July 28, 2011

What really happens to your clothes at the dry cleaners?

It's really quite awful. Your clothes are dumped — along with everyone else's dirty things — into a giant machine full of perchloroethylene, which should be banned and will be banned within the next decade.

The real solution, in my opinion, is to move beyond clothes that need to be dry cleaned. Wouldn't it be funny, if — all these years after we baby boomers decided we had to hate polyester suits — we embraced them — and for just about the same reason we hated them: devotion to the natural?

Do you know the movie "The Man in the White Suit"?
Sidney Stratton, a brilliant young research chemist and former Cambridge scholarship recipient, has been dismissed from jobs at several textile mills because of his demands for expensive facilities and his obsession to invent a long-lasting fibre. Whilst working as a labourer at the Birnley mill, he accidentally becomes an unpaid researcher and invents an incredibly strong fibre which repels dirt and never wears out...

Stratton is lauded as a genius until both management and the trade unions realise the consequence of his invention—once consumers have purchased enough cloth, demand will drop precipitously and put the textile industry out of business.....
The evil business owners want to suppress this invention, of course. Anyway. I remember watching this movie in the 1970s — when polyester suit hatred reached its height among us natural-fiber-loving post-hippies.  The movie was made in 1951, and we were amused by the way the film-makers did not anticipate the horror of polyester.

We experienced our enlightened perceptions 2 decades after the movie came out, and now, here we are, after 4 more decades. Perhaps we should get back on the track we retreated from so we can find our way out of the bondage of dry cleaning.

125 comments:

pbAndj said...

So, will I have my head handed to me if I tie this post to another situation where Althouse loves plastic?

Scott M said...

No hippie, I, but there's a reason cotton is more desired that polyester.

E.M. Davis said...

Perhaps we should get back on the track we retreated from so we can find our way out of the bondage of dry cleaning

Bondage of dry cleaning? Seriously?

I don't think it's that big of a deal.

chickenlittle said...

Althouse asks: Perhaps we should get back on the track we retreated from so we can find our way out of the bondage of dry cleaning.

What ever happened to Mr. Natural?

Oh yeah, he led the way, moving to France.
______________
Supercritical carbon dioxide would be a nifty replacement and for those organochloro nasties. It works for treating coffee beans. Maybe it's a scale-up issue or a plant-food shortage.

Henry said...

The real solution, in my opinion, is to move beyond clothes that need to be dry cleaned.

The real solution is to move beyond woman's clothes designers.

When I do the wash I organize by three categories: darks, whites, the wife's. Then I check all the tags of the wife's and separate those into machine wash, dry clean, handwash. And I try to note which of the machine wash items are line-dry and lay-flat-to-dry so I won't accidently tumble them to death. And I stuff some things into delicate bags.

I'm thinking of putting a bank of halogen lights over the washing machine so I can read the damn tags. Pink on white and lemon on lime are not high contrast combinations.

Scott M said...

Screw dry-cleaning. I just want someone to figure out a way to end the inevitable horror of sorting socks for for a family of five.

Andrea said...

"The bondage of dry cleaning"

Cotton, a natural fiber, can be washed in soap and water. So can most other natural fiber things, though some things need to be handwashed or at least hung to dry. The only things I've ever owned that needed dry cleaning were silk items and items that were part or 100% rayon -- which is a manufactured fiber. The only things I own now that need dry cleaning are a pair of pants (that I will probably give away), and my winter coat, which I haven't actually sent to the cleaner's yet because until I moved to Virginia I hardly ever wore it.

I think most people who take a lot of clothes to the cleaners do so because they don't want to iron them.

Andrea said...

I used "things" too much. Oh well.

wv: hymble. Gotta be hymble about my writing!

Michael said...

Men's suits, mostly now a thing of the past, don't need to be dry cleaned but once every year or so if they are brushed and aired properly. People historically overused dry cleaning to the ruination of their clothes. Today, most people slop around in wash and wear junk. Even in business. The lefties have won in this as well. Subtly we have all been made to look the same in the name of nonconformity. Rich and poor alike look like shit. Mao would have loved the American airport scene, I can tell you that.

Ditto tattoos.

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't care if they dump my clothes in with the other clothes in a machine with chemicals. I just want them to be clean.

But then, I only have something dry cleaned about once a year or less. Kids and dry clean only clothes do not mix well.

Triangle Man said...

I think most people who take a lot of clothes to the cleaners do so because they don't want to iron them.

Bingo!

Fred4Pres said...

I do not like dry cleaning. So I went and bought some of those non wrinkle shirts. They are okay (Egyptian cotton they are not) but my wife sends them to the dry cleaners anyway. Atlhough with dress shirts, I am not even sure they put them in the chemical bath.

Anyway. I tried.

Sixty Grit said...

I have no clothing that requires dry cleaning. Speak for yourself.

Freeman Hunt said...

There is a dry cleaner here who will come to your house and pick up your stuff. Our neighbor uses their service. I think they do it for all kinds of laundry though, not just dry cleaning.

Fred4Pres said...

I cannot iron. I know, zen and the art of motorcyle maintenance and all of that, but I really despise ironing.

bagoh20 said...

What's a dry cleaner? You mean like a broom?

The Crack Emcee said...

Wouldn't it be funny, if — all these years after we baby boomers decided we had to hate polyester suits — we embraced them — and for just about the same reason we hated them: devotion to the natural?

