A Not-So-Brief Note About Soap

I’m interrupting my discussion of cleaning things because I just have to tell you about soap. Humans make this cleaning thing so very hard on themselves! If one goes to a store and looks at the cleaning supplies there, is … Continue reading

How to Wash Clothing Without Magic

Humans wear clothing made by sewing woven fabrics of all different fibers and combinations and colors and textures and qualities it makes one’s head spin. In the Realms, one only need to go see a spinner wiggins to get a fantastic little shift made of spider silk or starlight, or any other magically conductive material, and with a mere thought and a few crushed leaves as a sacrifice, we can glamour just about any desired appearance or any kind of look we want. Well, we could. Of course, pixies such as me generally prefer being naked unless we are forced into polite company or are working undercover gathering information about a certain magical council which shall remain almost not mentioned, and I maintain this practice in my home. Or I did, until my nosy neighbor began trying to spy on me through my windows. Now, I wear a little dress or a robe when at home.

Anyway, these human clothes become dirty after a while. They get spattered with food or mud, spilled tea or anything else can happen, and just having a human body creates sweat and other excretions that dirty clothing by it being in contact with skin. (I will get into cleaning a human body later.) And eventually, clothing must be cleaned unless you wish to throw it away, but Flora is very stern about how wasteful this practice is, and so I have been repeatedly trying to learn enough about laundry to even begin to report on the subject. For as many kinds of clothing there is, it seems there are that many ways and tips and things for how to care for them. I am most perplexed.

And I won’t even get into the cleaning of “stains,” which are marks on the clothing that are hard or impossible to get out. (As a note from an earlier post, it turns out lipstick is definitely hard to remove from a shirt, and that explains my neighbor’s extreme reaction to having to clean it from her husband’s clothing.) Stains are such a large problem that there are even books – entire books – on stain removal. That is too much effort for me, so if you have a specific spot you cannot seem to get out, consult the Internet or one of those stain books. My poor little pixie mind is unable to grasp how much work can go into just getting rid of a stain. Why, it seems that a simple “Out damn spot,” spell ought to be able to fix everything (except blood stains, those never really come out no matter what magic is evoked).

Please keep in mind that this is one of the most needed and also most performed tasks in a household, particularly if children live within it, and is deceptively simple.


How to wash clothing:

You will need:

  • A clothes washer – This is a big machine that looks like a barrel inside and it’s job is to swish the clothing and laundry soap together and the clothes rub against one another to become clean, then it rinses out the soak and spins the clothing around to draw the water from them so the clothes can go into the dryer.
  • A clothes dryer – Another barrel-looking device. I cannot figure out how it works, but it involves heat and the clothes turning about in the heat to dry and there is a screen you must clean or else it gets… Oh I don’t understand.
  • Laundry soap – Please note that this is different than body soap, hand soap, floor soap, face soap, tooth soap, and it is definitely different than dish soap. I keep reading about some kind of castile (or something) soap that can do all of these things and more, but I have yet to try it.
  • Laundry softener – Also labeled fabric softener. It comes in liquid and sheets, but don’t get their application confused. The liquid softener goes into the washing machine when it is on “rinse”, and it does not go into the dryer like “dryer sheets” do. Ugh, this is all so confusing!
  • Dirty clothing – if it is not dirty, you can wait to read this post.
  • A laundry basket – Holds clean clothing so you can put it away.
  • A mop (optional) – In case you mix up the soaps and the machine overflows with bubbles. Not that this necessarily happened to me.

First, the laundry must be sorted into types. Flora, the queen of perfect clothing, prefers to sort into colors because if you wash a light-colored something with a dark something then the light colored thing will get stained with the dark colored thing. The dark colors are washed in the coldest water, then the lights can be washed in warm water.

But, I have also read to separate by fabric softness. Softer stuff is more easily torn, so it should not be mixed with harsher materials. Like the “blue jeans” I have a pair of. They a quite rugged, and would probably chafe any of my nice silky dresses. Also, I have read that everything but bed coverings and towels can be washed in cold water.

Because I am feeling petty toward Flora, my dear sister, I am going to advise to sort by fabric.

Softer, delicate fabrics should be washed as gently and quickly as possible if you don’t “hand wash” them. (There is a hand wash setting on the washing machine, and this makes me fear hands might come out from the sides of the barrel part and start grabbing at my clothes, so I have not used it.

Then rougher fabrics can take more of a beating.

The more dirty the things are, the longer the wash needs to be and the more soap,you will need. Luckily for me, every soap dispenser seems to have directions as to how much is needed. Do not – I repeat – do not just pour as much as you like into the machine. This results in needing the mop nearby and having to re-wash your clothes with just water. Several times.

Towels and bed stuff needs to be washed at the highest heat, and towels should not have softener added because apparently it keeps them from absorbing water, which really is a towel’s purpose in life, so this would be a sad thing.

So, determine what kind of laundry you are washing. Then choose the appropriate settings to set your dials and buttons and things on the washer. Put the desired kind and amount of soap into the washer before the clothing goes in, and then turn on the machine. When it hits the rinse cycle, if you are choosing the liquid softener stuff, put in as much as the directions tell you to. Then wait for the cycle to finish.

(NOTE: if you don’t know what setting to use, there is usually a little tag inside the clothing that will tell you what works best for that cloth. I suggest following that instead of what I am recommending. I really do not understand clothes washing.)

When they are done, it is time to dry the clothes.

To dry:

Remove the laundry from the washer and transfer into the dryer. Make sure anything that must “lay flat to dry” or might shrink is taken out and dried in the air, not the dryer. Toss in a “dryer sheet” if you are using them. Close the dryer and choose the appropriate settings for the fabric. Make sure the lint collecting screen thing is clean before you press the start button, or you might burn the world down or something, I couldn’t’ tell what happens if it isn’t done, but probably nothing good. If only I could summon one of those dandelion-fluff eating trolls. They would probably love the taste of the fluffy stuff that collects in that thing.

Alternately, there is the option of hanging the clothing in the yard to dry from a line, but I have not tried this tactic as I fear the neighbor man who likes to peek in my windows might try and take some of my underthings or something. He seems to like complimenting what I wear, and I have the feeling he possibly would want to have them for himself the way he stares so. He is becoming quit a nuisance.

When the clothing is dry, transfer into the laundry basket and put in the bedroom. I cannot figure out how to best store these things, clothing, as it seems futile to put too much effort in storing them carefully when they will only be worn and dirtied again, but the piles of clean and dirty clothing in my bed room are also a bit unsightly and I am worried the Ryan boy will think I don’t know what I am doing, which is true but I do not want him to realize it so soon. Also, The Cat enjoys sleeping in the clean clothes too much, and her fur makes the clean things impossible to wear until they are cleaned again.

I do, however, make sure the towels are hung appropriately in the bathroom and the extras are kept in a cupboard in my hallway, and my sheets are put away. These things make sense, as they are used more than just the day before the become useless until washed.

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