Your First Load Of Laundry: Advice To A New Husband

March 17, 2018
1 min read

Shortly after your wedding, once the reality of a single clothes hamper for you and her sinks in, you’ll be tempted, and maybe even asked, to do a load of laundry. This can be a daunting moment for a young husband, because the first load of laundry you do is going to set a precedent and an expectation that will last all of your (hopefully long and happy) marriage.
Whether you’ve done laundry on your own or not, the first “together” load need not trouble you. In fact, done properly, it can serve as a fond memory as well as a skill you can pass to your own sons.
So let’s get started.
First up, find yourself a red shirt, or even better, a hooded sweatshirt. It needs only two qualities: it has to be red, and it has to be new. Fold it up neatly and put it aside.

Friend, not foe
Friend, not foe

Now, to the laundry.
Step 1: Separate the items in the hamper. Colored items go in one pile; white items, especially underwear, go in a second.
Step 2: With the white items, check the tags to make sure everything is machine washable on hot. If there’s anything that’s questionable, or looks like it’s never been washed before, or is really “dainty”, put it aside and don’t wash it, as it will probably be teddy bear sized after coming out. That’s bad.
Step 3: Toss this pile of white bras and panties and skivvies (especially old ones near retirement) into the washer.
Step 4: Turn the wash/rinse settings to the hottest available.
Step 5: Carefully measure your laundry detergent* and pour that in.
Step 6: Toss in the red hoodie and hit the Start button.
Once the cycle is finished, get everything in the dryer as quickly as possible so the new colors can set properly.
Your new bride will still wear her underwear once you have turned it pink**. There is no harm done to her clothing at all. But it is likely she will never ask you to do her laundry again. Which is fine, because that chain saw in the garage needs a little attention and this might be a good time to give it some.
* Or get a Tide pod from a teenager.
** Your own underwear, once it has been used as evidence of your good faith effort, can be quietly retired.

El Borak is an historian by training, an IT Director by vocation, and a writer when the mood strikes him. He lives in rural Kansas with his wife of thirty years, where he works to fix the little things.


  1. Alternatively, you can simply tell your wife to understand that this is her role and if she needs you, you’ll be in your study or the garage.
    t. Married since November, haven’t done a load of washing since.

    • Married four months? Wow. I stand in awe of your experience.Tell us the secret of such marital longevity.

  2. I did all the organizing, laundry, cleaning, then later hiring of the maids; did the grocery shopping myself and cooked virtually every meal when we didn;t eat out or order in.
    I was used to a clean and well-ru nhouse, but my wife showed little inclination to do this when we were first married, then later none, and less ability. Plus she was busy at a Really Important Job. I had a great job too but lots more spare time I said. I was a strong and good man with traditional values I thought, and with True Love these increasing irritants and my wife’s lack of interest or effort — well all that could be overcome I thought. I did everything in a material way to help her and pamper her.
    I told myself that I could transcend these Bourgeois expectations I had of my wife. They were Bourgeois. We were better that that I told myself.
    A few years later The Love of My Life just drove away to an even More Important Job and never condescended to even talk to me ever again, except through her divorce lawyer.
    In time I understood I had become the wife, and my wife had grown to hate me, regardless of ‘how well I treated her’.
    So thank you for the article. And you youngsters out there take heed.

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