Like buying bread, there is some German knowledge I just came late to. How to do laundry for example.
I instantly fell in love with my Miele washing machine. I find myself irritated when I’m confronted in the states with a useless American washing machine (it’s the reverse when it comes to dryers, however). I long ago accepted how long wash cycle take in a German machine – even the short ones (one and a half hours!).
It’s worth it when all your clothes come out truly clean.
Having a toddler has thrown a wrench into all of this. My clothes are routinely splattered with berry juice, oil and grass stains. I can’t keep up with the laundry as fast as I’d like to, so sometimes the stains just sit there, slowly and malevolently setting.
I now have a zillion colors and sub colors of little girl clothes that I’m not confident enough to wash together. I bring Tide sticks back with me from the states, but those are really for just blotting dainty little stains on the go.
It was just this summer on our trip to Ammersee that a good German friend of mine rocked my laundry world. “Oh just use a little SIL on it, you can use the powder, just dump a little in with the regular washing powder” she said casually.
Before I continue, let me just say this is post is NOT contextual advertising or full of affiliate links for laundry products. This is honest to goodness, hard fought experience I’m sharing with you. I get nothing but the joy of passing on the good news.
Anyway, SIL is a powder that you add to give your regular washing detergent a little oomph to get tough stains out. If you’re dealing with really tough stains they also make a spray to spray directly on to the trouble spot before you wash.
Secret tip: if a stain still doesn’t come out, after washing, use the ‘foam’ setting on the nozzle spray a little back on the stain and put it out in the sun. This technique saved a really cute jumper that I thought was ruined. Cue angelic chorus of heavenly trumpets!
The last miracle product my friend told me about are Trenntücher (also called Schmutfangtücher). These are little paper towels – they sort of feel like fabric softener sheets – that you throw in the wash. They soak up any extraneous color so you don’t end up with yellow underwear that used to be white.
The upshot: with these things you can wash mixed color loads! I haven’t been daring enough to do an all white load with some new hot pink leggings, but I do mix it up a lot more than I used to. Which means fewer loads of laundry.
This post was inspired by a poster on the Parents in Munich Facebook group who had the sad experience that all of us expats have had at one point or another. You do a load of whites and suddenly everything comes out dingy and gray. Upon reading the thread, I leapt up, went to my utility closet, grabbed my Trenntücher and took a picture. ‘Trenntücher!’ I posted.
For the public good, I thought I’d share these laundry tips that have taken my German laundry game to the next level. Happy washing!