Last week I had the privilege of speaking at the Electrolux launch of their latest washing machine called the Time Manager (thank you again Mommy Mundo for the referral!). I was asked to give a 15-minute presentation on laundry care tips from a mom’s perspective.
My first instinct was to draw from the four years we spent in Chapel Hill. I did become a mom there, and using the washing machine on a regular basis became second nature to me during that time. There was no one else too; my husband was in school and before Sam I was generally alone at home. And in a traditional setting, it is really the mom (or the woman) who handles the chores.
I’d used washing machines before then when we’d travel out of the country, but I always took the experience for granted. It was only when I had to rely on myself for a clean home day in and day out was when I learned to appreciate the value of the said machine. And, as I told the bloggers and the Electrolux team, it was a non-negotiable necessity that I gave my husband before I agreed to move back to Manila.
I can safely say “tools” like the washing machine make our lives as multitasking moms much much easier. More than that though I knew that with the finite number of hours in a day, I had to make time for the kids despite the chores. When Sam — and eventually Jamie — rolled into my life and into my daily routine, I had to be efficient and effective: get the job done while giving them quality time and attention.
So in turn, I used some of the chores as tools for our quality bonding time. The laundry for instance: Who would’ve thought that it could be fun and educational for kids too?
Sam loved to be Mommy’s Little Helper and so laundry was one of the things I got her involved in at an early age. Through it she learned to sort by size and by color. She learned to pair socks together. She even learned by the age of two how to put her clothes in the correct laundry hamper when they were dirty. On some days, it was just a game — who could put in more clothes first? Who could take out more clothes first?! Sometimes the nice clean clothes served as a place to hide toys, and Sam would dive in and be part of the (clean) laundry and dive in and find it.
Sometimes the girls also just enjoyed the ride in the laundry basket. We’d play pretend a lot during these times and that’s all good for the imagination. Who needs toys? 😉
And sometimes, it was just fun to toss laundry into the air. But hey – those are gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination skills right there!
I realized how sometimes the responsibility of laundry is also overlooked here because a lot of households have helpers to do it for them. Sometimes I like doing it still because in the (distant) future, they’ll have to learn as well. Why not make it a fun memory for them early on so that it doesn’t feel like a chore?
I shared all of these thoughts with the bloggers alongside some practical tips for laundry care and washing machines. The #SoMoms also pitched in and gave some of their own, and I thank them for that. Here were some of the favorites:
- Set aside 1-2 days a week as laundry days. No need to do laundry everyday;
- Pre-treat all the stains with a gentle stain remover;
- Invert the clothes prior to throwing them into the wash so that the prints don’t wear out as fast;
- Unbutton all the buttons so that there’s less resistance when the swishing motion happens;
- (Conversely) Knot together the opposite ends of drawstring clothing so that it doesn’t come undone;
- Avoid over-stuffing the laundry machine and leave enough room for the clothes to move;
- (Contrary to popular habit), Place underwear in a laundry bag so it can go into the washing machine too, instead of painstakingly being handwashed;
- Start with the load of the babies first. I personally always believed that it would be at the least risk of accummulating any residue from the adults’ clothes (which are technically dirtier and have more potential for being soiled);
- Use a setting that’s one down from what the garment’s tag recommends (the premise is that you’ve pre-treated any stains before that anyway); and
- Teach the household help how to use the machines and how to read the labels. Quiz them if necessary to make sure they completely understand.
After my brief portion, the Apple, from the brand management team presented the Time Manager’s functions and benefits alongside a live demonstration. Then and there I fell in love with this washing machine! It hit the sweet spot of the mommy-nerd in me. These are some of the reasons why:
- The Time Manager is intuitive. It has several settings which can help you determine the perfect cycle and detergent recommendation for the load that you put in. For instance, the machine has a “Refresh” setting, which can be used for clothes that were just stored for a long time but not necessarily dirty. The Refresh wash only takes 15 minutes, and you don’t need to use an entire wash cycle;
- It’s a front-load machine, which apparently requires the use of LESS water. I just learned that for top load machines (where the lid is on top), all the clothes need to be completely submerged in water for it to be effective as the swishing movement is quite limited. On the other hand, the water from the front load machines only needs to hit the halfway point since the movement is more circular and the clothes are “tossed” around more. COOL!;
- The Time Manager is also efficient. It has a delay-start function which is useful if you have multiple chores outside the house that day. For instance, you know you’re leaving in the morning but won’t be back until late afternoon. You can load the Time Manager with clothes before leaving, stick in the detergent and the fabric conditioner in their compartments, set the settings you want, and then set the time you want the wash to start (say, an hour before you plan to arrive?). That way, the clothes don’t stay stagnant and damp for long, and you are still able to multitask! Isn’t that neat? :); and
- It’s biggest feature is what they call the Vapour Action, which essentially relaxes the fibres and steams out the wrinkles in the clothes after the final rinse. That way, it also cuts down on the amount of time for ironing (The chore I hate the most!)
There are other reasons too — but it might be best to go and visit the nearest appliance store and see this wonder machine for yourself. Because after that launch, I really really want one in my home (I’m not kidding). I’m sure there’s a lot the girls and I can learn from it too! 🙂