Proctor and Gamble Owes Me $4000

And I want payment in towels.

I have three teenagers. Because of the four year spread in my kids’ ages, this means that the Teenage Era is from 2005 through 2016.

There are Asian dynasties that came and went faster than that.

And while I am blessed to have even tempered, relatively low-angst teenagers, there are some inescapable inevitabilities that accompany a household full of fluxing hormones.

And my towels are paying the price.

I am sending any number of shareholders’ children to prep school, swanky summer camp and ivy league colleges with the sheer amount of money Himself and I spend on face washes and topical anti-blemish creams. Not to mention forkin’ over a sizable chunk o’ cash that could otherwise be spent on MY children’s experiencing higher education beyond the local junior college level on Retin A and prescription strength antibiotic ointments.

But the one that is going to drive me round the ben and into the arms of a bartender with a bowl of peanuts and double scotch is Clearasil.

Do you know what the active ingredient in Clearasil is? Benzoyl Peroxide.

Now, I’m not a chemist, but I’m pretty sure I remember that peroxide is also the active ingredient in “Blond Hair on the Cheap.”

And what it does for those who come to blond by way of a sink basin and a brown bottle, it also does for anything else that it comes in contact with.

Namely my towels.

Let’s do some math.

The average teenagers uses four clean towels per day, seven if there’s a date involved.

I have three teenagers.

That means the average daily towel exposure to Clearasil in my house each day is roughly one luxury SUV’s worth.

This then means that every single towel we own – hand towels, bath towels – no matter what the original color, is now a mottled tortoiseshell.

Green towels are now shades of dappled sage and faded wheat.

Blue towels are now blotchy watercolors of aqua and navy.

Red towels now look like something used to try to clean up the evidence in a crime scene.

This is NOT getting me any Martha Points.

We briefly experimented with whites and creams to hide the bleaching effects but…but…

Well, if you have kids, have ever been a kid, have ever let a kid into your house, you know you just don’t use light-colored towels with that population if you ever want to sleep at night. There are some things you just must NOT see the physical evidence of.

So I’ve done a little adding in my head and I believe that Proctor and Gamble owes me 416 towels. And I’m not fussy – I don’t need the luxury Egyptian cotton towels from Nordies.

Target is fine. Seriously.

But even Target towels add up.


Filed under Humor

41 Responses to Proctor and Gamble Owes Me $4000

  1. So true, oh great Champion of the Towels!!!

    Let’s start a riot! πŸ™‚

  2. I lost a bathing suit to oxy-10, back when, because I had some on my hand when I pulled it off. It went translucent where it touched the gunk. Fortunately, I developed extreme (up all night, cold compresses on my face, watching the then-new world of all-night cable) pruritis and inflammation and haven’t touched the stuff since. Maybe your kids will be so lucky.

    Why am I up at 4? *sigh* Hey, only 12 years and 51 weeks to teenage years, here!

  3. Klz

    Here’s the plan: we find a successful home decor blogger and make tortoise shell towels fashionable by convincing them to start a campaign.


    Because I need to start dying my hair and we all know I’m too cheap to go to a salon

  4. I know the feeling!! We had some towels do that and no one was even using any harmful chemicals. I have no idea why they did that, but it’s sooo disappointing.

    A friend of mine has white towels. I cringed and asked why in the world she had white towels, and she said it was because she could bleach them. Anything and everything came out and they always looked nice and white.

  5. Kim

    Mine are still tiny and although I don’t go through as many towels as you, my laundry basket is filled up with peed sheets, skid-marked little boy briefs and – sigh- my milk stained tops. At least I have something to look forward to.

  6. On the flip side (looking for the silver lining), I’m certain have beautiful skin to show for it?!?!?

  7. You should insist they not use any new, non-mottled towels when washing their face.

    And if that doesn’t work, take away all towels for a week.

    That’ll teach them.

    And you, ’cause that’ll probably be a pretty nasty week.

  8. Baby, you are speaking to my soul! The two men in my house use a towel once and then throw it on the floor or, if I’m lucky, the laundry hamper. I wash 20 towels a week and I am going stone-cold bonkers. As much as I tell them that a towel used directly after showering is good for one or two more uses, they won’t listen. ARGGGGG.

    You know what really kills colored towels? Proactive solution. I think that stuff has battery acid in it or something. My son has ruined all of our colored towels. So now I just have white.

  9. I think the towel people and the chemical people are in cahoots.

    (it is possible that my theory stems from the desire to use the word cahoots, but just ignore that)

    We have gone back and forth between colored towels and white towels, but so far neither of those choices have worked out well (and I don’t even have a teenager yet!)

  10. My very very very strange cousin has convinced himself that human beings need not use towels to dry off.

    He steps from our guest-bathroom shower onto a mat and wipes himself down with his bare hands. (true story.)

    If you’d like, I’m sure he’d be willing to come teach a self-drying seminar to your kids. Proctor and Gamble could sponsor it.

    Until then, good luck. Cotton may be the fabric of our lives, but it isn’t cheap.
    Even at Target.

    • RocketGrl

      Either the cousin streaks thru the house or ties up the bathroom getting dressed in there. Either would be calamitous with three teenagers.

  11. I can’t tell you how many towels my mom lost to Clearasil & Oxy. Only she didn’t lose them really. She went out & bought new, thick, fluffy towels for herself & my dad and relegated the old, thin, faded & stained ones to my brother & I. She stocked the master bathroom closet with the good towels and our main bathroom with the well used ones. Sort of a towel ghetto. Next step was the rag box.

    And woe unto anyone caught using a thick fluffy towel to dry their face!

