Drying your laundry on the street
Chinese people don’t use clothes dryers, or at least I have never lived in a placed that had one. When I was living in student dorms in Beijing we had shared washing machines, but no dryers or any place to hang clothes. So I had to hang everything on my bookshelves and wardrobe doors and it took ages to dry.
In Chinese apartments there are normally a couple of bars in the balcony, with holes to put clothes hangers, and you can dry your clothes there. In older apartments in Shanghai they use a different system with long bamboo poles. I have never used this system but it looks complicated and wastes a lot of space – you need a whole pole for just 3 or 4 t-shirts!
I guess some people don’t have any of these systems at home, specially in the areas with older houses, because it is quite frequent to see someone’s laundry hanging on the street.
I like seeing the laundry hanging outside. I start imagining whose laundry it is, how many people are in the family, etc. It gives some colour to otherwise grey cities! And, of course, I also like taking pictures of it.
I’ve seen stores selling dryers, yet I don’t think
It’s okay, as an American it used to be a given to dry laundry yet now I’m totally used to.hanging up my clothes. Isn’t sunlight good for killing germs or something?
However, it does suck to hang up clothes during winter.
Sunlight kills germs? No idea haha!
I agree with you – those poles in the first picture for hanging clothes look rather dangerous as well as inconvenient and complicated.
One of the apartments I rented in Taipei had a dryer but I never actually used it. I love hanging my clothes out to dry as my house has a huge balcony and I love the fresh smell off the clothes.
I find this quite interesting, because for the most part, people in South Africa hang their clothes outside, especially in the more poorer communities haha. So it’s super common here! But quite interesting nonetheless!
we don’t usually have dryers but most of people have a drying rack to put either inside or outside the house so you don’t really see the clothes hanging from poles or wires.
I remember in my dorm in China we didn’t have a balcony so we had wires on the bathrom ceiling and it always “rained” in it :D
We always try to hang our clothes outside to dry during summer even though we have a drying machine :)
My MIL is very confused now as we have a washingdryer (washing machine and dryer combined). She never uses a washing machine and has no clue about drying machines :D
Woah, washing dryer! That is high tech!!
I just checked about it and found out that these machines exist already for over 50 years! Never knew about then till the first episode of Fargo this summer…
Student dorms should definitely find a better solution to dry clothes! Whenever someone visited me in my room they would see my underwear placed everywhere to dry haha.
We had a drier briefly when we were running our business (a hostel). I think there just isn’t the space for them in most apartments and maybe since most people don’t have them, people don’t realize what they are missing? I suppose it might be a waste of electricity, too. I don’t miss having one that much. I do hate washing stuff by hand, as we do with everything for the baby. Chinese people believe washers are too dirty for washing baby things in!
Oh yes I had heard that they wash baby clothes by hand. Where is the washing machine supposed to be dirty? Inside? Or is it the pipes? What if the washing machine is brand new? Would they still wash by hand? I am curious haha.
Sí tía, esos palos… menudo sistemita de secado. Me parece superdifícil tender así.
This is a great observation! When I was living in Singapore, everyone there dried their laundry the same way as you described – clothes stuck to bars outside their windows. I never did that as I never trust my washing would stay on those rods. So I hung my washing indoors near an open window inside my apartment.
Now I’m living in Melbourne, Australia, no one does this – a lot of my Western friends dry their clothes in a dryer. I don’t like using dryers as they consume a lot of electricity and I heard something about dryers making your clothes worn out faster. It’s also more enviro-friendly to not use one. These days I dry my clothes on my balcony. Even in winter my clothes dry fast this way because the air is so dry here :)
Yes, I would also think dryers make clothes worn out faster! I have never used one though, in Spain we also hang everything outside as it is sunny most of the time.
Haha, this is a great topic. I’ve often seen large blankets hanging outside around our 小区.
In Hong Kong, my wife and I would often have our clothes drying in our spare bedroom with the dehumidifier running. During drier seasons, we would have them on a drying rack on our balcony.
Now that we’re in the mainland, we keep our clothes inside all the time because it’s too dusty outside. Clothes dry pretty fast in the summertime, but lately we’ve been relying on sunny days to dry our clothes. Without those warm days, our clothes can take several days to fully dry!
Humid and cold winter days are the worst!!
I used the bamboo sticks to hang my clothes while in Shanghai, staying in one of those “neighborhoods” that hold some buildings in the same block. I have to say it was very effective! But we didn’t introduce the shirts in that way, instead we hang everything on top and secure it with huge rounded clothes pegs, I didn’t notice any mark afterwards, so far so good!
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Love your photos. Bring back so many memories of my time in China. I love this about the Chinese – underwear and all out for all to see.
Haha! This post reminds me of when I was studying abroad in Shanghai and living in the dorms. I used to hang my clothes outside on the rails since I lived on the 2nd floor. It came to the point where most of my clothes were outside drying that the outside became my closet! I would just wake up, pick a shirt and pants from outside and put it on >_<! I also then began to recognize when my other floor mates did their laundry as well.
Wow you have been reading many posts. Thanks a lot!!
When I lived in a dorm in Beijing we didn’t have any place to hang clothes… I had to put everything on the bookshelves, hanging from the closet door, on the windowsill… washing clothes was a risky business, hahaha.