When I went away to college, my mom sent me with a few simple rules.
1.Â Don’t take a drink from someone you don’t know.
2.Â Don’t overdraft your checking account.
3.Â Go to class.
4.Â Don’t use anything but cold water when you do your laundry.
My mom knew that I was less than a domestic goddess and, quite frankly, warm water was beyond my capabilities in the laundry room.Â To hit her point home, she spent my last few weeks at home lecturing me on the dangers of doing laundry with even luke warm water.Â My clothes would shrink up to the size of Barbie clothes, and I wouldn’t be able to replace my entire wardrobe (See Rule #2), and I’d be left walking around campus in clothes that didn’t fit.Â In fact, my mom was so adamant about this rule, that I believe her final words to me when she dropped me off in my freshman dorm were, “…And don’t even think about bleach.”
Point taken, Mom.
It has been almost eight years since that life lesson.Â For eight years, I have never once used anything other than cold water in my laundry.Â And bleach?Â Fuhgettaboutit…
But a few weeks ago, all that changed.Â I was doing laundry in my basement and I noticed that the lid to the washing machine had very clear instructions on when to use what temperature of water.Â And it looked pretty easy to me.Â I mean, what harm could a little warm water do?Â And it was time.Â I am older, wise, married, with child.Â I pay bills and file my own taxes.Â Surely I could handle a little warm water.Â So, I did it.Â I washed a load in warm water.Â And guess what happened…
NOTHING.Â Nothing happened.Â In fact, I think my clothes were cleaner.Â So, the next load, I got a little braver and I used hot water.Â That’s right, Mom.Â HOT WATER.Â And guess what happened that time…
NOTHING.Â I could do this.Â I could actually do this.Â I could use different temperatures on my washing machine and my clothes wouldn’t melt.Â So, I got even braver still.Â I bought bleach.Â Oh, yes.Â I bought it.Â And then I stared at the gallon jug for weeks in my laundry room, scared to go near it.Â It taunted me.Â Sitting there.Â Daring me to use it.
So… I did.Â I started with solid white towels.Â Hard to ruin those.Â I started the hot water, added my laundry detergent, and then added my bleach.Â Like a bad ass.Â And guess what happened that time…
NOTHING.Â My towels were so much brighter and they were so clean and fresh.Â So, I decided bleach was the cure for every dirty load of laundry.Â I moved on to clothes, bleaching anything that had white in it.Â And I didn’t ruin any clothes at all.Â Not one load.Â But my no good husband started complaining, like a weenie.
“My clothes smell like bleach!” he whined.
“Suck it up, Sally!”Â I yelled back, pouring bleach into my next load.Â Like a bad ass.
At first I thought that Chris was just overreacting.Â Like he does with sour cream.Â I use sour cream a lot in cooking, but I have to hide the tub because if Chris sees that I’m using it, he’ll complain.Â He’s been eating my Out Of This World Mashed Potatoes for years, which are smothered in sour cream.Â One day he sees the sour cream carton and now he won’t touch the potatoes.
“Ew!Â I can taste the sour cream!” he says.
And I thought that the bleach was the same deal.Â If he hadn’t known I was starting to use it, he probably wouldn’t have even noticed.Â But he knew.Â And so he complained.
But, now I’m starting to smell it, too.Â Like, I’ll be sitting in a meeting and all of a sudden I’ll get a whiff of a swimming pool.Â Only its not a pool.Â Its the bleach on my clothes.Â While I won’t admit to Chris that he was right and I might actually be overdoing it, I may start to cut back on the bleach usage.
But I’m not giving up the hot water.Â No one can make me give up the hot water.