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Updated on September 23, 2010


"Cleanliness is next to Godliness."

Who said that?

My mother for one. She believed those words, lived by them, and used them often to get her point across when things did not meet her standards. Her home was immaculate and her family was always clean, starched, and freshly pressed.

For years I believed that the expression "cleanliness is next to Godliness," came from the Bible and held divine status, and implied that only clean people could be holy. That impressed me.

God expected us to be clean...end of story.

Well, I'm all grown up now and of course I know that the expression did not come from the bible. I don't know where it originated. Never-the-less, I have a thing about cleanliness; however I'm not as devoted to It's cause as my mother was. Five children (four of them boys), taught me a thing or two about human limitations. But I do have my standards. This little "southern wind" is about one of them.


Washing dirty clothes is not fun - especially when you have a large family. It is an endless chore, and with boys there is always ground in grime, pockets full of ....well...everything. But by golly, my kids were going to be clean...not starched and pressed necessarily, but immaculate none-the-less.

I am very particular about my laundry. I adhere to strict guidelines and sorting is an important process. Clothes are sorted by category, subcategory, water temperature, and size of load. There is a formula that must be followed.


Category - whites: white socks, underwear, tee-shirts, and other white cotton clothing go into this group, which is washed in hot water. Liquid fabric softener is added to the rinse cycle and when done, items that are not going into the dryer are separated out.

Sub-category: Delicate whites. Wash on gentile cycle in cold water. Add fabric softener to rinse. Air dry.

Category - colors:

Sub-category #1: Work clothes (including underwear), go into this load, and are washed in hot water. This wash is to decimate sweat and other odor causing bacteria. Everything goes into the dryer with a softener sheet.

Sub-category #2: Street clothes of light colors. This load is washed in cold water. Fabric softener goes into the rise, and when done items to be air dried are separated out. Later, some items will be hung on hangers as soon as they are dried, others will be ironed.

Sub-category #3: Fine fabrics belong here. Cold water wash, gentle cycle, softener in the rinse, air dried, and pressed.

Sub-category #4: All colors that have a tendency to fade. These items are washed in cold water, softener in the rise, and may or may not go into the dryer, depending on fabric.

CATEGORY - TOWELS: Towels are never mixed with clothes, or any other category or sub-category. They are washed in hot water, and of course fabric softener is added to the rise cycle. Towels go into the dryer with a fabric sheet (I like really soft towels), and are folded as soon as they come out of the dryer.

CATEGORY - BEDDING: Sheets, pillow cases, and mattress covers are washed in hot water, and get the double softening treatment. These items are dried in the dryer and folded right away.

In conclusion, I must address my aversion to wrinkles. I really dislike them. I always fold dried laundry as soon as the cycle is done and the load is still warm. If something prevents me from doing this, then I fluff the load again before folding. I love the buzzers that let me know when the drying cycle is finished...speaking of which, I have to leave for a few minutes.

OK...first load of the morning is done and it is only 7am.

Well, that is pretty much my laundry ritual. I certainly don't consider myself obsessive...just particular. I can't help but assume that most people, especially women follow a similar ritual.


Now where was I? Oh yes...another important (very important)component in my formula is detergent . If the detergent is not up to task, then you might as well beat your clothes on a rock by a stream somewhere. I expect my detergent to produce whites that are white, colors that are bright and true, and a smell that is fresh...clean...sanitary. Oh yes...suds...there must be suds.

Tide was part of my mother's legacy. She used it...I use it. It does everything I expect of a laundry detergent however, I feel that Tide has betrayed me. These days I am stressed, angry, and confused, and I will tell you why. Every time I pour a cup of the magic powder (I like the powder best), into my washing machine, I want to cry...somebody please tell me why in the bleep it cost so much! I don't see gold flakes, or diamond dust twinklling at me from the box. What secret ingredient does Tide harbor that other less expensive detergents don't have? I compare...I can't find it. My world is shaken at the prospect of having to give up Tide for another...I can't speak the words...I just can't concieve of another...brand, giving me the same satisfaction.

Maybe if I can uncover the secret ingredient in Tide, I might be able to justify it's outragious cost; and make my peace with a budget that is beginning to resemble and old weathered rubber band.


