My clothing has two categories: dress shirts…and everything else.

Dress shirts get thrown in a basket to go to the cleaners. Everything else gets tossed into the washer and then into the dryer. There is no consideration for color or material or style. It’s all going in. I’ll mix some towels in there too sometimes. And I even measure out an appropriate amount of detergent if I’m feeling particularly attentive to detail.

Back in my bachelor days, that’s all there was to it. Doing laundry was about as stressful as taking out the trash, with roughly the same procedures–pick stuff up off the floor and put it into a circular receptacle once a week, or every other week depending on Netflix’s release schedule.

Then I got married.

I learned very quickly that my previous laundry methods were unacceptable practices for a domesticated husband, specifically my errant throwing of all wet things into a dryer and cranking it up. I legitimately had no idea that dryers had additional settings beyond “how long do you want to cook these boxer shorts?”

What most men don’t understand is that women’s clothing is just like women themselves: confusing, temperamental, and – like underwire – likely to get bent out of shape if you just toss everything into the dryer.

The problem is–unlike cooking, cleaning, and personal grooming–showing that you understand how to wash a woman’s clothes isn’t something that you’re likely to demonstrate during the dating phase of a relationship. Because of this, most women have to wait until they’ve moved in with a man to begin addressing this issue.

Lucky for you, I’ve been through all that, and I’ve got your back. In an effort to help both the ignorant men and the exasperated women out there, I put together a handy little flowchart:

dryer flowchart

Best of luck, gentlemen!

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