  12. I do not have Clearasil issues here, but I do have fingernail polish issues.

    Which is just so stupid, I cannot even believe it. So now the girls’ bathroom is stocked with all of our old and faded beach towels. That’s it.

    Matching and coordinating are a thing of the past.

  13. Jaime

    Why are you doing your teenager’s laundry?!?!? And why keep spending $$ on towels that are only going to be ruined after 1 wash of the face?!?! I say keep the wrecked towels in one closet for them, and get good ones that you keep in your own stock pile or for when you have guests. And make your kids wash their own damn towels!! LOL. My mom had me doing my own laundry when I was 12!!!

  14. Jaime

    Or, everytime they use a “good towel” and it gets ruined, take it out of their allowance to buy a new one (if they get an allowance) And if you cant figure out which kid ruined said towel, split the cost evenly and take it off each allowance. πŸ™‚ As you can see, my mom was a hard ass, and I thank her for it!!

  15. liz

    We purposely have white towels, but maybe that will change when the girls get older.

  16. I would still use white and buy stock in Clorox. πŸ™‚

    Very funny stuff, Lori!

  17. I am such a dirty bird, I was so not thinking that is where you were going with towels and teenagers.

  18. Those cleaning wipes with bleach in them did in my brand new towels that we had just purchased to go with our nicely renovated bathroom.
    Oh well, the bathroom still looks great…as long as you don’t look at the towels. Sigh!

  19. CDG

    As an adult with skin which refuses to grow up?
    I am so familiar with this phenomenon.

    The primary ingredient in Proactiv? Benzoyl Peroxide.

    I have the “Proactiv towel.”

    And I’ve still killed my pricey Macy’s wedding towels and my gorgeous French blue post renovation towels.


    Do you think Gu
    Guthy-Renker would chip in for towels?

  20. All my towels look as if they’ve been clawed by cats. Because they have been clawed by cats.

  21. You have just brought back the Clearasil days all to vividly for me. Thanks, Lori. And yes – I feel a modicum of pity for my parents’ towels. But you’re right. NEVER buy light colored towels for children of any age.

    You should start a registry. The teen years registry. And throw a party where you open it all and we ooh and ahhh. I’m excited already.

  22. All you had to say was “towels”, and. . . “teenagers”. I new INSTANTLY what you were talking about.


    Me and bad skin. Too many ruined towels to count.

  23. RocketGrl

    My mom got it easy. I was allergic to nearly all soap products and could use only water on my face. When desperate, I’d use witch hazel on a cotton ball. No ruined tortie towels from me. And yes, I was and still am allergic to most make up.

  24. True, there are no Martha Points for towels that look like that. And probably no way to try and turn them into the next big “look”.

    I think the only thing you can hope for is for the teenagers to either get suddenly clear skin.

    Now I feel like I have some towels to wash.

  25. I say the way to go is to take the Clearasil away from the teenagers. It’s not that big of a deal if a kid has a few zits, is it? I mean, it’s not like they are super self-conscious and care about their appearance, right?

  26. Bwah! I started Proactiv recently and understand first hand the towel degradation. I feel like I am being singled out, my husband’s towels look great, mine look like a bad tie dye job.

    And you thought only teens needed new towels…

  27. I think I just heard on NPR that the teenage years now last until the age of 26. I’m going to buy stock in P & G now.

  28. Clearasil has been banned in my house, too! Long before I even had kids, my oily faced it’s-not-a-pimple-it’s-an-ingrown-hair husband and his “if a little is good, then a lot must be better” philosophy ruined brand new sheets that I had just custom monogrammed –MYSELF. So, although I probably got some good Martha points for the pretty light blue embroidered monograms on the sheets, when the embroidery thread bleached out to mottled greenish-yellow from the Clearasil canceled out all of my stylish DIY efforts and turned me back into a Cathy Guisewhite kind of gal. πŸ™

  29. Pop

    “Red towels now look like something used to try to clean up the evidence in a crime scene.”

    Oh thank God. I began reading this sentence with trepidation since I was eating my lunch and I thought you were going to say something about shedding lining. *shudder*

    And I used to use that stuff all the time. Despite all the use of insane products, I’ve somehow managed to not be sterile. Had I not used all those products back then? Well, sterility wouldn’t have even be an issue.

  30. I’m a white towel girl, but that’s because I’m heavy-handed with both Clearasil (i’m addicted) and Bleach.

    Or it’s because we excrete nothing but mountain breeze in my house…take that, Lori!

    The towel usage flummoxes me. Maybe you should start that hotel policy of only cleaning their towels if they place a card atop them.

  31. So…now’s probably a bad time to tell you that my towels are from Harrod’s in London, in delightful shades of cream and mocha and that the only discolouring they’ve ever experienced was the aftermath of a rather unfortunate “fake bake” session at the spa.

    And that that wahed out.

    Not a good time?

    Okay, I’ll go.


    – B x

  32. I love clean towels. I only have the one teenager, and I’ve moved to white towels. WITH LOTS OF BLEACH, thank you, because our green ones are now yellow and mottled and so, so ugly.

  33. We have white, but they get thrown in the laundry basket daily. I need a return on my investment from various bleach companies. I’ve never thought of buying shares before. You have given me an idea here. I’m always leaving a better person.

  34. The towels, the bedspreads, the T shirts, the pajamatops:

    Yes, trademarked DUAC topical gel, you owe me.

  35. Melinda

    Omg I have the same thing as a result of two teens using Proactive…I mean bleach. I started buying white towels because of it. All my pretty blue towels are ugly now. Makes you wonder what it’s doing to their face.

  36. there are zero teens in my house.

    i still have clearasil towels.

    because my face? did not get the memo that it is that of a 33 year old and NOT a 13 year old.

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