Friday, September 4, 2009

On laundry

You might not have actually done it, but I believe the situation is so familiar that you all can relate anyway. The red sock in the otherwise white laundry. Everybody knows what happens – all the white clothes turn a bubblegum shade of pink. Well, imagine it wasn’t just a sock, imagine it was a dress. Oh, the agony. Let my tale unroll…

I bought a red dress. It is a lovely dress – I feel great wearing it, and the dress as a dress is not an issue at all. I love it, and I will come back to whether or not I love it enough to feel that this was worth it.

The first time I wore the dress I spent many hours outdoors. At the end of the day, I was more sunburned than I’d realized – and oddly enough it seemed as though the sun had affected me more in areas that I’d thought was covered. “Seemed” is the keyword in that sentence. When I got home and washed off the dust and sweat after having explored Washington, D.C. in 30 or so degrees (Celsius – meaning “horrid” in Fahrenheit, according to my personal converting system ), the washcloth (the spotless, white washcloth) turned pink. It wasn’t the sun after all; it was the result of a colourful dress worn in extreme humidity.

The washcloth looked beyond repair, and as it is not my washcloth – it belongs to the family I live with – I was not too happy about it, but I figured that I might give it a wash before I gave up on it. Plus, white can be bleached. Worst case scenario – I owed them a washcloth. I could live with it.

After a few days I wore the dress again. This time I wore it with a white (…) tank top and white tights under. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Naturally, when I got home, I was wearing partially pink tank top and tights… (I looked like a bubblegum giraffe.) Again, the whites look beyond repair (but at least this time only my own items got affected, I thought).

Until I decided to try to wash them.

For some reason I decided to try hand wash.

First, I washed the whites. I might as well have stuck out my tongue and licked them – none of the red/pink came off. Fine, one go in the washing machine before I try bleach, I thought to myself. Not tonight though. No, this was Amish-night – hand wash was the deal.

Then I decided to also wash the dress.

Not surprisingly, the washing water (and the basin, I’m afraid) was pretty red. I washed it over and over and over again. Still red. (How much colour can there be in one dress?) Again and again, but the water was as red as ever. Finally, I started to worry that I’d probably spent the water supply of an entire African village for a year trying to get the excess dye out of the dress. So I decided to give up, and instead try the washing machine on the dress as well. However, it was getting late and I was in no mood to do more laundry, so I hung the dress over the bathtub to let it dry (Amish all over the place).

Only it didn’t dry (HING humidity! For an entertaining – yet truthful – etymology of the word hing, that surely will be used again in this blog, follow this link). It dripped. Red water. Onto a white towel I had hung under (also to dry – hahahaha), and from there, onto the white rug on the floor. To top it I also noticed that I had managed to wipe my hands on another towel after having washed the dress – transferring the dye to this (also white) towel as well.

In the process of using and washing this dress for the first time, I have ruined a washcloth, a tank top, a pair of tights, two towels and a rug. Plus potentially the bathtub and the bathroom sink. I can now truly say I know how it feels to discover the red sock in the white wash.

(I still love the dress, and I remain hopeful that we will reconcile once sufficiently colour has washed off so that I can use it without fear of pinkifying the world.)


Galen Kindley--Author said...

Gee, whiz. What a nightmare. Aside: I’m listing to the washing machine whir and pop as I write this and wonder what color disasters await me when I open the machine door. Well, I admire your grit in sticking with the dress, but maybe the color gods are trying to tell you something here. Don’t you look just as nice in….blue? Non-running, color fast blue?

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Watery Tart said...

Oh Mari!!! What a nightmare! A hint--when you wash it in the washing machine the first time, wash it by itself (or only with things you are okay being red) but also put in a cup of white vinegar--it should set the color (and the manufacturere should have used it before making the darned thing!

Your TELLING of the nightmare however, is hysterical, as always (and thanks for the link!)

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

Sounds like you just need to shoot that thing before it becomes sentient and starts pinking all your friends too. Stop it now while you can!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh, this made me laugh. I've turned my husband's golf shirts and undies pink soooo many times. I'm the distracted laundress...grab it, stick it in the washer, see what happens.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Rayna M. said...

Mari, you had me in splits. I know it is not at all funny (and I've dyed undies a pale shade of pink more often than I care to remember), but the way you tell it is.

Hint - for the first wash, try dissovling a fistful of salt in half a bucket of water and letting the garment soak for about an hour before washing. The colour normally sticks after that. Same as Tami's white vinegar, I guess.

Cruella Collett said...

I note down two suggestions to get rid of the dress, and two hints on how to work with the relationship. I sense a battle of the sexes here...
All sympathy appreciated, but I do believe I must place my feet in the camp I belong in - the dress will stay. Surely, next time it will be better...[/famous last words]

~Tre weeks later she was found in a heap of VERY red cloth~

Cruella Collett said...

Also, a fistful of salt might take my whole supply of archive-nicked salt... That's a whole lot of mini-packages to rip open and tip in a bucket...

(I think I may have left my moral standards in Europe)

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