A month or so ago, I replaced some partially torn winter pyjamas which I had worn with this tear for over a year after missing the window of opportunity to replace them in 2013.
Whilst I am aware that store-clothes must be washed before use, and have had a number of frightening experiences with non-colourfast clothes being placed in a warm or hot washing machine and destroying perfectly good whites, what I have experienced this morning is far worse than I feared.
Normally, I wash my sheets – two of my pairs being white and two a light blue – about every eight days, though my recent laxity and obsessiveness with statistics has lessened this. I planned last night to wash today the white 500 thread count Pima cotton sheets I bought in Northland during the autumn, and told my mother this in the morning. When I put them out, I saw that the part of the sheets upon which I lie – generally face down on my stomach – had dyed a light blue similar to my two blue pairs!
I was well aware my new striped royal blue pyjamas – made in Cambodia – were not colourfast from washing them in a hand-basin a number of times. I had noticed dye get into my fingernails on several previous wear of the pyjamas, but this really shocked me to the point of alarm!
When I actually washed the pyjamas, I was revealed my mistake very clearly. The pyjama bottoms, when washed with a quantity of OMO normal for a full laundry, turned so deep a blue in the wash basin that I felt it was almost worth a picture though I have no usable camera. Yet, the top part, when placed in water of the same temperature, remained relatively colourless until I added a smaller quantity of OMO, when they gradually turned as blue as the bottoms had! This made it clear to me that part of the problem of blue dye spreading was the result of my repeatedly using a quantity of laundry detergent designed for a full wash on one piece of sleepwear! It became obvious to me that in recent wears the pyjamas had large residues of OMO and LUX – residues which were helping the naturally non-colourfast dye to leak even when the pyjamas were dry, especially given that heat and sweat from my body over four or five nights would have provided moisture to dissolve the dye. The finding alarmed me, and I realised i would have to rinse the pyjamas until they were completely free of soap residues, and to use a fraction the quantity of laundry detergent needed for a full laundry! More than that I feel I should not wash pyjamas in the hand basin of the bathroom, since that basin is so cramped that the detergent is extremely inefficient at actually removing faeces and other stains from the pyjamas (I could see faeces in the pyjamas when I was washing).
Remembering to use only a pinch of detergent – or for the first few times to simply rinse until zero soap residue is attained – is a major job for me now and one I lack confidence about.