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Saturday, June 4, 2011

When Your Laundry Has Special Needs

I miss the days when all my clothes went straight from the washer into the dryer.

In my 20s, the odds were good that everything I owned was either some manmade fabric that would serve as garments for the cockroaches that survived the nuclear blast that would take us all out of the picture or it was made of cotton and would get incrementally smaller with each washing/drying combination, eventually becoming bar clothes for toddlers.

But somewhere along the way, I learned that the dryer is not our friend.

I laugh, of course, and tell myself that the rough, air-dried terrycloth towels I use post-bath last longer, smell better having been dried out on the clothes line. People using their dryers! Why, I never heard of such foolishness! Don’t they know how bad that is for the fabric? That it causes shrinkage? That the wind and the sun can do the work for them?

Do they know how much money I’m saving not having that lousy dryer running all the time?

Honestly, though, without at least the suggestion of a breeze, the texture of those towels brings to mind burlap sacking, which makes me sad because from there my mind goes to burlap attire.

It’s a short trip in my head from one scenario to another, and in no time at all I am constructing burlap coverlets for the throw pillows and boiling vast pots of potatoes for dinner.

Somehow, rough clothes equals poverty.

Now, of course, I have sweaters that insist they be “hand washed”, which I suspect is a setting on the washer somewhere I’ve yet to discover. I have garments that insist on being laid “flat to dry”, which I believe is code for “over the back of a chair near the heater”. I’ve got two cashmere sweaters that I dare not eat in for fear of having to wash them. I’ve got slacks that are washed once every ten wearings or so simply because one never really knows, does one?, about slacks?

When did I become a slave to what my clothes want?

I’ve come to a sudden realization. If the tag on my clothes says "Do not machine wash or tumble dry", it means I will never, ever, wash it.

Great Scott. Think of the savings.

32 comments:

Drake Sigar said...

I just throw my clothes in the river and beat the dirt out with a stick. Don’t talk to me about these newfangled machines with their fancy coded hieroglyphics.

Audubon Ron said...

My washer and dryer look like those pickup trucks you see on TV driving around Libya. I have one setting. -> Whatever.

Pearl said...

Yeah, but it's a FANCY stick, right? I know you...

Susan in the Boonies said...

Laundering instructions bring out the rebel in me as well.

Dang, though! It sucks when they're right!!!

Sioux said...

"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means "No buy!"

Silliyak said...

Air dried towels also serve as a post shower/bath loofah!

Bossy Betty said...

I don't pamper my clothing, Missy. Once you do, they'll demand other things--like being hung up!

SherilinR said...

i hate high maintenance clothes. too much work.

Eva Gallant said...

I love Bossy Betty's comment! If the tag says dry clean only, I put it back on the rack. Although a clothing sales rep (wholesaler) once told me that manufacturers often put that label on their clothing to protect themselves from the people who wash everything in hot water on the "heavily soiled" setting of their washer and then throw everything in the dryer for hours. I don't know if that's true or not.

Dazee Dreamer said...

aaaaaacccccckkkkkk, how dareth you speak of laundry so early on my weekend.

I'm with some of your other commenters. Don't buy the clothes if they have too many do's and don't. Reminds me a bit of Romper Room. Do bee a do bee, don't be a don't bee. but I digress.

V. Furnas said...

I too hate complicated clothes. I have a hard enough time following directions with anything I prefer my way. With laundry that does mean simple is best.

Unknown Mami said...

My washer does have a "hand wash" setting. I keep trying to catch those hands in action, but they must be really fast because whenever I open the lid, the hands are nowhere to be seen.

powdergirl said...

Irene does our laundry(yeah, I know, bone-lazy). She hangs stuff up and lays stuff flat. She's been under the weather in a big way so I've had to pick up some of the sudsy slack. I suck at laundry in ways that would make a ten dollar hooker green with envy. Except sheets! I hang them on the deck, the smell Pearl, the smell...
And, anyone need a bunch of size 1 garments? I've shrunk a lot of stuff just lately.

Jerry said...

