Posts Tagged ‘delicate cycle’

Hot Hot Heat

June 1, 2011

Outdoors the temperature is creeping toward 90 degrees. In the laundry room I’m preparing to wash a load of cotton sweaters (delicate cycle-cold water). They look to be the last sweaters of the season, but nothing is certain. I wore them last week when the temperature hovered below 60. Today I’m sweltering in shorts and a T-shirt.

It’s disconcerting when the laundry is out of sync with the weather to such an extent. Best to do it all and be prepared. So, along with the sweaters in the delicate cycle I’ll toss in a couple of sleeveless tops.

Who knows what we’ll be wearing next week?

Laundry Day #11

February 26, 2011


Shirts: 4
Sweaters: 6

Temperature: Cold

Cost: $1.75

What have we learned?

It’s 7 a.m. on a cold, rainy day and I am the first person in the laundry room. This is notable not because I’m the first person in the laundry room (that happens often) nor because it’s a cold, rainy day (there are plenty of those); it is notable because it’s 7 a.m. I am rarely awake at 7 a.m., let alone vertical, bathed, dressed and doing laundry. Yet here I am, beginning my day by crossing one item off my to-do list. One item of many.

On a day such as this, when I’m expecting the rain to turn to snow as soon as the temperature drops a degree or two, I would love to be laundering sheets and towels. A nice, long, hot water wash would be just the thing. But it’s the hand wash that needs doing. The sweaters are bulky and they take up too much room in the hamper.

So on this cold, gray day, I’m washing in cold water.

Sometimes we do what we need to do instead of what we want to do.

Laundry Day #7

April 19, 2010


Pants: 1
Shirts: 10
Shorts: 1

Temperature: Cold

Cost: $1.75

What have we learned?

Today is National Hanging Out Day. To celebrate I washed a Cold Delicate load and hung it “out” to dry on the drying rack in my bathtub. Living in an apartment, I don’t actually have an “out” in which to hang my laundry. I do what I can.

“For many people, hanging out clothes is therapeutic work. It is the only time during the week that some folks can slow down to feel the wind and listen to the birds,” says Project Laundry List on its website.

For me, every aspect of the laundry process is therapeutic in some way (in case you haven’t noticed), but I appreciate PLL’s perspective on this as well as its advocacy for the use of clotheslines as a way to reduce energy consumption.

Laundry makes a statement.

Laundry Day #5

March 23, 2010


Sheets: 2
Pillowcases: 4
Towels: 5
Dishtowels: 4
Bathroom rug: 1
Shirts: 5
Sweaters: 9
Underwear: 15

Temperature: Hot/Cold

Cost: $8.00

What have we learned?

It’s the first day of spring—or at least it was when this laundry day occurred. (There’s a bit of a time lag on this blog sometimes.) While I don’t always suck it up for bona fide spring cleaning in March, I do take the opportunity to do a little extra laundry. So, on this day, it was three loads and it included the dishtowels and the bathroom rug.

I don’t wash the bathroom rug nearly as often as I should, and I save the dishtowels until I collect a few of them to make up a load. On this day, to celebrate the new season, I popped them all into a cold wash together.

The sweaters, which went into a cold delicate cycle, might be making their last appearance on the laundry list for a while. I’m hopeful that the winter weather is behind us and that the days will become progressively brighter and warmer.

The first laundry day of spring is symbolic that way. It signals an impending change for the better. Washing away the dust of the past lets us approach the future feeling clean and organized, eager and uplifted.

Laundry gives us the chance for a fresh start.

Read Your Care Labels

February 26, 2010

Even if you use the delicate cycle, you can still ruin things that aren’t supposed to be washed.

Today I shrunk (Shrank? Shrunk!) a gray velour sweater that very clearly, kindly bore a “Dry Clean Only” label for my edification—if only I had taken the time to check it. It wasn’t a new sweater. I’ve had it for years and I haven’t worn it in ages, which could be why I “forgot” (giving myself the benefit of the doubt here) that it wasn’t supposed to go into the washing machine. After all, I must have known (past tense) that the sweater needed to be dry-cleaned. It wouldn’t have lasted this long otherwise. Now it’s a lovely, steely gray mini-sweater fit for I don’t know what.

I’ve never been much of a rule breaker. The trouble with rule breaking is everyone thinks he or she can do it. And when we praise rule breakers I believe we simply encourage people to behave in ways that are ultimately inconsiderate, self-serving, reckless or even dangerous. (I just began a sentence with “And.” This is me breaking the rules.)

Certainly there is a sense of exhilaration that accompanies breaking the rules. In that moment—a moment that can last an awfully long time in some cases—one could feel that he was the cleverest person alive. “As clever as clever!” as A.A. Milne wrote in a poem about turning six.

How clever to outsmart everyone! How deft and daring to refuse to play by the rules set down for ordinary people! For the rule breaker is not ordinary; the rule breaker is special. Ask Bernard Madoff how special.

I realized there were just as many wrong things that could be done in the world as right things, perhaps even more. Because when you first begin to work out all the wrong things you could do, you somehow become more inventive….” This is from The Half Brother by Lars Saabye Christensen. The character who has this revelation is a little boy, and all he wants is to do the one wrong thing that will get him thrown out of dancing school. His mind races with possibilities.

Far be it from me to advocate the stifling of unconventional thought. (I’m writing a blog based on laundry for goodness sake.) Yet I maintain that, like fabric care labels, rules have a purpose—to keep us safe, to keep us civil, to make us better. Ignoring them could get you thrown out of dancing school, could get you thrown in jail…or could just shrink your sweater.