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To wash or not to wash?

Inner wears are a source for debate in some marriages as men assume it is the role of the wife to clean the personal garments, while others see it as a form of subjugation

Milliam Murigi and Alvin Kariuki @PeopleDailyKe

It all started with a post on social media of a woman complaining about how her husband was not washing his inner wears.

The angry woman protested that her man could pile his dirty inner wears in a bucket and leave them there. When it was time for him to leave for work, he would ask the wife to clean for him one to wear to work the following day.

Too lazy

Later, another man followed suit with a long post expressing his disappointment with his wife for being too lazy for refusing to clean his inner clothing. The husband was complaining  that she was leaving the ‘important’ garments unattended for two weeks.

Normally, most people wash their inner wears after taking a shower.

However, there are others who find it wise to soak them and wash them during the weekends when they are free.

In marriage, the debate takes a whole new dimension with some men insisting that the task belongs to their wives.

Jennifer Macharia says that there are some women who are comfortable washing their spouses’ underwear, however, she puts a disclaimer that it should not be portrayed as a duty.

“I do it comfortably.  In fact, there is a day of washing them together with my pants plus his vests, our towels and bed sheets since the rest are washed by our house manager. This is my wish and I don’t see it as my responsibility,” she says.

Another woman, Marie Milan Ngaku says that this is a personal choice and it is upon the wife to decide whether to wash her husband’s inner wears or not. Ngaku has been doing it  since she got married and she does it like any other chores in her house.

           No debate

“It is upon the woman to decide whether she will be washing or not and do what she feels is right for her,” says Ngaku.

However, Imma Mithamo is of a contrary opinion, according to her, every grown up ought to wash his  or her undergarments and there is no debate when it comes to that.

Apart from that, she says that since the man used to wash the garments before they got married he needs to continue doing that even after marriage.

“This is not a point of discussion he should wash his, since even me I wash mine. What do I benefit from it I tend to do his duty? Will he also be washing mine?” asks Mithamo.

Apparently not all men would buy that favour from their spouse.

Michael Kibet reveals that when he got married two years ago, his wife used to wash them for him, but he was often uncomfortable and he ended up asking her to stop it.

Currently, he washes them when bathing and once in a while he washes them during the weekend.

“The only time I can allow her to wash them for me is when I am unwell. I feel that this is my responsibility because she also washes hers as well,” says Kibet.   

However, Catherine Gachutha, a marriage therapist says that this is not a role set aside for anyone and no one is obligated to do it.

She says  from her daily experience there is quite a fight sometimes around inner wears amongst couples. This is because most of the times husbands tend to think that their wives are not doing their role if they don’t wash their inner wear, something that makes the wife feel like she is  being taken for granted and can escalate into a fight.

“People feel that inner wears have dirt that comes from body discharge such as faeces and most women feel oppressed and taken for granted when asked to wash them for their partners,” says Catherine. 

           No guarantee

But Catherine is quick to note that the issue of washing your partner’s inner wears doesn’t guarantee you a stronger relationship, but it tightens the relationship. This is because the other partner tends to have much more trust with the one who is taking that role.

On the other hand, the partner who is doing it needs to ask some questions such as I am doing it out of my own will or out of fear or other reasons?

“This is a basic thing that people can do for themselves. There is nothing physiological about it in nature and everyone needs to clean his or her own inner wears unless your partner is unwell,” says Catherine.

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