Let's talk about...laundry?

After my tribute post to my darling daughter I’ve been having a hard time coming up with something to write about. Rather than search for something profound or even remotely interesting I’m just going to write about laundry. Or more correctly, I’m going to write about my laundry problem. Perhaps I have mentioned before that I am a little obsessive compulsive when it comes to laundry. Can you be a little obsessive compulsive? No, I suppose you can’t be. Anyway, it isn’t that I require my shirts to be washed on the sanitary cycle or heck even my underwear (the sanitary cycle takes like an hour and 40 minutes and that would severely cut into my ability to finish the chore), but I do have to finish my laundry on Sunday. There is some slack in when the laundry is started. If I know Sunday will be a busy day, I will occasionally start a load of laundry on Saturday evening, but otherwise it starts and finishes on Sunday. There is something about having a laundry day that just appeals to me. Ever since I’ve lived on my own I have done laundry on a set day of the week. Going to bed Sunday night, knowing that all of my clothes are clean and ready for the week just feels good. This likely stemmed from the fact that I used to only have enough clothes to last me through one week, so that was about as long as I could put it off. Eventually it became a habit.

Now that there are two kids in our house, the weekly laundry has grown from 3-4 loads to 6-7 loads, 8 if someone barfs/poops/pees on clothing/bedding/towels (and mid-week laundry exceptions are sometimes made when the aforementioned bodily fluids make their way onto washable fabrics). I don’t claim to be a laundry genius, but I hold my own. I’m a whiz with the shout gel stick, and have an eagle eye at spotting stains that need to be slathered with it before the wash cycle. However, I’ve been a little lax lately about pre-treating stains the same day they were incurred. This means that sometimes The Girl’s ultra sloppy tendencies come back to bite me in the behind. The Boy can be sloppy too, but for some reason his clothes usually manage to emerge from the washing machine stain free. Not so for The Girl’s clothing. In the past two weeks we have suffered the untimely demise of five of her shirts. Three of her lost shirts were from Target, ranging in price from $3.99 to $4.99, so no huge loss. One was a hand-me-down shirt from a good local friend of mine…an Old Navy shirt, that I’m afraid won’t live to be handed down again, and finally there is the ultra cute shirt I actually paid a fair amount of money for at Nordstroms. It has a cute butterfly on it, and it matches a great pair of leggings. Ah well, she can still wear it I guess, it just won’t look nice anymore.

If you have any stain fighting tips I’m all ears. The 5 shirts have not yet been dried, so technically the stains aren’t “set,” but I fear that I have already exhausted my hopes. I have however washed all of them with a wide variety of pre-treaters, soaked them in a bucket full of water and Oxy Clean for several hours, sprayed them with pre-treater for “set in” stains, and rubbed powdered Oxy clean on top of the pre-treater, let them sit like that overnight, and rewashed them. All to no avail, the shirts still have big blotches of dirt/food/whatever all over them. I am considering the unthinkable of just soaking them in water and regular chlorine bleach and living with the color changes that ensue. At least if they are bleached they won’t look blotchy right? If that doesn’t work, at least she has a great stash of back up clothes for daycare (when she spills more food/dirt/whatever on herself).

I'm open to any ideas you might have.


Christine said...

I haven't any suggestions as far as stain removal is concerned, but I will say that it seems like I do two loads of laundry AT LEAST everyday and I still have a mountain in the laundry room. Maybe I need to learn from you and institute more of a routine. I'm impressed with your organization!

Leslie said...

I know exactly what you mean about the 1 hr 40 min baby wash sanitary cycle with steam! Sometimes it's necessary but jeez who has that kind of time?!

My husband presents many laundry challenges with his race car/airplane hobbies. I use Griot's Interior Cleaner for stains that I cannot identify or for oil-based stains. It's meant to keep the interiors of fine German cars immaculate (and does great at that) but it is a great laundry aid too. I removed SET IN motor oil from by BFF's gauzy cotton embroidered shirt. It's amazing stuff: http://www.griotsgarage.com/catalog.jsp?&SKU=11104