I cannot remember ever hand washing anything or laying anything flat to dry. It is just wrong.

Scoop said...

The one (and only) time my wife and I put clothes on a line the entire basket was full of spiders when we brought it in. As clothes line rookies we didn't think to shake any of it out... the horror... she still won't use any of the "Spider Towels" (it's been 8 years) ...what's the life span on those suckers?... I confess, my dryer doubles as an ironing machine also - just sayin' -

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I have an entire basket of things waiting to be hand-washed, which really is a setting on our washer. The basket has been sitting for almost a year. I WILL wash that stuff some day, and then probably give most of it away. Someone will turn it into rags.

Leenie said...

I just think we should all go naked and hose off in the car wash. But then we'd all have to move to the equator to keep from freezing and wear dark glasses so we wouldn't be recognized or traumatized. Oh, nevermind. Pass the detergent.

Macy said...

D'ye know I've been washing everything in the machine now for years. No disasters. None, not even on those "dry clean only / wash ever so gently by hand / dry flat cases.
Really bung it all in at 30 c. You can thank me later!

jenny_o said...

What I have discovered in my, lo, many years of doing laundry, is that the more I like a piece of clothing the more likely it is to shrink, run, disintegrate or otherwise fail, and the more I want something to wear out, the sturdier it gets every time it is washed. Really.

And I hate rough towels! Oh, what a burden to have sensitive skin :)

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I know exactly what you mean! I thank god for the weekend when I can wear my soft, faded, barely held together by good will, pair of jeans and a t-shirt which I can then just toss in the wash and do its thing. I never use the dryer. It's always outside hanging or inside on a rack. Dryers are terrible things and a ridiculous waste of money and energy.

I also wash certain "Dry clean only" items because, well, it's hard to really mess them up on a cold or mild warm wash if you don't put a really harsh spin cycle on them or a dryer near them. Or a man who just tosses everything in the "whites" wash and hopes for the best. Yikes!

The Elephant's Child said...

Our washer also has a hand wash setting. They are very, very slow hands though. That cycle takes 3 HOURS to complete. Huh? I could find a river, walk to it and bash things around much faster than that. Basically hand washing means no washing here.

Belle said...

Most of the time I buy clothes one size too big and wash and dry them and then they fit. If they don't shrink, I take in the side seams. I got sick of clothes shrinking on me, now shrinkage is my friend!

Happy Frog and I said...

I loved this post as I could relate to it so much! For years most of my wardrobe consisted lycra tops and denim jeans so that I could wash them easily and not have to worry about ironing them. Why can't they invent clothes that clean and iron themselves and then put themselves neatly away?

Gigi said...

Considering I just finished up the week's worth of laundry and actually IRONING some of it - I'm thinking I'm damn tired of my laundry taking over the majority of my weekend!

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! "Handwash Only" was always shorthand for "Wear once, then sit going mouldy in the bottom of the washing basket for six months 'til you thrown it away". I stopped buying them. I own a lot of drab cottons now. Arse. Indigo

That Janie Girl said...

Girl. You are definitely on the same page as me! WOOT!

River said...

Dryers cause shrinkage??
Add a little fabric softener to the final rinse to fluff up those burlap sacks, Pearl, then after they've line dried, toss them in the dryer for just 5-10 minutes to turn them back into soft fluffy towels.
Refuse to buy anyting that can't go in the machines. The hand wash setting is often labelled "delicates".

Tempo said...

There is a simple way to fix all your problems Pearl and Im very proud to say that I invented it all by myself...
Its inexpensive, simple and works every time, and this is what you do..
When you buy new clothes you bring them home and before you hang them up you snip off the little tags in the back... there, done!

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

I, too, am saving tons o money, because my dryer and my tradmill are the same machine.

Daisy said...

Clothes??? Just grow your hair longer.

Oilfield Trash said...

When I was married my clothes had a tag that said "give to wife". lol

Joshua said...

I have young kids. Anything with a "Dry Clean Only" label is stored in the basement. Anything with a "Dry Clean Only" label while clothes shopping leaves it on the rack.