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Publication: Travel Tips
Laundry Tips

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

April 1, 2008 

One of the benefits of traveling in a less developed country 
is the number of businesses - and entrepreneurial 
individuals - who are willing to do your laundry for just a 
few bucks.

It can be wonderful. It can also be a nightmare. The first 
time I used a laundry service - a little old lady in a non-
tourist section of Hungary - I discovered the clothes were 
not only cleaner, but they actually weighed a lot less!

Of course, I was missing two pairs of jeans, a pair of socks 
and an old fraternity T-shirt.

This week's edition includes:




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I shouldn't be too hard on my old Hungarian laundress. I 
did, after all, get what I paid for. Besides, my buddy paid 
her to wash his clothes and he got everything back.

A button was missing from one of his shirts, there was a new 
hole in  his sweatshirt and a wine stain hadn't come out, 
but he got everything back.

So how do you make sure this doesn't happen to you?

* First, check out the facilities. Ask to see the washer and 
dryer. If there are no machines, and it's hand washed, 
that's not necessarily bad. 

Check how clean the surroundings are. Look to see where the 
clothes will be line dried. (You want to avoid situations 
where your underwear could pick up smells from a nearby pot 
of boiling cabbage or the fumes of a faulty sewage treatment 

You also want to look at the workload, and ask about who's 
going to be doing the washing. If it's a single person with
a mountain of dirty clothes ahead of yours, chances are 
you're not going to get your duds back when you need them.

* Only have your clothes wash and dried where you can watch 
them performing the task. I've never actually done this, but 
other people I know have. I find it's usually enough to ask 
them if you can sit in, and see what their response is.  

* Only drop the clothes off late at night and pick up the
next night. This gives them adequate time. 

* Carefully count all the pieces you hand over. That way, 
you can quickly tell if everything is coming back.

* Make a list of all your clothes before you give them to
the cleaning person.

* Make sure the price is negotiated BEFORE the washing 

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* Fewer bubbles

Less is more when using soap for sink washing. Fewer suds 
requires less rinsing. It can be tougher to get all the soap 
out of your threads than you think. And you don't want to 
start bubbling up during a rainstorm.

Spot clean areas with a travel-sized stain remover instead 
of soaping the whole garment.

* Stain stick

If you don't plan to wash your clothes until your trip is 
over, carry along a stain pretreatment stick. Taking the 
time to use it on stains before they set ensures that they 
will wash out when you get home.

* Boxers, not briefs

Wear nylon or silk under garments - avoid 100-percent cotton 
because it takes longer to dry. And believe me, if there's 
anything worse than having to wear a pair of stubbornly damp 
jeans, it's having to wear a pair of tighty whiteys that 
hasn't completely dried. In that situation, you're better 
off going without until you can get the moisture out. 

* Toss in a line

If you're not anticipating sunny weather, will have no 
access to a balcony, or figure you'll have more hand-washed 
laundry than you can conveniently stretch out on the hotel 
shower bar, consider taking a small clothesline. A few 
plastic chip clips could work as clothes pins and double for 
closing up packages of snacks or souvenirs.

* A plug for plugs

Pack a flat drain plug; the one-size-fits-all kind that lays 
over the drain without having to be inserted. The plug 
allows you to convert any sink into a laundry sink.

Of course, if you don't like doing laundry, there are other 
options. In most parts of the world, there are cheap laundry 
shops that usually charge a pittance for their services. 
Often, you will find someone who is trying to supplement 
their income and will offer to wash your clothes at their 

Unlike a coin laundry at home, local laundry services often 
fold and press your clothing and return it in a neat tidy 
bundle. Be forewarned, however, accidents do happen. If 
someone burns a hole in your shirt while trying to iron it, 
there's not much you can do. 


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Here are some tips for dealing with dirty clothing on the 

* Bring baggies

I'm talking about plastic storage bags. The kind that are 
bigger than a sandwich bag, but way smaller than a kitchen 
garbage bag. And make sure you get the kind that zip shut.

This is for laundry that hasn't dried thoroughly, damp face 
cloths, wrung-out-but-wet bathing suits and other damp stuff 
that shouldn't get mixed in with the rest of the week's 
wardrobe. You're not just worried about getting dry clothes 
wet; mold and mildew grow rapidly in humid climates and can 
turn your suitcase into a giant, stinky petrie dish.

* Dirty duffel

Bring a lightweight, nylon duffel bag for your laundry. As 
your clothes get dirty, move them out of your suitcase and 
replace them with souvenirs. You'll end up with an extra bag 
to check for the return home, but you won't have to juggle 
an armload of shopping bags filled with fragile things. 
Plus, you get your smelly clothes far away from your fresh 
shirts and pants.

* Call ahead

Find out ahead of time about available laundry services 
where you're staying. Ask about where the facilities are in 
relation to your room, how much it costs, and how many 
washers and dryers there are relative to he number of rooms 
in the building.

* Bring soap

If you're traveling for an extended period of time, it might 
be easiest to buy laundry soap once you get there. For a 
typical vacation, however, just pour the amount of soap you 
think you'll need into a small, airtight container, seal it 
inside a plastic storage bag and stick it in your bag. 

Remember, if you have sensitive skin and don't want to risk 
going without your favorite laundry soap, it's a good idea 
to bring your own supply. Don't assume that your brand will 
be readily available at your travel destination.

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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