JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

My dirty little secret


Christine Jackman

Can washing be a dirty little secret?

Can washing be a dirty little secret? Photo: Louie Douvis

The day dawns bright and clear. There's blue sky and a maximum of 20 degrees forecast.

Critically, south-westerly winds of about 20km/h are on their way. I feel a glow of anticipation. The conditions are perfect, as promised by the weather bureau.

Perfect for what, you may ask. Sailing? Kite-flying? Paragliding? Please. I have no idea about those activities.

But I do know that I'm loading my washing machine as soon as I've finished typing this article.

It's a dirty little secret of mine that I love doing laundry, particularly on a crisp winter's day when the westerlies are prevailing.

It takes me back to a part of my childhood that is burnished in sepia tones. I know my mother feels less sentimental about the hours she spent scurrying between concrete tubs beneath our house and wrestling with an ancient wringer.

But my memories are primal, sensory ones rooted deeper than rational thought. The high whine and regular thump of the spin cycle. Frothy suds that spun and glistened when blown into the breeze. The warm, sweet smell of the machine's maw as it disgorged its contents into the squeaky washing trolley. Oh! And the crisp flap of sheets in the breeze as they dried on a day like today.

For years, I baulked at the domestic drudgery that housework represented to a feminist uni student who had actually done very little.

As a young journalist I joined the howls of derision in 1997 when Janette Howard revealed how she did the laundry to relax in times of stress.

"Mum used to make soup and clean the silver," she said, months after moving into Kirribilli with the newly elected prime minister.

"I tend to do the washing ... everything has got to be clean and everything has got to be right."

Now I understand. A life lived fully can crease you; time leaves stains that may be hard to shift.

Among it all, the laundry offers soothing simplicity, a manageable cycle of rinse-and-repeat.

So it can be our own dirty little secret. Well, it would be - except that in about 55 minutes, it will all be fresh and clean again.

3 comments so far

  • You are not alone. A friend of mine has a washing obsession. She is moving to the Gold Coast from Brisbane soon and her biggest (well really only) concern was that the new laundry might not be able to fit in her prized Bosch washing machine.

    Burleigh Heads
    Date and time
    August 03, 2014, 5:04AM
    • Hang on, there are easterlies blowing today?

      Gina R
      Date and time
      August 03, 2014, 11:03AM
      • I am a man who loves a good drying day.
        And I adore sleeping in clean sheets.
        Always comment to others when it's a good one, sometimes get funny looks from those who don't appreciate the beauty of a good drying day.
        Often I am at work and am forced to miss drying day opportunities.
        But I always notice the good ones.
        You're not alone.

        Date and time
        August 05, 2014, 9:27AM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        HuffPost Australia

        Follow Us

        Featured advertisers