When it comes to laundry, most of us just think of the conventional washing machine and tumble dryer, but did you know there are other ways to wash your clothes?
Skiddoo, an online travel agent with the largest selection of the lowest airfares anywhere in the world, including 100,000 that you won’t find anywhere else, has put together this mind-blowing list of the craziest ways people do their laundry from around the world!
India and Pakistan
The Dhobis are a caste group who specialise in washing clothes. They use a traditional process which takes up to two days. They hand wash the clothes with local water before drying them by beating them against a hard surface. Finally, the clothes are left out to dry on a clothesline. Many schools, hospitals and hotels send their laundry here.
Much of this is done in what is known as “Dhobi Ghat”, a large open air laundromat in Mumbai, India. Founded in 1890, there are more than 730 Dhobis and their families who live and work there. They wash up to 1 million pieces of clothes a day, starting at the crack of dawn and working all the way until late at night. It is hard to get a slot working at one of the concrete cubicles in Dhobi Ghat, with most of them being passed down through generations.
Have you ever heard of a centrifuge? It is used in Germany to dry clothes. It acts as a spin dryer, spinning quickly to remove water from the clothes.
People in Sweden use a mangle iron, which is a mechanical laundry aid. It was originally used to wring water from wet laundry, but nowadays it is commonly used to flatten laundry instead. It is often used for larger items such as bed sheets and table clothes.
A great benefit of mangling is that it helps to keep items clean for longer by preventing the collection of dust because the fibre ends are pressed back into the fibre, trapping less dust.
In Morocco’s blue city, Chefchaouen, people travel to the Ras El Maa waterfall to wash their laundry, which is then strewn and left to dry in the laundry huts. The waterfall also serves as a meeting point for the locals to chat and cool off.
In the Banco river in Abidjan, laundrymen known as Fanico, make their living by washing laundry by hand. Well before sunrise, they go from door to door collecting laundry to wash and hauling the load in a wooden cart.
Each Fanico has their own work station in the river, a floating car or truck tyre, that is held in place by a chain to a piece of concrete on the river bed.
The Fanicos, who come from different parts of Africa, use palm-oil soap to wash the clothes. These soaps are colour coded, to match how dirty the clothes are. For example, white soap is used on clothes that are just lightly soiled.
Just like the Dhobis of India and Pakistan, after washing, they hit the clothes against a hard surface, which in this case is a rock. The items are then left out to dry.
In land-scarce Singapore, the majority of the locals live in high-rise HDB blocks. To get around the problem of a lack of space, they dry their clothes by hanging them out on long bamboo poles which are attached to the outer wall below their kitchen windows.
If some of these washing traditions have blown your mind, there are plenty of interesting things to see and do when you experience different cultures around the world. So what are you waiting for?
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