Doing laundry can be boring. Even so, laundry can throw up interesting stories about people of different regions, their way of life and culture.
Uniquely Singapore is the tagline used by Singapore Tourism Board to attract visitors to the island showcasing a state-of-the-art nation blended with traditional and culture rich heritage. Besides the usual attractions, the local’s high-rise laundry living draws many an eyeball.
Laundry is hung on bamboo poles that extend out from balconies of HDB flats. It’s a very efficient way of drying clothes considering the lack of space in the neighbourhood and the hot but breezy climate making it easy to dry clothes.
Washing clothes in Sweden is a serious affair. About 40 percent of the population lives in apartment buildings and each building has a common laundry room saving resources like water, electricity and number of machines. People use a mangle iron to wring water from wet laundry especially bed sheets and table clothes. If you’re in Sweden living in one of such apartments, be informed that infiltrating the laundry room during someone else’s washing time or forgetting to clean the tumble dryer’s lint filter are grave offences.
Clothes are washed by hand in India, traditionally by beating against a carved out stone or concrete block. After rinsing and wringing them by hand, they are hung on a line to sun-dry. The dhobys or laundry-men and the dhoby ghat, the place of the laundry-men in Mumbai is often lauded for handling and washing tonnes of clothes from nearby hotels and middle-class families in the most traditional way of using tags, yet managing to return it to the right customer.
Anecdotes of people who moved to Japan tells us doing laundry is quite a fun there. Usually, you wouldn’t get warm water in the washing machine. They prefer to wash clothes in cold water only, which is believed to retain the colour and quality of the fabric for a long time.
Although the laundry ways of Germans are as common as anywhere in the world, there are laws regulating noise emissions such us drilling, vacuuming, playing music, operating a loud washing machine etc. that will raise eyebrows and say, What? The noise-free or quiet time is called the Ruhezeit and it is from 10 pm to 6 am daily and all day Sunday. People who do not own a modern noise- free washing machine cannot do laundry on Sundays.
Local residents travel to Ras el Maa waterfall to do laundry on sunny Sundays. The waterfall is a meeting point to chat and to cool-off. Ras el Maa laundry huts have become a spot of attraction where laundry is strewn and dried after washing.
Banco River in Abidjan, Costa Rica serves as an outdoor laundry facility where hundreds of launderers wash clothes collected from customers. They are known as ‘fanico’, locally. Thousands of tourists visit the Banco River to watch these men rubbing and scrubbing clothes against rocks placed on piles of tyres. The place has now become one of the major tourist attractions in Ivory Coast.
There are plenty of other unique ways of doing laundry. In cities like Singapore, where every day is a hundred metre dash, laundry is also outsourced to reliable service providers.