In the mostly-alternate-universe of Harry Potter, supposedly giving an enslaved house-elf clothing frees the elf. However, the rules for what constitutes “giving” a house-elf clothing are not at all clear. A brief attempt at elucidation over lunch failed, as we lacked a physical copy of the record. A few points of interest follow:
The giving of clothing appears to be strict liability. We don’t care about either the intent of the giver to free an elf (accidentally “passing a sock” frees) or the intent of the elf to be freed (Hermione can leave socks hidden under rubble in order to trick house elves into freedom). So it seems that there’s no intent requirement for the gift of clothing. Leaving aside the question of who does the laundry, what kind of delivery suffices? Clearly, handing a sock to an elf would free it, even if it was handed absent-mindedly. Dobby was freed when his master tossed a sock in the air and Dobby caught it, so the master doesn’t even have to intend to hand the sock to the elf.
I dunno, I think most of us are better off with with minds full of mush 🙂