Few celebrations feel as cleansing as ringing in the new year. Bad habits are broken. Old problems are shed. Grudges are forgiven. The festivities are even highlighted — if you’re fortunate enough — by a kiss at the stroke of midnight. But if you’re the least bit superstitious — the kind of person who scrupulously avoids the number 13, for example — you may want to let the hamper pile up just one more day. That’s because the simple household chore of doing laundry on New Year’s Day has a surprising number of superstitions associated with it — few of them good. Three that come to mind — and may cause you to hold off on doing your wash until January 2 — are:
- If you do laundry on New Year’s Day, a family member will be washed away — in other words, die — within the next 12 months.
- Don’t wash your clothes on New Year's Day, or you will see all your luck and prosperity go down the drain during the year.
- It will lead to you having more laundry than normal for the rest of the year.
On a more positive note — and somewhat related to laundry — it’s believed if you wear new clothes on New Year’s Day, you will add plentifully to your wardrobe in the year ahead.
Where does the superstition about laundry come from?
It’s often very difficult to determine where a particular superstition originated. Simply because it has been passed down through generations from parent to child, grandchild, and great-grandchild — and we tend not to question harmless traditions. Some of these superstitions are so commonplace they have just become part of the lexicon — whether it’s watching out for black cats potentially crossing your path or planning as little as possible to occur on Friday the 13th.
What is known, however, is that the superstition about washing on New Year's Day also exists in China. There, the first two days of the Chinese New Year are considered the birthday of the water god named “Shui Shen.” (Chinese New Year falls on a new moon between January 21 and February 21.) And in China, it is said: Whoever washes laundry on the first and second day of the New Year shows himself to be particularly disrespectful to the god because he wastes water, which according to this superstition can take evil revenge.
In addition, in this context, there is also the superstition in China that you should not wash your hair on New Year’s Day because it would wash away your wealth. This is partly because the Chinese character for prosperity is pronounced the same as the word for ‘hair’. So, it means that you would cut off the prosperity and wash it away.
But what to do when you need to do a wash? Sometimes, after all, it just can’t be avoided. Take, for instance, these three common New Year’s Eve-related spills — along with a few simple tricks to tackle them:
No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without the sound of corks popping. Of course, with all that overflowing bubbly — a tradition that originated with European royals in the 1700s — spills are inevitable. Fortunately, unlike wine, champagne is relatively easy to get out. All you need to do is soak a clean cloth or sponge with club soda, apply it to the soiled area and then rinse with water.
The smallest make-up mishap can have lasting consequences if not handled properly. The best option? Treat it with a stain remover made from SaltyLama’s potent detergent strips. (Of course, before you begin the process, you’ll want to check the label — if it says dry clean-only, take it to the professionals.) Just dissolve a strip in a bowl of water until it becomes a paste you can apply to the stain.
First, though, you’ll want to wipe away what lipstick can be removed. Just be careful not to rub it deeper into the fabric. After pre-treating it, toss the item into the machine. If you don’t have our detergent strips nearby, you can try to remove the stain using vodka. Dampen a clean cloth with the alcohol and dab the area gently before putting it in the washer.
Maybe you over-dunked a chip and it dripped before it could reach your lips. Or someone else’s dipped morsels spilled on you. Whatever the case, and depending on the ingredients of the dip in question, it should be dealt with quickly before it sets in. (Again, with the caveat that you should always first consult your garment’s label and washing instructions.)
After removing any excess dip from your clothing with a credit card or similarly blunt edge, you can apply a potent stain remover — we suggest mixing a SaltyLama detergent strip with water — or a handy household powder such as baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes. Afterwards, toss the garment in the machine — also with one of our eco-friendly strips.
And if you’re still bothered by the superstitions related to laundry on New Year’s? Remember that by using our eco-friendly laundry strips, you are keeping chemicals from entering the waterways and poisoning the environment. Moreover, if you hand-wash, you’re saving water, too.
So perhaps the God of Water won’t be quite as displeased with you and instead save his wrath and anger for others. Happy 2023!