No, there's nothing "funny" about all the unnecessary nonsense your generation have put the rest of us through with your crazy delusions and, yes, arrogance. You have cost - and are still costing us - trillions of dollars, if not more, with your environmental madness and you think it's "funny"?

If life was fair - truly fair - a bunch of you freaks would be hanging in the public square as a cautionary tale and warning.

Lincolntf said...

BAN IT! is the rallying cry of the statists. Gee, dangerous chemicals are used in dry cleaning? Ban the clothes! (Pay no attention to the far more noxious materials used in the manufacture of the computer you're using right now, those are special)

Skyler said...

Back when Marine officers wore dress white uniforms, we knew to not allow them to be dry cleaned because the process you describe yellows the whites quite noticeably. They reuse the cleaning fluid over and over and the filter only takes out gross contaminants, not dissolved dirt, so whites don't stay white.

Your non-white clothes come back with the same crap in them, you just don't see it as easily.

Pogo said...

My wife's grandma used to wash the men's clothing separately from the women's.

She thought it was indecent to mix them together, and was even a bit horrified discussing it.

gerry said...

My wife does our laundry now, but I did it for years both before and after marriage. Henry's right: get women to abandon the designer clothes and laundry becomes much simpler.

Permanent Press was my friend as a bachelor: quick dryer-press and off you go. Of course, I didn't work for or with primpy post-hippie yuppies who scoffed at my basic wardrobe. I've always worked in a technical field in which achievement outweighed wardrobe.

I never dreamed that carcinogens required by overdressed yuppies would become unfashionable. Does this mean that - as in the movie Batman - yuppies will look dumpy and frumpy because they can't get their clothes cleaned and pressed?

Fred4Pres said...

Ann, lead the way on the "new washing." You and Meade take your clothes to the lake in Madison and pound them on the rocks.

Now that is Eco-friendly! Don't use soap or phosphates though...

and watch out for goose poop.

gerry said...

I just want someone to figure out a way to end the inevitable horror of sorting socks for for a family of five.

Have everyone wear black nylon socks and roll them or stretch them as necessary to fit.

The tyranny of laundry!

Pogo said...

I hesitate to mention that I actually like doing the ironing.

I know, "Freak!!!"

Tim said...

Dry cleaning? Awful?

Why so sensitive?

As for polyester, yeah, for athletic activities like running or biking.

But as daily wear? Really? Not even close.

chickenlittle said...

Irony

gerry said...

Ann, lead the way on the "new washing." You and Meade take your clothes to the lake in Madison and pound them on the rocks.


The lakeside laundry cafe.

Where you can pound all day.

Earth Girl said...

I gave up dry cleaning years ago when I calculated how much I was spending. Some winter coats and a few rarely used suits may go once every few years. I found that some items marked dry clean only can be safely machine washed. I try this only with items purchased at Goodwill, so not much economic value is lost if it doesn't work or if the item wears our quicker.

JAL said...

Isn't polyester one of those awful "fossil" fuel products?

Pollution!!!!11!!!

Pretty soon the prols will have nothing they can afford to wear because Wahington has regulated us out of survivability, and it's back to the 15th century for us all. (Isn't that the goal?)

Except for them, of course.

Them who will provide jobs so some of us can hand pick the dirt off their 100% well creased [how?]cotton, flax, hemp, linen, silk, and / or wool pants.

AFG said...

Hmmm. No protest about govt mandates to change dry cleaning practices, but still all the fuss about lightbulbs!

Superdad said...

You could also try this company: http://www.naturalcleaners.com/

I use them because they are cheaper than the other guys in town. And, their hippie process seams to be just as effective.

Suits really don't need to be dry cleaned very often. Brush them and air them. Quality hotels still offer a brushing services in addition to the dry cleaning service.

Pogo said...

How do you clean a tie?

Damn things are ruined if they ever get dirty, dry cleaning or no.

The Crack Emcee said...

Here, let me help you hippies to your normal conclusion:

"You know, Mao had the right idea with those pajamas in basic black,..."

Sorry, but dry cleaning is not as high on my list of concerns as the harmful delusions of Baby Boomers and their results. The fact that Ann thinks their bullshit is "funny" says all one needs to know about how harmful those people can be.

It's downright evil to laugh at the destruction you have made for others, and that's really what it it all boils down to - Boomers were evil.

chickenlittle said...

gerry said...
Henry's right: get women to abandon the designer clothes and laundry becomes much simpler.

One striking thing about the Europeans (the Swiss at least) is how much they favor simple black or white clothing. They seldom smile though and it's illegal to laundry some places on Sundays.

Shanna said...

I think most people who take a lot of clothes to the cleaners do so because they don't want to iron them.

Ding ding ding! Although there are some things that do NOT go in the machine, a lot of stuff I used to dry clean I now wash in cold and it does just fine. I do try to buy stuff that doesn’t have to be dry cleaned, but generally work pants always get dry cleaned, plus suits and buttoned shirts. Even if they didn’t have to, they would look crisper when pressed.

The Crack Emcee said...

Pogo,

I hesitate to mention that I actually like doing the ironing.

I know, "Freak!!!"


Every time I pull out the ironing board, my roommate lets out a "Whoa!" like I'm nuts.

These people are insane, I tell you, simply insane.

The Crack Emcee said...

gerry,

Have everyone wear black nylon socks and roll them or stretch them as necessary to fit.

See? There's the beginning. Now keep going,...

Lucius said...

"which should be banned and will be banned within the next decade."

--"Mr. Gecko, that's inside information! I could lose my license . . . ."

