Laundry Wisdom

Laundry Wisdom

by Carin Froehlich

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440198021
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/21/2010
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Carin Froehlich is an accomplished entrepreneur known for introducing the first hospital gown with the back closed in 1982, patent pending. Carin re-established her family's business, Ingleby Farms, a specialty food company. Now retired, she resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with her family. She tends to her grandchildren and her award-winning gardens.

Read an Excerpt

Laundry Wisdom

Instructions for a Greener and Cleaner Life
By Carin Froehlich

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Carin Froehlich
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4401-9802-1


Chapter One

Why Today? Why Now?

It was a hot day for October. The older I get, the more I seem to dislike the heat. Of course, I was rushing off to work. I was trying to multitask with half of my brain operating. It was the usual morning of phone calls, which always makes me late. I am a volunteer hospice nurse but only for friends and family. Every once in a while, I get a desperate phone call from a friend of a friend; on this morning, the call came from Gail and Jack. I never did figure out which friend of mine led them to me. I just let the wind carry me to Gail and Jack. They lived close by in a new development of row homes. Jack was a quiet, elderly man in the fourth stage of cancer. Gail was an extremely friendly soul. She was so glad to see me. We made the usual introductions, and I began to work. I started by reviewing Jack's case study. He had recently retired and, sadly, he'd gone to his family doctor for a routine check-up before he and Gail were to leave on their dream trip across the United States, a trip they would never take.

Jack was a man of few words. I am usually good at small talk, but with Jack, all I got was silence. At times, I felt as though I were intruding on his privacy. One day, I asked Jack in passing who was in the picture next to his bed. He answered, "My mother, Mary Mulligan, and what a great mother she was." I responded, "What a beautiful woman." Little by little Jack would drop me a clue about his mom. I boldly asked him, one day, "Do you think you'll get to see her soon?" He answered with a huge smile, "You betcha, kid!" For some reason, that day I had extra time to spare. I sat down next to him and agreed that, no doubt, she would be waiting for him. I asked him what he remembered most about his mother. He started telling me about how happy she would be on wash day. "Oh, the smell of fresh clean laundry." It surprised me because I was sure he would mention a favorite family recipe. "Laundry?" I asked. "How the hell could she have been happy with laundry? I need to know the secret!" He chuckled and stated that when he returned from the Korean War, as soon as he saw laundry hanging in the backyard, he knew he was home. Years later, when Jack and Gail got married, Gail said that they weren't even out of the church, and her mother-in-law was giving her laundry tips.

It is not part of my job to do laundry for my patients; in fact, the last time I checked, the hospice manual stated that it was forbidden. But I had this urge. Gail had gone shopping. I had some time. I sat Jack in his chair and stripped his bed. I found the laundry, put it in the washing machine, and off I went. The buzzer rang, and I returned. I marched outside and, to my surprise, there was no clothesline. In fact, when I looked around at the other houses, there was not a single clothesline in sight. "People are just too busy today," I thought to myself. I went up to the deck and hung the wet sheets over the rails and the pillow cases on the back of chairs. I was so proud of my makeshift line. It was a perfect fall day; the sun was out, the humidity was low, and the leaves were just starting to change. In no time, the sheets were dry, and I could put Jack back to bed.

The look on his face was worth a million dollars; he just couldn't believe I did that for him. "There is nothing," he said, "like the smell of clean sheets." I was running late and didn't even mention it to Gail. The next three times out, I did the same thing: I put the sheets in the washer before I did anything else and then took the wet laundry to the deck to dry. Jack was always glad to see me, and I felt that this simple chore broke the silence. I found it much easier to talk to him about dying, always telling him that his mom was right around the corner. Jack died on November 4, two hours after I had changed his sheets. It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining, and the leaves were at their peak. Fall had come pretty late that year.

I said my good-byes to the family. A few days later, I received a phone call from Gail, who gave me the funeral arrangements. I did not tell her, but I never attend the funerals of my patients. Because I have other patients and my own family to care for, I never seem to have enough time. In any case, the greatest gift I could give them was to be there at the time they needed me most. I believe that the funeral is the time when family and close friends should grieve.

