Keeping your clothes and linen clean whilst living aboard is
a necessity, unless of course you want to be the next Stig of the dump! So how
do live aboards cope?
There are a few options available, which one you choose is
down to you;
1. Using the local laundrette.
Many boaters decide they are happy to take loads of washing to the local
laundrette. The beauty of using a laundrette especially in the winter is that
you won’t have to turn your boat into a Chinese laundrette over night whilst
you try and dry all your washing.
The downside is the distance you may have to
travel to get to and from the laundrette and the amount of time you have to set
aside to carry out this task.
Use this link to find laundrettes and other amenities on the canal system, its
broken down into areas for easy use.
2. Using the laundry room in a marina.
Lots of marinas do have their own facilities like we do at
Venetian. But be warned that these facilities
may only be for residential boats and even if you moor there the laundry
facilities may NOT be covered in your mooring fees.
3. Fitting a automatic washing machine on board your boat.
Yes you can actually have a washing machine on your boat.
BUT you can’t run the washing machine the same way, as you would do offshore. Modern automatic washing machines are
cold-water filled and therefore draw water off the cold water supply. They then
need to heat the water up, so even when washing at low temperatures 20 -30
degrees the washing machines heater needs to heat up the water.
machine heater draws a huge amount of energy, so a 2 – 3 kilo watt heater is
going to pull 200 -300 amps of your battery bank, and this will drain your
battery bank very quickly. So unless you have a huge battery bank and huge
invertor you are not going to be able to use your batteries to run your washing
So what solutions do we have? Because its true many boaters
do have automatic washing machines on board but how they run them varies.
Option 1. Many boats have a generator built into the engine, so as long as the engine is
running this will give you power to run the washing machine.
Option 2. Is to go into a marina and pay for over
night moorings and use the mains power within the marina. Doing maybe a week or
twos washing in one go.
Option 3. Stop for the night in or near a town which has a laundrette, and use the facilities as many people who do not have a washing machine in their home.
In fine weather you may wish to use a small rotary washing
line to dry your washing if your washing machine is not a washer/condenser dryer. You can attach this to a Brolley Mate. A Brolley
Mate can be used to hold a lightweight rotary
washing line onto the tiller so you can dry your washing outside on a fine day. Do make sure that you peg your washing down
well as you may be victim to the wind carrying away your items if they are not
don’t have the space or want to purchase an automatic washing machine you still
have another two options when it comes to cleaning your washing.
alternative method from an automatic washing machine would be a small portable
twin tub machine. Be warned though this will require a lot of input, as it is
very much reliant on manual operation, however if you have the time and inculcation
this option does work just as well.
finally the old-fashioned way; Hand washing in the sink! May be ok for smaller
items but not recommended for doing the weekly bedding and towels!
Photo credit: TR/ Fotolia
you can see there are plenty of ways of getting your washing done when you are
cruising, and you may use all the options at some point depending on your circumstances.
NOTE: When using detergents on board please make sure they
are environmentally friendly, as the dirty water from the machine will be
dispensed into the canal system and this could endanger the wildlife.