Laundry on Sundays

Is it sinful to do laundry on Sundays? Or does laundry not count as “work” in the traditional sense of the word? How about other household tasks? (I just finished doing my laundry right now, and this question came into my mind once I was finished.)

I believe the term used in Church (and commandment) instructions is prohibition of “servile work” on The Sabbath, which is essentially “work for pay.”
(Maybe that’s why I don’t get paid to be an Usher and Eucharistic Minister… :rolleyes: )

There must be some sort of general laxity or dispensation in this area, though… I can’t count the number of times we have gone out to dinner with the priest on Sunday after Mass… surely a priest (and the bishop on at least one occasion) wouldn’t patronize and abet the sinners working at the restaurant, would he?

But, I can remember the days when all the stores were closed on Sundays… the only place in town that was open was the drug store… and maybe the gas station. :frowning: Those were much happier days, for sure…

Ooooh okay, that makes more sense. Thank you very much :slight_smile:

Here is how I solved the problem. 1) This week about Tuesday night (after work) wash clothes. Even if it is only a little bit. 2) Friday night wash clothes or leave it for Tuesday night. Soon you will have rescheduled yourself to do menial, perfunctory chores on the week nights instead of you day off. More free time for you. Do the dusting and vacuuming during the commercials-- a little bit at a time. In short, use your busy days during the week for housework-- even if you are tired. Just do it.

Not just that it’s unpaid, but how much ‘work’ is actually involved in doing a load of laundry anyways? 30 seconds to pop it into the washer, another 30 into the dryer if you use one, about 5 minutes to hang out a load if you do that instead, another 5 or 10 to fluff and fold?

I think the point here is to free us up for our days off so we can experience true leisure. Do your menial, perfunctory tasks during the busy week and have lots of free time. Mow the lawn after work. Do it two nights in a row if you need to do so.

All good points. However, I would say that it’s counterproductive to tire yourself out so much during the week with chores that may not yet need doing, that the effort of fitting them in leaves you too tired to properly enjoy your Sundays.

I for one don’t exactly have unlimited reserves of energy during the week once my working day is fnished. Doesn’t mean I do much housework on Sundays either - I’m somewhat allergic to it at the best of times. :o

I don’t know whether it’s a sin or not. But here’s my opinion. Do laundry on other days. Like someone said, it only takes 30 seconds here and there, so it can be done easily other than on Sunday.

Yes, but if you add that 30 seconds to a 12 or 15 hour workday it can well and truly become too much - we’re not all robots or Energizer bunnies.

Completing household chores during busy working days is an act of the will. It is not a feeling. Choosing one good over another is an intellectual choice, an act of the intellect. It is not a feeling. Therefore, how you feel does not apply. Just make the choice, ignore your feelings and push on. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Just do it!

I did some research on this topic in the Ask the Apologist forum, and I think that the Catechism is worded in such general terms that it’s hard to say what activities exactly constitute Sunday rest. The Catechism says:

Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

Now, this to me sounds very general and up to individual interpretation. Does doing laundry hinder the worship to God? What activities exactly would constitute Sunday rest? What’s rest for one person is work for another. Some say shopping on Sunday is work and should be avoided; but for others, shopping is a way of relaxation. Short of just sitting on your couch staring into the wall, any activity you do can be interpreted as work by some. One article written by a priest said that Sunday should be devoted to spending time with family. Well, while some people find this as rest, I certainly do not. Spending time with my son is work because parenting is hard work. Laundry is actually way easier. Further, we serve God by caring for our families, and doing household chores like cooking for our families is an action by which we serve and love God.

So my opinion on this is, you have to practice the spirit of the law. If doing laundry doesn’t take away from worship, go for it. If you get to a point where all the busyness of your Sundays keeps you from God, then it’s time to re-evaluate your schedule.

To some men I know personally, what many of us consider to be “work” is a source of fun and enjoyment. (Gear-heads like me, who find extreme satisfaction in repairing or restoring an antique car to perfection, or die-hard home-improvement geeks who strive to deliver a “piano-finish” to a kitchen tabletop, for examples.) But, I have known women who float through their tidy homes with unmitigated joy as they dust and vacuum, and hang their freshly-laundered sheets out to dry on the clothesline (before hanging laundry on clotheslines was outlawed :mad: ).

To those people, the projects at their hands are a form of giving glory to the Lord with a display of the diligence and perseverance as applied to their talents.

If I don’t do laundry on Sunday, I won’t have anything to wear to work the rest of the week.

I work out of state and have an hour commute each way. By the time I get home, let the animals out, clean up their…ummm…messes, clean up the kitchen, make supper, clean the kitchen again, do dishes, let the animals back in, take the trash out (Mondays), mow 1/2 the lawn twice a week (I have arthritis and can only do 1/2 at a time), run errands, drive 20 minutes each way to the barn to feed the horse (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings), shop for groceries, take animals to the vet (Saturday morning, when needed), work with the horse, sweep, mop, dust, vacuum, take a shower, do my prayers readings…it’s usually way past my bedtime, considering I get up at 5 am.

So yes, I do laundry on Sundays. I could switch it to a different day, but then I’d end up having to do something else on Sundays instead.


Ouch!! :eek: Nothing, but NOTHING, beats the smell of hung-to-dry-outdoors sheets on your bed on a warm summer evening. :slight_smile:


I live in a rural area so have lots of grass to mow, so I have a small garden tractor.

Believe me, it is relaxation to ride around on that thing on a warm Sunday evening. Otherwise I would be stuck inside doing servile work at the behest of the the Mother Abbess :smiley:

Laundry is a tiny bit of work, it’s really nothing. (Especially if you just toss the clean stuff in a heap like me.)

Think about Sunday dinner. A roast beef with mashed potatoes, freshly baked buns, steamed vegetables, a garden salad, and plenty of gravy ends up being quite a bit of work. If we weren’t allowed to do even the littlest bit of work on Sunday, we’d all starve for one day a week.

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