1. WE'D ALWAYS KEEP FOUR OR FIVE DIFFERENT KINDS OF TOWELS going with different labels above the hooks‚ as there isn't much room to hang them! High up above out of reach of the children we would keep the adult face & hand towel, then another face & hand towel lower for the children. Then still lower we'd keep what was labeled the bidet towel‚ just for bottoms. And then there was a foot towel too. Then of course we had one good high solid hook for a big bath towel that everybody used after their sponge-baths.
2. WE'D USE THOSE FIVE TOWELS FOR AT LEAST TWO OR THREE DAYS, all of us, then wash them all. That way you don't have too much linen washing to do. You can all use the same towels for those different purposes, then after two or three days when they begin to get too dirty, you put them in the wash.
3. BECAUSE CLOTHES WASHING CAN BE A PROBLEM when you're camping out, as it's usually quite far to go to the town washateria, & you may not have a camp where they have convenient washing machines or wash tubs. So you may have to use the old-fashioned method they used to use when I was a boy, a washtub with a scrub-board. Be very thankful if they have washtubs with hot water, only you'll probably have to get your own scrub-board.
4. JUST DO YOUR WASH THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY: Fill the washtub with water that's not too hot for your hands—you might have to heat it on a campfire—then put in the dirty clothes & the soap. Then, instead of a plunger or an agitator like you have in your washing machine at home, you are the agitator! You take your two hands & go up & down on the wash-board with the clothes for a few minutes with a good back motion. It's very good for your back & stomach muscles. You go up & down like you see those oil well pumps out in the U.S. West. They always reminded me of a washerwoman bending over the wash-board & tub‚ like they did when I was a kid: Up & down, up & down.
5. YOU PROBABLY DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT A SCRUB-BOARD IS: It's a wooden contraption with a corrugated surface on which you rub the particularly dirty spots & try to get the dirt out of the clothes. And then you go up & down with both hands with the clothes in the water like the agitator in the washing machine at home. Of course, they didn't have automatic washers when I was a kid. You couldn't get exactly the tumble-action nor the tumble-dry. But it really does a pretty good job.
6. DO THAT FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES, then drain out the dirty soapy water‚ run the tub full of nice cold rinse water, & up & down you go again for another two or three minutes, rinsing them out. If you like them really well rinsed out, without that nice little bit of soap left in them to keep them disinfected, you can run another tub–full & do it again.
7. BUT A LITTLE SOAP IN YOUR CLOTHES WON'T HURT‚ REALLY—it keeps the germs & body odors down! So if you don't get all the soap out, why worry? Maria says it makes you itch sometimes, but I never noticed that a little bit of soap on you hurt anything‚ unless it's too strong a soap. But if you must, fill the tub again with one more cold rinse, & up & down‚ up & down you go!
8. YOU'RE REALLY GOING TO DEVELOP SOME GOOD BACK MUSCLES IN CAMPING, especially carrying all that water, tons of water! Pretty soon you've got the clothes all nice & rinsed & clean, so you drain out the rinsed water & give them the old-fashioned wringer treatment. Of course you have no wringer‚ no tumble-dry & no spin-dry‚ so the wringer is you! You take a bunch of clothes in your two hands & you wring'm out. One hand goes one direction while the other hand goes the other direction, & you twist-dry the clothes one by one! As you pull out each piece & get it wrung pretty dry, you throw it in the next tub or your clothes-basket, & then take another bunch & wring that dry & throw that in the next tub or basket‚ & pretty soon you've got'm all pretty well wrung out, including you!
9. THEN YOU CARRY YOUR CLOTHES IN A NICE LITTLE LAUNDRY BASKET to the clothes line, which you hope they have providentially provided for you, & you hang them out to dry. Make sure to keep an eye on them—like leave a kid to watch them—otherwise they might disappear! Better still, make your own lines. We used to carry a plastic clothes line with us, & we'd string our own clothes lines right out in our own yard next to our trailer, between a couple of trees. If you have got three trees, then its great, & you can have three clothes lines, which is usually enough to dry.
10. OF COURSE MARIA'S POINTING OUT that with your drip-dry clothing‚ you can't wring those out, because wringing gets wrinkles in them. You just hang them up to drip-dry. And of course when camping, you shouldn't have anything but drip clothing, because then otherwise you'd have to have an iron & an ironing board & a place to iron, electricity to iron, & to have to iron any kind of clothing is almost unthinkable when you're out camping, so just forget it!
