Washing your clothes in England

If you are anything like me, you probably have a washing machine and a tumble dryer.  If not, cool. I wont judge you. Too harshly. Kidding. Here in England, washing clothes is slightly different from washing clothes back home.  While in the UK they do not beat their clothes against a rock to get them clean, it is not too far off.  Here are the facts:

In England, you will find your washing machine in the kitchen. Notice I said ‘washing machine’-I never even MENTIONED a tumble dryer. Gosh. Anyway, the washing machine is in the kitchen, with other kitchen-like appliances.  After all, this is a small island and we are experts at space saving. You will NEVER find your washing machine and dryer in a separate room.  Anyway, once your clothes have finished their cycle in the washing machine, you will then summarily march outside and proceed to hang your clothes on a washing line or a whirly. A what? Please see picture below.

Truth be told, I do not put my clothes on a washing line nor a whirly. Come on. I really can’t have my neighbours seeing that my ‘smalls’ are largely unmatching. I mean, some things are meant to be private. In addition, as you hang your clothes on the line or whirly, please don’t forget that this is England. It is gonna rain today, tomorrow and probably the day after that. So go ahead and put your clothes outside to dry, British weather has other plans. For real.

Enter the tumble dryer. I have one, I can happily admit (boast, I mean). And in the winter, it serves as an added heat source. Kid not.  In the summer, I do tend to hang my clothes on a drying rack (when in Rome people…). This seems to work well, but if I need something dry in 20 minutes, air drying is not going to cut it. Cue the hair dryer.  Washing (and drying) your clothes in England is fun, if not crazy. Believe me, I know.

Cheers Y’all



  1. Ellen Hawley · September 14, 2015

    We hang our clothes–but usually inside. It’s a rare day when we get enough sun to hang them outside. We’ve learned to live without the tumble dryer, but it does mean that our friends get to contemplate our drying clothes if they time it wrong. Or right.

    • samdfb1 · September 14, 2015

      hah! But wait…every single picture I have ever seen of Cornwall -the sun is shining high in the sky. Are you telling me these pictures are not real? As for drying clothes-am with you there-its all on display for when friends come round. Sheesh.

  2. Ellen Hawley · September 15, 2015

    The pictures are real but–shall we say selective? The sun does come out, and Cornwall just takes my breath away when it does (green, green fields; sea as blue, I swear, as the Mediterranean), but it is in Britain and we both know what that means. Down here, people joke about sideways Cornish rain and sometimes call the rain Cornish sunshine.

    I’ve learned to stop caring about what people think of my laundry. I’m guessing they wear underwear as surely as I go.

    • samdfb1 · September 15, 2015

      It is a lovely place. Sea as blue as the Med? I am intrigued and doubtful in equal measure. But it is a gorgeous place. Cornish rain-funny. I used to live in Durham-they had serious rain there, came at you from all angles. Well, you are a better woman than me but am sure one day I will stop caring what people think of my laundry and unmatching smalls.

      • Ellen Hawley · September 15, 2015

        That business about being a better woman than you? I doubt it, but if it gives you any courage the idea that my underwear should match never crosses my mind. I tend to be stuck at about the age of ten, when the idea of people knowing you wear any is embarrassing.

      • samdfb1 · September 15, 2015

        Ha ha. Age 10. Now those were some good, no bill paying, fun times!

  3. Ellen Hawley · September 15, 2015

    Oops. That should’ve been “I do,” not “I go.”

  4. Laura (PA Pict) · January 21, 2016

    I always hang out clothes in the right weather. It’s better economically and environmentally but I also find it therapeutic. The trick is to be obsessive enough about the weather that you know precisely what a “good drying day” is and when to rush outside and collect it all in before it gets soaked. I even hang whites outside to catch the frost as it makes them whiter. According to legend. I’ve never actually run a scientific comparison. Of course, when we lived in Scotland, I also had to have a dryer because there were too many wet days in a row. I also use a dryer here in the U.S. during the winter months. When I lived in Essex, however, I didn’t own a dryer so on wet days I used clothes horses and a pulley. Honestly, I rather miss the pulley and now that I have a utility room would totally consider fitting one again.

    • samdfb1 · January 21, 2016

      There is def. a method to it-one in which I have yet to master. When I lived in W. Yorks I used to put my clothes on the radiator to dry and wonder why they dried accordion-style. We all learn at different speeds. Clearly. 😉

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