Henry said...

I agree with the consensus: I hate ironing. Pogo should set up an ironing business.

LarsPorsena said...

"....Your clothes are dumped — along with everyone else's dirty things — into a giant machine .."

My duds mixing with everyone else's sounds very democratic and egalitarian to me...

Blogger Michael said...

' Men's suits, mostly now a thing of the past,......... Today, most people slop around in wash and wear junk. Even in business. The lefties have won in this as well. Subtly we have all been made to look the same in the name of nonconformity. Rich and poor alike look like shit. Mao would have loved the American airport scene, I can tell you that.

Ditto tattoos'

An airport today has all of the class of traveling by bus 30 years ago..ghastly, slovenly, smelly, rude tattooed herds.

traditionalguy said...

Dry cleaners are sexist.

A woman's blouse is $4.50 while a man's shirt is $1.50.

But the fear of the chemicals used is the usual environmental mythical nonsense. After 80 years of usage we know what the Chemicals do and don't do.

The Crack Emcee said...

Mao would have loved the American airport scene, I can tell you that.

I missed that reference. C'mon, Ann, isn't it "funny" what you guys have created for us?

Cackling while others suffer for your decisions - pure, unadulterated evil.

William said...

Khaki shorts and t-shirts in the summer. Jeans and sweatshirts in the winter. These are the only clothes that a man who is serious about cleaning up the environment will allow himself to wear.....I have also found that dark colored t-shirts and sweatshirts are remarkably absorbent of food stains. This is especially true of BBQ. In a pinch the sleeve serves quite well as a napkin. As a bonus, after repeated washings the stains take on the character of dark, convoluted whorls. These whorls are aesthetically pleasing and rival in their dark complexity what Pollak was seaching for in his later works.....I don't believe we should outlaw fine woolen goods. However, they should be taxed at a rate that reflects their true cost to the environment.....The well dressed man dresses not according to the dictates of fashion but according to the dictates of morality.

gerry said...

See? There's the beginning. Now keep going,...

Nylon, black body stockings.

Except for the accidental static electricity immolations in dry environments, they just might work.

It's downright evil to laugh at the destruction you have made for others, and that's really what it it all boils down to - Boomers were evil.

Wow, you are in bad mood...of course, that is when you are most entertaining. Here's a little something that may brighten your day: Baby Boomer Death Counter. Relax, CE, I'm a boomer and we've almost shuffled offstage...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"The bondage of dry cleaning"

I liberated my closet when I retired. Gave away almost all of my 'work' type clothing. Yay!!

Very little needed to be dry cleaned anyway other than some wool suit jackets or coats. I just didn't buy anything that needed dry cleaning, since the closest dry cleaner was a long long way away. I would have to take my suit jackets to the local UPS pick up store, then they would send them down once a week to the dry cleaners and then be returned via UPS. Too much work and too much expense....forget it.

sorting socks for for a family of five.

My mother was color blind and we begged her to stop sorting socks. Green with brown. Pink with yellow. Blue with brown. !!

Just dump them all in a basket and let us do it.

Pogo said...

"The bondage of dry cleaning"

NTTAWWT.

Pastafarian said...

Althouse: "...perchloroethylene, which should be banned..."

Why?

Because someone at the EPA says so? I don't trust these people as far as I can throw them.

We once had a perc tank here at the factory. It cleaned metal parts more quickly and thoroughly than anything else ever has; we had to replace it with a series of baths in mineral spirits, and the result is dirtier parts, a more expensive process, and we go through one hell of a lot of the petrochemical solvent. That perc would last for months without replacement -- we could just skim the oil off the top.

And I think perchorethylene was banned (in uses like ours) because it rhymes with trichlorethylene, and no other reason.

And dry-cleaners have sealed equipment that loses almost none of the stuff to the atmosphere.

G Joubert said...

What I've found is dry cleaning men's dress shirts extends their life and they always look new, right up to the point when they finally wear out. Machine washing them and running them through the dryer shrinks the fibers after just a few washings, and even if you starch and iron them they're degraded

Dust Bunny Queen said...

No protest about govt mandates to change dry cleaning practices, but still all the fuss about lightbulbs!

Not everyone has to have their clothes dry cleaned. EVERYONE uses lightbulbs.

@ Pogo

I like to iron too.

It used to be my chore as a child, before there was such a thing as permanent press shirts or steam irons being a very common appliance.

I would take my father's cotton work shirts, sprinkle them with water from a bottle that had a perforated cap, roll them up in a towel to keep damp.

It was challenging and satisfactory to turn our a shirt with no wrinkles, crisp and great smelling. You get a rhythm to the process and it is really sort of Zen like.

edutcher said...

I can see it now - Ann with a whip, Meade tied to the furniture with all the stuff that has to go out the next day.

The bondage of dry cleaning.

Ann Althouse said...

perchloroethylene, which should be banned and will be banned within the next decade

Isn't this the same woman stockpiling incandescent bulbs?

Ban for thee, but not for me.

Fred4Pres said...

Ann, lead the way on the "new washing." You and Meade take your clothes to the lake in Madison and pound them on the rocks.

Read someplace that's really the best way to do it.

Gotta be tough during those Madison winters, though.

traditionalguy said...

Pastafarian is right.

All science imposed fears leading to expensive government manipulations are myths.

Anybody whose degree is in Political Science is cutting edge today.

Because "science" has become politics by other means.

They really have their own set of facts today...they made them up.

