Woo! Yeah! Laundry. Still there? No, probably not, but let's plough on regardless. Babies and toddlers may be cute but they make an unfeasible amount of mess and an unfeasible amount of laundry. Baby foods, whether home made or bought have the power to indelibly mark clothing in a way that no other substance known to man can. The best, nay only worthwhile playthings are grass, soil, felt pen and paint. If it isn't mucky it isn't fun according to a toddler. Let's draw a discreet veil over the other kind of stains that small children create. So, what can you do about it? I'm not going to patronise you, you're a grown up and know how to use a washing machine, so here are some alternative ideas for saving time in dealing with your washing pile.
1. Prevention is better than cure.
There are a couple of ways to achieve this. The kind of mother I aspire to be is constantly vigilant. She has a pack of wipes and a full sleeve bib with her at all times. Her children are obedient, happily agree to use the bib and don't run screaming into oncoming traffic if she wipes their faces. Her children don't get dirty in the first place. The kind of mother I am means that I dress my kids in things like this romper suit. You think anyone's going to notice a carrot or spaghetti bolognese stain on that? No they are not. *smug face*
You can load up your suitcase sized handbag with a change of clothes for each child you have, and run the risk of a hernia or curvature of the spine (not necessarily a medical opinion) or you can get kids clothes that work a little bit harder for you. Reversible. That single word is a lazy mum's best friend. Oops a daisy darling, did you spill yoghurt all down your front? Never mind, I'll just whip off your top and you can wear it the other way round until we get home. The magnificent Sophie 4 Sophie range are perfect for this.
You know all those ads on the TV for super super oxy-fizzing-pow-zap stain remover stuff? They're full of weird ingredients and cost about a gazillion pounds. Napisan, found in the babycare aisle at the supermarket, is designed to deal with the stains found on cloth nappies. Cough. This means it's safe for baby skin as well as being extremely effective. Most stains just pack up and go home when faced with Napisan. You can use it as a soak, a direct treatment and just chucking a dose in with each wash. It works on whites & coloureds and best of all, it costs under £2 a pack. Napisan haven't paid me to say any of this (chance would be a fine thing), I just like it. Buy Napisan.
4. Buy quality.
Timeless advice. Yes you can get 4 kids tops or babygrows for under a tenner from the supermarkets, but it seems like much less of a bargain when the go out of shape, shrink and look like an old dishrag after just a couple of washes. You also have to question the ethical implications involved in the manufacturing process to be able to sell garments at that price. The brands sold by your friendly neighbourhood Love It Love It Love It and other Kids Clothes Collective retailers do cost more, but they last longer, wash beautifully, always look good and will last for a second or third child. Washing them inside out at low temperatures will extend their life even more. You can even treat them as an investment; many of the brands we stock hold their value really well, and you can get over half of what you paid for them new if you sell them on ebay after you've finished with them, making them exceedingly good value. In my experience, both Molo and Ej Sikke Lej in particular score very highly on all these points.
5. To tumble dry or not?
The obvious benefit to tumble drying is that it's quick and not dependent on the weather. The downside is that it's a bit of an ecological nightmare and it undeniably shrinks clothes in addition to shortening their life by thinning them. There's a trade off between convenience and the bad effect it has on your clothes. Personally, I've found that tumble drying has a worse effect on organic cotton than on normal fabric. Customers often ask about whether the items we sell can be tumble dried. As a retailer, I tell them to carefully follow all washing instructions on the garment's care label. As a busy mother, I tell them that I chuck everything in the tumble drier and everything seems to survive quite happily*. You are welcome to read between the lines in any way you so desire. *Except cushions. Bitter, multiple experience has proven that cushions always
melt and explode. :(
Don't bother. This tip fits pretty neatly with numbers 2 & 4. If you only buy clothes that look fab without the benefit of an iron, then you're on to a winner (see pretty much everything on Love It Love It Love It
). Unless you get a kick or some kind of zen calm out of ironing, then life is too short to iron baby clothes. Put your feet up and have a cup of tea. Do you have any ace tips to go along with these ones? Please do share.