I woke up on November 7; it was raining, and the plans I'd made had been cancelled. I started to do my laundry and thought, "I really should go to Jack's funeral." I entered the church, feeling nervous to be there by myself. As soon as I saw the beautiful flowers, the stunning stained-glass windows, and Jack's casket, I knew I had made the right decision. Later, back at Gail and Jack's house, many people approached me and thanked me for the great job I had done. Gail's sister commented, "Oh! He loved those sheets! It's a shame it cost them $150 in fines." I could not believe what I was hearing. Gail came up and put her arms around me and said, "We were never going to tell you. It was worth every cent. Jack so loved the smell and comfort of clean fresh laundry." I still could not understand what they were talking about. Gail's sister took me aside and explained that they were not allowed to hang out their laundry. I had broken the house association laws and caused a stir in the neighborhood. The association claimed that it received more than seventeen calls in one day. I could not believe it. I was truly horrified. I went home that day, and researched "home owners associations" online. I learned that while every one of them is different, they all have a specific set of often arbitrary rules that affect everything from roof repair to trash collection to clotheslines. My life changed forever. I started searching for Mary Mulligan's laundry secrets, determined to show that the "right to dry" belongs to all.

The Good Old Days

The goal in life is living in agreement with nature. -Zeno of Citium (circa 355-circa 263 BCE)

Laundry is an everyday nightmare. It is a job that is never complete. "If only my family understood that," I mutter to myself as I put the last piece of laundry away. Almost immediately, it seems, there will be a wet towel in the laundry basket; two seconds later, here comes a dirty shirt. It never ever ends. I have spent the last two years studying and researching laundry, and the one word that keeps coming up is "organization." How do you organize the timing of dirty laundry? The only solution I have come up with is to make family members wear dirty clothes for five out of seven days.

My mother is the saint of laundry. She is from the old school, and I believe there was a dinosaur or two left in the world when she started washing clothes. Mom owns a dryer, but every Monday you can see her laundry hanging outside in perfect order. Mom is eighty years young, and it does not matter what the weather is, that she only has one leg that works, if she has the flu-it does not matter, her laundry gets done. My earliest memories are of doing laundry in Roslyn, Pennsylvania during the 1950s. We lived on Sixth Street. It was a working-class neighborhood in those days. Clotheslines were everywhere. My mom says that everyone hung their clothes on a line, even though everyone had a dryer. Laundry day was only on one day a week, and that day was Monday. After the weekend, there were enough leftovers from Sunday's dinner to feed everyone on Monday, which gave people enough time to finish the laundry task. The children who were not in school helped separate the clothes into three piles: whites, mediums, and darks. We washed the heaviest fabrics first, usually the darks, consisting of jeans and more jeans. The whites were last. Each piece of clothing was examined for mending and stains before it entered the washer. The whites and stained items were presoaked in hot-water tubs. The most important thing was to do the laundry from start to finish. There was no talking on the phone unless it was a true emergency.

Marion Sherman, who is ninety, lived in northeast Philadelphia, and she tells a different tale. She had to share her clothesline with the neighbor across the street, Mrs. Fisher. There were wheels attached to the second floors of their homes. The line stretched across the street to her neighbor's home and worked on a pulley system. Marion states that neighbors could use the line on different days of the week. The only time there was a problem was when the holidays arrived. Everyone wanted her tablecloth fresh off the line. When the skies clouded up and the first drops of rain fell, you could hear for miles, "Mrs. Fisher, it's going to rain!" No matter how well we knew our neighbors, we always addressed them by their last names. Marion was Mary Kirby's neighbor for some thirty years. But when they were on the street, it was never "Mary," it was Mrs. Kirby. If someone had a job, and it started to rain, neighbors that were home took down the laundry. It was never a problem; that was the way it was. In the 1960s, more and more women went back to work. They kept the same laundry schedule. This fact always amazed me-the communities not only helped each other, they teamed up to get the laundry done.