Carol_Herman said...

Occasionally, I'll bring a shirt to the cleaners, to be washed and pressed. But I don't wear suits. I WEAR JEANS!

And, all my clothes go into my own washing machine. And, dryer. And, I iron NOTHING.

But the differeence isn't polyester. The difference is JEANS. And, knitted fabric.

There's also a problem you don't mention. The cleaner's can lose your favorite coat.

And, I also wash my bedding. FULL. My parents slept on a FULL SIZED bed. There's nothing I can't wash.

And, I get to choose hot or cold water. And, I get to choose if I want to add bleach (rarely) ... but more often a Lysol product that smells like lavender. Very much like Fabuloso.

The dispenser cups on my washing machine are very small. I would be surprised if they held two teaspoons each. The machine is an "HE" ... Which "spritzes clothes." It uses less water than the Maytag it replaced.

But I still don't know if I like our government tampering with our appliances. Though I'm not that freaked on the lightbulbs. Because I can't tell the difference.

And, the house gets lots of sunlight in, as well.

Plus, the surrounding trees keeps the house cool.

I also don't trust the way the government comes up with results. Lots of people work in dry cleaners. And, don't get cancer! While it seems you can always test for rats that get cancer in labs.

We'd be way better off as a society with less intrusion. I think the "nanny state" is the unhealthiest part of all.

Heart_Collector said...

Where else can you read about children slaughter, american debt, wi politics AND dry cleaning?

wv-tratoir- Obama

The Crack Emcee said...

gerry,

And a "good morning" to you, too!

Relax, CE, I'm a boomer and we've almost shuffled offstage..."

Not good enough. We need something that finally, makes them get out of the way, sit down, and shut up. We don't need their input any longer.

They've done enough harm - and laughed about it the whole time.

Chip S. said...

If The Man in the White Suit were remade today, in Act 2 the NLRB would declare the new fabric an unfair bargaining practice. Then the EPA would declare the production process an environmental hazard and demand that the facility be shut down.

Act 3 would open with a shot of our hero using an IP address masker to contribute $1 billion to the Obama '12 campaign. In the stirring conclusion, the Congress passes legislation to fund the new Affordable Clothing and Dry Cleaner Protection Act, known colloquially as Obamawear, under which all citizens are to be issued free clothing from the government. Economies of scale achieved by making White Suit Industries the sole provider of Obamawear-authorized clothing are predicted to bend the nation's wardrobe cost curve by 2050.

All displaced textile workers, as well as anyone who was likely to ever have become a textile worker (including all persons with humanities degrees), will receive a lifetime income supplement, to be funded by a 1,000% tariff on imported textiles and a $10 billion annual licensing fee charged to Fox News.

LarsPorsena said...

"Blogger Chip S. said...

If The Man in the White Suit were remade today, in Act 2 the NLRB would declare the new fabric an unfair bargaining practice. ..."

Post of the Week

Henry said...

@Chip S -- And the fact that the white suit material ended up unmarketable would have no effect on the displaced textile worker income supplement. The supplement would continue forever.

Pastafarian said...

Chip S -- brilliantly done.

Ann Althouse said...

"I do not like dry cleaning. So I went and bought some of those non wrinkle shirts. They are okay (Egyptian cotton they are not) but my wife sends them to the dry cleaners anyway."

1. You can get great no-iron cotton shirts that you can wash at home.

2. If you take your cotton shirts to the dry cleaners they launder them. They don't dry clean them. This is done, as your wife knows, to get them crisply ironed.

3. I've got nothing against having your laundry done outside of the house. My problem is with dry cleaning. It's disgusting.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Crack, you are on FIRE! Go, man, GO!

Ann Althouse said...

"My wife's grandma used to wash the men's clothing separately from the women's. She thought it was indecent to mix them together, and was even a bit horrified discussing it."

1. I've heard about women who are so fastidious about getting man on their stuff that they not only wash their things separately, they do an empty load to clean the machine before they wash their things. If you think about it long enough, you may want to do this too.

2. Think about the molecules, the bodily fluid molecules. It's only for lack of imagination that you think grandma seems nutty on this subject. It's not superstition. It's science. I'm not saying you could get pregnant, but.... it's best to keep the sexes segregated in the laundry, don't you think?

PatCA said...

I'm not seeing what's awful about dry cleaning. And the perc doesn't particularly bother me.

We are destroying businesses with all these new regs. But I guess that's the goal. Soon we will be a chemical-, fat-, smoke-free utopia.

Ann Althouse said...

"I just want someone to figure out a way to end the inevitable horror of sorting socks for for a family of five."

Everyone does his own laundry. Once they're 10 at least.

Why are you doing everyone's laundry, putting it all in together? Do you people bathe together too?

caplight said...

Almost everyday of the last two weeks it has been 100 degrees or better here in Kansas City. Polyester? I don't think so.

Pogo said...

"...they do an empty load to clean the machine before they wash their things."

Oh man, that's what her grandma did. Washed on different days entirely, separated by a 'clean' wash.

I dunno, seems too homeopathic to me, meaning the dilution factor is too great to be concerned.

Scott M said...

It's not superstition. It's science.

Does that mean we get out high-flush toilets back? Science and physics say the low-flush toilets are permanently set on 'stun', not 'kill'.

Surely if we have enough water for empty in-between loads, we have enough to...well, you know...

Sixty Grit said...

DBQ - a colorblind woman is a very rare thing indeed. Are any of her offspring colorblind?

