Mom's Elaborate Laundry Routine Leaves People Stunned — But It's Actually A Post-Pregnancy Coping Mechanism

There may be a reason behind her outlandish videos.

woman loading laundry into washing machine Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

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.

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

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

Jamie Angeley is obsessed with 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 that Angeley's obsession might not be quite as crazy as it seems at first glance; in fact, it may even be common, especially among pregnant and postpartum women.

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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 Angeley takes things to a whole new level. 

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 multi-colored concoctions by mixing several different detergents together. 

Once all the soap has come to an enormous lather that seems like it just might overflow the washing machine, Angeley 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 Angeley, apparently. 

The laundry-loving mom'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.

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Angeley's laundry videos have inspired a lot of outrage from viewers.

Many people have called out how ineffective Angeley's process of overusing detergent is detrimental to her washing machine. Others couldn't understand how Angeley's clothes and linens could possibly be comfortable after all that detergent, which can make clothes stiff and scratchy if used in large amounts.


Others were outraged because of the very real environmental harm laundry detergents can do, as detergents and fabric softeners contain carcinogenic chemicals, leading to polluted waterways, poisoned animals, and even affecting human health.

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

But her laundry fixation isn't uncommon, and is often related to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as to pregnancy and postpartum depression.

Angeley 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.


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But it turns out that not only is the TikTok platform full of videos from people who share this 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 postpartum mom, pica can occur during pregnancy.


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 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 Angeley 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 Angeley.


Even if Angeley'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 commenter put it, "It's her washer, her money, and her soap, leave her be. It's a soapy trainwreck, love it for what it is."

It's 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.