Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thanks for the Laundry Tip, Mom!

One of the blessings of living in Thailand was that our housekeeper did our laundry.  She'd wash it, fold it, and deliver it to our rooms.  Yeah, it's pretty tough when all you're responsible for is putting the stuff into the correct drawer.  Well, I did insist on ironing my own shirts, but that's mainly because I find the whole thing weirdly therapeutic.  Plus it gives me something to do while I watch TV.

So now that we're back in the United States and housekeeper-less, it's back to the good old days of doing our own laundry.  Goodness gracious, we go through a ton of laundry.  Thank goodness for a neighbor who loaned us a television so we can watch the US Open while we fold the piles and piles of clean clothes.

A month ago while we were visiting my family in Utah, my dear mother clued me in to a fantastic laundry tip she learned while she and my father were missionaries in Mongolia.  I was getting ready to wash my clothes and asked her if she had any Fels Naptha soap so I could scrub my collars.  I have been scrubbing my collars with Fels Naptha as long as I can remember, because that's what my mom taught me.  In Thailand I taught the housekeeper to scrub my collars--between the hot and humid weather, the pollution, and all the construction, ring-around-the-collar was a constant.  It could be so bad that I refused to wear the new shirts I had made right before we left until after we left Thailand.

Well, my dearest mother calmly informed me that she no longer scrubs collars with Fels Naptha.  While in Mongolia somebody told her the trick was to put the white clothes into the washer, let the tub fill up and agitate for about a minute, then stop the machine.  Now here's the kicker--you let the clothes soak.  For at least one hour, preferably longer.  Like overnight.

Naturally, this intrigued me.  I do not enjoy scrubbing my collars.  I have never liked doing it, but I did it because I thought it was necessary.  So naturally I was ready to try Mom's Mongolian Method (Triple-M?) and see what happened.

If at this point you expect me to say that the experiment was an abject and utter failure, well, I hate to disappoint you.  Of course it works like a charm!  I won't say that I'll never scrub another collar again, but I'm willing to be so bold as to say that regular collar-scrubbing has gone the way of my once-bleached bangs--an historical sidenote that we'll likely just leave in the past, until we need to dust it off in some form of a morality tale for our kids and grandkids.

On that happy note, good-bye August!


  1. Amazing what you can learn for an ancient "Chinese" secret. Now, how do you get rid of this irritating stain on white shorts? My son loves to scoot his little behind down the steps at my in-laws...yes, he was going up and down the their deck and has stains as his evidence. I've scrubbed, soaked and bleached but there's no hope for this brand new shorts that he's worn once! Boo-hoo

  2. It's actually just an accidental discovery that happened in Mongolia. Mongolians and Chinese do their best to get along but aren't exactly best buds. Anyway, welcome to the no more scrubbing, no more sore hands, no more ring-around-the-collar (or cuffs) club! Love, Mother - not really anonymous

  3. Great tip, but can't do if you have a front loading washer. Guess I'll have to just soak it in the batht tub.

  4. Actually, I think you could still do this with a front-loader. You have to use the controls to stop the machine (which is how my mom does it), not by opening the door/lid.

    Otherwise, yeah, soaking it in the tub would probably work.