by Deb Bennett
At the risk of sounding like I have leapt into my time machine and whizzed back to the 1950s, I’d like to discuss an issue that is the bane of many working women’s lives – the weekly washing.
Most of my friends are horrified that I still do all of the washing in our house. Yes I know that if children can operate a TV remote they can turn on a washing machine. And, yes, some men may even be capable of navigating those confounded buttons, but in my house the laundry remains the domain of the oldest grown-up female.
And, to be completely honest, I actually like to retain control of the washing in our house. I know if left to the family we would all wear shredded tissues like confetti throughout the week, bucketloads of water would be devoted to three pairs of undies, jumpers Nan knitted would end up in the dryer and – sin of all laundry sins – colours would be mixed with whites.
Yes, I am a tad anal about washing clothes. But my obsession has led to a system of washing, drying and ironing that I think is pretty damn efficient.
So here are my golden rules of the laundry.
- Separate: This is not just the whites from the coloureds but the really dirty from the everyday dirty. If you have recently binge-weeded the garden or your partner has decided to take up digging holes, soak those caked-in-dirt-clothes in a bucket of nappy wash overnight.
- Delicates: Most modern machines have a cycle that won’t destroy even the most fragile clothes – I can’t remember the last time I actually hand washed anything and so far I haven’t fatally wounded any clothes. Set all ‘hand-wash-only’ clothes aside for the gentle cycle.
- Dryer: In winter, anything that can go in the dryer should. Not only does this ensure clothes don’t hang forgotten on a washing line for days, if you take them out of the dryer soon after it’s finished, you won’t need to iron. Even on those lovely, hot windy days, I never hang undies or socks on the line.
- Ironing: I might be one of the few people left in the modern world who irons, but I can’t stand the thought of crumpled clothes hanging in wardrobes. Business shirts and some t-shirts actually need to be ironed. My method is to iron straight from the machine when still wet and hang on a coat hanger in a doorway. If you iron in the evening, clothes will usually be dry and ready to put away the next day.
- Clothes horse: Positioned strategically over a heating vent, ideal for the woollens that can’t be tumble dried. Cover with a bed sheet to ensure clothes dry twice as fast.
- TV: It is essential when ironing to watch crappy TV. This way you are actually multi-tasking and not feeling at all guilty about yelling at Taylor as she advises Hope to repeat all the mistakes she made with Ridge while at the same time sleeping with Ridge’s father who is Hope’s grandfather.
And if all this seems like way too much hard work, you can always try this handy hint.
Mix a capful (10 mil) of lavender oil with one litre of water in a spray bottle. Set on fine mist spray. If the kids (or you) look a bit crinkled as you head out the door, give them a quick spray and wrinkles will fall away in seconds. Now if only it worked on skin!