11. LEAVE YOUR IRON & IRONING BOARD BEHIND, as you don't have electricity anyhow most of the time, so just forget ironing & ironing boards & just carry drip-dry clothes. Sheets‚ pillowcases‚ underwear, socks, towels & most things don't have to be ironed anyhow. Just fold them up when they are dry. If you must insist on handkerchiefs that are nicely ironed, you can forget that too, because they'll just get crumpled up in your pocket anyway. I used to wash my handkerchiefs out in the washbowl in my hotel‚ & then spread them out on the mirror afterwards to dry. Believe it or not, by the time they had dried, they would fall off all nicely flat, just like they'd been ironed!
12. WELL, I HADN'T FINISHED WITH OUR WASHBOWL FULL OF WATER YET! Now it has served as a foot-washing for dirty feet for quite awhile, & by this time it's getting pretty black. So‚ since water is so scarce & valuable, we had one more use for this dirty wash water that we had finished washing our faces & hands & bodies & feet in, & that was to flush the toilet! Instead of using the circulatory system & the expensive chemicals which are hard to find & buy—we gave up on that long ago—we just took our little bucket of dirty water from underneath the washbowl to flush out the toilet each time!
13. THAT LITTLE BUCKET OF DIRTY WATER WAS LIKE THE WIDOW'S CRUSE OF OIL—IT NEVER SEEMED TO RUN DRY! No matter how much we kept using it & flushing it down the toilet, the family kept adding to it. But once in awhile if I thought it was dirty enough, at least by the end of the day before we would start a new day, I would use the last of the dirty water to flush out the toilet at night, so we could start with a nice clean bucket in the morning. So by the time the day was ended we had used our little bowls of water all day long for washing faces, hands, bodies, bottoms, feet & flushing the toilet!
14. WE PROBABLY DIDN'T USE MUCH MORE THAN A COUPLE GALLONS OF WATER ALL DAY FOR WASHING & FLUSHING! We might have filled up the bowl two or three times with fresh water, not too often, but I would say we probably didn't use more than 10 litres of water all day long in washing ourselves, hands, face, bodies, bottoms‚ feet & flushing the toilet! So that was pretty economical use of water!
15. NOW THE KITCHEN WATER WAS ANOTHER THING. We had to use quite a bit of water for washing dishes, cooking etc. This water we had no way of re-cycling.—We didn't want this dirty water full of food & garbage in our buckets, & whatnot—certainly didn't even want to wash our feet in it—hardly even flush the toilet with it! So we just had to let that water go down the drain into the holding tank.
16. BUT I TELL YOU, I REALLY WAS TOUGH ON'M NOT TO USE TOO MUCH WATER EVEN WASHING THE DISHES! In a small sink it doesn't take too much waster to wash a few dishes with a good soap, let out the dirty dishwater & refill the sink with nice, fresh, clean rinse water—cold of course, because you can't spare too much hot water. You rinse your dishes in this fresh cold water, & then set them out in the drainer on the drainboard to dry themselves. Don't bother drying dishes with dishtowels! It's a waste of time & dishtowels, & it's not even sanitary. It's far better to have your dishes drip-dry also.
17. THROUGHOUT A GOOD DEAL OF EUROPE you'll find a drain rack in the dish cupboard above the sink! So you simply take each one as you rinse it & put it in this rack on edge, & it drips dry right over the sink! The cupboard has no bottom‚ just a wire or wooden rack, so the water simply drains right back into the sink. This is a very clever idea‚ & I'm amazed the Americans never thought of it, because I've never seen anything like that in the United States.
18. IF YOU HAVE SUCH A CUPBOARD ABOVE THE SINK IN YOUR TRAILER, you could take the bottom out of it & build or fit a rack under it in the bottom of it, so you could put your dishes up there as you rinse them & let them drip-dry into the sink, & they'll always be sanitary, dried naturally by the fresh air, & ready to use again. Otherwise most of the trailer sinks have a little drain-board right beside them where you can set your drying rack & your dishes in it to drain & drip-dry as you rinse them. Leave them there until they're thoroughly aired & dried, then put them back in the cupboard.—or wash'm in the sea!