The washing machines in my apartment complex have a Permanent Press cycle of 33 minutes. This duration remains the same whether it be set to Hot, Warm, or Cold, though the Hott flavor costs an extra quarter, most likely for added Kewlness and Sex A-peel.

You know the old saying often uttered by the crotchety: “How come you eggheads can put a man on the moon, but you can’t figure out a way to _______?!”? Where “_______” is usually something like “record Jeopardy automatically”, “keep my still from a-blowin'”, or “fix my urethra”. Well, I’m here to tell you one thing that science apparently has nailed down. (wait for it)

How long to wash my underwear.

I mean, how do they know? As an engineer, I know that theoretical estimates are often verified through empirical experimentation. Therefore, there was undoubtedly a whole team of PhD’s spending a long Sunday afternoon together, stopwatches in hand, Laundry Machine Alpha Prime: That Which Has No End to Thou Cycle (to now be known as LMAPTWHNETC) warmed up, piles of their own soiled undergarments at the ready, and boxes of Detergent X tapped and ready to go. Starting, most likely, at 20 minutes, some poor sap of a grad student had to stop the machine, reach in to the swarming mess, pull out a random pair of boxers and/or tightie-whities, give it the sniff test, and then hand it to the backup tester for verification. Through careful measurement and calibration, this test obviously eventually led to the optimum setting of 33 minutes. Of course, it had to be cross-checked at least twice.

No wonder my T-shirts and towels, shorts and jeans, underwear and sweatshirts are not unclean, nor are they over-clean, they are, simply, thankfully, clean. God bless Science.


Obviously the victim of less scrutiny, the drying cycle is a rather conservative 45 minutes. I suspect further progress will soon be made in this area and a more specific time will be ascertained, as I often find my clothes to be somewhat over-dry.

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