It’s true – laundry is a frequent topic with me. There is so much to say about it, though. Perhaps laundry is not such a huge issue for a person without OCD, but for a germophobe like me, it’s a hot topic.
What really is so clean about a washing machine anyway? The manufacturers of these machines do not truly understand how cross-contamination occurs. I came to this realization long ago when I lifted the lid after a wash cycle and saw a drop of water fall down on the “clean” clothes inside. The lid is by no means clean; it gets germs all over it when the dirty laundry hits it as it goes in. Now I know this is not the manufacturers’ fault. But I did notice something different when I bought a new machine not long ago. The water comes out in a different manner in this machine. In the old one, the water came out of a protected area under the rim that I could not even see. In the new one, the water comes out above the rim and slides down the contaminated rim onto the clothes below. This is not a problem for the wash cycle because the clothes are already dirty. But what about the rinse cycle? The water slides right over the same contaminated area carrying germs back onto the clothes. How is that helpful? The clothes may look clean, but they certainly are not sanitized. How do I cope with this? I rely on the dryer to sanitize my clothes. I use the longest and hottest cycle that I can. If they burn my hands when I touch them, I’m happy.
Before they go in the dryer, though, comes the challenge of getting the laundry out of the washer without contaminating my arms. This is a process. It involves the use of gloves, of course, but gloves only protect my hands. Anyone who does laundry knows that your arms have to go in at least up to the elbow to get the clothes out. So I had to devise a way to protect my arms. My solution is plastic wrap. I have become highly skilled at using one hand to wrap sheets of plastic around the opposite arm. It was frustrating at first, but now I can wrap two or three sheets around both arms to above the elbow in under two minutes. Then I put on the disposable gloves, and I can dive into the washing machine without worry! This is the task I devised this arrangement for, but it comes in handy for many other chores as well. It’s really a good system.
Once in a while I decide to get adventurous. If I have on a pair of gloves for another purpose, and it turns out that they are clean enough to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer at the right time, I have occasionally taken a risk and tried to remove the clothes without having my arms protected. I tell myself that it’s not worth the risk, but at times I just don’t feel like going through the effort of wrapping up my arms, and I think I can save a few cents by using the gloves I already have on. It then becomes like performing surgery. I have to reach in without hitting any part of the washer with my arms. Try it – it’s not easy! I remember playing a board game as a child – get something out without touching the sides – and I wasn’t very good at it. Indeed, the first couple of times I tried this with the washer it did not turn out well. I hit my arm on the side, uttered an oath or two, and after the laundry was out I had to go through an elaborate sanitization ritual. Then it happened. One day I was successful! I didn’t touch the sides, and I saved time and money in the process. So now, sometimes I try this and usually triumph, but other times I tell myself that it is just not worth it, and I wrap up. Who knew laundry could be such a gamble and an adventure at the same time?