The Laundry Rules for Rookies.
Being the Mother of rapidly growing Man-Cubs, I am trying my best to teach them certain life skills that may be useful once they leave the nest. For me, learning how to do Laundry is right up there with meal preparation, making one’s bed, dancing and holding your liquor. We all learn these things eventually with varying success, but it's so much better to perfect them while we're still young!
The best part about Laundry Rules is that they are universal. The basics are fairly easy to remember once you learn them, but learn them you must if you don’t want to wander the streets looking like you live on them with a dog on a string.
Here they are:
1. Don’t make a Laundry Mountain. Don’t throw your dirty clothes on the floor. It’s nasty and takes a lot more effort to gather them up and wash them again. Do yourself (and your wardrobe) a favor and get some good liquid detergent, a dirty clothes hamper and a laundry bag for transporting said dirty laundry. Please note: A garbage bag doesn’t count as a ”laundry bag.” You know this.
2. Empty your Pockets, Mate. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking pockets before you toss anything into the laundry basket. There are things in there you want and maybe even things you do not want me to see. Any money that gets left behind, I keep. I get my coffee money that way.
3. Sort and Separate. I know this seems like plain old common sense but the number of weirdly pink or not quite grey T-shirts I see on the daily leads me to believe that this is not a universally understood truth. Only in the laundry should segregation be the order of the day. Wash like with like; whites with whites, light colors with light colors and the darks with only darks. And whatever you do, don’t mix them up in the dryer either.
4. Read the Care Labels on your Clothing. Not all items of clothing are created equal. This is especially important for a new item of clothing you’ve never washed before.
5. More Soap doesn’t equal More Clean. Using too much laundry detergent is a rookie mistake. Do yourself a favor and read the directions on the bottle. Better yet, get a good laundry cup and you’ll never overdo it again.
6. The Washing Machine and the Dryer Have Two Separate Functions. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s worth noting that a ticket to the washing machine is not an automatic free ride in the Dryer. Wool should be air-dried. Also, quick dry synthetics like swimwear and those creepy nylon basketball shorts you love never go in the tumble dryer. For everything else, get some of those wool Dryer Balls (that’s what they’re called!) and dab them with a delicious laundry fragrance. Your clothes will smell like home and the girls will love it, too. Trust me.
7. Heat Sets Stains. If an item comes out of the washing machine with the stain still visible, tossing it into the tumble dryer will not improve the situation. Why? Because Heat sets a stain, making it much more difficult to remove later. Show that nasty stain who’s boss by pre-treating it with stain remover and leave it to soak it overnight.
8. Never Iron Over a Stain. First of all, I'm very impressed that you are attempting to iron in the first place. Still, it’s important to remember a lesson we just learned: Heat sets a stain! If you casually glide over a stain with your iron, you might as well throw it away because you have just lost any chance of getting that stain out, heat sets stains, remember?
9. Fold Clothes into the Basket. Don’t just dump the laundry out of the dryer into the ironing bag or basket. It may seem quick and easy but everything will end up with more wrinkles than Mother Teresa. Fold neatly while still warm. Thank me later.
10. Know When to Call in the Professionals. This is not an Open Invitation to stuff everything into a bag and drop it off at your Mother’s house. No. But there will be things that you aren’t quite sure how to launder properly. Then don’t. When in doubt, take it to the dry-cleaners and ask them to launder it for you. Or call your Mother. She knows everything.