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Mom's Elaborate Laundry Routine Leaves People Slack-Jawed, But It's Actually A Post-Pregnancy Coping Mechanism

Photo: @jamiedoeslaundry/TikTok
Screenshots of TikToker @jamiedoeslaundry's strange laundry procedure

We all have our own ways of doing things like laundry, and most of us have at least one weird habit or fixation that helps get us through tough times. It's just human nature, right?

But for one mom on TikTok, these two things seem to have combined into one very strange hobby.

TikToker @jamiedoeslaundry is obsessed with—you guessed it—laundry. Specifically, laundry detergent.

And her videos showing her piling astonishing amounts of multiple different types of laundry soap into every load has people online horrified.

But it turns out Jamie's obsession might not be quite as crazy as it seems at first glance—and maybe even common, especially among pregnant and post-partum women.

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A TikToker's excessive use of laundry detergent has been dubbed a 'coping mechanism.'

Jamie films herself layering astonishing amounts of multi-colored laundry detergent, scent boosters and fabric softeners, and even playing with the suds in her washing machine. 

Most of us have been guilty of using too much laundry detergent at one time or another, especially when we're young and just learning how to do laundry. 

But Jamie takes things to a whole new level.



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In each of her videos, she films herself throwing in scoop after scoop of different detergents, scent boosters and fabric softeners—so much that the clothes disappear beneath all the powders.

She then layers in huge cups of fabric softener and liquid detergents on top of it all.

And she doesn't stop there—she then adds several laundry pods, squishing them open with her fingers into the washing machine. 

She also makes videos in which she creates special multicolored concoctions by mixing several different detergents together. 



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Once all the soap has come to an enormous lather that seems like it just might overflow the washing machine, Jamie will sometimes play with the suds, squishing them in her hands.

If this all sounds super weird to you, you're not alone—but neither is Jaime, apparently. Several of her videos have tens of thousands of views—and nearly 4 million in the case of one of them.

The laundry-loving TikToker's videos have astonished viewers, who say her overuse of detergent is damaging to clothes, shortens the life of her washing machine, and is toxic to the environment.

Jamie's videos seem to inspire a lot of outrage.

One TikTok commenter wrote, "u only need 1 or 2 tablespoons of detergent! if u use too much you can get build-up in your washer! the TikTok videos aren’t worth it!"

Another wrote, "You cannot possibly be making enough money from these videos to be ruining your washing machine and clothes like this."

Others couldn't understand how Jamie's clothes and linens could possibly be comfortable after all that detergent, which can make clothes stiff and scratchy if used in large amounts.

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Others were outraged because of the very real environmental harm laundry detergents can do, from polluting waterways to poisoning animals and even affecting human health.

And, of course, those with sensitive skin were downright skeeved-out by Jamie's detergent use—especially her habit of squishing the suds with her hands.

As one person on Twitter put it, "this made me feel sick...when she...started squishing it around...every time i touch raw detergent by accident it makes my skin itchy immediately."

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But it turns out Jamie's laundry fixation isn't uncommon—and is often related to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as to pregnancy and post-partum depression.

Jamie and some of her more supportive followers got a lot of flak for suggesting that her obsession with laundry soap may be related to the fact that she's pregnant.

But it turns out that not only is TikTok full of videos from people who share Jamie's exact obsession with colorful laundry detergents, but it's also frequently related to a condition called pica.

Pica is a condition that makes people crave inedible substances due to nutritional deficiencies, most notably iron.

And due to the nutritional imbalances and deficiencies a gestating fetus can create for a pregnant or post-partum mom, pica is extremely common during pregnancy.

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Pica results in all kinds of bizarre cravings for things like chalk, dirt or baking soda, as well as, you guessed it—laundry detergent and other soaps.

Obviously eating laundry detergent or soap would, you know, harm you—not to mention your unborn baby.

So many pregnant women with the condition will smell or play with detergents instead to scratch the pica itch.



For others, playing with laundry detergent the way Jamie does is a form of ASMR, sounds that trigger a relaxing nervous-system response that many find soothes symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In fact, #laundryasmr is its own hashtag on TikTok, used by tons of creators, including @jamiedoeslaundry.



Even if Jamie's laundry obsession is just a weird hobby, experts say engaging with hobbies and interests can help with the mental and emotional difficulties of pregnancy.

Adding 15 loads' worth of detergent to a load of laundry is certainly not the most conventional way of dealing with mental health symptoms or pregnancy difficulties.

And it's definitely not the most environmentally responsible.

But as tough as times are nowadays—to say nothing of the challenges of being pregnant—perhaps we should just let people revel in the weird ways they find joy and relief.

As one TikTok commenter put it, "It's her washer her money and her soap, leave her be. It's a soapy train wreck, love it for what it is."

Hard to argue with that.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.