Thursday, November 19, 2009

How do you deal with polyester?

I’ve been an all natural fibres sort of a girl for as long as I’ve had a choice, and now for the first time since school I’m in a polyester uniform (ah the joys of a working life). I’m not sure if they still even exist but the thing I particularly remember was gym knickers. Nasty, nasty things that I burnt the moment I could. Now my bête noir is my work skirt – it should be a perfectly sensible length, and for about five minutes is, but the combination of tights and nylon means it tends to head north fairly quickly. Ironing seems to make it angry – any attempts at control become truly futile, so I’m on the hunt for household tips and hints.

The hunt encouraged me to dig out my copy of Rachel Simhon’s ‘the Housewife’s Handbook’. It was a Christmas present from my sister a couple of years ago and came with a fair amount of irony attached - housework not being entirely my forte. My hoover caught fire sometime in September and I haven’t yet replaced it. I’m pleading poverty on this one, but will admit I’m not sorry to have an excuse to ignore the dust slowly piling up on the floor. I can’t yet see my footprints in it so as far as I’m concerned all is well, though eventually I suppose I’ll have to do something about it.

Simhon’s book came out in time for festive sales in 2007 part of a wave of domestic goddessary which has continued to gather momentum (and mass of printed material) ever since. I thought last year’s crop of Christmas books was something to behold but I see yet more have appeared in time for this year. When these books are good they’re great, and I’m putting ‘The Housewife’s Handbook’ in the great category, but it’s easy to get to much of a good thing and I do wonder who’s buying a lot of these books, or who they’re being bought for. I was pleased with my Christmas present, but would be taking it a bit personally if I got a housework book every year.

Ms Simhon suggests fabric softner might help with my static problems and I’ll give it a go, although I think my polyester is probably proof against such a simple solution I’m definitely crediting it with more resources anyway. Leafing through the book though I have found plenty of other useful tips and hints I’ll probably forget or never use but all of which make me think I should read the book properly.

The introduction deals with the thorny feminist issue of a housewife’s social position and status, very reasonably asking why we despise the role so much. Homes to be welcoming do demand a certain amount of care and for most of us there’s nobody else to do it, equally homes are expensive, expensive to buy and furnish so it only makes sense to take care of them. I tell myself this but I’m still a bit slovenly about housework, although there’s always the chance I’ll grow up and get on with it someday.


  1. Lots of body lotion on your legs will help too. Or, spray the inside of your skirt with the miraculous 'Go-Stat' spray which you can get from John Lewis.

  2. Ick - many sympathies. I hate the way it goes shiny when you iron it too.

    I laughed when I read about getting a housework book every year - tere aren't enough variations to make it worthwhile like cookery, and plus it is a tiny bit insulting!

  3. An untried tip is to pin a safety pin into the inner seam allowance somewhere it won't annoy you. Worth a try!

  4. Hairspray - works a charm. Spray your tights with hairspray and your static problems are gone forever!

    As I am still slobbing it in a shared flat with friends I don't need to worry too much about being a domestic goddess, but I am a clean fiend and I love to do housework nonetheless...there's nothing more satisfying to me than a freshly carpeted floor and the smell of shake-n-vac!

  5. Thanks for the tips, will be trying all of them. My days of giving old men illicit thrills are over.