I am a Newbie at the school gates, it is sometimes a little daunting to start new conversations with other mums or dads, especially those who already seem to know each other and have been pounding the pavement to the school gate for years.
However, today I did strike a conversation with another mum, exclaiming how hard it was to get the food stains out of my daughters shirt. I have to admit to being a little-bit astounded (and at a loss for words – not a common event) when she replied “these shirts are so cheap, I often don’t bother cleaning them I just get a new one!”
Now, this perhaps should have been a good time for me to go into rant mode on the sweatshops that go into making such cheap school uniform and probable child labour too. Not to mention all the pesticides used to grow the cotton and the damage done to the environment for her just to throw the shirt away if it was stained.
I could have also ranted on about the toxic chemicals in many laundry detergents, all to acquire the ‘Whiter than White’ look.
Sadly I didn’t. I was at a loss. I couldn’t believe my ears.
So yes, I do wash my daughters shirts and no I don’t use high-chemical laundry detergents.
Mostly I use soap nuts. Sometimes I make a soapnut laundry liquid. I also use Laundry Oxygen Bleach to soak them in to help removed stains and sometimes as a rub for persistent stains. For fragrance I use essential oils I like – often rosemary and lavender for the main wash and Tea Tree for the nappies.
Sometimes, really hard to shift stains don’t shift. Does that matter? No, I don’t think so. My daughter is 4 & 3/4. She is a messy eater, loves messy play, painting, getting dirty and generally having fun. So what if her school shirt is not whiter than white with no stains on it?
Besides, almost all of her school clothes are second-hand and so come with a certain amount of wear and tear.
If I send my child to school in pristine clothes, will they worry about messing them up, getting some dirt on them or perhaps something ripping? Will this hinder her from running, painting, playing with messy stuff and generally having fun?
So – to my mind, school clothes are essentially play clothes!
Though I’m not sure all teachers would agree.