In the 20s soap flakes were used to wash clothes. They did not do a very through job. They left a ring around the tub of the washing machine, dulled colors, and turned the whites to gray. But along came Proctor & Gamble, and the discovery of two-part molecules, they called synthetic surfactants, and the rest is history.

In 1933, Proctor & Gamble introduced "Dreft," detergent to America, but it was not heavy duty enough to handle heavily soiled clothes. Ten years later, in 1943, a combination of synthetic surfactants, and "builders," was created and Tide was born. It was released in October of 1946, and was so popular that it outsold every other brand, and had to be rationed.

Over the next 21 years, Tide was improved 22 times, and is still striving for perfection.

In my search for the ingredients that make up this miracle product, I failed to find an exact list for Tide; however the following is a list of ingredients that included in most leading detergents:

Alkyl benzene sulfonates (a class of synthetic surfactants), Alkyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanols, Artificial fragrances, Diethanolamines, EDTA (ethylene-diamino-tetra-acetate), Optical brighteners, Petroleum distillates (also naphthas), Phosphates ( now banned or restricted in many states), Polycarboxylates, Polyethylene glycol, Quaternium 15, and Xylene sulfonate.

I seems that all laundry detergents contain chemicals, which are harmful (to some extent) to the environment. Most of these synthetic ingredients are somewhat biodegradable, toxic to some degree, and react with other chemicals to form carcinogens. And the after wash (dirty water), flowes down the drain, into the sewers, carrying those ingredinets "back into ground water and the general environment, where they re-enter and re-circulate in the food chain."

Surprise. Surprise.


"Time and Tide wait for no man" Geoffrey Chaucer

Well, my little research project didn't turn out as I had planned. My head is hanging in shame, and I still don't know why the bleeping stuff cost so much. ok, research cost some bucks, I understand that, and every company wants to make a bazillion dollars every year...but come checking account is feeling the price crunch more and more every day. By the end of the month I may be beating my clothes against a rock somewhere. I just want a quality product and CLEAN clothes at a reasonable price. And I would like to do my laundry in the comfort of my own home, without killing off the human that too much to ask for?

Maybe I have blown this whole thing out of proportion and need to relax a little less laundry...walk along the beach and watch the tide come in...Oh my god...there is no hope for me , is there?



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    • Ana Louis profile image

      Ana Louis 7 years ago from Louisiana

      Thanks ripplemaker for stopping by and commenting. I'll have to check out SA8. We live in a very small town and Wal-mart is our source for just about everything, maybe they will have it, if not I will check online. Thanks

      Hi Sheila. I also cleaned for a hotel one year. Fun job, but very hard work. I also discovered the effects of hydrogen peroxide. It does work great. Thanks for sharing that info with me.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      Friends who owned a hotel asked me to work for them one summer, doing the laundry. It was only a few hours in the morning,(I had a full time job 2-10), so I agreed to help them. And I loved it! One thing I learned, and pass on every chance I get, is that hydrogen peroxide is the best thing to take blood out of cloth. Just pour it on, watch it bubble up, rinse under a faucet, and wash.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hahaha I enjoyed reading your hub! Also it is true about laundry detergents being harmful to the environment. Amway (I don't know what's the name of the company in the US) sells detergent that doesn't harm the environment. It's called SA8. It doesn't bubble as much. :)

    • Ana Louis profile image

      Ana Louis 9 years ago from Louisiana

      Dottie, glad you loved it. It was a fun hub to write, and I am happy to have another laundry fan.

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      Loved it, loved it, loved it. You've got a new laundry fan!

    • Ana Louis profile image

      Ana Louis 9 years ago from Louisiana

      ceounlimited, glad you enjoyed my take on laundry, I just discovered a capsule is missing, oops...I will add it now.

    • ceounlimited profile image

      ceounlimited 9 years ago from California

      Hi Ana, what a refreshing hub... an enjoyable read; It takes time to do laundry - you can't just throw everything in there together.

    • Ana Louis profile image

      Ana Louis 9 years ago from Louisiana

      Thanks Rob, glad you enjoyed it.

      My family laughed when I told them the subject of this hub, and asked, "are you really writing about doing laundry and the price of Tide?"

      I guess it seems like a silly hub, but I had to vent.

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 9 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great hub. You and my wife would be great laundry pals! Really!