you can get your gear. Most times you can turn the towel over and roll up some more clothes.”
Mark Brown: “Gloves, cap can be dried over a lamp bulb if the shade structure lends itself to keeping away from contacting.”
Lb LeBlang: “If your clothes are 90% dry at bedtime you can put them in your bed down by feet to dry. It works.”
Alan Tucker: “Another tip is the TV, but only if you have really, really squeezed all the water out. Put the TV on nice and bright and drape clothes over the front and back and the warmth will gently dry them.”
Chris Gravelle: “For wet shoes, stuff them with newspaper. Leave for an hour, remove the paper and restuff with more (dry) paper and leave. This should remove 90 percent of the water.”
Thanks Chris. I learned this trick from my soccer coach back in college. It works really well, but, and I say this sadly as a former newspaper reporter: Nobody reads actual paper newspapers anymore, which means bird cages and wet cycling shoes are on their own.
Christian Jung: “I used many times in Oman the mosque facilities, and washed my clothes in the washing area, when nobody was praying. Nobody ever minded…”
One More Idea…
Mags Go Plants (her Facebook name): “Had to wash my bike in the hotel tub once! Got caught in a storm and sand and mud. Needed to get the bike ready for next day. Tub and hand shower worked perfectly!”
Thanks for reading this far. And, here’s the links to my eBooks on Biking the Loire and Biking Provence on Amazon. You can find them on all the other platforms.
One thought on “Sink Laundry: The Sequel, With Tips & Advice From More Cycling Fanatics”
Very good information to know. These folks are experienced and resourceful! In 2019 Paris-Brest-Paris 1200k, in a very over-crowded bathroom a man was desperately waving his washed shorts over the hand dryer. In the same even in 2015 there was a rider with shorts hung diagonally across his back, inside-out, drying in the sun as he rode. In the 2013 Bicycle Ride Across Georgia there was a man with a clothesline about 18″ long, strung between the saddle and a short pole mounted to the rear rack. A sign on the string read “Space for rent.”
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