I recently found a way to really cut down on all the “other stuff” I had to carry to the do-it-yourself laundromat. In addition to the laundry itself, I’d always have to make an extra trip to get the detergent and bottle of pre-treater. I couldn’t manage to carry it all at once.
And it always seemed that the laundromat was a couple of blocks from the boat. No wonder I loved it when we found a place where they did the laundry for you at a reasonable price!
But this summer I found one new product — Tide Pods — and was reminded of an older product — stain sticks — that mean I don’t have to make an extra trip.
You use one Tide pod per load of laundry (two for “heavily soiled” clothing such as the t-shirt you wore when working on the engine), making it easy to just take the number you need. Actually, I take an extra one or two because I’m never sure exactly how many loads I’ll end up having. So I stick a few in a Ziploc and tuck it down inside my laundry bag.
Each pod contains detergent, a stain fighter and a brightener. They work in any temperature of water. Just toss one in the washer, then pile your clothes on top. It’s that simple!
There’s no measuring or risk of bottles of detergent leaking (yes, I’ve had that happen — not fun to try to clean up as there are suds EVERYWHERE).
I have been very happy with the results — our clothes get clean with a minimum of fuss.
But a couple of notes:
The pods are designed so that the covering will dissolve in water. That means that if water gets into their container, they will disintegrate into a puddle of detergent. Therefore, I take them out of the original container and store them into a Lock & Lock-type container, both to keep water out and so that if one should break (I’ve never had it happen, but . . . ), the mess is contained. I emphatically don’t want a whole mess of laundry detergent in the bottom of a locker or the bilge! Also be sure that your hands are dry when you reach into the container.
My second note is important for anyone with kids aboard: Tide has taken some flak for their packaging — originally the pods came in a clear container that looked sort of like a candy jar. Apparently there were cases of children thinking that the pretty pods were candy, eating them and becoming deathly ill. Tide has revised their packaging a couple of times (the latest being to put the pods into a resealable bag) but if you use these, keep them out of reach of kids who are too young to understand that they are not candy.
Finally, the detergent is not a biodegradable soap, so please don’t use them in onboard washing machines that discharge overboard. (They’re also not intended for hand washing.)
The fact that the Tide pods have a built-in stain fighter helps. But both Dave and I have the ability to get dirty when standing still. We both tend to spill food on clothing and you often tell what project we’ve been working on just by looking at our clothes. In Mexico, the local laundry ladies would use copious quantities of bleach to get our clothes clean, but that’s really hard on them.
Stain sticks to the rescue. You can treat any spots or stains right when you take your clothes off, before you throw them in the laundry. It’s fine if they sit a week or more. This means you don’t have to take another thing down to the laundromat — or have one more step in the process on laundry day.
I usually use the “Resolve” brand stain sticks, but frankly buy whatever brand is available . . . which is usually Resolve. They’ve kept our clothes cleaner than I have any right to expect.