All the stories sound the same when it comes to gossip. (My mother corrects me when I say "gossip." She says, "It was not gossip, it was news. We didn't have all of this twenty-four-hour, seven-day weekly news cycle you have now.") People knew what was happening in the neighborhood by looking at what type of laundry was hanging outside. When someone was ill, the sheets would be plenty, and there would be extra wash. When a woman gave birth, she would hang pink or blue booties to let everyone know that she had a boy or a girl; other details about the birth would come from conversations over the fence. Whoever was in need got a casserole for dinner every night. This also was decided by the clothesline. Not much escaped these clothesline ladies, especially stains. They had Superman's eyes when it came to examining each other's wash. There would be such statements as, "I will have to let Mrs. Hutchison know that hydrogen peroxide will get that nasty stain out of Johnny's shirt.

When my children were young, I hung their diapers up twice a week. I seemed to be the only mother on the street who did so. I was amazed at what the women of the neighborhood would tell me: for example, "My daughter was potty trained at sixteen months." I would go into my house muttering, "Yeah, right! How can that be?" They all claimed that their children were potty trained by the time they were sixteen months of age. It wasn't until recently that one of them finally broke the code of silence and confessed, "Oh, honey, they didn't hang their diapers outside; they hung them in their basements!"

The clothesline had other purposes. If you had a secret you wanted to tell, you met your friend at the clothesline. My dad took the line down for summer picnics and hung the badminton net on the clothesline poles. My neighbor hung his fish on the clothesline. My in-laws hung chickens on the clothesline to drain and clean them. That was one of those jobs no one wanted to do, but it was all worth it when you sat down for that Sunday feast of roast chicken. One woman told me that she'd gotten her first kiss at the clothesline. I asked her "What happened to the front door?" She laughed and replied, "Everyone had their eye on the front door; back at the clothesline, nobody ever watched after 5 PM." Oh, really? I wonder if that would have worked in my neighborhood.

The grass always looks greener on the other side, but you still have to mow it!

Today, some products at my local grocer cost three times more than they did a year ago. Our electric bill has doubled in the last eight months. In addition, no one is looking forward to the deregulation that will characterize the future. Over the next few years the way we distribute and consume energy in the United States will change dramatically. Each state, if it has not already, will allow consumers to choose an electric company. Such deregulation often leads to higher prices for most and lower prices for very few. This is because a price-controlled system (what you have now) always undercharges. As a result, some claim that everyone's energy bills will increase 40 to 60 percent. Oh, joy! The clothesline gets better looking by the day. The clothes dryer is the second-largest consumer of electricity in the home. It is also the number one cause of house fires. In good weather, I hang my clothes outside, and in bad weather, I hang them indoors. I do laundry for five people, and I save over $86 a month on our electric bill. Using cold water and biodegradable soap that is reasonably priced saves money. I also have made my own detergent (look for the recipes later in this book). Making sure there is a full load every time you use the washer is another money-saving tip. Children often change their clothes frequently or try something on, decide they don't want to wear it, then take it off, and throw it on the floor in a ball. My two nieces, ages eleven and fourteen, are champions at this game. After I visited my sister a few times, we eliminated over 35 percent of her dirty laundry. Of course, both girls screamed at me, telling me that I was gross to put away something they'd had on their bodies for less than thirty-seven seconds (and after they had just taken their second shower of the day!). I just let them know that, for a change of pace, I could give them a haircut instead; you should have seen them run!

The recession may be making the United States a little smellier, the May 2009 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Americans are scrimping on laundry by buying cheaper detergent and dry-cleaning less often. According to one recent poll, 60 percent of shoppers wear their clothes multiple times between washings to save money (www. bureauoflaborstatistics.gov, 2008).

No Time, No Space, and Not Allowed

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average American aged fifteen or older spends 108 minutes doing daily "household activities." This includes housework, cleaning, financial management, and laundry. The biggest complaint I hear, time and time again, is "I do not have the time." We have lost an awful lot of organizational tools in recent decades since the rise of new technologies. Ironically, these technologies were made to save us time and be more convenient. But how much time are we really saving, and what is the cost?

