Book review by Paul Bard
West End resident and self-styled “Laundry Evangelist” Patric Richardson has earned a surprising amount of press for his unorthodox approach to the everyday task of laundry. He has been the subject of stories not only in local publications like the Star Tribune and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, but also in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. He was even featured in a 2018 segment on the NBC Nightly News, which included a visit to Cooper’s Foods on West 7th. That shopping trip was for basic, if unconventional, laundry supplies like lemons and plain white vinegar.
Now, Richardson has compiled his laundry techniques and advice in an entertaining how-to book that outlines a better, cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to care for virtually anything made of fabric. Laundry Love is both a detailed tutorial on laundry and a fun memoir. It includes numerous anecdotes about his boyhood in Kentucky, with fond recollections of his mother, his “Granny Dude” and the interesting cast of characters who encouraged his interest in clothing and fashion. We learn that he earned a degree in fashion merchandising, apparel and textiles from the University of Kentucky and later moved to Minnesota where he opened the Mona Williams vintage clothing store at the Mall of America. The store is where Richardson presents his Laundry Camp events to enthusiastic audiences eager for lessons in stain removal and other washday challenges. (Mona Williams herself was a Kentucky-born celebrity who was voted “Best-dressed Woman in the World” in 1933.)
Laundry Love covers everything from sorting textiles into warm and cool colors, to washing, drying, and ironing, to understanding the settings on your washing machine–He recommends the warm setting for everything. There’s an entire chapter on stains. Barbecue sauce? First spray with vinegar and water, then scrub with a laundry brush. Red wine? Use a bleach alternative called sodium percarbonate. Lipstick? Vinegar and water again, followed up by a gentle scrubbing with Fels-Naptha. Laundry Love offers tips for cleaning rugs, pillows, backpacks, car mats, stuffed animals—you name it. Richardson even describes a safe method for washing men’s wool suits at home in the family washing machine.
Whether or not you choose to completely overhaul your own laundry routine, you’re sure to find Laundry Love engaging and informative. So, if you’ve all but given up on getting that cranberry stain out of grandma’s linen tablecloth, this is the book for you.
Find Laundry Love at local bookstores including Next Chapter Books on Snelling and Grand, Subtext Books downtown, and at the Laundry Evangelist website: laundryevangelist.com/book/
Book review by Paul Bard