One of my friends had seen a commercial featuring a woman who was blind, and she was emptying a basket of laundry into the washing machine. My friend called me and asked how that was possible, and how clothes weren’t destroyed from having colors mixed together or shrinking from different water temperatures. While I’m not entirely sure what the commercial was advertising, I’m going to assume it wasn’t anything actually related to laundry. Here are some of the tricks I’ve learned from doing my own laundry in college as someone with vision impairment, including low vision and blindness.
Labels on tags
For a majority of my clothes, my mom writes a large W or C , to distinguish warm and cold water temperatures. She uses a special Sharpie marker, but raised dots and stickers are also an option. I do not own anything that cannot be washed in the washing machine, so I don’t have to worry about throwing sensitive items in the machine.
While I do not use one of these, a color reader is a device that announces to the user what color an item is when it is pointed at the item. It is great for sorting laundry, and also can be helpful for putting together outfits- preventing someone from leaving the house wearing a mustard sweater and burgundy pants. Users can also use Microsoft’s Seeing AI app for color detection- post coming soon!
These are absolutely brilliant. Instead of trying to measure detergent, I just throw one of these pods in the washing machine and move along. I use these particular pods and have never had a problem with them. I do not use dryer sheets or fabric softener, but do add some white vinegar in with my clothes to help with odors.
Working the washing machine
Because the buttons can be hard to read, I am often tempted to just push the first one I see and hope for the best. Knowing this isn’t practical, I use my phone’s magnifier to read the buttons. Another option is to use washi tape to highlight which button is needed to press, or where the dial on a button needs to be faced. Washi tape is temporary and can be removed with no damage whatsoever.
I believe that life is too short to wear matching socks, so I have several very similar looking socks. One of my friends with low vision swears by sock clips. They clip the socks together in storage and then put the clips back on when they throw the socks in the laundry bin, and keep the clips on when washing and drying them.
As one can probably guess, I am not very good at folding things. My mom bought me this folding contraption and I use it often for my shirts, sweaters, pants, and more. While I didn’t like to use it much in the past, I’ve now started using it more, and have been pleased with the results. Here is how I store clothes and get dressed with low vision.
Hopefully this helps people who were curious like my friend about how people with low vision do laundry.