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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bleach - A Costa Rican's Best Friend

Here in Atenas, we have been experiencing the October green season for about the last two weeks. Rain and lots of it - torrential at times - and for most of the days. My tomatoes are kaput I think but I'll just start new ones in a couple of weeks.

Doing laundry was a challenge. I have a washer, but no dryer. Because of the cost of electricity, not many people have dryers. Why bother when most of the time you can use the power of sun and wind to quickly dry clothes. The spinner on my washer really removes a lot of the rinse water.

I would hold off doing a wash until it looked like the day might give me an hour or so in the morning when I could hang clothes on the line. But they never really dried fully and so I would resort to this:

This worked not too bad. We have an area at one side of the house where a few wash lines are set up and protected under the very wide eaves but the damp air prevents much drying.

When I do washing, I always use bleach as it kills mould spores as does using cold water. We also keep a spray bottle filled with a diluted bleach mixture to use when cleaning the shower.

Got a bit of a shock the other day when I was going through clothing hanging in the closet - pulled out two suit jackets (one mine, one Lance's) and they had mould on them. We couldn't save Lance's so out it went. Mine wasn't as bad so I hung it outside and brushed the mould off. Then I let it hang in the sun and wind to kill the spores. Before sealing it up in a plastic storage bag, I'll go over the jacket with white vinegar. This closet has air vents to the outside but we still have to check our clothes frequently - live and learn.

Also discovered mould on some stored briefcases and purses. Cleaned them up and they are now in sealed storage bags - the kind you suck the air out of. We also need to get some products called Damp Rid and Dry Out for the closets and storage areas.

This is all part of living in the tropics - once you learn what to do, there is no problem. I would say it beats shovelling snow any day. Besides, the weather has been fabulous the last few days so I've done all my laundry and every bit of it is dry!


Sabra said...

Thanks for this post! It's great to hear about "real life" so we are prepared for our eventual move. Good stuff to think about.

Dan and Lisle said...

Damp rid is great - but you are best to set up a 'dry room' - doesn't need to be big - you can get mini dehumidifier for about $70 (size of a shoe box)to keep sensitive stuff in - - worth the investment

Also some stuff called concrobium that kills the mould - is expensive - not sure if it works on clothes but good for surfaces - the ticos use Pledge on everything to get rid of the mould.

Diana said...

Sabra: I am very happy to hear you are enjoying reading about our adventures. We've learned that trading information and making contacts is the magic formula for figuring things out when moving to a new country. So I'm glad we can help. When do you plan to move?

Dan and Lisle: So that's why there was a can of Pledge in the cupboard when we moved in!! I'll start using it on the wood furniture. We really like the idea of having a dry room and we're going to look for the mini dehumidifier. I threw out a perfectly good belt the other day because it was covered in mould, and yet the belt next to it was untouched. I'll look for concrobium. Thanks very much for your helpful suggestions.