Since I don't want to have to do laundry on the ship unless I have to (I mean, in the machines), I picked up these-- Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets. I figured if I can at least wash underwear and maybe a shirt or 2, it would be better than wasting the time (and $3/load) to use the machines on the ship. And since I didn't want to wait until we were on the ship to find out if they work, I tried them last night.
I wanted to test on something that is actually going on the ship with us--a pair of my 4 year old's underwear (and he's still in the "I hate to wipe my butt" stage...so...*cough*), a pair of my underwear, and a shirt of mine that I plan to take with us.
The underwear I dug out of the hamper (I know, gross, but I didn't want it to be fresh out of the washer, ya know), and the shirt is the one I wore yesterday.
I filled up the sink in our bathroom with lukewarm water (I wash in the machine on cold, but didn't want my poor hands submersed in cold water the entire time), and cracked open the container for the soap. Now if you clicked the link, you see how cute the little orange plastic container is. You will also see that the soap looks white, or maybe slightly tinted blue (depending on your screen, I suppose). I'll tell you right now that it is blue. Baby blue, but definitely blue. It has a slight fragrance, kind of a masculine smell (not flowery, but like soap. Hard to explain the smell). The soap "sheets" are pretty much just slivers of soap. Shaved soap? Thin sheets of bar soap is what I figure it is.
In the lukewarm water, the sheets (I used 2) broke up into chunks, then dissolved pretty quickly. I'd say that the warmer the water, the better/faster it will dissolve. No bubbles, but I use a powdered laundry detergent (Charlie's) that doesn't bubble at all either, so bubbles don't = clean to me.
I swished my son's underwear around in it 1st, since that was the worst of the things I was washing (like I said, hates to wipe...). Scrubbed it a little against itself. Like any handwashing I suppose. It came clean pretty much instantly. I wrung (wrang? wringed? whatever) the water out and set it aside. I did my underwear and shirt next. Wrung both out and let the water out. Water was cloudy from the soap, and didn't look any different after washing. Filled the sink with cold water to rinse. I don't know if you really need to rinse, but my son has eczema, so I didn't want to take any chances that it would irritate his skin.
I hung everything to dry. Pointless to run the dryer for 3 things, and I figure if I am going to be hanging things to dry on the ship, it would be nice to see how stiff the laundry dries.
This morning everything was dry. I smelled everything and everything smells like...well, like nothing. No scent of detergent, just clean smelling. It all felt a little stiff, like most laundry does when you hang dry inside, but with a little but of shaking of the shirt, it feels softer, and the underwear I crumpled into a ball, and it feels soft as well.
All in all, I can say that I have no qualms about using this on vacation to wash out minimally dirty things--underwear, shirts, etc. I wouldn't use it on pants, or any large or heavy items. Mainly because you would need to use more then 2 sheets, and it would take forever to dry. Also, I wouldn't use on something that is heavily soiled. It might work, but honestly, if you are coated in mud, soot, etc., you should just throw your clothes in the washer. No one wants to wash muddy clothes in a sink.
So, good for small things, for quick "I only packed 2 pairs of underwear for a week" situations, but you probably wouldn't want to do an entire week's worth of laundry with them.