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Real moms: The strangest thing in my washer

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Moms dish on odd laundry day discoveries!

Even experienced laundry divas can miss checking pockets once in a while. Real moms tell us what they've found a little too late.

woman pulling clothes from washing machine

We all do it: neglect to thoroughly check pockets when loading dirty laundry into the washer, and then get a big and not always happy surprise later. Kids are the main culprits when it comes to leaving a variety of strange objects in the clothes that find their way to the washing machine, but they're not the only guilty ones!

Nature

Jill, a California mom with three kids under 11 years old, thinks her children are of the hunter/gatherer variety. She's washed rocks, leaves, dirt, sticks, acorns and shells. Kids playing outside often stuff interesting items into their pockets and forget about them when dumping clothes in the hamper. Jill admits that in the laundry-day rush, she sometimes forgets to check for the treasures her little nature-lovers habitually collect.

Paper

For pure irritation value, there's nothing worse than doing a load of laundry only to find that someone left a tissue in their pocket. Mary, a Minnesota mom with six active kids, does laundry every day and has learned to check and double-check pockets for tissues, especially as the weather turns colder and one or more of her children seems to always have the sniffles. She's learned her lesson after spending up to 30 minutes picking wet shreds of tissue off clothing fresh from the washer. "It spreads everywhere," she says, and "the only way to clean it up is to pick off what you can before throwing everything in the dryer and repeating the process when the load finishes. And it's nearly impossible to identify the guilty party!"

Meow

Catherine leaned down to toss a few more items into her front-loading washer and thankfully heard an outraged meow from the family cat, who had made a comfy nest inside the washer on a pile of dirty towels. This Utah mom now knows not to leave the door ajar and fortunately discovered Ginger's cat cave before the beloved pet was harmed in the spin cycle.

Crime fighters

Donna, a homemaker in Estes Park, Colorado, has a husband in law enforcement who doesn't always check his pockets before tossing his uniform into the laundry. As a result, more than once she's washed bullets, handcuffs and his badge. The tip-off is the clanging noise these items make when the uniform makes it to the dryer.

Laurie does laundry "constantly" for her large family — her husband and four kids — and says her biggest shock ever was the day she found that her kids had actually put their dirty clothes directly into the washer. For a mom who is used to the routine of multiple reminders for everyone to gather up their items, finding it already done — and color sorted, too — was an unexpected surprise. "If only," she says, "it could happen again."

More tips

Moms of tots: What not to wear
Kids: "The most beautiful thing about my mom"
Why Vitamin C is a mom's best beauty friend

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