The Ghana Files: Doing the laundry, Ghana style!

Step 1: Gather all of your dirty clothes. Take a moment and really decide what you need to wash, because you will soon be bent over a bucket vigorously scrubbing each individual item.

Step 2: If you are unskilled like me, you should probably change into clothes you don’t mind getting soapy and wet.

Step 3: Find two large buckets, and fill them with water. Again, if you are unskilled like me you should do this in a place where you don’t mind spilling water all over the floor!

Step 4: Sort your clothing into whites, “clays”, bights and darks.

Step 5: If you have the time and the foresight, you can pour some detergent into one of the buckets and let your whites soak there for a while.  Otherwise, starting with your whites, turn your clothes inside out and dunk them into one of the buckets.

Step 6: Grab a bar of solid detergent. We’re going to start with the “tough spots.” These are the spots where you sweat the most (which if you’re like me and sweat like a disgusting beast, is everywhere) namely the neck, armpits and waistband. With pants and pant-like items, you are also going to focus on the “bottom” as my roommate so politely refers to it. (If you aren’t catching my drift here, I’m talking about the crotch.)

Step 7: Rub the bar of detergent onto the “tough spot.” Holding the clothing item in one hand, you are going to use the other hand to vigorously rub the tough spot onto the palm of your holding hand. My roommate calls this “erasing.” Do this for much longer than you think you need to, or your clothes are going to continue to smell like sweat.

Step 8: Dunk your clothing item back into the bucket and swish it around. Pull it out again and rub the fabric against itself for a while. If there are any stains on the item, use the “erasing” technique to get them out.

Step 9: Wring out your item as much as you can, being careful not to stretch it out.

Step 10: Dunk it into the second bucket, which is full of clean rinsing water. Swish it around a bit to remove any leftover detergent. If you do not get the detergent out completely, you are going to be an itchy-rash-covered mess.

Step 11: Wring your item out again, getting it as dry as possible.

Step 12: Hang your items out on the clothesline. They should stay out there long enough to dry completely, but not so long that they are bleached out by the sun.

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