Laundry and the Maid – not

Posted in Hiring A Maid at 8:04 pm

Laundry – Maybe Not

Laundry takes up an incredible amount of time. To maximize the life of your clothing and keep them looking their best, you need to sort by colors, wash in the appropriate cycle and not over-dry. Items to be hung should be taken out of the drier as soon as it is dry and immediately hung up. The rest should be folded. Actually, I prefer to stuff underwear and socks into drawers, but some people I know keep a terrible maid because the maid makes the socks look like ‘little soldiers.’

What are your alternatives?  Throwing a load in the washer while the kids are brushing their teeth at night and into the drier as soon as you get up will generally reduce your utility bills (night time usage is cheaper than during the day – check your bill for the rate-reduction times) and doesn’t take a large block of usable time. Dressing kids with clothing straight out of the drier makes them very happy in winter and saves folding or hanging time.

 Alternatively, you can let the maid do it.

 First, do you ever ask how do they live at home when something unbelievable (to you) occurs? Most people on very low incomes (maids) are stuffing as many things into the washer as they can at the Laundromat and washing on one of two cycles that might be available. They are then drying their clothing on the highest setting available  (which isn’t very hot) to get out as fast as possible.

 If your maid has to get through the laundry she isn’t checking the pockets. If your husband left his wallet in the pants she collected, too bad. He’s not yelling at her. If your child left a roll of lipgloss in her pocket, again, the maid really isn’t spending time to make sure the whole load isn’t covered in wax.

 Sorting takes time. If she is not doing more than whites and everything else, you’re not going to know until all the blues come back a shade of pink.

 Maids in the game of speed drying are dangerous. Most maids don’t want to find that they under-dried the laundry and will have to wait another 10 minutes for the contents of the drier to be ready.  To avoid this, they use the timer feature and high temperature, usually for 40 minutes.  This setting isn’t disastrous for a large commercial drier.  The loads are big and machines aren’t set for a very high maximum temperature. Home driers are another story.  Sheets can be dry in 20 minutes when done with a cool down period to minimize wrinkles. Forty minutes at the highest setting will shrink them, dry out the elastics in the fitted sheets, probably cause them to shred prematurely and set wrinkles in them at the end of the cycle. Just imagine what it does to delicates or woolens.

 If you’re lucky your maid is standing by the drier for the end of the cycle to minimize wrinkles.  She almost certainly isn’t cleaning the laundry while she waits.

 Folding, at least, is a straightforward task that won’t kill your wardrobe if it’s not done quite right. It might need you to go through and sort, which defeats the purpose of saving you time. (As soon as I figure out a foolproof way to get the maid to separate my 6-year old son’s t-shirts from my husband’s I will let you know. I have no hope of figuring out how to teach my maid the difference between my daughter’s oversized tees and my husband’s.)

 Unless you have a live-in housekeeper, laundry is almost never the use of a maid’s time that will result in the most saved time for you. If, despite all of this, you still feel you want the maid to do the laundry, your best bet is to time the time you spend doing the laundry in a normal maid workday period and adding that amount of time to your cleaning time. Hitting a chess clock every time you walk through the laundry door over the course of a day that you devote to laundry is one way to figure this out. Be careful to only count laundry time in a period that the maid could reasonably be expected to be there.

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