My Evil Washing Machine

I noticed something disconcerting several months ago after doing my wash and putting my wet underwear in the dryer.  Nearly every pair of underwear was turned inside out when I removed them from the dryer.  I wasn’t counting how many were turned inside out; I just became aware that most were not right-side out, as I would have swore they were before I washed them.  When I folded them, I was forced to take the needless added step of turning them right-side out.  For weeks, I pondered this strange phenomenon.

Of course, it occurred to me that when I took my underwear off at night, I must have been putting them inside-out in the hamper.  Mea culpa.  I can’t blame the washing machine for my errors.  So for the past several weeks, I’ve been consciously and deliberately making sure that my used underwear went into the hamper right-side out.  I never missed a night.  Every pair, every night, right-side out.

Then this morning, when I was removing my clothes from the dryer, I was shocked to discover that eleven of fourteen pairs of underwear were inside out.  (Yes, I do my wash every two weeks.)  How could this be?  I know they all went into the washer right-side out.  If even they randomly turned inside out during the wash, only seven of fourteen should have been turned.  Not the majority!

I’m aware that washing machines routinely play havoc with socks.  No matter how painstaking you are when putting matched pairs of soiled socks in the wash, every now and then one sock goes missing, never to be found, or two matched socks you sent into the wash are returned unmatched.  The Case of the Missing or Unmatched Socks is one of life’s eternal mysteries.  But I had never experienced the evil machinations of washing machines when it comes to underwear.  A new low and I am sopping mad.

I realize that I’m blaming the washer when, in truth, the dryer could be equally at fault.  They may be conspiring to mess with my laundry.  Or the dryer itself could be the evil genius behind this odd turning of underwear and looting of socks.  I may need to inspect my wet intimates as they come out of the washer and note how many—if any—are turned inside out before sending them to the dryer.  Yes, that’s my next step.  Maybe I can stop this cruel cycle if I can determine which appliance is behind this mischief.

I should look at the bright side.  Having to turn your underwear right-side out is a form of exercise.  But I’m troubled that my washer and dryer would treat me with such contempt.  The way I put my laundry in should be the way it comes out—only clean.  Is that too much to ask of an appliance you paid for?  That you clean and maintain (maybe not as diligently as you should)?  I do clean the filters and the lint drawer regularly.  I use the right brand of detergent.  I try never to wash anything with paper or coins or chocolate in the pockets.  The way I treat them is the way they should treat me.  That’s the Golden Rule, isn’t it? 

My deepest fear is that my laundry appliances are simply evil, that what they are doing now with my socks and underwear they’ll eventually do with my shirts and other clothing.  If you can’t trust your washing machine, who can you trust? 

I’m not going to give up.  If Sherlock Holmes could solve so many puzzling cases, surely I can get to the bottom of this.

Image credit:  washing machine:  Photo 5597205 / Washing Machine © Lawcain |

Image credit: satanic head:  Illustration 1971752 © Roman Dekan |

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Terry Bacon

1 Comment

  1. Tom Penn on October 11, 2022 at 12:07 am

    Sherlock, had he a washing machine or dryer or even did his own laundry, might have tried turning the garments inside out before washing. Just more data to add to the equation. They are quite likely evil, as you say. There is so much that we don’t know about the inner lives of inanimate objects, Our machines wanted us to “Bluetooth” to them and run them from our phones… Never! Next thing you know, we’d be making our confessions to their little round windows and doing penance with their cohorts the mops. Not one of life’s puzzles. One of its many mysteries.