Saturday, April 6, 2013

In which I unwittingly flush my underwear down the toilet

...yet another episode in the series "Please Protect Me From Myself"...

How does one flush underwear down the toilet without knowing it?

I'll tell you.

But to understand the story, you first have to understand my washing machine. I have the most brilliant washing machine ever.

5-gallon bucket.
Toilet plunger. (Clean, brand new, clearly labeled for Laundry Use ONLY!)
Add clothes, water, and detergent.
Plunge up and down while you memorize Scripture or read an interesting book.
30 minutes later, wring clothes out and remove to rinse water.
Rinse, squeeze out, and hang to dry.
Voila! Clean clothes!

Today I washed a load of clothes while I happily read my Kindle. Laundry used to be my most dreaded chore. I don't really know how to wash clothes by hand, and it inevitably took a long time, was very frustrating and backbreaking and boring to me, and hurt my hands. So this new system with the plunger and the bucket is a great relief.

I washed my clothes. I rinsed them. After rinsing them, my rinse water had turned quite black, but I shrugged my shoulders and said to myself, "That's life." I don't have the luxury of enough water or enough time to rinse my clothes until the water runs clear. I had a pile of little twisted logs of clothes that I had wrung out, and as usual, I disposed of the water in the toilet. But as it poured out, I saw a black pair of underwear slip over the rim of the bucket and disappear in the toilet bowl. My water had been too black to see it.

"Oh no!" I thought. "Now I'll have to go fishing for my underwear in the toilet bowl!"

But my dismay at this thought quickly amplified when it all flushed down, underwear and all. Now it was gone.


"Oh no, no, no, no, no!" I said, wringing my hands. "Now our toilet is going to be plugged."

I put on a pair of rubber gloves and dunked my hand in the toilet bowl, squeezed it down the hole at the bottom, and fished to see if maybe it was right there. It wasn't.

I pulled my hand back out and doused the glove in bleach. Hopeless.

At that point, I figured it was just a matter of waiting to see what happens. Would we have to find out the hard way whether our toilet was plugged or not? None of us knew how we would retrieve the underwear at that point. So all I could do was hope for the best. Couldn't call a plumber.

What else could I do?

I prayed.

"God, can you please see that pair of underwear safely all the way down to the septic tank?" I asked.

(Can you believe I asked God to look into the tubing of the toilet and the septic tank to watch over a piece of underwear, of all things?)

Do you think God smiles at requests like that?

But so far, he has answered, because all evening, the toilet has flushed just fine.


  1. Rebekah,this is amazing, crazy, and hilarious!!!

  2. Wow! Just wow! I am speechless. What a story!

  3. And guess what?! If be chance it stops working you already have a plunger!

    1. Hahaha! No, no, no--we use a SEPARATE plunger for laundry and for toilet duties. No yucky toilet water plunger on my clothes, please! :-)

  4. This literally made my day. This made my week! Thank you for bringing a smile to a hurting heart!

  5. Just have to update with the SECOND time this happened to me:

    On April 10, I did my laundry again, and AGAIN I heard a "plop" in the toilet. This time I didn't wait to think. I dunked my arm immediately in the water, but it was too late. "OH NO!" I wailed. "NO, no, no, no! NOT AGAIN!" And this time, whatever it was was bigger than last time. I think it was a washcloth. This time, it actually plugged up the toilet.

    So Ryan V. heard me and came out of his room, laughing uncontrollably. I've seriously never heard him laugh that hard. I couldn't help but laugh myself as I plunged away at the toilet (with the toilet plunger, NOT the laundry plunger). Whatever it was finally went down. Relief. Ah.

    I'm going to have to do something about this black laundry water hiding my clothes until they get sucked down the toilet. But I even fished around this time before I dumped it out. Ah! The things one encounters in Haiti.

  6. Same thing happened to me... I'm getting a snake. The toilet flushes fine though and the underwear was gone I don't know if it got stuck or not. I would suggest reaching into the water to see if you missed any clothes before dumping the water

    1. So sorry this happened to you, too! Were you washing your clothes in a bucket? Hope you have no repercussions from the underwear going down! (And just FYI, I DID fish around in the water before dumping it out...but somehow I still missed an item--twice!)

    2. oh yes I was doing the EXACT same thing; reach to the bottom with both arms (so in case you got a floater) and stir around

      I'm pretty sure it made it to the main line since I saw a youtube video of a dog that had been flushed down the toilet... not sure how the dog made it through the s trap and to the main sewer line but by the grace of god she was still alive and well.

      btw I use this to wash:

      pulls out the dirt and detergent better and actually works, the inertia generated through the pushing and pulling is so great it generates a bit of steam I did it myself, no I don't make any money if you buy one it's a rather good investment and gets the job done well

    3. Whoa! I love that! Looks great! I'll have to get a few for my colleagues in Haiti. Thanks for sharing!

      A DOG got flushed down the toilet? Oh my word...that's even more unbelievable than underwear! Amazing story.


Thank you for commenting! I love comments! You have just made my day! :-)