As a colorblind person myself I find that sort of thing fascinating.

I solved the sock issue by having two kinds (I know, country and western) - white or black. Even in dim light I can tell those apart.

Titus said...

I loved John Waters movie Polyester.

Divine was divine. May she rest in peace.

Scott M said...

Why are you doing everyone's laundry, putting it all in together? Do you people bathe together too?

Let's just stay on socks for the non. Are you seriously suggesting that I should use more power, water, and soap to do completely separate loads of white socks simply because the gender of foot owners are off by a tad?

Ditto for the dark socks.

Please give me the rationale for that, because I just can't see it.

Ann Althouse said...

As for whether perc should be banned... I really don't know, but the linked article says it will be banned by 2020.

Personally, I'm put off by the fumes. I don't like bringing dry-cleaned things into the house.

The biggest problem isn't women's clothes. It wool suits, mostly worn by men. They look very nice, and I don't want to discourage men from wearing them. I just think it would be cool if a great washable suit could be invented. The process was ongoing and then people got freaked out by those terrible polyester suits that were made in the 70s. And now there are still lots of people who equate synthetic with bad. I think they are making a mistake.

Chip S. said...

A lot of men spend a lot of time trying to mix our bodily fluid molecules with women's. We're sure as hell not worried about what goes on in the wash.

Widely Seen said...

The dry-cleaning process today is not exactly dumping everyone's dirty cloths into a tub and stirring for a while...
The solvent [which is not water and hence the term dry] is filtered during use, separated from water and water-based junk, and distilled as well so OPC [other people's cooties] don't become YNC [your new cooties].
Most places use perchloroethylene -- a major advance over the older solvents [think gasoline and kerosene] which could go BOOM! Perchloroethylene is expensive enough that the cleaners minimize losses.
====================
wv: urlphant = a really big blogsite!

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

This is fun. Even though most of my chemistry training is on the inorg side, people "perc" is tetra-chloro ethylene having one more chlorine than ... TRI-chloroethylene.

Current perc losses in the dry-cleaning business are on the order of 0.005%, so it is no longer an environmental issue. After rinsing with clean perc, so the cruddy perc goes away, clothes and such are air-rinsed and the extracted perc distilled back into a clean tank. It's just not that big a deal.

@Crack -- I agree totally about Boomers, and I'm a 1949 cohort. Never did like my own generation, and that goes back to the early '60s.

Here's the good news: according to historical demographers Strauss & Howe ('Generations and other work), a generation attains its peak political power when the first cohorts reach age 65. That is 2008 to 2011 depending on whose definition of the Boom you use.

What Strauss & Howe point out is that after the point of peak power, any generation's power collapses with a speed and degree that absolutely stuns them.

Hang on, man. In four years most of these Boomer fuckwads will be history, in Congress and elsewhere. Can't come fast enough.

Henry said...

As far as the threat of bodily fluid molecules go, just breathing air is going to get you in the end.

The mixed up world is healthier.

gerry said...

2. Think about the molecules, the bodily fluid molecules. It's only for lack of imagination that you think grandma seems nutty on this subject. It's not superstition. It's science. I'm not saying you could get pregnant, but.... it's best to keep the sexes segregated in the laundry, don't you think?

Wow, I never thought that laundry might spread AIDS. I mean, it being science and all, this laundry contamination thing.


Why are you doing everyone's laundry, putting it all in together? Do you people bathe together too?

Woof. Pogo mentioned the homeopathic thing, and I wonder if AA realizes that many homeopathic practitioners believe that water has a "memory" that affects it forever, which means that any man-juice any water touches in any laundry anywhere will affect all laundry it touches anywhere else, forever.

Woody Allen can recommend a decent analyst, professor.

(Crack Emcee's site has some great links about homeopathic crackery, by the by)

WV: sadicon: sadist convention

edutcher said...

Supposedly, suits are coming back as business attire.

I never minded wearing a coat and tie to work; during my junior and senior high years, a coat and tie was required and I liked it; it made me feel like an adult.

Whether this has to do with the Boomers passing out of the work force...

Ann Althouse said...

1. I've heard about women who are so fastidious about getting man on their stuff that they not only wash their things separately, they do an empty load to clean the machine before they wash their things. If you think about it long enough, you may want to do this too.

The irony is there are women who do the exact opposite. If the husband leaves for work first, they'll roll over in his spot in bed so they can have his smell all around them.

Or wear one of his dirty shirts while they do the housework.

Women are such animals.

Palladian said...

Althouse: "...perchloroethylene, which should be banned..."

I must admit that I like the smell of perc.

And I must agree that it's a great cleaning agent for greasy metal clock parts. I occasionally clean and repair old clocks for fun and profit so in addition to my ultrasonic machine, I keep a can of perc around.

But hey, let's ban it. It's a "chemical", it smells funny and it has a scary name.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ - a colorblind woman is a very rare thing indeed. Are any of her offspring colorblind?

My brother, of course, is. We are waiting to see if my grandson might be color blind. 100% chance that I am a carrier on one of my X genes, 50/50 chance my daughter is a carrier...so either 50/50 or zero chance for the grandson.

It will be interesting to see and to see at what point we can tell. My mother had no idea she was colorblind until her teen years.

I've heard about women who are so fastidious about getting man on their stuff that they not only wash their things separately, they do an empty load to clean the machine before they wash their things. If you think about it long enough, you may want to do this too.

I'm not worried about getting 'man' on me...If I were, we wouldn't be having sex.

