John Mayer hand-washes his vintage t-shirts in hotel sinks when he’s on the road

John Mayer Performs at O2 Arena, London

Let’s be clear: I do not like John Mayer. I find him problematic and narcissistic. But occasionally, I enjoy his interviews. He is an interesting guy in some ways, and one of the best things about him is that he’s a collector and he really loves his many collections. He’s a major watch collector – his collection is worth tens of millions – and he also collects less expensive things, like vintage band/tour t-shirts. That collection inspired his latest cross-promotion/sponsorship – he’s doing a line of liquid detergent with The Laundress. Which is why he chatted with Vanity Fair about hand-washing his clothes and all of that.

Whether he always does his own laundry: “I have someone who comes to the house and does laundry a lot of the time. But Sundays, I just do a couple of loads, just to feel like I’m involved in my own life.”

His collab with The Laundress, called Way Out West. There’s a liquid detergent and a fabric mist, both scented with a mix of sandalwood, neroli, and pepper. (Mayer, the nostalgic, even picked up CK One–like whiffs off his sweatshirt the other day.) For him, the project is rooted in routine and sustainability and a love for vintage T-shirts so perfectly beat-up, they’ve graduated to “hand-wash only.”

He hand-washes his t-shirts on the road: The genesis of this collaboration is Mayer’s own practice of hand-washing shirts on tour: a practical thing, when faced with uncertain turnaround times for hotel cleaning services, not to mention the risk of losing something in a strange city. “You’ll start learning how many sinks on the road don’t have good gaskets in them when it comes time to close the stopper,” he says, miming the churning motions with his hands. “I’ve also found that I get extra love from housekeeping”—little towels underneath toiletries, cords neatly wrapped—“when they see that Mr. Rich Guy in the presidential suite” is washing his own clothes.

His collections: “I got through the phase of my life where it was all about procuring stuff. And then it became, how do I take care of this stuff?” Mayer likes ferreting out his idiosyncrasies— that, for instance, he will baby a $300 vintage tee that’s already been through the gauntlet. “You’re scared to wear it to bed now because this is your ‘good’ shirt?” he jokes. “But I start hand washing these things that have already been through a machine cycle a thousand times.”

He’s so afraid of the washer: “All of my laundry fails involve heat and rotation.”

[From Vanity Fair]

Damn it, why is this so appealing to me? I think it’s my Virgo sh-t – I love when people take joy in mundane tasks like doing laundry, folding laundry, crossing off a to-do list or cleaning jewelry. It just appeals to me. And if I had a lovely collection of vintage t-shirts, I would probably hand-wash too. It’s always tough though – when I handwash cotton, sometimes it will dry too “stiff.” Perhaps this product takes care of that! And I do enjoy the idea of a rich rock star in the biggest suite of the hotel, gently hand-washing his t-shirts. Also, I still feel like crying when I think of my favorite dark green REM/*Star Me Kitten t-shirt and how I wore it so much that the fabric just broke down. SOB!!


Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Mayer’s IG.

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5 Responses to “John Mayer hand-washes his vintage t-shirts in hotel sinks when he’s on the road”

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  1. TheBayTea says:

    I have a whole new perspective on John Mayer after seeing him play with Dead & Co. a few times. He’s an incredible guitarist, and he’s got a blues voice I never appreciated with his pop songs. I also think touring with a bunch of legends has done great things for his ego – Bob Weir is clearly the leader, and Mayer follows his lead.

  2. Sarah says:

    I used to travel a lot for work and often ended up hand washing underwear and t-shirts on longer trips. Partly because there was no way I’d hand over my underwear to strangers to wash (never mind the cost) and also because doing my laundry reminded me of my ‘real’ life outside of hotel rooms and airport lounges! Very satisfying.

  3. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I dry my cold hand-washings in a no heat delicate cycle. Never had a problem. With everything I’ve upgraded, and downgraded as well, I don’t have the money for a wee bit of detergent at $20. No no no no. But in their defense, with the panni raging on, it’s a smart line to collaborate with.

  4. Mina_Esq says:

    I love The Laundress detergents. They’ve saved me literally thousands on dry cleaning cashmere and silks. I may order Mayer’s collab detergent because the scent sounds amazing.

  5. Misskitten says:

    I just want to say that Mayer impressed me with the way he dealt with the sudden, recent onslaught of Taylor Swift fans telling him to die (among other things) on Instagram. (I think it was instagram). Dare I say, I think he made at least a couple people think about the effects they can have on someone when a group takes on a mob mentality and decides to bully someone online en masse.