I work in a casual office, so I can wear pretty much anything within reason and it won’t raise any eyebrows. Most of my day is spent in a cubicle and my computer screen is the only thing checking out my attire for any length of time. For this reason, I am saved from the hassle and the enormous expense of dry cleaning. Sure, I have a few things that simply cannot withstand being washed with water. I resent them for it, though, and they sit for many long weeks in a nylon bag before I bite the bullet and drop them off at the money-pit on the corner.
I don’t have a lot of dry cleanables, but unfortunately neither do I have much that I would call entirely “machine washable.” I mean, yes, my lovely little cotton tops and fancy jeans can go into the washing machine. But the “able” part stops there. They are incredibly high maintenance. When did this happen? Their labels are persnickety, annoying, idiosyncratic, didactic, unreasonable. Have you never thought about it?
Wash inside out. With like colors. Gentle cycle. Cold water. Tumble dry low. Remove promptly.
Remove promptly! What, are you supposed to carry around a timer so that you’ll be poised and ready to zoom to the basement when that buzzer sounds?
Lay flat to dry. Line dry. Colors may bleed. No chlorine bleach. Oh, and then there’s: Hand Wash. Do not wring. Cool iron only. Excuse me, what’s the point of a cool iron? It doesn’t do anything more to my wrinkly blouse than the side of my car would if I stood in my driveway, pressing the fabric against it on a cold day.
What I end up with in my basement is a little tiny pile of light colors that need to be washed in cold, gently. A tiny pile of dark colors that need to washed separately, in cold, gently. A pile of one pair of pants who might bleed. And a stack of wet stuff that needs to be hung (oh dread, hanger points in the shoulders), or lain flat, or cool ironed, or lightly fanned dry at 70 degrees by a pygmy possum….
Enough. I’m sick of it. Dealing with my bossy and confusing laundry labels can lead me to a state of exhaustion and stress that requires a bottle of wine and a Xanax.
My ex-husband refused to read labels. And though I obviously concur that it’s a heinous part of life, note that he is now my ex.
So while I will continue to moan about them, and curse in the basement every week, I will slavishly and anally, read and obey to the letter every last label. My lovely little tops and fancy jeans make me happy. And I have plenty of wine and Xanax to get me through.