“Everything comes out in the wash.”
~ Patric Richardson
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In my last post of 2021, I mentioned revamping my laundry routine.
Scintillating stuff and I know you’ve been on pins and needles waiting to hear more.
The wait is over.
Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore by Patric Richardson
Who knows how I became aware of it … probably this article in the Wall Street Journal?
The book received a lot of fanfare and Patric made the rounds of the morning shows.
Kelly Ripa was particularly taken with the author, and he made several appearances on
Live with Kelly and Ryan.
Do you think Kelly does her own laundry?
Patric finds joy in doing laundry and his enthusiasm is infectious.
He says clean clothes are a privilege and doing laundry an act of love.
He emphasizes caring for clothes – and linens – in a kinder, gentler way to extend their life.
And he says we cannot let our clothes boss us around.
Dry-clean-only, hand wash, etc.
Not so fast.
Patric washes everything in the machine.
But back to Snowberry and my new laundry routine.
Like most home keeping activities, laundry was not something I learned at home.
My mother, a very intelligent and interesting woman, was no domestic goddess.
As far as laundry goes, it got done.
But separating colors, treating stains, folding and ironing were not part of the process.
My father could frequently be heard exclaiming over his white, military issue skivvies turned pink.
As a young adult living on my own for the first time, I was determined to do things differently.
Laundry, however, remained cloaked in mystery and my ineptitude a source of shame.
Over the years my skills improved, I gained confidence and a (low) degree of proficiency.
That said, after reading Patric’s book I realized I still have a lot to learn.
My New Basic Laundry Routine
- I’m washing all my laundry on the express cycle, in warm water, cold rinse and high spin. The shorter cycle is gentler on your laundry and things will last longer. And it saves water, something we’re always trying to do here in drought-stricken California. If you’re washing a super dirty load (just came back from a camping trip) Patric recommends adding washing soda (sodium carbonate). It softens the water allowing detergent to get in there and do its job. The higher spin gets dry faster which means less time in the actual dryer.
- I replaced my big-brand name detergent with something kinder and gentler … to my clothes and the environment. Can I tell you a shameful secret? Until recently I was using Tide Pods. I know.
- I started using Thieves Essential Oil-Infused Laundry Soap. It’s surprising what a tiny amount is recommended per wash load, and it seems to be doing the job just fine. Patric recommends adding detergent directly into the washer on top of the clothes rather than through the dispenser. I keep forgetting to try that. I also ordered Patric’s laundry flakes. They arrived yesterday so stay tuned.
- I nixed chlorine bleach. Apparently, it can cause whites to yellow over time. The opposite of what we expect it to do. What to use instead … oxygen bleach. I ordered and used it successfully over the weekend. Oxygen bleach should not be used on silk or wool. I don’t wash silk or wool at home, so it won’t be a problem. This is an advanced maneuver and I’m taking baby steps.
- I stopped using dryer sheets. This is my biggest hurdle because … static. I hate static. I also hate what dryer sheets do and what they’re made from – now that I know. Static is an issue that needs solving. Here are a couple things I’ve tried.
- Foil ball in dryer. A yard, or more, of heavy-duty aluminum foil balled up in the size of a tennis ball or maybe a softball. Supposedly it discharges static. Warning … it’s noisy. Jim’s not very happy about it and asked if it will damage inside of dryer. I assured him that my trusted Patric wouldn’t recommend anything potentially damaging. But it does make a racket.
- Static Spray. I bought a static spray which is meant to be sprayed directly on static-y garments. I read you can spray it into the dryer too. I assume this means after the load is dry but before it’s removed from dryer. This requires more research. I’ll report back.
- I started using wool dryer balls. Apparently, this is a thing. I had no idea. What do they do? They reduce drying time significantly … and, supposedly, static. I bought Serena & Lily wool dryer balls. Yes, Serena & Lily has dryer balls.
- And, I’m adding 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil to the dryer balls and my laundry smells heavenly.
