Laundry in a Pasta Pot

I’ve traveled enough to know the value of less. And for this post specifically, I’m talking about less stuff. When you’re living out of a bag, there’s really no sense lugging along more than you absolutely need. And trust me, you always need less than you think you do.

When I thru-hiked the Oregon Coast Trail, I brought two pairs each of underwear and socks. Grand total of two t-shirts and one pair of pants. But that’s backpacking, where you always want to keep things as light as possible.

On this trip to Mexico, I’m not concerned about my pack’s weight. And since I refuse to check luggage, everything I brought needed to fit in a carry-on. Any excess was limited from the get-go. Still, I have more than usual. Like, three pairs of underwear instead.

Anyhow, I wasn’t sure about access to laundry services and, unlike my thru-hike, I give a damn about how I smell. Once, while traveling in Portugal, a woman in Lisbon told me she liked Americans “because they don’t forget to pack some soap.” Cheers to that.

But laundry services are a hassle, and overkill considering my small pile of things needing a good wash. So I’m doing all my wash by hand. Happy to do it even.

This trip is the first time I’ve opted to use the same pots for cooking as I do for cleaning. I find it novel, kind of humorous, even. So maybe you will too. Or maybe you need a lesson in how to keep your funky ass drawers clean. Either way, I did this for you.

Here’s what I recommend when you have limited access to laundry services but a pasta pot, some soap (any kind will do), and some clean water at your disposal:

First, gather up your pile of nasty.


Place your pot somewhere that will allow for spillage.


Heat up some water.


Add some cold water and dish soap to the pasta pot. Fill it half-full (with water, duh).


Toss in a few articles of clothing. Don’t overfill.


Agitate the hell out of your funky clothes in the pot of soapy water. Like for a minute or two.


Remove the soapy clothes from the pot. Place them to the side.


Dump the dirty water.


Rinse the leftover funk (don’t skip this step).

Return soapy clothes to the pot as you refill it half-way with cold water.


Add some of the hot water that’s been cooking on the stove.


Again, agitate the shit out of the clothes. You want the soap rinsed completely, don’t you?


Remove and wring out as best you can. Use two hands.


Now lay out a dry/clean bath towel nice and flat. Have your wet clothes nearby.


Lay out your wet clothes on the towel without overlapping them.


Carefully roll the towel and clothes into a nice and tight burrito.


Place the burrito on the floor and stand on it, moving back and forth until you’ve crushed the hell out of the roll, absorbing excess water.

Unroll the burrito completely.

Hang up your wet clothes near an open window. Crank a fan on them if you’ve got one.


Now go clean that pot, because you might have pasta tonight.


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