I’ve decided to create a laundry primer. It has come to my attention that there is confusion in my family over what dirty clothes look like. I find clean laundry balled up in a a tangled mess of arms and pant legs, tossed back into the hamper beneath wet towels (so now they are dirty). Other times, I have to sneak into the room and search for that shirt I know they are saving.
I know the differences between clean, rewearable, and time-to-wash can be subtle. But most of the time? It’s like, “Seriously, family, what are you thinking?”
So, with this in mind, here are the basics on how to know if the item should be washed or (gasp!) put away. This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start.
If you have worn it for a day – it’s dirty.
If you have worn it for more than five hours while out and about – it’s dirty.
If you have worn it for serious cleaning or exercise, no matter how long – it’s dirty.
If you have worn it for five hours while sitting around – it’s good for another wearing.
If it was placed on your bed, folded, with the request to put it away, and it landed on the floor when you finally went to sleep – it’s clean.
If you tried it on and changed your mind – it’s clean.
If it came out of the laundry with a permanent stain – yes, it’s clean. Wear it for sleeping or dirty work.
If it was freshly folded and still warm from the dryer, but the cat laid on it when the laundress’ back was turned and it is now covered in white fur – it’s dirty.
If you have worn it for 72 hours straight and it has chocolate milk and other assorted food evidence on it – it’s dirty (yes, Dimitri, I am speaking to you).
In fact, if it has anything on it that is not part of the original design – it’s dirty. No, you cannot get one more wearing out of it.
That’s it. Simple, right? No reason to sweat (but if you do, toss that shirt into the laundry). I could take this as a springboard for instructions on how to use the washing machine, but that might be a bit much. To quote the late, great Erma Bombeck, “The Good Fairy will take it from there.”