- I’m using those funny looking bumpy (spikey) dryer balls too. They’re great for drying loads of towels or sheets because they help separate and plump everything. This is in addition to the wool dryer balls and the foil anti-static ball. It’s getting kind of crowded in there.
Patric is pro clothesline and drying rack.
I’m not there yet.
Note: High performance activewear (think Lululemon, Athleta, etc.) requires special care.
Patric’s YouTube video explains and recommends this detergent.
Lululemon’s don’t come cheap, and I want to extend their life.
So there you have it.
My revamped laundry routine.
It’s only been a couple of weeks and my laundry feels great and smells fresh and clean.
So far so good.
Other areas covered in the book are what I consider advanced maneuvers.
- Stain removal … this is a biggie
- Ironing and steaming
- Folding and hanging
- Handwashing special care and ‘dry-clean only’ fabrics
While I admire those who tackle the hand washing of delicate and dry-clean-only clothing,
I will not be joining them.
Never say never.
As far as ironing goes, Jim, who travels a lot for work, is an expert ironer.
The first thing he does after checking into a hotel room is take out the iron to press his fresh-from-the-dry-cleaner shirts.
At home, if he sees me take out the iron, he nicely tells me to step aside and let a professional handle it.
Fine by me.
My friend, Shelley, recommended this Cadillac of ironing boards.
It’s amazing what a difference a good ironing board makes.
And it goes up and down without that hideous screeching that sends everyone running for cover.
I upgraded our iron too.
And bought a steamer.
Who am I?
As Martha Stewart says … you must have the proper tools.
Next challenge … stain removal.
I’m putting together a stain kit. So far it consists of:
- Laundry bar soap
- Small horse hair brush
- Stain solution
- A spray bottle of vinegar and water (half and half)
- Patric’s laundry flakes
- Oxygen bleach
Patric prides himself on being able to remove any stain.
In his six-episode Discovery Plus series, The Laundry Guy, he proves it.
His book, Laundry Love, provides tons of examples as well.
Here he is showing Kelly and Ryan the tricks of the trade.
Breaking news … Jim came home from golf with a stain on the sleeve of his golf shirt.
I think it falls into the performance activewear category.
In the past, I would have tossed it in the dry-cleaning bag.
Instead, I pulled out my newly acquired laundry bar soap and tiny brush and gently scrubbed the stain.
Then I washed the shirt on the express cycle with detergent and oxygen bleach and hung it up to dry.
Et voila … stain free!
Sources for my new laundry routine essentials:
- I purchased Thieves Laundry Soap and essential oils from Annie of the Most Lovely Things blog. She’s a wealth of information about safe cleaning products and wrote this blog post on eliminating toxins from your laundry.
- Patric’s laundry flakes, oxygen bleach and other laundry essentials can be purchased from his website The Laundry Evangelist. He has tons of great resources on the site as well.
- Check out my Amazon storefront where I created a Laundry Routine list with many of the products recommend by Patric and ordered by me. Including stain-kit essentials.
- And I’ve linked products throughout this post.
A little more about Patric (I swear I’m not his PR rep, I just love him) ~
Patric is a textile expert with a background in high-end retail. Living in Minnesota he hosts an in-demand Laundry Camp at his Mona Williams boutique. He offers the 2-hour camp via Zoom too. All the spots are taken in January, and I hope to score spot next month.
In addition to Laundry Love, his six-part series, The Laundry Guy, is streaming on Discovery Plus. He tackles cleaning dilemmas including sentimental and vintage items … like a treasured family quilt, a well-loved stuffed animal, a prized high school letter jacket. The sort of things we all have tucked away in our basements not knowing quite how to bring them back to life.
And you can find him in the usual places on the inter-webs:
Facebook – Patric hosts a weekly Facebook Live to answer follower questions
Part of me is laughing that I’m writing so enthusiastically about laundry.
The other part is bursting with pride over my newly acquired skills.
What better way to kick off the New Year!
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As always, I appreciate your visit and I’d love to hear your laundry tips and tricks.
Please share in the comments below.
Until next time, cheers from Snowberry.
Unless otherwise noted, all images in this post by Monica Vargas Photography