Make Laundry Fun



Who says Laundry can be Fun?  Believe it or not, some people do enjoy doing laundry. My Mom is one of those people, and she will wear out a washer.  Not Me. I consider it a chore to do laundry. The sorting, pre-washing and folding once the wash cycle is complete, is not something to run home to do. Yet, we have to wear clean clothes, sleep on clean sheets and get rid of all the dirties surrounding us. The first reference to washing had come from the Sumerians from the period of 2,800 years BC. In the beginning, laundry was done by literally slapping the clothing against rocks in the river. The soap was made from ash, wood, grains, and herbs. The metal washboard, which many people associate with pioneer life, wasn't invented until about 1833. 

In my Mother's Caribbean youth, laundry was done as a community where Grandmas, Sisters & Aunties met at the river. They washed clothes, gossiped, taught the children to swim and enjoyed the day. It became a Fun excursion for the children.  James King in 1851 created the first washing machine using a drum.  Hamilton Smith in 1858 patented a rotary version, and in 1868 Thomas Bradford, a British inventor, created a commercially successful machine that resembles what we have today.  According to what I read. . the average family in the United States does 8 to 10 loads of laundry per week, and the majority uses a drying machine. Only 21.2% of families use a clothesline to dry their garments.  

Here are three laundry myths:

1.  A washer Cleans itself:  Nah. . .your machine clean the clothes but it needs an occasional cleaning too. Dirt, detergent residue and hard water residues build up over time.

2.  Bleach Removes Color:  Many, but not all colors are damaged by bleach. You need to test your garment to see if the color can stand up to chlorine.

3.  Clothes cannot get clean in cold water:  More and more detergents have ingredients that clean very well in cold. Therefore washing with cold water can be a money & energy saver.

All the new ready to wear garments come with a care label that you should look for before you spend your cash. Not every item is washable & there are some fabrics that are dry clean only. If you prefer to pay for dry cleaning, then don't bother to look for the care label. I prefer machine wash fabrics because I am not a fan of hand washing. Therefore, I do want my clothing to be a 'machine wash and tumble dry kind of fabric'.

Look for garment care labels in the side seam, back or neck of clothing.

Wash, Dry, Fold and Repeat. It all sounds easy until you have a stain that your trusty washer did not get out. Not all stains can be removed, and the longer a stain is left untreated, the less likely it is to be removed.  According to The Spruce. . ."the OxiClean Max Force Laundry Stain Remover works on grass, blood, and dried-on stains and can be applied as a pre-treatment up to a week before you wash."  It's all about trial and error and there are many homemade treatments on the web. Do what works for you.

If you've been filling up the bottle's cap in order to measure out the right amount of detergent, you've been living a lie. More soap does not, in fact, mean cleaner clothes. In 2010, The Wall Street Journal called out the epidemic of over-pourers, warning us that the excess detergent makes a "high foamy tide inside the machine, lifting soil and lint above the water level so it isn't rinsed away."  How much is enough? Jolie Kerr, Author of A Clean Person. . recommends filling the cap no more than one third to one half of the way -- and the half-way mark is really better for "heavily" soiled items. (There's usually a fine line within the cap that indicates this point, but it's usually so faint it's tough to tell.) Or just use pods.

Some of us also use too much Fabric Softener. This is my Sister for sure. Yes. . the whole house smells good and it does make everything nice and fluffy. But, more is not always better.  Softeners leave behind a coating on fabrics. Kerr also notes "that the liquid softeners can build up in the washing machine, which often leads to stains on clothes that don't react well to such products". If you aren't willing to give up super-softness, Kerr suggests adding a half cup to the laundry during the wash cycle, which also nicely deodorizes.

What are your tips to make laundry Fun?  Do tell. . .

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