I cannot wash that many items by hand every week.
February 22, 2012 9:23 AM Subscribe
Handwash Only?! How do I manage the increasing tendency for professional women's clothing to demand very special, labour intensive treatment?
Like many young people starting out, my washing facilities are the laundromat's industrial grade, rugged built, three temperature (hot, warm, cold) washers that look contemporary with the ones in Across the Universe; my bath tub and a very tiny apartment that's um... Japanese in its scale, if not location; and my friendly neighbourhood dry cleaner. However I am finding that an ever increasing quantity of the clothing I buy in emblazoned with "hand wash only" and "hang dry" or even more dreaded "dry flat". Many of these items even give stern instructions about ringing them out.
In the summer I sort of limp along by using my balcony as hanging space, and in all seasons I'm adept at the washer woman stomp dance in my bathtub (growing up poor has it's advantages). Winter is cold and wet here, and I lose the balcony as hang space by November and don't get it back until April. However, doing what is now a load and a half to two loads (not counting occasionally kindly doing a companion's athletic and wool items, because I have sucker written on my forehead) of laundry by hand is really, really labour intensive, fills the whole apartment with drippy gross laundry that can take a day and a half to dry even when patted and wrung until my arms ache, and resists cheating and ignoring the tags. Washing or drying this stuff by machine leads to burst seams and instant belly shirts being made of my business casual wear. Or if not that, looking like revenge of the lint monster, as it grabs a piece of everything it was washed with, even identical colours, and wears them like a nappy paean to texture unity.
Bras and tights needing hand washing I can sympathize with, but all the things for women seem to have stretch fabric, and from there, they demand I treat them like the heir to the fabric throne. My mother appears to have dealt with this by exclusively buying from her local big box store's boys' department, but that look leans to loose and casual. It's actually pretty hard for me to find women's clothing that is office friendly that doesn't need lots of love. Especially since I'm cheap (broke) and have really been enjoying buying Canadian manufactured stuff where I can, so I can't afford to test wash every item and throw 50% away.
So what's going on? Do modern, non-Vietnam era draft dodging washers have a faux hand wash setting? Are manufactures fucking with me as punishment for being a woman and a westerner who expects to own more than one change of clothing? Do I take these to the dry cleaner and assume that it's another secret adult expense or buy thirty lingerie bags, one for each shirt? Do I spend the $10 to tumble dry under no heat and hope for the best? Laundry costs a fortune, even for antique machines (or perhaps because of them, as I can easily spend $7 per normal load), and this problem is well past my ability to manage given that I'm not a full time housewife. I'm also noting that pants are getting more and more fussy by the year, and dread the day my work slacks and jeans announce hand washing (but not dry cleaning?!) too. Please hope me before I'm found in the parking lot behind my building trying to set a pile of wet laundry on fire.