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Laundry. No one likes doing it, it’s a boring chore. But my current problem continues to be finding a detergent that not only gets my clothes clean, but also does not cause me to break out in a hideous rash. Incredibly important when you also consider that I am washing my underpants. Not the sort of thing one can cope with being rash-inducing.

This is a long-standing problem. To date, after ten years of living in the UK, I have been using what I refer to as soap made from unicorn tears and the sweat of a thousand hippies. It is not the most effective soap as it generally doesn’t get things as clean as I’d like, and by that I mean properly clean. Yeah, it gets things clean-ish but that’s not really what I’m going for. I want things to be CLEAN. I don’t want my white shirts to get ring around the collar, and I don’t want the stains under the arms to continue to get yellow. I have one white shirt that I quite like, one that The Mom bought me years ago when I came back to London to take up a Proper Adult Job. This was about five years ago now, and the thing is, not only is it a nice shirt, but also I hate shopping and the ones they have in the shops now are not the same. I want only this one particular white shirt. And I want it to be clean.

And then there’s the not insignificant issue of the underpants. Every now and again I have to take things into my own hands and put them through on what can only be described as the boiling cycle. This is to get them properly clean. It’s a pain, but it’s easier and cheaper than constantly buying new underpants.

Before I went home in the summer, I tried to do the adult thing, and find new soap that would work so that I didn’t schlep home a case full of clothes that needed to be washed properly, as I have done now for ten years. My clothes go home for a good wash with The Mom’s nice laundry soap that cleans and doesn’t have a funny smell, or a funny colour, and doesn’t make me break out in an itchy rash.

I took myself up to the local health food store, told them far too much information (see: I need clean underpants) and threw myself on their mercy. The clerk brightly chirped that they’d just got in a new soap that was great. This ringing endorsement was all I needed. I bought the soap.

I came home and did a load of laundry. This soap was worse than what I already had! My clothes were less clean than before!

I dashed off an email to The Mom full of rage at the international companies that were thwarting me and warned her that a case full of dirty laundry would shortly be winging its way to her.

Neither of us knew at the time that this would probably be the last quality wash my clothes will ever get. Because just the other week I had an email from The Mom where she gave me the bad news that the soap we’ve been using for decades – DECADES – is now no longer on offer.

With no solution on the horizon, I did the only thing I knew to do. I took to the internet to see if I could find anything. I would’ve joined a cult at this point, if only to have clean laundry. Desperate I was.

There is an Asda near to me now. I loathe it intensely. But. I felt that if anywhere might have something suitable, it was a Wal-Mart subsidiary, if only because of the sheer range of things I have come to expect from such a giant behemoth of an American company.

Sadly, I must admit that I found some decent soap there. It has been endorsed my the eczema people and another group of rashy people. I felt these two blessings would surely meet with my skin’s approval. And it did.

So now I have to go to Asda whenever I need laundry soap. Which is a sad state of affairs, but in some ways it’s okay. Because there is a Wal-Mart near The Mom and though she dislikes the place as much as I do, I feel that at least we will be able to have clean clothes. And there’s certainly something to be said for that.

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