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Laundry Around the World
The chore of doing laundry is universal. Every country and culture has its own routines; some are primitive and others have evolved as the country's infrastructure has modernized with electricity, natural gas, and running water.
As you travel around the world, observing how laundry is done offers an insight into the area's economy and culture. When we complain about having to do laundry in the United States in our automated laundromats or inconvenient basement laundry rooms, take a moment to consider how others on our planet must do laundry in order to have clean clothes and linens.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai, India
Nearly every early morning in central Mumbai, India, more than 8,000 people can be found hard at work at Dhobi Ghat. Known as the world's largest laundry, Dhobi Ghat has 800 wash stations with flogging stones where local workers report at 4 a.m. to begin handwashing clothes and linens for schools, hospitals, hotels, and individuals.
The washing done by the Dhobis, as the workers are called, is very different from our idea of handwashing a few delicate items in a sink. The clothes and linens are literally beaten on a rock surface to loosen soil and then rinsed and hung to air dry.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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For those in rural India, there is no central dhobi or laundry. Women must rely on the river for their laundry needs.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Dolo Town, Liberia
Even in the midst of an Ebola epidemic in the quarantined town of Dolo Town, Liberia, laundry must be done. Women wash clothes by hand and then lay them in the sun to dry.
Fortunately, the ultraviolet rays of the sun help to whiten clothes. However, the ability to disinfect fabrics to kill the virus requires additional chemical treatment that is not always readily available.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Even in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, there are still those who must clean their clothes under very poor conditions.
While most of the residents of Dubai have all of the modern conveniences for laundry (and employees to do the work), the laborers who arrive from around the world to build the futuristic city still handwash laundry in a sink and rely upon the hot desert sun to dry the fabric.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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This photo, taken in 2005 in Dujail, Iraq, shows that even during a war the need for clean clothes and linens is important to family life. For the residents of the occupied country, doing laundry is part the struggle to create normalcy.
For the American military forces, there is a long history of wartime laundry and our efforts to serve those who protect our freedoms.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Living conditions in China's cities are extremely crowded. Nearly every apartment in this block of Guangzhou has laundry hanging from the balcony. Since living space is at such a premium, even having a washing machine is a luxury.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Gaza Strip, Palestine
Imagine having to face the possibility of stray bullets each day when you do laundry. In Deir Al-Balah, Gaza Strip, this house is scarred with bullet holes but laundry must still be done.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Hartley Vale, Australia
The folks of Hartley Vale, Australia have the same modern conveniences we enjoy in the United States and even many of the same laundry detergents and stain removers. But, their wildlife seems a bit more exotic than ours.
This Eastern Grey Kangaroo is a rescued resident of this household. Wonder if she helps by carrying clothespins in her pouch?Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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This Mozambique woman headed to the river to wash the clothes and linen for her family, spreading them out on the fresh, clean grass to dry.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Even in one of the world's most romantic cities, there is still laundry to be done. Most of us wouldn't mind using a clothesline for drying if it overlooked the boats on the canal.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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Los Angles, California, USA
While this may look at a third world country, this is a man doing his laundry in Los Angeles, California in the United States. This homeless man bathes and does laundry in the Los Angeles River because he can not find housing in a shelter.
There are thousands of Americans who face the same situation. You can help by volunteering in crises shelters or donating laundry supplies and monetary support.