However, I do an empty load WITH bleach, between washing The Dumbplumber's work clothes and other laundry because I don't want to get the dirt, oil, grease and sewage on our other laundry.

Scott M said...

If the husband leaves for work first, they'll roll over in his spot in bed so they can have his smell all around them.

LOL. My wife does this. (so did various ex-girlfriends. Nobody tell my wife)

Pastafarian said...

Althouse: "Personally, I'm put off by the fumes."

I washed parts for a few summers during high school, among other dirty jobs at the bottom of the ladder; using our big perc vapor degreasing unit. And this thing was not any high-tech sealed self-contained reflow thing like they have at dry cleaners.

It was just a couple of big heated tanks end-to-end, so tall that I'd have to climb a catwalk and then stick my entire upper body in there to lower the parts in.

And I actually sort of liked the smell. Large doses of fumes had the happy side-effect of making my skin feel cold and clammy, which helped on really hot days.

No ill effects that I'm aware of. Other than those pesky voices in my head, telling me to kill, kill, kill; but who doesn't have those from time to time?

Pastafarian said...

Althouse said: "Think about the molecules, the bodily fluid molecules..."

That's just another argument to keep perc. That shit dissolved organic molecules like it was its goddamned job, and they get it hotter than hell. Nothing survives that stuff.

Palladian said...

And what's with the weird anti-scientific fear of mixing "precious bodily fluids"? I've got a tip for you: don't ever culture a sample of anything you touch. The horror might kill you.

Filth is good for us.

gerry said...

Other than those pesky voices in my head, telling me to kill, kill, kill; but who doesn't have those from time to time?

YOU TOO?

DaveW said...

I'll give up my wool suits and sports coats when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.

chickenlittle said...

And what's with the weird anti-scientific fear of mixing "precious bodily fluids"?

Such irrational fears are like vestigial vitalism.

EDH said...

What I've always thought to myself about "dry cleaning" became one of my favorite Seinfeld routines (excerpt).

Sabinal said...

even though I'm a christian, Sag Harbor is my goddess of business clothing. Very little ironing and wash and wear. Great styles for when you're in a conservative business

Pastafarian said...

Palladian -- I'm reminded of the therapy for Krone's disease that I read about: Intentionally infesting the patient with some sort of worm (hook worm or pin worm or something) that parasitizes hogs.

The theory being that the Krone's was caused by the gut being too tidy, I guess, and the body's defense mechanisms need something to attack or they'll turn on healthy tissue.

When we have an Althouse gathering, bring your jar of perc, and I'll bring some whisky. I just got a bottle of Bowmore you might like.

chickenlittle said...

And I must agree that it's a great cleaning agent for greasy metal clock parts

Nothing ever cut grease like dichloromethane. Unforgettable and pleasant odor too.

Pogo said...

If he weren't fictional, Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption would be the healthiest man alive.

ricpic said...

Pogo, since you enjoy ironing I have a question: how do you avoid the seam lines on shirts or pants making a kind of ghost line somewhere else on the garment when you iron the seams? Do you just avoid ironing over the seams or is there a trick?

Ann Althouse said...

"And what's with the weird anti-scientific fear of mixing "precious bodily fluids"? I've got a tip for you: don't ever culture a sample of anything you touch. The horror might kill you. Filth is good for us."

I'm not a big germ-o-phobe actually. I'm just saying I understand the thinking of the ladies who don't mix their clothing with the rest of the family's stuff.

As for all this getting your lover's smell on you, that's a matter of choice and you're choosing specific times and places, where your mental element is a big enhancement of the experience.

Does this sheets-loving wife of yours leave the sheets unchanged for weeks or months to indulge her sensuality? At what point would you think it's not really all that lovable of her? Is she rooting around in the laundry basket looking for your gym socks to inhale?

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, I suspect this sheets-sniffing woman is putting on a show of love to cover up for her failure to get up when you get up!

Scott M said...

Does this sheets-loving wife of yours leave the sheets unchanged for weeks or months to indulge her sensuality?

No, we change them weekly.

Is she rooting around in the laundry basket looking for your gym socks to inhale?

No, but she IS conserving resources and time by not splitting up loads of similar clothing simply because she thinks my son and I have what you obviously consider are cooties.

Can you grab a soiled pair of Meade's soiled jockeys and roll around with them and report back to us? You seem to be very interested in the subject.

caplight said...

Ann said, "The process was ongoing and then people got freaked out by those terrible polyester suits that were made in the 70s."

The problem with polyester is it doesn't breathe. It's hot and sticky when it's hot and sticky. You can toss about 3% poly into a wool suit and it's ok and makes it hold it's press better but you still have to dry clean it.

Pogo said...

Iron with the pant leg flat, seams out to the sides. If there is a crease, avoid flattening it with the iron; just run alongside it with the iron.

Avoid the seams entirely; go close by, but not on them.

Then iron the creases if needed, by repositioning the pant leg so the seam is now in the middle. Iron only at the edge of the crease, avoiding the seams entirely. And don't smash the iron down, but iron lightly, almost hovering over the crease, using steam to set it.

Pogo said...

God, what a dork I am.

Carol_Herman said...

Oh, yeah. I discovered that leaving the door open after a wash ... makes the innards of the washing machine DRY.

And, for good measure I spritz in some Lysol spray.

I'd bet some people's refrigerators are dirtier than than washing machines.

(Oh, and the one wool sweater I bought, I stuck inside the refrigerator. Or where I live the wool would just be food for the moths.)

