Laundry has got to be one of the most open to interpretation chores on the planet! You can hand wash and hang dry. You can separate colours from whites (or not). You can wash on cold, hot or whichever button is working. You can use lots of detergent, homemade detergent or none at all. If you’re sort of bored of the chore right now, here’s some fascinating laundry facts from around the world that might help intrigue you enough to get motivated:

Clean as a Thistle  

According to a New York Times article written by Stanley Reed, Novozymes, a Danish biotechnology company, is on the hunt for a super powered laundry detergent. Two scientists from the company are finding the solution in fungi (yes, mushrooms!) because the enzymes would help wash laundry more efficiently even in cold water, and even in less water. Danes seem to see a direct correlation between laundry habits and the health of the environment because in Denmark, the average number of washes per week per household is four!

 More Elbow Grease, Please!

In North America, we think washing machines are invincible, but the research paper ‘Global Laundering Practices’, co-written by K. Laitala, I.G. Klepp and B. Henry, shines a bright light on the machine’s limitations. In Kenya, consumers believe that washing machines cannot do heavy-duty washing like cleaning the collars and cuffs of shirts. In China, 97% of survey respondents owned a washing machine, but 90% answered that they primarily wash laundry by hand because it’s a gentler method that results in less damage to clothes.

The Grayer the Waters, the Better

The same research paper found that in South Africa, washing at riverbanks is common – especially during summer. In many countries, such as Mexico and Japan, the reuse of water many times over is the norm. In Japan, use of gray water (reused bath water) in laundering is quite common.

The most fascinating fact of all is that in Kenya 98% of survey respondents said they own washing machines, but because of water shortages they can’t use their coveted appliance.

Here’s hoping these global laundry facts and figures have helped put your laundry woes into perspective!

 

Photo by HomeMaker