Sunday, August 30, 2009

using the clothes dryer again

I normally hang all my clothes to dry: It saves energy (dryers are a big energy sucker) and actually helps keep the clothes from wearing out too fast, since the heat and friction of the clothes dryer degrades fibres.

Recently, however, my clothes have been getting really stinky. I first noticed it when I put on a t-shirt for work one day and got a whiff of something akin to old, damp, used lockerroom towels. Not good. Especially on my body, and especially on my way to work.

After some investigation (read: sniffing all my clothes), I concluded that only the most recent wash was smelly. I washed the entire load all over again with borax and vinegar, hoping those eco-friendly deodourizers would do the trick. No such luck. Two days later the drying clothes were still smelly.

So I washed everything one more time with (gulp) a bit of chlorine bleach to kill any germs or mold that were making the clothes smell bad. I hung everything to dry again, and this time all I smelled was the faint, comforting scent of swimming pool. (Which is really not all that comforting, when you stop and think about it; chlorine is toxic in its liquid form, and chlorine bleach fumes are really bad for you.)

The next time I washed a load of clothes, I used a bit of bleach again as a preventive measure. A couple of days later, however, the still-damp clothes stunk just as bad as the first batch. I re-washed the entire load with more bleach, and finally broke down and dried all the clothes in the dryer.

It was a difficult moment for me. When I cast back in my memory, I realized it had been SIX YEARS since I'd last dried my clothes in a dryer. Seriously. I remember because it was the summer of the big blackout (2003), and in the weeks immediately following the blackout I had decided that hanging my clothes to dry would cut down on my family's energy use and contribute towards lessening our burden on the grid.

Above is a picture of my folded laundry after it was done drying. I'm still inexpressably bummed about drying my clothes this way. Plus now all my polyester dress pants are slightly wrinkled. Bleah.