Not everything goes smoothly along the travellin’ road. Today’s backpacking blunder was brought to you by – wait for it – fabric softener!

I’ve been floating around the hostels and hotels of Toronto for the past week and today I checked into my third place of accommodation since arriving here. I find the constant moving around to be a good way of keeping things fresh and seeing different parts of the city.

One of my first priorities was to wash my clothes. It’s not at all a task I would ‘prioritise’ if I was at home, but when you’re living out of a backpack this seemingly simple feat becomes quite a logistical challenge. It’s difficult enough keeping clean & dirty clothes separate in your bag on non-laundry days, let alone finding the space in the cramped dorms to organise yourself on laundry day without waking sleeping roommates, all this time bearing in mind you’ll have to share the laundry with scores of other travellers who all want to use the limited washing & drying resources at the same time.

I was in luck today though – the laundry was deserted & out of use aside from one dryer half-way through a spin. I paid my $5, loaded the washer, scooped in the detergent, poured some fabric softener into the little compartment, set the cycle and went on my merry way.

Half an hour later I returned to find almost every item of clothing I’d washed was now completely royally fucked!

They had a series of awful, discoloured blotches & stains all over them. This had never before happened in all the years I’d been washing my clothes. What the hell, washing machine? (Yes I actually asked that question out loud to the unruly device in front of me that had just seemingly destroyed a couple of hundred dollars worth of garments, including my favourite expensive trousers I’d bought specifically for my Canadian venture as well as the best most comfortable jumper I’ve ever owned)


Bleach Stain Pile


It turns out I’d used bleach instead of fabric softener. Hey, the damn bottle was written half in French and called Springtime Fibre Sure: tough on stains, soft on fabrics!

(or in other words: I’m clearly a typical male who has no idea what to do in the laundry)

The internet suggested I should fix the bleach stains with some rubbing alcohol, but this had no positive effect whatsoever. Now if this had happened back at home it would have been a lot easier to shrug off but here I am on the other side of the world trying to save money / find a house / land a job and now I have to buy a new wardrobe… ugh.

But until I do, at least my backpack will be a bit lighter 🙂

Have you ever had a laundry disaster or wardrobe malfunction while you’ve been travelling? Let me know in the comments below if so, and also feel free to subscribe to my blog (in the sidebar to the right) for all the latest updates!