The Right to Dry

The Right to Dry movement arose because in many areas, people are not allowed to hang their laundry outside. Hundreds of thousands of home owner associations across America forbid residents to hang clotheslines. A lot of urban legends are associated with the clothesline, including the belief that it shows poverty and depletes property value by 15 percent. This is false. I have interviewed several hundred realtors across the country about this issue. Every one of them claimed that hanging laundry outside has never had an effect on property value. Another complaint is, "It ruins my view of nature." I find it hard not to reply, "Well, it is nature working for you." Ben Davis of www.right2dry. org once said, "It is hard for me to believe that you can have a AK47 gun in your bedroom and [can] wake up tomorrow and start any type of religion you can think of, but you cannot hang a clothesline." Many states, including Vermont and Florida, have stepped up and changed the laws. Yet, there are a lot of places where the wonderfully drying American sun could do free of charge what otherwise takes a lot of energy and adds plenty to home owners' gas or electric bills. The sun requires no government subsidy, no tax rebate, and no expensive installation. On a hot day, the clothesline will dry clothes faster than an electric or gas dryer. As my husband says, "If we are to seriously take a look at alternative energy, we must seriously put an end to ... local laws [denying people their] property rights." Tons of government money is being spent on windmills and solar panels; where will the government put them if people are not allowed to hang a clothesline? There are a lot of programs available online; just search for "right to dry." There is a wonderful documentary titled Drying for Freedom by Steven Lake, a native of England.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Laundry Wisdom by Carin Froehlich Copyright © 2010 by Carin Froehlich. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................ix
Preface....................xi
Chapter 1: Why Today? Why Now?....................1
The Good Old Days....................5
No Time, No Space, and Not Allowed....................9
The Right to Dry....................9
Bad Neighbors....................10
Chapter 2: Mom's Advice....................13
Time Management....................15
Laundry Baskets or Hampers....................16
Clothes Hangers....................17
Drying Racks....................18
Laundry Rooms....................18
Laundromat....................19
Sorting Secrets....................20
Water Temperatures and the Cold Water Debate....................21
Removing Stains the Old-fashioned Way....................22
Travel Kit Stain Remover....................23
Shake It Out....................23
Soaking Clothes....................23
Hand Washing....................24
Static Cling....................24
Salt....................25
Dryer Balls....................26
Chapter 3: Going Green....................27
Green History....................29
Laundry Detergents....................31
The Dryer Versus Hanging Your Clothes on the Line....................33
How to Install an Outdoor Clothesline....................34
Clothespins....................35
The Changes You Need to Make....................35
Laundry Stain Removers....................40
Allergies....................41
Chapter 4: All About High-Efficiency Washers and Dryers....................45
Types of HE Washers....................47
Space....................48
Color of the machine....................48
Mold in HE Washers....................50
Chlorine treatment....................52
Baking Soda and Vinegar Treatment....................53
Commercial Cleaners....................54
Chapter 5: Exercise the Body and Mind....................55
Chapter 6: Teach Your Children from Toddler to Teen....................63
Teaching Green....................65
Laundry Steps....................67
Going Off to College: Laundry Instructions....................70
Chapter 7: Make Your Own Laundry Products....................75
Make Your Own Dryer Sheets....................78
Make Your Own Spot Remover....................78
Homemade Recipes....................80
Mending Clothes....................82
How to Sew on a Button....................83
How to Sew a Hem....................84
Chapter 8: The Joy of Laundry....................85
The American Experience....................87
"The Clothesline" by Marlyn K Walker....................87
"The Basic Rules for Clotheslines" by Lois Hermann....................89
"Mom's Little Helper" by Joyce Murphy....................90
"Laundry Memory" by Bonnie Halko....................90
"Laundry in Bristol, Pennsylvania" by Kate Grow....................91
"Mom's New-Fangled Clothes Pole" by Trudi Rosencrans....................91
"Big Stinky" by Lane McLeish....................92
"True Story" by Beverly Phillips....................94
"Laundry Stories" by Cathryn Brownstein....................94
"The Mystery of the Missing Socks" by Carin Froehlich....................99
"Clothesline Harmony or the Wedding Catcher" by Anonymous....................100
"Camping Laundry" by Sally Whiteson....................101
"Grandma's Queenie 2 Trip" by Barbra Williams....................102
"Laundromat, New York City, 1968" by Annie Percichello....................103
"Wash Day" by Lidia Welks....................104
A Note to the Reader....................107

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