One question I get surprisingly often is “How do you wash your clothes on a ship”?
Well, I am here to tell you, that we have magical machines onboard…
You guessed it, they’re called washing machines! Ok, enough of the sarcasm.
Depending on the size of the ship you can have anything from 2 to 7 laundry rooms that contain about 8 washing machines and 8 dryers. Now, whilst this sounds like a lot, when you take into account the number of crew members who have to wash their stuff, it isn’t that many.
So, it is imperative that you pick your washing times wisely so you don’t get stuck in the “washing wait”. This is where you have to stand in the laundry room from anywhere up to an hour waiting for a machine to be free. I always wash my stuff in the mornings. This is when they are the quietest, but it varies from ship to ship.
On every ship, there will be the option to pay to have your stuff washed, but with a standard wash being anywhere from $10, it soon adds up. But, if you don’t want to spend your time off doing the washing, then you can do this.
Sometimes it can be a very frustrating task. As I said, you can wait for up to an hour for a machine, and then when you come to pick your stuff up thinking it’s been washed, you can find that someone has taken it out mid-cycle and left it on the side. This is very rare, but unfortunately, there are some very selfish people out there. Other times you can have a great washing experience. You can walk into the laundry room to find all the machines free and ready to use so no waiting, and as soon as it is washed, you can bung it straight into the dryer.
Now, ironing. My first day on my first ship I ironed my tunic as it was creased to death after travelling 24 hours in a case, and I burned an iron print into the front of the tunic. I then had to go to work crease free but with a bloody black iron mark in the middle of my chest. Needless to say, I had to throw it away.
Because the irons are used so much and not replaced often, they can be dodgy, so before you put the iron on your clothes try it on the corner or the ironing board.
I would recommend using a netted bag to wash your underwear in because if you are not able to get back to the laundry room by the time your wash has finished, other people will take your stuff out the machine and put it in a dryer so they can use the washing machine. To save them getting a close look at all your underwear and to keep it all together, put it in a bag. This will also protect it.
I always put the dryer on a delicate cycle because in the past I have taken my things out to find they would now fit my Barbie doll! As soon as the drying cycle has finished and your clothes are completely dry, whilst they are still hot, hang them up on a hanger to finish drying. This way you can avoid ironing them as they will dry crease free.
Always test the iron on a piece of material first to make sure it works properly and is not too hot for the fabric. Iron your clothes inside out so if the iron does have a meltdown, hopefully, you won’t see the mess it makes when your clothing is the right way round.
I hope these little tips help when it comes to you doing laundry on a ship.