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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ironing is very European

Several months ago I ran out of spray starch so when I was at the market, I headed towards the laundry detergent isle in pursuit of a new can. I scanned the shelves for spray starch and found the usual 50,000 different kinds of detergents, fabric softeners and bleach, but no spray starch!

This can't be, I thought. People still iron here don't they? I admit that in the past ironing has been one of the chores that I did on an "as needed only" basis, and only after all other wrinkle removing remedies had failed. Thus, my depleted can of spray starch was a tad on the old side.

Since my husband's promotion however, ironing was back on my weekly task list as he was now expected to show up in more presentable attire than the casual cool & crazy clothing that was the norm in his prior position. Which puts me back in the detergent isle, searching for the darn can of spray starch.

After about 10 minutes of reading every product name on the shelves, I happened to glance at the very bottom shelf. There I spied the familiar cylindrical cans of spray starch, looking rather bland and unassuming in the midst of all the brightly colored rainbow boxes of new and improved miracle powders, liquids and gels. Spray Starch! They even carried it in two types: Original and Heavy! (I bought a can of each).
German Laundry Starch
Fast forward to my vacation in Germany this summer when I was in a German grocery store looking for detergent for our RV. The very first thing I saw, right at eye level, was an entire shelf dedicated to ironing and starch!German Liquid Starch They had far more than just two kinds, too!German Spray Starch They had liquid starch, and spray starch in at least 4 different strengths, and starch to put in the wash, and starch for silks, starch for rainy days and starch for when you get the blues....(for a stiff upper lip??).

What does this mean? Are Americans running around wrinkled and creased? If they are, I had never noticed...Germans do seem to look well pressed, and my mother-in-law did seem to have a slight obsession with me ironing her son's shirts (or not ironing them to be exact)...But bottom shelf treatment in the US compared to the coveted eye level shelf placement in Germany?

Talk about cultural differences!


FarmgirlCyn said...

I think mostly Americans are running around wrinkled. I also iron on a "need to" basis, however, my spray starch is "always" used. It just makes everything so nice and crisp!

Retro Housewife said...

I agree..I love the spray starch. My husband likes to iron his shirts because of the starch. Talk about cheap thrills!

Anita AKA The Kitchen Vixen said...

Ironing and startching is a dying art...thanks to laundry's you can drive up to.

Anita AKA The Kitchen Vixen said...

I think we can thank drive up cleaners for teh dying art of ironing and startching.

Lori said...

Do they have "Febreze" in Europe?

Personally, I love spray starch, but I mix my own with water and liquid starch.

monkeyweather said...

I found spray starch at the $1 store (but not at the regular store).
Perhaps people who iron are thought to be either
a) poor
b) cheap
c) European

april said...

Most people normally line dry most clothing here, it is more unusual touse a dryer, hence more ironing is done. :)