Also, probably, hats are the dirtiest item you have ... where you keep putting it back on your head. Whether it stinks. Or not.

Then, for a runner up, you'd get gloves.

Roger J. said...

this post is one reason why I do love this blog--really interesting stuff.

I have no opinions on dry cleaning, but do subscribe to Williams point: the less you wear the better for the environment. My clothing consists of Williams prescription. This maybe TMI, but give up skivvies: go commando. less to buy and wash. (see seinfeld for a fuller explanation)

As to cotton? great fiber, except in tropical climates where it absorbs humidity--there go quick dry polyester.

Other than that? do your own thing and dont worry about dry cleaning.

If we were all nudists this would be irrelevant.

Roger J. said...

Pogo: god, man: get a life :)

Scott M said...

This maybe TMI, but give up skivvies: go commando. less to buy and wash.

Sharts would disagree with that.

Chip S. said...

I think Pogo's just getting ready for his new trade after single-payer healthcare comes along.

G Joubert said...

If you take your cotton shirts to the dry cleaners they launder them. They don't dry clean them. This is done, as your wife knows, to get them crisply ironed.

They will dry clean them if you instruct them to dry clean them. And you instruct them to then iron them. You need to take charge a little.

Roger J. said...

ScottM: I was,of course, hoping that only ladies would take my advice :)

Julie C said...

I'm not concerned about the mixing up of my underwear with my husband's and sons'.

However, I think it is creepy to wash the kitchen towels with undies and bath towels.

Scott M. - I feel your sock pain. So my younger son wears only black socks, and my older one only white.

Scott M said...

I feel your sock pain. So my younger son wears only black socks, and my older one only white.

I try to make it as easy as I can on my wife by only buying one brand of black socks (with a gold toe) and one brand of white socks. Mine are obviously the biggest in the house, so all she has to do is toss them into one of two stacks while sorting and I neaten them up for the drawer. I imagine my son (currently 20 months old) will be likewise easy. The two girls, though (4 and 7), are going to be a sock nightmare.

The Crack Emcee said...

Titus,

I loved John Waters movie Polyester.

Divine was divine. May she rest in peace.


Say what you want about Ann, but as a blogger, I am so ahead of the curve sometimes it's scary.

7b7a948a-4078-11e0-95a3-000f20980440 said...

Dear dear dear. So many sanctimonious people. Wool clothes, attractive and durable and warm, must be dry cleaned. I wear wool suits and coats and dry clean them as needed. I do not have a single pair of blue jeans and feel better for it. I don't wear short pants, either. Years ago I worked for a dry cleaner. How long do you think perchloroethylene has been used as a solvent? A long time. What did they use before that? Kerosene. Are there non-chlorinated solvents that can be used? Yes, but they cost more. Get off your high horse, alll you sanctimonious people! What are you going to do, burn people who dress well at the stake? Pass sumptuary laws forbidding the wearing of certain clothing (there used to be laws like that you know)? And what are you going to do about your draperies? They must be dry cleaned, too. Are you going to use venetian blinds? Please quit being so sanctimonious, you are giving me a headache!

caplight said...

Roger said, "go commando. less to buy and wash. (see seinfeld for a fuller explanation)"

Oh, no, the only thing separating us from his boys is a thin layer of gabardine!

Jerry, my boys are out there and IIII'm loving it!

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"2. Think about the molecules, the bodily fluid molecules. It's only for lack of imagination that you think grandma seems nutty on this subject. It's not superstition. It's science. I'm not saying you could get pregnant, but.... it's best to keep the sexes segregated in the laundry, don't you think?"

This from the woman who advocated one should be able to sit at a dinner table and explicitly ask ones party members what kinds of sex they engaged in after fifty, because we're all adults?

PS: Ain't science. It's feelings.

The Crack Emcee said...

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA),

Hang on, man. In four years most of these Boomer fuckwads will be history, in Congress and elsewhere. Can't come fast enough.

[Slumping down in the chair] Oh, please, please, PLEASE, let what you say be true. This crap, where a simple discussion of dry cleaning, exposes me to evil is just too much. I'm never ready for it. Smash the fucking Hall of Mirrors that is the legacy of the Boomers. Let future generations be free.

gerry,

Woody Allen can recommend a decent analyst, professor.

(Crack Emcee's site has some great links about homeopathic crackery, by the by)

But Ann will deny she's a NewAger 'till the cows come home. Also, your Woody Allen comment cracked me up, because I was just picturing Ann as an evil Annie Hall, destroying others while saying, "La-dee-da."

Ann,

By the way, I suspect this sheets-sniffing woman is putting on a show of love to cover up for her failure to get up when you get up!

Typical feminist - the projected hidden motive, because that's how feminists operate.

ScottM,

[Your wife] IS conserving resources and time by not splitting up loads of similar clothing simply because she thinks my son and I have what you obviously consider are cooties.

She's a feminist. Imagine, Ann - who not to long ago was talking positively about the environmentalists nudging us to do green shit so we'll be "good people" - now suggests a solution to your laundry issues that's as confused as the "funny" waste she voiced in this post. The woman has obviously never heard the word "consistency" in her life,...

Pogo,

God, what a dork I am.

Dude, please. I know gangsta rappers who insist on ironing their own shit. As a matter of fact, you'd be hard-pressed (no pun intended) to find too many black men who don't engage in the practice. It's a personal care thing. As far as I'm concerned, it says something good about you. Not that I didn't think well of you already,...

