April 18, 2023

And now for something different... Laundry.

This is a random one, but I was SO interested in this laundry post from NGS.  I thought I would write my own laundry summary.  I know, it's all parties on this mom-blog.

I used to do all the laundry.  And then one day I said I couldn't do it all anymore, and for about two weeks my husband did all the laundry, but he couldn't really manage it either, so eventually we agreed a split which I think is 70/30 me and he probably thinks is more 50/50.  Either way, it's working for us.

We do about a load a day of laundry a day.  We have two mucky kids, we both are into sports, and we seem to make a lot of laundry.  We have our washing machine in the kitchen, which is normal in the UK but completely against my American sensibilities.  Why couldn't I have a dishwasher in the kitchen and laundry somewhere else?  We dream of a utility room someday... but dreams are dreams.

I wash most things on 30 (which I guess is cool?) and my husband prefers a 40 wash.  Some things have become smaller since he took on laundry.  Unfortunately I am not one of those things, so there have been a few pieces sacrificed to the laundry gods.  The 40 wash takes 2 hours so I usually either do a 40 quick or a 30 regular, because I am not made of money.  With my smart meter I can tell that laundry costs about £1 a load, so I try for the quickest/cheapest cycle.  I usually put an extra rinse on a short cycle because in my mind that makes up for the 1 hour less of washing. 

We have two laundry baskets.  The big one is "things that can go in at 40" and the small one is "things that need to be 30 or things that need to be cold delicate" which means I mainly take charge of the small basket because how is he to know which of my things are delicate?  Also, there are things that can be washed at 40 which can also be washed at 30, but there are not many things that must be washed at 30 but can be washed at 40... so when I do a 30 wash I tend to scoop through the big bin to find more pieces which can go in at 30.

We also have a bag by the kitchen door which is for mucky kid clothes and things that need stain spray.  Usually this is whatever shirt the two year old was wearing when we had beans for dinner.  This stuff goes in at 30 or 40 but the stain spray is key.

We don't have a drier so everything hangs dry in our loft landing space, next to a fan, a window, and a dehumidifier.  When it's not raining (rare in Wales) we can use the drying line outside.  

(Fun fact: The red door in that photo leads to the coal storage attached to the garage.  We use it for gardening things now)

I love hanging laundry outside.  Someday I would like to get a drier.  In the UK many people have Washer-driers but I do not trust these things.  First: they take 5 hours.  Second: would you buy a fridge-oven?  Clearly not.  Why is a washer-drier any different?

We wash sheets once every 3-4 weeks in the winter, mostly due to indoor drying space.  We used to do it every two weeks when we had cleaners who changed the beds, but now our cleaners do not make up the beds and we are lazier than we thought.  Two weeks is the right amount for bedsheets.  I wish we had a better routine about this.  I would say that my husband is probably fine to sleep on the same sheets for 6 months at a time... but he might object to this assertion.  It's not an experiment I'm keen to run.

We wash towels and kitchen towels every two weeks, when the cleaner comes.  Same with the bath floor mats.  

We use cheap detergent and I started using fabric softener recently.  My husband doesn't trust fabric softener and I do think it probably wears down clothing faster BUT it smells nice and makes clothes soft.  Sometimes I add oxy-clean to the very dirty kid cloths.

We don't separate colors.  We do use small bags for delicates and sports clothes.  And we leave the washing machine door open after a wash to air it out.  Every 6 months or so I do a super hot wash with baking soda to clean the machine.  

About a month ago the handle of the washing machine broke. Andy did some engineering magic such that we can now use a spoon handle to open the door.  Apparently a new piece is £60, which seems insanely expensive.  At first I thought this meant it was time to get a new washer, but now I'm getting used to using a spoon:

Spoon stuck in the place the handle once existed


  1. For 60 I'd definitely be happy to use the spoon handle. Wow that you don't have a dryer. I'd never make it without ours.

