Slices of Life

by Jill Pertler

Polyester wars

Laundry’s never been my thing, even though I’ve had more than my fair share of experience with the spin cycle. Lord knows I’ve tried, but despite a decades-long love affair with bleach, my kids were always the ones with the grayish, never-quite-perfectly-white socks. I finally figured out the black athletic socks don’t show dirt like the white ones do, so now I try to buy those.

I may have scored a small triumph over the socks, but every laundry CEO understands you can’t avoid white completely. My current battle involves a long-sleeved white polyester T-shirt. It belongs to my son and was a special birthday gift he picked out himself. It is embellished with the correct and trendy logo favored by those who wish to score high on the cool-meter.

Let me tell you a little something about polyester. It’s the fabric of choice for stylish sports-oriented kids and yoga-pant wearing moms. According to my extensive Internet research, polyester is a synthetic polymer, which is a fancy term for plastic in disguise. It resists wrinkles, fading, shrinking and is form fitting, durable and pretty darn comfortable. It’s also troublesome for laundry-challenged folks like myself.
That’s because oil and polyester do not mix.

Polyester is touted as an easy-to-care-for fabric. Unless you get an oil stain. My son got an oil stain.

Unfortunately, as the laundry guru I’ve already established myself to be, I did not notice the stain or pre-treat the stain or otherwise attend to the stain in any manner or fashion until after the (nearly new, favorite) shirt went through the entire laundry cycle – including the dryer. I can hear your gasps of horror and disbelief, and I do apologize.

That was two weeks ago. We’ve been at war ever since – me versus the shirt. What started as a small grease stain has morphed into a larger area, probably because of my attempts to remove the stain with any number of concoctions that were not Google-approved. (I started this fight as a lone soldier. I’ve since gone online for expert reinforcements, which have, regrettably, also proved unsuccessful.)

In the process, the shirt seems to have taken on a dingy, grayish tint that I’m determined to correct. I’ve tried every remedy outlined online by my allies – laundry kings and queens who actually blog about the topic. Right now the little bugger is soaking in a mixture of vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide and hot water. I think/hope it’s looking whiter. The whole experience has left me exhausted and smelling like pickles.

I am tempted to take the shirt out of the soak and put it through another wash cycle, but I’m afraid of my adversary’s next move. Still, I remain determined. Although the shirt has proven a worthy opponent, failure and defeat are not in this warrior’s vocabulary.

A tiny grease spot on a favorite shirt has grown into something bigger than any shirt or stain or laundry-crusading mom. It is about relentless pursuit of the enemy, endurance during combat, conquering the opposition and claiming victory over the polyester. No surrender. No retreat.

Mark my words: The. Shirt. Will. Not. Win.

 

Jill Pertler is an award-winning writer and syndicated columnist.