An overview of how I come to have clean clothes

So I’m trying to think of things to share and thought hey, why not laundry.  Laundry can be a tricky business.  There needs to be a convergence of water on hand, electricity if you are using a machine, and sun.

I don’t have to worry about water because the house where I live has a steady supply and it is piped to the house.  But some volunteers rely on a llave (that is a communal faucet and not a key or wrench) and llaves aren’t dispensing water.  I have heard of volunteers who cannot receive water for a couple weeks, then they hope it rains.

Some volunteers pay their former donas (the mothers of the house they did their homestay in) to do their laundry.  I still live with my family, but do mine myself.  It was easier at the beginning because we were told during training we should never give our underwear to another to be washed if we were female, and so I thought if I can use the machine, I might as well do all my laundry because the few weeks washing my underwear while I showered and then trying to find somewhere to dry it were bothersome.  As I said I can use the machine and for that I need there to be electricity, which when on schedule for the pueblo, allows me to do my laundry in the morning.  However, I have had times when I am in the middle of my cloths and the luz se fue (that is the power goes out), because the schedule is never certain.

So to start I separate my clothing the colors from the black and the jeans from the other items.  Then I put each group through the washing part with detergent.  My dona told me to change the water for the blacks and use shampoo, so as not to affect the black with the detergent, but I stopped that long ago.


After they have cycled for 15 minutes, I then wring them, and place them in the outside sink that has been filled with water and a bit of fabric softener.  After a little soak, I wring the cloths again (with much less skill than one of my host sisters cause I’m lazy about it.


Then the cloths are put in the right section of the machine that is called the secadora.  Secadora translates as dryer, but with these machines means centrifuge.  The secadora whips the clothes around (if it is properly balanced, which can be tricky to achieve) for 5 minutes and they come pretty free of liquid but still damp.


Then the clothing is hung up either on clothes lines or on the roof in the sun (that’s why the sun is needed) to dry the remainder.  Most items take only an hour or two.DSC_0022

And the final step is I remove the clothing from the lines and hang it up in my closet or fold it.


  1. Ok, let me make your job a little easier! Divide all your clothes by colour, wash all of them starting with the lightest to the darkest, empty the machine and fill with clean water and do it again to rinse your clothes. No need for the hands honey :). Not sure why Dominicans rinse in the sink or a bucket, make no sense. Of course, you will need that extra 20 minutes of electric!

  2. Reblogged this on wr12blog and commented:
    I recently been legally cleared as a Peace Corps applicant. In preparing for my assignment, I recently purchased a washboard to start washing my clothes by hand. It is an adjustment.

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