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The Spin Cycle

The Spin Cycle

Back in the early 1900s you did not have the luxury of a washing machine and were forced to wash everything by hand. You had to sit down with your washing board and soap in hand and scrub away all the stains from the week. This also meant that people had less clothing and did not buy so impulsively. Fast forward to the present day, and people are turning spare bedrooms into closet space because of all the clothing they own. If it weren’t for the washing machine to clean all of this clothing, we would be out of luck. But has the washing machine become more of a necessity than it needs to be? Are we relying on it too much?

Some people only buy clothing that is washing machine friendly and do not want to spend the time to properly clean their apparel. It has become more of a hurdle for companies and product developers, because in some markets the clothing must all be able to be thrown in the wash. I find it very interesting that some companies have even gone the extra step to make sure the product will hold up after 100 washes. Even back in the 1900s people weren’t washing their clothing that much, and they wore the same shirt for numerous days at a time.

I think the most interesting fabric alternative that I have ever seen is from Dennis Basso. He was able to find a suede leather that is able to be washed in the washing machine. This is something that blew my mind. When I think of leather or suede I think “Leather Clean Only!” Never in my wildest dreams would I even attempt to put a leather jacket into the wash for fear that it would shrink down and warp out of shape. Basso was able to find a way around this and found a form of cow skin that is tough enough to withstand the washer and dryer and hold up to the elements.

Just think–only 100 years back people were washing their clothing in a well and now we are throwing our leather coats into a machine and letting it do all the work. It’s amazing what product development teams can do over time!



  1. That was a really interesting article because 50% of the people in my Country, Zimbabwe are still hand washing their clothes. When my brother came to America in 2004 he did not like how the washing machine washed the clothes, said it didn't clean well. He started hand washing his clothes and it only lasted for a month because here in America it's different with crazy winter the clothes will just never dry, and also in Zimbabwe 90% of the houses of the houses are gated so you guaranteed that no one will steal your clothes.

  2. Down south some families hand wash and dry their clothing on a line. Some families don't see the use of a washer and dryer because it wastes water and electricity. I barely knew how to use a dryer when I came up north because I used to wash and dry everything by hand.

  3. This post really made me re-think how I wash my clothes. I really don't pay attention to wash directions of all my clothing which is probably why I end up getting rid of stuff within a 2 month time frame. This was a really interesting post though. I really enjoyed it.

  4. This wa really interesting to read. I try to follow the care instructions on most of my clothes, but I am usually just too cheap to bring things to the dry cleaners. And hand wash? There is a washing machine cycle for that! I have become so spoiled with that thing that I don't even want to contemplate what I would do without it.