Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Burnt Hair Is a Good Thing, Right?

K and I are being very green tonight, but it's not like we wanted to. Our living room, kitchen, and dining room are bristling with sodden laundry hanging from every available spot drying the old fashioned way.

This whole responsible use of energy started the way every environmental project does, with the smell of death. Last weekend I noticed a faint smell of something like a dead animal in the area of my porch and utility room outside. I never could locate the source of the smell, so I wrote it off as just a temporary thing. It wasn't bad enough to really drive me to search for the source in more than a cursory way.

Later that weekend K and I tossed a load of darks into the wash to get ready for the coming workweek. The only problem was that when I pulled this load from the dryer, I was greeted by the aroma of burnt hair. Yum. That just isn't right. On the positive side, the vague smell of decaying animal was gone.

Letting the clothes air out didn't work, so a few days later (today) it was back in the wash for a second washing while K and my parents searched for the source of the stench in the dryer unsuccessfully (I was getting together some assignments for my masters class that are due tomorrow so I had a legitimate out). When that wash was done we pulled out clothes that smelled like wet burnt hair with a light note of laundry detergent. You could make an argument that it was actually an improvement. I've heard that some cultures dig that aroma.

K and I aren't from one of those cultures, so this time we stuck it back in the wash, switched it to the hot cycle and added in a dash of Oxyclean. When this cycle was done the clothes smelled more or less not burned. Of course we weren't dumb enough to use the dryer again, so we're having to air dry them in the house tonight so they don't get sour, something that seems to happen very quickly around here.

I guess it really wasn't all that enviromentally friendly with the two cold washings, one hot washing, and the one drying cycle, but you can suck it. Your clothes didn't smell like scorched mouse carcass.


Julie said...

We line dried all the laundry when I was in France. It sucked in the winter because drying clothes inside in the basement does not make them comfy. It really made me appreciate heat and fabric softner.

Mickey said...

With all that space outside, I'd have thought you guys would have a nice big clothes line. Plus, all that heat and sunshine in south Georgia probably dries clothes almost as fast as a dryer, and for free.

Screw it- I was trying to be diplomatic, but you never give me the benefit of the doubt, so I'm just gonna say it: You disappoint me. Courtney and I manage to line-dry our clothes and all we have is a balcony and some line strung above the washer. A few minutes in the dryer to soften everything up, and we're set.

Clothes dryers are one of the single greatest consumers of electricity in the house, and they perform a function that happens anyway, naturally.

Everytime you hear that dryer running, picture that pile of coal that got ripped off the top of a mountain and is now being converted directly into greenhouse gases.

Face it: you're probably going to hell, dude.

Courtney said...

YEAH. You tell 'em, Mick.

For this and the asswipe comments you've been leaving on our blogs lately, I second the motion: You are a bad person.

Chris said...

Sheesh. I won't damn you to hell just yet.

I hope you find the mouse carcass soon, whatever's left of it.

Jacob said...

Julie: I never use fabric softener. I hate the stuff, but then I've mentioned my aversion to oily, greasy and waxy textures in the past.

Mickey: Actually, I have to worry more about nuclear waste generated by my wastefulness, but I get the point. And I have no idea what you're talking about with not giving you the benefit of the doubt. And to tell the truth, things don't dry that well around here for much of the year. During the warmer months anything remotely hygroscopic (paper and cloth) gets damp just from being exposed to outside air and air dried clothes tend to end up smelling a little sour from the slow drying. If it makes you feel any better, it looks like we're going to have to do it the natural way for a while until we can afford another or eliminate the smell from this one.

Courtney: Pot and kettle and all that jazz.

Chris: I appreciate your reluctance to damn me to hell. If I do find the mouse, I'll send you a photo in thanks.

Meaghan said...

You've possibly already tried this, but pull out your lint catcher and shine a flashlight down in the little slit it fits in. Just a guess of where the little fella might be.

I'm not going to damn you either. I use my dryer with every load of laundry. (That's right, Mickey and Courtney. You can hate me now.) When I was growing up, we frequently used the clothes line. I got tired of stiff clothes that did not really smell good.