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Rail! Entertainment > Docs >

The Laundry Article

By Frosty - 09-28-04

Many of us are faced with this drudgingly bromidic, insipid, and deadly chore of laundry in a public laundry facility (more commonly known as the coin laundry). I thought I could send a little insight into how to make the most of this time.

First, you need the right tools. The first thing is the laundry detergent of your choice. I prefer Sun, and sometimes Surf, but pick one that you prefer to use. Hopefully you will get the liquid as otherwise about half of the wash cycle is used up actually dissolving the crystals and you can end up with rather gruesome soap buildup on your favorite Surf Naked T-shirt.

The next thing you will find useful is fabric softener. This will make your clothes smell nice, and make them soft instead of having that cardboard effect where you can barely walk when you put on those freshly washed jeans. There are many types, you can even get some that have that "I just left the gym and didn't change” scent if you desire. A good thing to have (unless you are building up a static charge so big you can electrocute someone from pointing at them at 500 feet) would be dryer sheets. These can be scented or unscented, it doesn't really matter too much; mostly, you want them to break the static charge built up in the dryer.

Because this will most likely take anywhere from an hour to 3 hours depending on the amount of laundry and the speed of the appliances available to you, taking a personal music device and something to do (like letters to write) would also be a plus. You can catch up with that estranged family member while waiting for the laundry to finish, then when you are done you can focus on the cool things without that nagging " I haven't written so and so in 2 years," at the back of your mind. You can write songs, draw animations for friends, or invent new products to hassle people with. You will be in there for a while, so you might as well do something productive, and that will keep your time management skills at a good level. Taking the laundry with you to wash will save a return trip to actually bring the clothes with you. And most importantly, take plenty of quarters with you. Who knows, someone may need quarters so bad they'll buy ten dollars worth for 20 bucks. Or not, but you'll need them.

Before going, if you know in advance and your whites are looking rather diminished (more like off white), fill a bucket with warm water and some bleach, put them in it and let them soak a few hours before you go to wash.

*It is important to remember, only put a small amount of bleach as you could kill a family member or friend, or even come back to a bucket of fiber the bleach ate through. 

Sorting is the next important step. You really should take the time to do this, or your light-colored clothes could end up with permanent other colors and marks on them. Sort out the light colors, colors that bleed easily (usually oranges and reds), darks, towels, whites, and so on. Pre-sorting saves you time. When you get to the laundromat, you can just dump the clothes into the washers and begin prepping to wash much faster than if you have to sort the clothes there. More time to scope the place for cool people, or whatever you are going to do while you are there. 

When you arrive, you get the excitement and joy of finding a washer the last person didn't leave an ink pen in, or wash the clothes with fresh manure on them in. Make sure there isn't that unsightly build up of powder detergent in the bottom of the washer. Also make sure there aren't already clothes in there. Then load up your clothes, keeping in mind that overcrowding actually takes away from the cleaning process. In other words, if you have so many clothes the washer wont shut without 3 grown men standing on the lid, the clothes inside aren't going to get clean. They need room in the water to move about as the washer agitates the soap and water to clean the garments.

Next you would put in the quarters, and start the wash cycle. Basically waiting till your laundry is completely submerged in water. I would suggest using lukewarm water or cold water for this. Hot water actually damages your clothes. Prime example number one, underwear. People automatically think scalding water is best; it will sanitize and really clean them. Later when they can fit 4 strangers and a dog into their underwear with them, they will wonder why. Hot water. For lighter colors and darks, I thoroughly recommend using cold water period. The whites I would use warm water, not hot. Then when the water has covered your clothes, lift the lid on the washers and add the desired amount of soap. I would only use a cup full or possibly a cup and a half, otherwise you will have the laundry people angry at having a bubble rave in their laundry parlor! Would be cool until the cops showed, then the legal fees would outweigh the fun. Then after you have added the soap, close the lid and you’re off to do whatever you please (Keeping in mind that if you leave the laundromat, you could come back to empty washers and no witnesses. Then weeks from now you will see people all over wearing clothes just like you used to have. Strange coincidence isn't it?)

So you write your letters, music, and do your drawing listening to your favorite groups, some are better for laundry. For instance, Tears for Fears is good when you have stains to get out...."Shout, shout, get them all out"...

Pay attention as the end of the wash cycle nears. The integral time is arriving: The time where you will add anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 cups of Fabric Softener to the rinse cycle. That will make your clothes smell clean and get out even the most disgusting and stubborn of stains (including bong spills from bad parties). Then as the rinse cycle finishes, scope out some prime drying action real estate. Preferably close together, or you might forget some clothes. You will end up with the infamous socks with no mates. To save time, prep the dryers. Check them to make sure someone didn't unload the rum and tequila shots they had the night before into the dryer. Then, clean the lint out of the lint screen. This will save you drying time, and make your hard-earned quarters last longer. Put 1 or 2 dryer sheets into each dryer. Then when the wash is finished, toss the clothes into the dryers and begin.

Keep in mind, the more clothes in the dryer, the longer it will take to dry, so only fill the dryer halfway or less. If you fill it too full you could be drying clothes until next Thursday.

I have added in some shots of the different aspects of this task, for reference, and to show you the types of things you will be dealing with.
Until then, happy suds...........






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