Michael said...

For all who care to know, here is the solution to disappearing socks.

Step 1. Wear no socks for one week to allow all socks in inventory to make it through the wash and be identified.
Step 2. Buy ten pair of new socks of the best quality you can afford and all of the same color.
Step 3. Acquire a mesh bag and put dirty socks in after use. Zip the top immediately as they are prone to escape.
Step 4. After washing in the mesh bag and drying in the mesh bag immediately pair them and put them in their drawer.
CAUTION. This is not wholly foolproof as one day there will be an odd number of socks in the drawer. But better than the anarchy prior to the adoption of this method.

The non-iron cotton shirts are fair, but they must be ironed (which is quite easy) to look right.

Crack: We are way past the point of no return in the area of clothing. Everyone with very few exceptions dresses like they are about to go golfing or mow the lawn.

Michael said...

Oh, I forgot the key sock matter. The old socks must be placed in a plastic bag and tied at the top and tossed high in a closet in the event of a disaster requiring old socks. If you do not do this the sock solution will not work.

HT said...

I scan-read the article. What was gross about it?

I use a dry cleaners that promotes itself as eco. Don't know if it is, but I suspect it is. Second, I always always always wash my clothes and take them to the dry cleaners to be pressed ONLY. I do not care if it's just as expensive. Whenever I'd take my white shirts to be dry cleaned in the past, one thing they would do for sure is lock in that lovely yellow on the underarm part of the shirt. So now, I work to get it out myself (when I took them to the dry cleaners one time to ask if they could get them out via laundering - the stains - they said no. LIE ! You can, you can.).

But there are one or two items I must dry clean every six months. Big whoop. The label says dry clean only. I don't DC all items that say that, but some I just know I'll mess up if I try to do it on my own, so I don't.

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

Crack: We are way past the point of no return in the area of clothing. Everyone with very few exceptions dresses like they are about to go golfing or mow the lawn.

Sorry, dude, but that's just white people

Except for Obama, the rest of us are still setting the world on fire,...

HT said...

I remember watching this movie in the 1970s — when polyester suit hatred reached its height among us natural-fiber-loving post-hippies. The movie was made in 1951, and we were amused by the way the film-makers did not anticipate the horror of polyester.

We experienced our enlightened perceptions 2 decades after the movie came out, and now, here we are, after 4 more decades. Perhaps we should get back on the track we retreated from so we can find our way out of the bondage of dry cleaning.


You first.

BJM said...

1. I've heard about women who are so fastidious about getting man on their stuff that they not only wash their things separately, they do an empty load to clean the machine before they wash their things. If you think about it long enough, you may want to do this too.

A surgeon friend advised me to separate our undies and bath towels in the wash as the Spousal Unit was prone to skin staph infections.

Did the trick.

Front loader doors should be left open between washes or they will grow mold in the seals. I occasionally wipe the washer down down with a non-toxic cleaner made of tea tree & rosemary. Smells fresh & nice too.

HT said...

This is such a nice distraction from the hostage situation in Washington! Keep up the good work!

PatCA said...

I went to a more expensive cleaner so the clothes don't smell--he changes it for every load.

Kirk Parker said...

"there's a reason cotton is more desired than polyester."


Well, except by sailors!

bagoh20 said...

I respect some people's sensitivities, so I always do an empty load between women.

Teri said...

Lands' End makes washable wool suits - 53% polyester, 43% wool and a bit of spandex. The pieces are fully lined and really truly can be thrown in the wash. I do have to iron the pants if I want a crease, but the jackets come out ready to go. It doesn't feel quite the same as a wool suit but I'll take the wash-at-home tradeoff any day.

Bruce Hayden said...

What must be remembered is that men's suits are status symbols or indicators for other men, and detecting that a suit is polyester is fatal in the pursuit of status. Ditto for buying it off the rack. Of course, polyester ties are worse - silk, or, rarely, wool, there is a requirement, and silk ties are even a bigger rip off at the cleaners than are women's blouses.

If you never have, you should read John Mallory's "Dress for Success". Suits are wool, unless they are linen, in the summer. Ditto for sport coats, with some of the same exceptions, plus, one of my favorites: camel fur (actually called "camel hair").

My guess is that in that white shoe firm that Ann used to work for, even today, you don't make partner, if you are a guy, if you wear polyester suits. Women, maybe.

Keep in mind that these things are status symbols because they cost money to buy, and to maintain (and, used to indicate that you had servants and/or other help).

As an aside, we got a patent summer associate this summer, and he told me that one of the reasons that he didn't go with the other big firm in the city we have our headquarters is that they required suits - in the summer. So, he shows up in his nice slacks and pressed shirt to our offices in N. Nevada, with us in jeans. He will do just fine - in headquarters, as he just never got the knack of wearing jeans he hadn't just pressed.

Times are changing, but big law, and since I am in D.C. today, politics, aren't changing as quickly.

Ann is right though - I used to send all my shirts to the laundry (heavy starch, thank you). And, of course my suits, sport coats, and slacks. Now though, I buy those iron-less cotton shirts. They travel much better, and I don't have to send them out.

I also have polyester pants that look like wool, and ditto for sport coats. I have the polyester ones hung by the wool ones, and it takes me a little bit to tell them apart. I keep the wool stuff for when I am dealing with attorneys from big cities, when I have to go to D.C., etc.

andrew siddle said...

i think most of the people uses Dry cleaner pick up because they don't have that much time

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