Eco-friendly laundry day

A day for drying laundry in the sunshine
Although electric dryers are sneaking their way into more homes in Costa Rica (especially this year with the non-stop rainy season and the influx of more gringos who consider dryers a necessity, like refrigerators), most ticos still dry their wash outside in the sunshine and fresh air.  You can see freshly scrubbed (often by hand) laundry draped over fences, hung in trees, suspended on clotheslines or, as in the case of the photo above, neatly spread out on the ground.  Many homes have interior drying areas with a rack and pulley system for the wet clothes.  You hang the clothes on the rack and then raise it close to the ceiling where there is a skylight.  In the morning sun and warmth, the clothes get a start on drying.  Hopefully, they will dry before they start to get a musty odor and need to be re-washed.
I saw a feature on TV not long ago that tracked the route of a woman’s shirt with some spots on the front from the time it was placed in a donation box in the US, put up for sale on a rack in a non-profit resale store, boxed up and sold to a company dealing in used clothing when it went unsold, sorted at the company and saved from the rag pile, baled, shipped to Costa Rica, purchased by a ropa (used clothing) distributor and offered for sale in a ropa.  Here it was purchased by a woman on a very tight budget.  She lovingly hand scrubbed the shirt and proudly wore it – the spots were gone and the shirt was like new.  (Does this say anything about the “disposable” society in which so many live?)  I always marvel at how white T shirts are in Costa Rica.  There must be some secret of which I’m not aware that keeps colors bright and whites white.  What is it?


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