...:::If Laundry Mats Were Gyms:::...

“I wish there were laundry mats here!"

That is a phrase I definitely never thought I’d hear but, in the last few weeks, I know that Coryn and I have both said or thought that phrase many times!

In my bachelor days, I loathed the thought of dragging all my dirty clothes to either my apartment’s overpriced laundry room, or hauling everything over to the, always crowded and rarely clean,  neighborhood “Sud N’ Wash”, but recently, those days seem like fond memories. 

During our previous stay in Uganda, Coryn and I both worked in fulltime ministries/jobs that left little time for a lot of the everyday household chores made easy in the US by the aid of modern appliances! We instead opted to hire a dear friend as a caretaker for the kids and a housekeeper. This was a great solution but since we’re just here, basically waiting, we figured we’d take on the household chores on our own.

One thing we knew when deciding to do this was; laundry here is quite the ordeal…

Being the “Googler” that I am, I set off to learn all the inter-web had to offer about hand washing clothes which was basically; It’s hard work, don’t use too much soap, vinegar gets the soap out, wash often, and it’s really HARD WORK. Keep in mind our process has only been adapted over the last few weeks of washing but it goes something like this.

It all starts with a pre-wash-day soak. Everything gets divided up, just like back home, by their various colors and wash temps. Each pile goes into its own bucket or basin with a bit of soap, and left over night to soak. Sweet, the easy parts done!

The next morning we get the kids up, washed, fed and hopefully entertained by some toy, game, or show so the real fun can begin! We start by removing the clothes from the soak water and setting up three buckets. 

The first bucket is for washing. We throw a few items into about 8in of water with a tablespoon or so of detergent (not too much) and look for any persistent stains and scrub those out with a firm bristled brush.
Then we agitate the snot out of it with this handy gadget that people on the web were raving about. It works really well too! Wring the clothes out and transfer to the next bucket.

The next bucket is plain ol’ H2O. Using our new “washing machine”, we again agitate the clothes until our arms give out, forcing as much of the detergent as possible out of the clothes. We then wring and toss them in the last bucket. (Apparently, most manufacturers recommend 3xs the amount needed to get clothes clean which just makes clothes harder to dry, attracts dirt, and leaves clothes feeling stiff. Who knew?!)

The last bucket is again water, but this time with a capful of vinegar, which neutralizes any remaining detergent left in the clothes. Then we just give them one last hardy wringing and hang them on the clothesline (which I fabricated out of angle iron so that it clips onto our balcony and can be removed without damaging the property). 

All done (almost)! Yup 5 whole pieces of clothing all clean! Now we just repeat those steps over until our family of four’s half week of laundry is clean which typically takes half a day. 
Then we wait for the sun to dry them, which takes the rest of the day as long as it’s not raining (it’s rainy season).

The last step is to iron every, yes EVERY, item of clothing! Flies here lay their larva on wet clothes which can then burrow in ANY part of your body (yup, laundry mat sounds pretty good right now) which would be a bad day in my book!

Well, that’s about it! Sorry about the long post but, seeing that it takes up a lot of our free time here, I figured it was worth the five minutes of reading! Hope you enjoyed it!


A window into our adventure that is UGANDA