Line Dry or Tumble?

By Janey Womeldorf

Line Dry or Tumble?

Do sheets dried on a washing line smell better than sheets dried in the dryer?

To many, this is a no brainer. When it comes to laundry, there are two types of people in this world: Those who believe that nothing smells as fresh as sheets dried on the line. And everybody else.

Actually, there is a third kind – those who dry clean. I’ve never understood them though; I mean, where is their fun? Talk to any advocate of the line-drying crowd and enthusiasm gushes out; they can’t stop themselves. To them, nothing beats the sunny, crisp freshness of sheets dried by Mother Nature.

I feel the same way about my tumble dryer, especially when I use the “tranquil-lavender” scented drier sheets. Not only do I like the smell, but the used-up drier sheets are handy for giving faucets a quick shine and for scraping the fuzz off the lint screen. Where is the benefit from picking up your clothes at the dry cleaners though? Admittedly, you get a free hanger, and the plastic covers are handy when travelling, but the hangers are rubbish. Hang a pair of jeans on them and it’s just a matter of time before they bend in the middle. I hate that.

I guess I’m just a dryer girl. If the label doesn’t say tumble dry, it’s not in my closet. I do own a few dry-clean tops; they pretty much represent the only high-priced items in my clearance-rack closet. I tend to save them for special occasions, which basically means they never get worn. Actually, I can never get past the fact that they will then need laundering; the scratch and sniff test only works for so long. Before you know it, you’re searching through coupon books or calling around for prices in a sad attempt to lessen the pain. Laundry is stressful enough without adding more.

The truth is, we are a nation divided by housekeeping. Don’t even get me started on ironing. That’s another one of those do-or-don’t rituals: There are those who iron, and those who avoid it at all costs. Certain behavioral traits, however, give each type away. The “ironer” will instinctively smooth down her clothes at the mere suggestion of a photograph; heaven forbid she gets caught in public with a wrinkle. The non-ironer doesn’t care. She does, however, bolt from her chair the instant she realizes the dryer finished ten minutes beforehand. She scrambles to the laundry room praying that the dreaded wrinkle will not have set in, so she doesn’t have to iron. Fortunately, she probably has that wrinkle-remover spray lurking in the depths of her closet somewhere.

I know women who iron everything. Forget shirts, these women are ironing pillow cases and panties. I mean, what is all that about? When I stand in my panties, there is no amount of ironing that will stop my butt from looking like Wrinkle City. Unfortunately, that has more to do with the saggy, rippled skin underneath than it does my laundry habits. Wrinkles are not choosy where they live, and there is no iron in the world that will smooth out nature’s creases. I wish there were. Can you imagine?

“I’m almost ready Sweetheart; I’m just ironing my face.”

Some friends of ours went to great effort and expense to visit us recently. She’s an ironer. I figured the least I could do was let them slumber on wrinkle-free cotton, so I ironed their pillow cases. This was a first for me. It could have been worse though; they could have been the sort of people who use a clean towel for every shower. Yes, such people exist! I’ve never understood that either. (How much cleaner can your body get?) I had one house guest who put his towel in the laundry basket after each use. When he went out, I retrieved it, popped it in the dryer for a quick hit of tranquil lavender, and hung it back up. He was none the wiser. He stayed 4 days – so did his towel.

The strange thing is, housework does give me a wonderful sense of satisfaction; not that I would miss it mind you. Years ago, I had a cleaner. We lived in Germany at the time, and our apartment had stone-tile floors throughout. No matter how often I swept, dust bunnies rolled down the passageway like Texan tumbleweeds. The night before our cleaner first came, I cleaned the entire house; I didn’t want her to think it was dirty. When I returned home from work later that day, the smell of cleanliness hit me the moment I opened the door, and I never looked back. I never could admit to my mother though that I paid another woman to clean my house. Two decades later, that still sounds odd. Any woman who has ever hired a cleaner, though, is lying if she doesn’t tell you how blissful it is, coming home to a clean house after a full day’s work.

My cleaner never did our laundry; it was probably a good thing. People are fussy about the way their clothes are folded, especially socks. I tie my husband’s socks in a knot; my Mum rolls hers and my mother-in-law folds hers over. I think my way is more logical but foolishly, so do they. I’ve decided, therefore, it’s just best not to mess with another woman’s laundry. It is rarely wise to stack or unload her dishwasher either. But that’s a whole different story. Or is it?

When it comes to housework, it seems we all have quirks – apart from me. If you ever come to visit, you’d discover that. You see, nothing bothers me as long as you abide by a few small rules: Don’t expect a clean towel every day, ignore wrinkled linens, and don’t load my dishwasher the wrong way. Other than that, my door is open, so feel free to come in.

Unless, that is, you don’t like your tranquil-lavender-scented socks knotted.

About this writer

  • Janey Womeldorf Janey Womeldorf once went to work wearing different shoes. She now freelance writes and scribbles away in Orlando, Florida. It’s probably best.

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