Etiquette & superstition: laundry

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I’m not going to get all cutesy with this topic and make the etiquette part of the post about airing one’s dirty laundry in public or on social media (same thing), because I think it’s a little too obvious and it’s just common sense anyway. You don’t always have to show a sunny face to the world at large, but as countless memes will remind you, Facebook is neither your therapist nor your diary. But you knew that already. Let’s talk about real laundry instead.

ETIQUETTE: Oh, the shared laundry machine. Whether you’re at a coin laundromat or using the facilities in the basement of your apartment building, sooner or later you are going to come across unattended laundry that is left sitting in a washing machine or dryer long after the machine has done its thing. And you need to do your laundry, and there are no other machines available. Is it rude to take the clothes out of the machine so that you may use it?

No. No, it’s not. Provided you deposit the laundry in a clean area (a spare basket or the top of the machine, for instance), everybody in America seems to be on board with taking the clothes out if you have waited a reasonable amount of time for the owner of the clothes to retrieve them. Let’s say 15-30 minutes after the wash or dry cycle has finished. If you are transferring someone else’s clothes out of a washer, don’t throw the load into a dryer and start the dryer thinking you are being a good samaritan. Some of those clothes might be line dry only… and now you’re not a good samaritan, you’re the jerk who shrank your neighbor’s merino sweater.

SUPERSTITION: If you wash a new article of clothing during a new moon, the clothes will never fit right. And if you wash clothes on New Year’s Day, someone in your family will die soon. The day of the week that you do your laundry also has some effect either on the outcome of that laundry or your general nature. I’m just going to quote directly from the Radfords’ Encyclopedia of Superstition for this one:

“‘They that wash on Monday, have the whole week to dry.
They that wash on Tuesday, are not so much arye.
They that wash on Wednesday, may get their clothes clean.
They that wash on Thursday, are not so much to mean.
They that wash on Friday, wash for their need.
But they that wash on Saturday, are clarty-paps indeed.’

NOTE: Clarty-paps means dirty sluts.” Duly noted.

Photo from Reeve Photograph Collection via National Museum of Health and Medicine on Flickr

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