    We have separate laundry - I do my clothes and all of the "house" laundry like towels, and the hubs does his and the boys'. The reason is that he's happy to do laundry whenever and I do it once a week like clockwork so that I never have to worry about running out of clothes.

  2. Loved this post. So fascinating.
    I have no idea how much laundry costs; in certain provinces in Canada the cost of electricity varies throughout the day so it's cheaper to do laundry early in the morning or late at night. I'm so glad that doesn't apply to where I live because I'm sure I would feel obligated to maximize the cheapest time, even if it wasn't ideal timing.
    We do a lot of laundry on the cold cycle (basically all loads my husband does), but I use warm water more frequently now because even though it costs more, I do think the clothes get cleaner! We used to have a clothes line but when we renovated our house, it was dismantled...and I mostly don't miss it. I know it's SO much better for clothes and the environment, but I hated, hated, hated hanging out the laundry. It took so long, and then everything had to come back it. But it was amazing for sheets and made them smell so fresh.

    We also mix lights and darks.

    My brother lives in Copenhagen and in his last place (not sure about where he lives now) he had the combo washer and dryer and it was TERRIBLE. Everything smelled sour when it was dry because it was always humid in the dryer because the venting was so poor. His washer/dryer was also in the kitchen!

    And I laughed out loud at this line: "Some things have become smaller since he took on laundry. Unfortunately I am not one of those things, so there have been a few pieces sacrificed to the laundry gods." Haha!

  3. I think it would drive me crazy to have the laundry in the kitchen! I lived in France and had a combo machine (in the kitchen) but only used the washer portion of it and hung everything to dry. I was in an apartment so there was no outdoor line, and I found the clothes never really got all the way dry, or at least they did not smell like they did!

    I always wash using tap cold water unless it is to wash out the washer, in which case I use hot. My washer does not say what temp that is, it just says hot, warm, cold, tap cold. I do about one load per week and it is always at a weird time, because like Elisabeth mentioned above, we have tiered pricing for our electricity and gas and 4 pm - 9 pm you have to pay a premium.

  4. I love reading about other people's laundry habits -- it is endlessly fascinating! And I would much rather read about it than do it LOL.

    My in laws lived in Europe for a while and had the washer/dryer combo, and it worked fine but my recollection is that it always smelled faintly of mildew.

  5. I love learning about other people's household habits. Thanks for sharing yours.

    I used to do laundry, but Jon has completely taking over that task (well, except for hanging up and folding LOL)... I appreciate that he's on top of getting the laundry together and organized. We do separate colors, blacks, and whites.

  6. Oh how happy I am that I found this post. It's validating to me.

    I laughed out loud at this line "would you buy a fridge-oven? Clearly not." Your husband and my husband would get along regarding sleeping on the same sheets for 6 months lol

    I have no clue how much a load of laundry costs and that makes me feel like a wasteful person. I should find out, even if it's just for kicks. A friend in Denmark knows when electricity is cheapest and does her laundry then.

    We have a family of four and only do laundry once a week. One basket in our master bathroom, one in kids' bathroom. We only separate whites, darks and colors go together. I have a hang-up about cold wash so I mainly use hot water. Gah, now I sound even more wasteful :(
    Lastly, we are terrible with folding and putting away. Clean laundry often comes out of our dryer and sits in the basket next to it.
    Regardless, loved this post-thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life.

    1. I didn't used to pay attention to the cost of laundry but we had crazy energy prices in the UK and my daily charges went from £4 to £10 over the winter so I started to pay attention more. I should check and see if the price has changed, we don't have different prices throughout the day here but I always find it funny when the government asks people not to do laundry at "peak" time of 4-7pm... I always start laundry between 4 and 7am! I never have energy for laundry at 4pm.

      Once a week laundry sounds amazing! If we had a drier I would definitely prefer to do it less often. Also, I don't see anything wrong with basked-method of clothes storage. Whatever works!