24 September 2013

Doing Pre-Wash in Dutch (Kind of...)

I spend more time doing laundry these days than I care to admit to myself.

Part of the reason is that the process is longer and more involved than the process I used in the States. No longer can I run the Saturday morning laundry marathon. I used to hog both washing machines and both dryers in the apartment building's communal laundry room (my apologies, former neighbors), hang some items, and blast others through the dryers. The wash cycle length and the lack of hanging space prevents me from doing that here, but that's all fine.

The other reason I'm doing more laundry is that Little Man often operates like a one-man wrecking ball. Whether at school, in the house, or on a play ground, by the end of the day he is covered in dirt, food, and stains whose origins I prefer not to investigate. What can I say? He's a little kid, therefore he attracts dirt.

Seriously, where does it all come from?

The number of stains drive me a bit nuts (I am the one cleaning it after all), but since dressing him all in black all the time doesn't quite seem like a realistic option, I spend a lot of time doing pre-wash. I've mostly determined what products and methods I need to get the job done, so I'm sharing with you in case you ever find yourself doing laundry in Dutch... or for a child.

1. Know your stain remover.
I keep going back to the Oxy-Clean type products as my go-to stain remover, and generic store brands seem to work fine. And, as advertised, the doseerlepel (scoop) is included!

Supposedly, there is a difference between the
kleur (color) option and the wit (white) option.
I just use the kleur version.

2. Use your stain remover.
It won't do anything if you don't try it. Some people, myself among them, are afraid to use new cleaning products in case you find the rogue product that decides the best was to take that stain off is to burn it right off. But when you're unfamiliar with brands and products, you just have to take a chance. I will fully admit: I have never bothered to try and translate/read the product's instructions so there is a good chance I'm doing this completely wrong, but humor me and keep pretending that I'm an expert.

3. Get your product and water in some sort of bucket.
In the true American fashion of excess, I generally use way too much.

Our water isn't actually yellow, the lighting was bad.

4. Apply product directly to the stain and scrub.
Again, I generally use way too much, because I'm paranoid that it won't work this time. I do a fantastic rendition of Lady Macbeth during this stage.

You would, too, if you saw this kid's jeans.

5. Soak.
Depending on how organized you are, you can do this in well in advance - like after the stain appears. Or you can use my method and soak for 30 minutes before the load and hope for the best. Just don't leave it there for days on end, otherwise you'll be repeating the whole process for the coating of yick that forms.

This is the easiest part of the process.

6. Rinse.
It's just better to rinse off any of the stain-water to include it in the machine with the rest of the load. Or it might not have any effect, but at least it will make you feel better.

7. Hope for the best.
Due to my level of domestic prowess, this is how I get through most household tasks.

8. Repeat.
As often as necessary. Which, if there is a kid in the house, is probably daily.



  1. Our kitchen towels are a joke, so I think I'm finally going to break down and get some of the oxy stuff. Good to know they're all about the same. Will send the boyfriend to get some at Jumbo next time he's there! :) I did a small load of laundry here in the US the other day and forgot just how fast and easy it is in comparison.

  2. I need to get a stain remover for myself, I even wore a towel the other night at dinner because I did not want to stain the sweater I was wearing!

  3. What I like about the oxy-whatevers here is that they don't come with little balls of colored junk in them. I'm far less suspicious of their eco-impact when they're colorless. I hope you're enjoying your trip back!

  4. LOL, that's too funny. Are the normal cleaning supplies also expensive in Sweden? From what I hear, it seems like everything is more expensive there.

  5. On the whole most stuff is really expensive here but the day to day cleaning supplies are fair priced and with just the two of us they tend to last awhile!


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