Two months ago I went to the store to get new laundry detergent. Being the frugally-minded type, I first looked at price tags. Seeing a name-brand bottle on sale at the same price as the generic brand, and also being the it-better-be-worth-it type, I avoided the generic brand and pounced on the name brand. I toted it home, my prize from the hunt, and proudly placed it in the laundry room cupboard.
I used it that very day. Oooh, it smelled so good and so fresh. I toyed with the idea of gathering more of these lovely bottles (on sale) and stocking the cabinet with my treasure. I was quite proud of myself.
I ought to taken it as a sign that something was not right, ought to have realized something just might be amiss, when the good and fresh scent in the laundry room grew daily until it sickened me just to pass by the door. Laundry day came again and I had to brave the smell. Lo and behold, when I opened the cabinet there was a good half-inch thick layer of the liquidy stuff. The bottom of the cupboard had bubbled, the wood trim had turned color, and it dripped steadily out the open door. It was not a good omen.
I cleaned up the mess, saving some of the gooey smelliness and washing the rest away. So much of it had dripped straight down into the open washing machine that I had visions of the next load of laundry bubbling over and filling the room. So before Jeff and I went out that evening, I pulled the boys in secretly to the laundry room (who wants the world - or our husbands - to know our mistakes, right?) and showed them how to turn the washing machine off...just in case. I told the kids to call me if anything funny started happening.
The boys called me. Maybe I scared them into over vigilance, but the moment they heard the washing machine rock a bit, they ran in and shut it off. I checked it when I got home - thankfully everything was okay.
But everything was not okay. Still, during the next two months, our clothes just got so soft, softer than they'd ever been. It was lovely. I was delighted with my purchase, delighted how wonderful everything felt and (now that the mess was cleaned up and not overpowering my sense of smell) how fresh everything smelled. So soft, so very, very soft...too soft. The towels stopped toweling, and the wash cloths stopped washing. I said to Jeff once that they almost felt slimy-soft.
This past Saturday night Jeff started a load of laundry. He asked where I kept the detergent (sometimes I change cupboards, depending on the size of the box or bottle). I pointed it out and turned to leave.
"Is this what you've been using?" He held the name-brand super-sale find I'd patted myself on the back about every time I'd done laundry the past two months.
"Yes, why?" I waited for some answer about how he didn't like the smell - maybe it was too girly or something.
"This isn't laundry detergent."
"Huh?" I didn't believe him. "It was in the laundry detergent aisle, Jeff." That explains everything, right?
"No, look - this is fabric softener."
For two months I've "washed" our clothes in Snuggle Fabric Softener. Our clothes have looked clean enough, and have definitely smelled clean enough, and have certainly been the softest they've EVER been. But...whoops.
Did you know you're not supposed to wash towels and dish rags with fabric softener? They get coated with the stuff (which makes them soft) and can't absorb water (thus the slimy feeling). Actually, did you know you're not supposed to wash anything with just fabric softener?
You're supposed to use detergent.
There's probably something to be said for laughing at yourself. I'm still not laughing, though. I'm in shock.
But Jeff is laughing. I think I'll try a baby powder scent on his clothes and see who laughs then! Just kidding. I'm guess I'm laughing, too. Sort of.